Plenty of keen bidders at Hilltown

Supreme Champion lot 14  pictured with handler and purchaser Allister McNeill, sponsor George Shaw (Provita), owner Michael Maybin and judge Tim Kruger
Supreme Champion lot 14 pictured with handler and purchaser Allister McNeill, sponsor George Shaw (Provita), owner Michael Maybin and judge Tim Kruger

The eighth annual Show and Sale of Pedigree Registered Dorset Horn and Polled Dorset Sheep was held in Hilltown Mart on August 9.

This annual sale was of EU Accredited status which facilitates the immediate export of entries to the Republic of Ireland.

Reserve Champion lot 7 with owner Ben Lamb, sponsor George Shaw (Provita) and judge Tim Wheeler

Reserve Champion lot 7 with owner Ben Lamb, sponsor George Shaw (Provita) and judge Tim Wheeler

It has now gained the reputation of attracting a select but very much quality offering of the Dorset breed being brought forward. While numbers were limited in each of the classes due to the nature of the sales export status, there was, as always excellent trade with plenty of keen bidders.

In particular, the high level of interest from the Republic of Ireland was very encouraging with 41% of the ewe lambs alone heading south. The number of sheep from the sale heading south is growing year on year. This is constantly demonstrating the Dorset breed popularity and ability to remain versatile in a variety of locations with registered flocks stretching the length and breadth of Ireland.

The first part of the sale day consisted of the judging in which Tim Kruger, Derryvilla flock, County Offaly, was attributed with the esteemed task. Mr Kruger did a sterling job of determining the results with an impressive display of sheep being brought forward in each and every class.

After some careful consideration, Mr Kruger found his Supreme Champion in lot 14 a marvellous ewe lamb bred by Michael and Catherine Maybin, Galgorm flock. This ewe lamb showed excellent breed character, possessing all of the desirable traits of the breed. She later went on to sell for 440gns being purchased by A and P McNeill to join their Kilvaddy flock in Toomebridge.

Ram lamb class with judge Tim Kruger

Ram lamb class with judge Tim Kruger

Closely followed was reserve champion, lot 7, a tremendous ram lamb brought forward by Ben Lamb, Richill flock. He later went on to achieve 400gns, finding his new home with Willy McCracken in Loughgall.

Top price of the day was achieved by Richard Currie, Hilltop Flock, for his stylish third place ewe lamb lot 15 which, after a flurry of bidding, was sold for 620gns to Ruth McClenaghan, Newcastle.

The sharp trade remained steady through the sale with other leading prices including B Lamb 400gns (Ram lamb to T Kruger, Co Offaly), C Carson 380gns and 370gns (Ewe lambs to K O’Connell, Bantry, Cork), G Cubitt 370gns (Ewe lamb to E Skuce, Co Cork), A and C Kennedy 360gns (Ewe lamb to W McCracken, Loughgall), R Currie 360gns ( Ewe lamb to K O’Connell, Bantry, Cork), K and A Hughes 340gns (Ewe lamb to S Dodds, Banbridge) R Currie 320gns (Ewe lamb to K O’Connell, Bantry, Cork) M and C Maybin 300gns (Ewe lamb to Willy McCracken, Loughgall).

Ram lamb average: £348.60. Ewe lamb average: £340.66.

Notably this year, the ewe lambs stole the limelight with the average per head being the highest it’s ever been over the past eight years since the sale began. A staggering increase of £28 per head over the last best average and 100% clearance shows the ever increasing appeal for the breed.

Show Results:

Class 1- Ram lamb

1, Lot 7, B Lamb; 2, Lot 1, M and C Maybin; 3, Lot 6, B lamb; 4, Lot 5, R Currie; 5, Lot 4, W Carson

Class 2- Ewe lamb

1, Lot 14, M and C Maybin; 2, Lot 20, W Carson; 3, Lot 15, R Currie; 4, Lot 10, A and C Kennedy; 5, Lot 27, K Hughes

Champion: Lot 14, M and C Maybin. Reserve: Lot 7, B Lamb.

The Club wishes to express its gratitude to Tim Kruger for the privilege of securing his expertise as judge for the day. The club also wishes to thank sale sponsor, Provita, kindly represented on the day by George Shaw. An extended thanks must go to both those who exhibited and those who purchased sheep for making the day such a success.