There was a quieter atmosphere around the ring in Ballymena this year for the Bluefaced Leicester sale.
The averages fell in the shearling section by £117 levelling out at £608 for 162. Lamb trade was up £58 leaving an average of £571 for 90 sold. Buyers were being selective but also being prepared to pay more for the better quality tups.
The highlight of the day was the second prize tup lamb from Eamonn Harkin, Moneygran. A strong, modern lamb by F1 Duhonw, Golden Balls and Dam B4 Hundith X Factor realised 4,000gns and finding a new home in Scotland with Stuart Park, Auchens, Sanqhuar.
The next top price of the day was a big, correct shearling tup from Graham and Julie Loughery, Temain Flock, used as a lamb and sired three mules in their top pen of ten. Sired by E18 Temain and selling to local mule breeder Brian Mullan, Tybern, Coleraine.
Graham and Julie also received 1800gns for a shearling by D17 Firth selling to P Gallen, Castlederg, Co Tyrone.
The Temain Flock were again having a great day in the lamb section with the next two top sales 2,300gns and 2,150gns for two lambs being sired by G1 Cottage, which was an £8,000 purchase in Hawes last year. He is certainly leaving his mark in the flock. The first being an April born ET lamb out of a D17 Hewgill sired ewe lamb selling to Richard Black, Strabane, and Mark Galbreith, Coleraine. The second lamb also being a very bare late born lamb by C3 Midlock Mother selling to Martin Kelly, Limavady.
The first ram lamb into the ring was from B Blaney, Tievebuaile. It got the ram lambs off to a flying start selling to 1,900gns. A son of B41 Hewgill with a Y1 Midlock Dam, a big, powerful, correct lamb crossing the water to the flocks of Alec Brown, Maqueston, and John Park, Forbrae.
Alec had the job of judging the event earlier in the day and awarded overall champion to the first placed ram lamb from Declan McKillop, Giants Causeway, a son of G1 Giants Causeway and selling at 1,800g to John Delargy, Cushendall.
Reserve champion was awarded to T Wray, Knockstacken, for his first placed shearling selling at 1,100g to P Gallen, Castlederg.
Timothy Wray had his usual pen of tremendous shearling rams and was awarded the Kerr Memorial Cup for best pen of tups at sale, selling to a top price of 1,800g for a two shear bred by S McClymont & Son, Auld Tinnis, finding a new home with John Taggart, Glenarm.
Next up for Timothy was one at 1,700gns for a B10 Orravale son selling to Joe Murphy, Cushendunn.
Robert Loughridge one of the first shearling exhibitors of the day with a strong pen of tups selling to a top of 1800g for one by D3 Maqueston, E Loughran, Cookstown was last man in.
Champion female was awarded to D McKillop, Giants Causeway, for a modern ewe lamb by G4 Firth and finding a new home with W Bell, Co. Down for 1,120gns.