Archive Article: 1997/05/23

23 May 1997

Fans of the Dorset flocked to Horchester Livestock Centre last week for the Annual May Fair…

Early morning – and a mist-shrouded sale field at Holywell. As in previous years, this was a two-day event, with judging on Thursday and the auction taking place the following day. A busy time it was, too.

This marked the first available date for a sale after the end of the retention period. Many view it as a barometer for the coming seasons trade. Seen here bedding up are David Batch and Andrew Eltham.

Unloading, penning, selling and then loading again… no mean feat for all involved with over 4000 animals on offer.

Auctioneers Symonds and Sampson report a near-total clearance. Although lamb prices are less than last year, they are still robust, says Andrew Robinson. People were confident – but not unrealistically so, he says.

The general run of hoggets was about £80-£90. A lot of ewes, meanwhile, were worth £60-£70, with many lambs in the £65-£70 range.

I spy with my little eye…

Above: Once again, the Poorton flock of Fooks Bros was well represented, consigning the champion ram and, at £152 apiece, the top-price pen of females. Overall, however, the highest ram bid was £1150 for one from Andrew Kingdons Polgreen flock. Many rams were at about the £400-mark, with a number heading to Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. Commercial buyers were far more evident than in the past, when it was mainly breeders selling rams for use among themselves, says Mr Robinson.

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