Biggest sale yet for the Bluefaced Leicester sheep at Ballymena

As always there was a great entry of Bluefaced Leicester sheep forward from some very enthusiastic breeders at the annual Ballymena sale, with a massive catalogue of over 650 sheep entered, making it the biggest yet at this centre.

Giants Causeway R1 - 9500gns
Giants Causeway R1 - 9500gns

With overall numbers up and buyers being able to be choosy, the average fell from last year’s bumper numbers, especially in the tup lamb section which saw 173 lambs sold to average just over £1090, down from the heights of £1236 last year.

Topping the days trade was Timothy Wray from the Knockstacken flock, with a cracking lamb, with a great sharp head and tremendous stretch and style to go with it. It caught the eye in the pen and absolutely filled the ring with itself whilst going under the hammer. Sired by the £15,000 Dawyck tup, a son of the £30,000 Hewgill, bought out of Hawes last year in a four-way split. Timothy got his share repaid back with interest as the hammer dropped at 12,000gns, the top price yet for the Knockstacken flock. He sold away to Michael Woods from Knockbarragh Blues.

Lee Beacom from the Lakeview flock is no stranger to enjoying a good day’s trade and his pen leader was no exception. It was a seriously well-bred sheep, out of a Kirkby Redgate ewe bought out of Carlisle for 8000gns, which goes back to “Stork” a Hewgill bred tup which was an exceptional mule breeder for the Redgate flock and was sired by N1 Hewgill, another £30,000 tup bought out of Hawes. He was knocked down for 9800gns, selling back over the water to Richard Hutchinson, and Danny Sayer. Richard from Kirkby Redgate was setup with his buy as he had been following the bloodlines and felt it couldn’t miss on the mules, being so full of the correct breeding.

Mistyburn R1 - Overall Champion - 2600gns

Close behind at 9500gns was a powerful tup lamb from the Giants Causeway flock. He was by the homebred tup, Lazarus, who was a son of the Yore House Maverick, which is behind so many of the best tups over here at the moment, and out of a homebred ewe by Popeye. He had stood 2nd at the Omagh show in August, standing at the top of the line until the last second, when a dodgy judge changed his mind and moved him down a step. This blow didn’t seem to bother the buyer, Michael Woods again, who was determined to get his first target bought early in the sale.

The Temain flock from Graham and Julie Loughery has gained a good following over the past few years after the flock has produced some outstanding pens of sheep. Their pen of lambs was no different this year as they took the James Kerr trophy for best run of sheep at the sale. It was their pen leader which took their top price, a son of the £28,000 Carry House Ronaldo which was bought from Hawes late in the sale last year. Its mother is a daughter of the Yore House Maverick, out of the flocks best breeding ewe, Ruby, which has produced many tup lambs in her time including the full brothers to this year’s lamb, the 19,000gns and 10,000gns lambs sold a few years back. This fresh bloodline certainly attracted the attention and Lee MCallister along with Steven and James Wilson, Deerfin as they forked out 7500gns for his services. The Loughery’s also sold another out of the Ruby ewe, by Midlock Iceman for 2800gns. The Temain pen of shearlings enjoyed a flying trade too topping at 4400gns with a son of the Homebred tup “Boss”, which is out of Ruby, selling to M Gingles and SMD Anderson.

Topping the shearling trade was a powerful tup from the Freehall flock from M Kelly, again this was a son of the 10,000gns Temain tup “Boss” who is consistently putting a stamp on his sheep. This boy sold for 4800gns selling to N Mceldowney. Freehall enjoyed a cracking trade with their shearlings with another Boss son fetching 4000gns and another at 2100gns.

Judging the presale show was John Morahan, Woodview Farm, who enjoyed his mornings judging and was quick and decisive with his choices. His champion came from the Mistyburn pen of lambs. This one was a son of the M1 Riddings, used so successfully at Midlock and out of a ewe bought off Jamie Pirie at the Lockdown Ladies sale, which has already bred a tup to 4800gns.

Lakeview R1 - 9800gns

The champion sold late in the day and fetched 2600gns selling to C Butler.

Knockstacken R1 - 12,000gns
Temain R23 - 7500gns