Show season starts for Lleyn sheep

Judge Christine Lewis , Charles and Andrew Kennedy and Ulster Bank representative with the RUAS Lleyn Champion
Judge Christine Lewis , Charles and Andrew Kennedy and Ulster Bank representative with the RUAS Lleyn Champion

The Lleyn sheep breed this year saw the Kennedy Family from Ballyclare take Champion and Reserve at Balmoral Show.

Stock from the prolific show winning family impressed the judge on the day, Mrs Christine Lewis from Powys in Wales who won all the Female classes and Ram lamb class at the 2017 Royal Welsh Show with her Shearling ewe overall Breed Champion.

At Balmoral, C & A Kennedy’s Aged Ram was Breed Champion and their Shearling ewe was Reserve. Also, in winning mode was Seamus Killen, Rostrevor who won the Shearling ram class, Adrian Trainor took the red rosette in the Aged ewe class with Aiden McConville winning the ram lamb class and the ewe lamb class went to the Kennedy’s.

At Ballymoney Show local exhibitor George Caldwell from Clough, Ballymena took Champion and Reserve ahead of Edward Adamson and Mark Adair.

THE RISE OF THE LLEYN

Surveys have been commissioned by relevant bodies including the MLC, MAFF and now DEFRA and EBLEX. The surveys have been sent out as postal questionnaires directly to sheep keepers in 1971, 1987, 1996, 2003.

The results of the most recent survey in 2012 have now been released having undergone analysis. In the original 1971 survey there was an estimated 7000 Lleyn ewes which had risen to 237,000 in the 2003 figures and then in 2012 they had doubled numerically to 474,000 ewes in Britain. You will have a chance to view this ever-increasing popular breed at Omagh, Castlewellan and Antrim Shows throughout July.

In the present year we have seen an increase in lamb prices and producers who can increase lambing percentages and survivability should be in a better financial position.

Take the opportunity to view some Lleyn sheep and make your decision on preferred sheep breed with your head and not your heart. There is a final chance to see Lleyns on farm in their natural surroundings at the N.I. Lleyn Sheep Breeders Club Open Day being held at Mr John McKavanagh’s farm on the shores of lough Neagh near Lurgan on Saturday, 18th August before the annual sale in Ballymena Mart on 8th September.