Northern Ireland bred Dorset sheep stole the limelight at the first Spring Stars sale in Carlisle.
The inaugural Spring Stars sale of pedigree Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset sheep at Carlisle on Monday – in preparation of the breeds’ mid-April tupping season – proved successful with top prices of 2200gns and 1500gns for females and males respectively.
In previous years, the breed’s premier show and sale, known as the May Fair, is not held until the first week of May, which is a month too late for breeders to get their rams onto the farm and prepared for the Dorset tupping season. As a result, top end rams have been traded privately – from farm to farm as opposed to on the open market.
Also travelling from Northern Ireland were a number of potential buyers wishing to either establish or add to their Dorset Flock.
This Show & Sale attracted an entry of 106 sheep comprising of 27 Shearling Gimmers, 14 Ewe Lambs, 14 Shearling Rams, and 51 Ram Lambs. The judging of the various classes was in the capable hands of Rowland Davies (Dolcletter Flock) Wales.
Northern Ireland bred sheep had a clean sweep in the show ring collecting the following awards Male Champion, Res Male Champion, Female Champion, Res Female Champion, Overall Champion and Res Overall Champion.
Northern Ireland breeders led the way here, with the top two sellers at 2200gns and 2000gns both consigned by Ben Lamb who owns the Richhill flock from Sleepy Valley, Richhill, Co Armagh. His sale leader, a gimmer by Sandelford Usain out of a home-bred ewe by Olivertree Nik Nak, stood third in her class at the pre-sale show and sold back across the Irish Sea, to Andrew and Caroline Kennedy, Ballymena, Co Antrim, buying for their Maineview flock.
Also heading home on the same boat at 2000gns but with Gary Hanna, Newtownards, Co Down, buying for his Mae Flock was Mr. Lamb’s female champion and reserve overall. Another gimmer, she is by Sandelford Thunder and out of a home-bred ewe by Downkillybegs Pegasus.
The second prize gimmer sold next at 900gns to Messrs Fitton, Kearsley, Bolton, Lancs. This was a Deverill Xavi daughter from W and K Carson’s Downkillybegs flock from Whitesides Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim. The dam, a home-bred ewe by Olivertree Torpedo is a twin sister to Downkillybegs Xander sold in 2016.
The same buyers also bought the lead priced ewe lamb, Olivertree Babs, at 700gns from Raymond Hill, Old Manse, Kilbride Road, Doagh, Ballyclare. A red rosette holder at the pre-sale show, she is by Hilltop Alabama and bred from a home-bred ewe with a Polgreen sire.
Lanarkshire breeder, Alistair Morton, Stobilee Farm, Cleghorn, bought the lead priced male at 1500gns. This was Ballytaggart Buster, a ram lamb by Bannside Xavi, out of a home-bred ewe by Richhill Samson, from Thomas Wright’s Ballytaggart flock from Ballymoney, Co Antrim.
The champion male and supreme overall was Ballyhamage Braveheart a ram lamb by the 2500gns Pembroke Zest is Best and the dam, a home-bred ewe by Sherborne Striker. This lamb was bred by James & Craig Robson, Burn Road, Doagh, Ballyclare and was sold for 1200gns purchased jointly by David Lewis, Pembrokeshire & Owain Jones, Llanelli, Dyfed.
Ben Lamb was back in business amongst the males, selling Richhill Bionic, a ram lamb by Olivertree Zlatan, for 900gns to join the Riverview Flock owned by T & S Knox, Armoy. Also, from the same pen was Richill Barney, a ram lamb, by Olivertree Zlatan for 800gns. This animal joins the Ballycraig Flock owned by Messrs Hall, Pomeroy, Country Tyrone.
Shearling Gimmers - £513.19
Ewe Lambs - £542.29
Shearling Rams - £564.38
Ram Lambs - £638.17