The Charollais breed champion produced by Tim Pritchard of Llantrisant, South Wales, took top price at the NSA Wales and Border Ram Sale, held at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells. In a day of varying fortunes for the six thousand plus rams sold, his ram lamb made 5,000 guineas. The price matched last year's record, also paid for a Charollais.
Eighty two per cent of the rams entered were sold, achieving a turnover of £1.84 million. Prices across the breeds averaged £302 a head. The older Texel and Charollais rams saw increased top prices and averages. The Lleyn was the only breed
to achieve higher average prices than last year across the age band.
Committee chairman, George Hughes, said it had been a satisfactory day. There had been a much bigger entry than last year and the market was very different.
“Taking that into account it was a good day”, he said. “The top prices were comparable to last year, which shows that the top end of the market is holding steady. Quality still sells. Eighty two per cent clearance is a very creditable performance”.
Celebrating a fantastic summer was Tim Pritchard who not only achieved top price but also saw his pen of 13 rams from the Castellau Flock sell for an average 1256 guineas which he described as 'thrilling'. Another of his ram lambs sold for 2,200 guineas the third highest price of the day, as well as two for 1800 guineas and one for 1300 guineas.
He said it justified the 6,000 guineas he had paid in collaboration with two others for the sire, Galtres Dominator. Another of his ram lambs had made Tim 5,200 guineas at Worcester this year.
Glyn Pennie, of Gwern yr Ychain, Llandyssil, near Welshpool in Mid Wales secured the 5,000 guinea Charollais despite fierce bidding from Northern Ireland and from Irish bidders. He farms with his sons Christopher and Nigel and had been determined to buy the ram because he feels 'quality is the only way to go'.
A Texel shearling ram took top breed price of 3,600 guineas. It was paid to Alan and Barbara Draper who run the Hollyford Flock. It was bred from a ewe bought as an embryo from Simon Farmer and is in the top 10% of the UK Texel Performance Recorded Scheme.
Mr Draper said he had had five lamb crops from the six year old ewe and she had grossed 12,000 guineas. She had regularly produced shearlings weighing between 120 and 140 kgs.
The Hollyford shearling was bought by Bill and Liz Reed of Upper Scolton, Spittal, Haverfordwest. Bill sold 24 of his own rams at the sale and achieved a top price of 1100 guineas. Trade, he said, had been 'reasonable'.
A Blue Faced Leicester picked from a pen of 40 sold by Geoff Cox of Cannington Farm, near Exmoor in Devon sold for the next highest price, 2050 guineas. The shearling represented the icing on what had been 'a pretty good day' for Mr Cox.
It was purchased by Denis Lumley of Blanchland Consett, County Durham, who was on his first trip to the Builth sale in his capacity as chairman of the Blue Faced Leicester Society, a position which he says is 'costing me no end of money!'.
Mr Lumley added that he had gone for the sheer scale and presence of the shearling ram. And he added that the breed continued to go from strength to strength on the back of the very strong Mule sales throughout the country this year.
A shearling Charollais sold by Duncan Davies of Cwm Farm, Aberhafesp, near Newtown in Powys, sold to C & V Marwood of York for 1850 guineas. The highest priced Texel ram lamb was sold by John and Gloria Davies of Pen yr Heol, Heol Ddu, Ammanford, Dyfed, for 1550 guineas to Steven Smith of Penparc, Castell Caereinion. A Torddu sold for 1300 guineas.
A Border Leicester shearling ram was sold by the Browns of Mindrum, Northumberland, to F A Birch of Stafford for 1260 guineas. The champion Blue Faced Leicester ram lamb sold by Aled Jones of Tal-y-Cafn, Conwy, went to G P Williams of Dolwen, Abergele, for 1150 guineas.
The top price for a Lleyn ram was 1100 guineas compared with 880 guineas last year. It was sold by Emrys and Dylan Jones, Commins Coch, Machynlleth, to society chairman Vernon Jones.
A Suffolk ram lamb bred by Roger and Glenys Morgan of Olway Farm, Usk, was sold to T R Dyke and sons, Dolfawr Farm, Howey, Llandrindod Wells for 900 guineas. David Mathews, Bridgend's, champion Poll Dorset made 520 guineas.
There was considerable foreign interest with buyers from the Netherlands among those choosing to build a mini holiday around a day at the sale. Jacqueline van Wesemael is in charge of a National Park, near Haarlem, on the West Coast of Holland and was looking for sheep to graze the dunes. She already has Scottish Blackface and was looking for some other breed to complement them and interest visitors.
Another visitor from Holland, Ruud Kooijinga, was amazed by the sight of so many sheep and so many different breeds. He thought the British Texels were taller than those in his homeland but with less correct heads.