7th October 2019
North-type 66 ram lambs, £1223.57 (+£300.00 for seven fewer sold); 38 shearling rams, £617.84 (+35.09 for two more). South-type 59 ram lambs, £1249.14 (+£116.29 for five fewer); 215 shearling rams, £787.35 (-£38.84) for 12 more).
A good show of both breeders and commercial sheep ensured a buoyant trade at the Ulster Ram Breeders Association sale of North and South-type Blackface rams at Ballymena, on Monday 7th October 2019, where the top three highest priced lots sold across the Irish Sea to Scotland.
In a change of format, the show of North-type sheep was staged on the Sunday, enabling an earlier sale start the following day which proved popular with Scottish buyers. However, the switch to selling the south-type ram lambs before the section shearlings was a hot topic of debate for consignors when they were unable to gauge how much they were able to spend on a lamb when they still had to sell their shearlings.
It was nevertheless a cracking day for the Conway brothers George and John and their two respective sons, Eamonn and Leo, when they scored a hat-trick by winning the overall north-type championship judged by Perthshire breeder, Tom Paterson, Craigneich, Comrie for the third consecutive year.
Furthermore, the boys who run 500 Blackface ewes also sold the two top priced lots at 12,000gns and 10,000gns, both of which sold to Scottish breeders, and produced the first prize pen of three.
Sale leader was their pre-sale champion, which was also champion at Plumbridge and stood male champion at the National Show, staged here in July. Backed by the best of bloodlines, he is by a Woolfords tup used on loan that was a son of 2000gns Conway tup that also stood champion here, and out of a home-bred ewe by a £1300 Achdregnie. He sold to in a two-way split to Matthew Hamilton and son Matthew, Woolfords, West Cobbinshaw and David Baillie, Calla, Carnwath the judge at the National Show.
I thought he was a really smart lamb when I put him male champion at the National Show. Hes one of the best Ive bought here, said Mr Baillie.
Minutes later, the Conway Bros No 3 lamb which was second at Omagh Show realised 10,000gns selling to Sandy and Steven Smith, Haughton, Glenkindie and Pamela Nicol who manages Doldy Farms at Glenisla, Angus. Hes a cracking lamb, with great power, bone and skin, added Ms Nicol.
For their money, they get another backed by Scottish genetics, with the sire being the £7500 Woolfords shearling bought in 2018 at Stirling after standing champion at the pre-sale show, out of a ewe by a £250 Woolfords.
On the debit side, Conway Bros and Thomas Harkin went to 3800gns for a tup lamb from Paul McEvoy, Kilcoo, Co Down. He is by a £9000 Woolfords shearling bought the previous in Stirling and bred from a show ewe that won the Loughash and the Hiltown stockjudging competition. Mr McEvoy retained a third share.
The reserve lamb at the pre-sale show from Tam Adams and sons Joe and Archie, was bought by the judge, Jim Robinson from Donegal, for 7000gns. Another that made his presence felt at the National Show, this cracker which stood second in his class that day is by a £5000 Achdregnie shearling bought at Stirling in 2016 that bred lambs to average £2600 the following year. The dam, a home-bred ewe also boasts Scottish blood being a daughter of a £7000 Hillhead of Mornish.
Just behind on 6500gns, Sam and Stuart Adams, Broughshane, purchased the No 2 from James Hunters 140 North-type ewe flock from Glenarm. This ET-bred lamb is bred from a home-bred ewe by an £800 Alan Petrie-bred ram and sired by a 1200gns Thomas Harkin tup that goes back to a £500 Woolfords.
Charlie Harkin and son Cathal who now sell their sheep off The Rock at Dunamanagh, also came up with the goods taking 4200gns for a ram lamb by a £2000 Haughton from Billy Grant, Killaloo.
Leading the north-type shearlings at 2200gns was the reserve champion from Mark and Russel Smyths Cam flock from Macosquin, purchased by AC Carmichael. He is by a Haughton son of an 8500gns Cam bought at Stirling in 2017 and bred from a ewe by a £1200 Chamberwells. A strong trade for the Cam tups, saw the flock average in excess of £1000 for 10.
South-type sheep also sold well, but it was Veronica Fullerton and Patrick Fullerton, who runs just 60 pure ewes just outside Draperstown who enjoyed the best of the days trading selling 15 shearlings to average £2452.
Tops here at 9000gns was the pen leader and the result of an in-lamb Mitchellhill ewe bought from John Harkin. He is by the £11,000 Nunnerie tup lamb sold at Lanark in 2017, to Loughash and Allanfauld, and sold to Iain and David McArthur, Arnicle, Campbeltown and Richard Nixon, Marbrack, Carpshairn.
Minutes later, the couples No 2 made 3200gns to Davie and Jock Jackson, Pole, Lochgoilhead and John Macpherson and Sons, Balliemeanoch, Dalmally. For their money they get a son of a £20,000 Auldhouseburn out of a Harkin-bred ewe.
Second top price from the Fullertons was 4000gns paid by David Campbell and Richard Mobery, both Plumbridge, for a son of a £2500 Dalwyne, out of a Harkin-bred ewe.
Ram lambs from the couple also met a sound trade selling to 4000gns and 3500gns. The dearest, by the £30,000 Loughash sold in 2018, and bred from the show ewe lamb by a £20,000 Auldhouseburn, was knocked down to Frankie McCullough, Ballynhinch.
Davie Morrison, Dalwyne, Barr, bought the 3500gns lamb, a son of the £12,000 Nunnerie shearling that stood male champion at the National Show, out of the champion winner at Omagh Show.
Top price amongst the south-type lambs was 6000gns for the best from Thomas Harkins small flock from Donemana, purchased by Hugh and Alan Blackwood, Auldhouseburn, Muirkirk. He is by Martell, a full brother of the £45,000 Loughash retained for breeding by John Harkin, and out of a ewe by a £40,000 Loughash.
Oliver Brannigans Glenbeg flock from Dungannon, also enjoyed a good day with sales at 5200gns and 3000gns.
The dearest, an ET bred from a ewe by a £10,000 Midlock, is by a £22,000 Dalchirla, and sold to Southern Ireland breeder Michael Ketch, while the 3000gns lamb, a son of a £52,000 Crossflatt with a £40,000 Loughash mother, was knocked down to Andrew Adams.
Top price for Brian Devine, Donemanna, Strabane, was 4800gns paid for a son of a £30,000 Loughash, out of a ewe by a £14,000 High Staward. The buyers were Charlie and Cathal Harkin, The Rock.
Eoin McKennas Tullykeeran flock from Ballyknock, also got in on the act, selling a son of a £6500 Aitkenhead for 4500gns to Jim and Fiona Burns, Craignell, New Galloway; Billy Welsh, Beoch Loch Doon, Dallmellington, and Sanny Blackwood, Upper Wellwood, Muirkirk.