It’s a last call for commercial lamb producers looking to source a top class Suffolk ram for the forthcoming tupping season.
Over the next two weekends the NI Branch of the Suffolk Sheep Society will hold its final two show and sales starting with Killeter on Friday, September 25 (7pm).
Eight days later, Saturday, October 3, the curtain comes down with a second show and sale at Omagh Auction mart (12noon).
Both sales follow hot on the heels of similar events at Lisahally, Ballymena and most recently at Rathfriland (report next week).
At Lisahally Ballynacanon flock owner Denis Taylor presented the champion ram lamb while Cookstown breeder Robin McAdoo claimed the reserve and first placed shearling honours.
Taylor’s champion and McAdoo’s winning shearling both changed hands for 500gns.
At Ballymena on Monday evening the top price went to Antrim breeders Joan Gilliland and Kim Steele-Nicholson who sold an eye-catching Strathbogie Jackpot ram lamb for 820gns.
There was a strong demand throughout with T Hynes, Newry forking out 720 guineas to secure ownership of the first prizewinning Leitrim He’s A Cracker bred shearling belonging to Keith McAdoo, Cookstown. A Carony Second Best sired shearling presented by James Steele, Ballyclare changed hands for the same price.
In the show ring it was an exceptional Birness Bacardi lamb belonging to Allister Gault that caught the eye and was duly selected show champion while a Lakeview Heeza Lord lamb, one of the David and Andrew McNeilly’s winning pair, secured the reserve rosette.
In the ram lamb class Gault’s champion was followed by David and Andrew McNeilly, Anthony Patton and Keith McAdoo in order while John Hegarty was second, RC and JC Watson and B McVicker were third and fourth respectively to Keith McAdoo in the shearling class.
Results in the pairs were David and Andrew McNeilly, first, Anthony Patton second, Allister Gault third and Gary McAdoo, fourth.
Shearlings: 1st Lot 16 K&G McAdoo; 2nd Lot 13 J Hegarty; 3rd Lot 3 RC&JC Watson; 4th Lot 20 B McVicker.
Ram lamb: 1st Lot 65 A Gault; 2nd Lot 70 D&A McNeilly; 3rd Lot 56 A Patton; 4th Lot 32 K McAdoo.
Pairs: 1st Lot 70 & 71 D&A McNeilly; 2nd Lot 56 & 57 A Patton; 3rd Lot 68&69 AR Gault; 4th Lot 115 & 116 G McAdoo.
Champion: Lot 65 A Gault; Res Champion Lot 70 from D&A McNeilly.
Shearlings: Lot 15 JS Steele 720gns; Lot 16 K McAdoo 720gns; Lot 7 G McAdoo 450gns.
Ram Lambs: Lot 21 & 22 J Gilliland & K Steele Nicholson 820gns & 600gns; Lot 72 D&A McNeilly 620gns; Lot 115 G McAdoo sold for 550gns; Lot 38 RC&JC Watson 500gns; Lot 116 G McAdoo 500gns.
The Suffolk is just the ticket for John
John Sleeman likes to keep his options open when it comes to selling his livestock.
That’s one of the main reasons why he is increasingly using a Suffolk ram on his Crossbred and Texel X ewes.
John, along with brother William and dad Philip run a flock of some 700 ewes comprising 450 Blackface and 250 crossbreed/Texel X ewes on their hill farm close to the Windyhill Road, Limavady.
In recent years the Sleeman’s have turned to the Suffolk in a bid to increase profitability in what have become very challenging times for the commercial sheep sector.
“A few years back we started using Suffolk and we quickly found that we were picking off Suffolk bred lambs much earlier than other breeds for sale,” explained John.
“Using the Suffolk gave us a good long carcase lamb that was ready for sale much earlier. Compared to other breeds there was no comparison when it came to growth rate and liveweight gain.”
The Sleeman’s have no rigid marketing policy for selling their lambs. They like to have the flexibility to sell whenever they feel the demand and the price is right.
The Limavady farmers fatten a percentage of lambs, some go through the store ring while others are carefully selected and sold as breeding replacements.
“We have already picked off some ewe lambs this year, clipped and dyed them and got away very well,” continued John.
“Everyone knows it’s a very challenging market place out there and I’m finding that the Suffolk lamb allows us to keep our options open and suits nearly all tastes.
“This year all our Crossbred and Texel X ewes will run with a Suffolk ram.”