Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Record Prices and Visitor Numbers for Ram Sale

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Record Prices and Visitor Numbers for Ram Sale

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Dent

MORE than pounds 2.8m was spent in fierce bidding at this year's Kelso Ram Sales, with the top shearling selling for pounds 10,000 and the top lamb going under the hammer for pounds 4,200.

The event last Friday pulled in pounds 500,000 more in bids than last year and the average ram price rose from pounds 569.39 to pounds 622.56.

Tups from the sale went all over the UK and over to Europe but the toppriced shearling, a Texel consigned by Mrs Gray, from Cowgrove, Scrogtonhead, will be serving ewes locally. He went jointly to the Campbell family of Thrunton near Alnwick and Jack Arnott, Haymount, Kelso.

There were 5,233 tups forward on the day, up from 4,624 last year, although the unsold percentage also increased from 4.46% in 2009 to 7.97%.

Ron Wilson, from sales organiser the Border Union Agricultural Society, said: "There were 609 more entries and the clearance rate was only 3% down on last year.

"There was a tremendous atmosphere and there were a lot of people; I think there were more than last year.

"There were people from Holland and Germany. One ram was sold to Germany and there was another German party who were sussing it out for next year.

"Sheep have gone to every conceivable island off the west coast of Scotland, and down to Bristol and Devon, and a lot were consigned from around the country." Among the first-time visitors to the sale was Scottish government cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead.

"He was quoted as saying he was gobsmacked by the spectacle," said Mr Wilson. "The buyers were relatively happy too, I think.

"It's not a question of going out to top it next year. We've got to provide a good facility for the industry. In the 10 years I've been here, the quality has been amazing; the stocksmanship is amazing.

If you don't have a good article, you won't sell it." He said the buoyant mood of the sale was a reflection of conditions in sheep farming. …

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