Zwartbles ewes in exceptional demand

Supreme Champion from Mary and Dean Cashel with purchaser Denise Rafferty and judge Mr Ally Baird '
Supreme Champion from Mary and Dean Cashel with purchaser Denise Rafferty and judge Mr Ally Baird '

On Saturday 24th August 2019, the Northern Ireland Zwartbles Sheep Association held their annual branch show and sale at Richard Beattie’s Farm in Gortin, Co Tyrone. The new venue proved successful, with Zwartbles ewes being sought after.

Entries were up marginally in comparison to last year. The pre-sale show was judged by Mr Ally Baird of Greystone Zwartbles from Stirling, Scotland.

The supreme champion was a ewe lamb that came from Mary and Dean Cashel, Ballinamallard.

She caught the eye of the judge in the biggest class of the day.

After a flurry of bids ‘Hillview Goodluck’ was knocked down to Denise Rafferty for 760gns.

The second highest price of the day was another ewe lamb from the Cashel’s. This stretchy elegant ewe lamb sired by the 1250gns ram ‘Didcot Dolomite’ was purchased by Brian Malcomson.

Meanwhile, the reserve was from Cyril Cromie. This strong shearling ram with plenty of character was sold to Ian T Kee for 370gns.

Shearling rams averaged 370gns while senior rams averaged 200gns.

Sale averages were well up on last year across all female classes including crossbreds.

Shearling ewes averaged 217gns with 100% clearance.

Ewe lambs averaged 227gns with 94% clearance.

Commercial female Zwartbles which followed the sale of pedigree sheep averaged £95.

The top priced crossbreds came from Stephen Girvan and sold to Lynda Hamilton for £165.

This continues to highlight the Zwartbles female demand due to their milky traits, docility and ease of lambing.

Before the sale, exhibitors and customers enjoyed soup.

Special thanks must go to judge Mr Ally Baird for making the trip over, auctioneer and host Richard Beattie, NIZSA secretary Elaine Anderson and inspectors Andrew Megarrell and Liam Campbell.

The judge, in addition to selecting the champions, had the task of selecting the prize winners in each section and these were as follows:

Senior ram- Class 1 - 1st I and A Donald

Shearling ram - Class 2 - 1st Cyril Cromie, 2nd M and D Cashel

Ram lamb - Class 3 - 1st I and A Donald, 2nd M and D Cashel, 3rd M and D Cashel

Shearling ewe - Class 5 - 1st M and D Cashel, 2nd Stephen Girvan, 3rd M Norris

Ewe lamb - Class 6 - 1st Mand D Cashel, 2nd M and D Cashel, 3rd C E J and S Watson

The branch looks forward to its annual flock competition.

Judging will take place during the first two weekends in October.

Further details regarding dates and times will be circulated upon confirmation of entry.

Categories include flock ewes, ewe lambs and stock ram.

Please let secretary Elaine Anderson know by Friday 27th September if you wish to partake this year on 07759316973.

More details on this event, more information on Zwartbles sheep and sale photos can be found on the NIZSA Facebook page and online at