Higher entry numbers, all-round quality and much improved levels of trade, including the highest prices in recent times for a shearling ram at 4,200 guineas (£4,410) and 2,400 guineas (£2,560) for a shearling ewe - both from local breeder David Towell and by the same sire - were the highlights of the 28th Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders Association two-day show and sale of pedigree rams and females at Skipton Auction Mart. (Thus & Fri, Sept 17 & 18)
David Towell and his 4,200gns shearling ram, top price at the Skipton Texel show, joined by joint buyers
John Mellin, right, and John Wood.
With a total of 513 Texels entered, 111 up on last year, and with all major trophy winners making their debuts in the exhibition arena – the high profile fixture is a proven training ground for up-and-coming Texels - organisers described it as one of the best shows in recent years.
Northern Area Texel chairman Mark Keighley, of Leathley, Otley, said: “Commercial buyers were prepared to pay top prices for quality sheep. There was good trade throughout.”
David Towell’s Moor Top flock, based at Upper Leys Farm, Glusburn Moor, Keighley, who last year dominated the Skipton Texel females section, heading the prices in both the shearling ewe and ewe lamb classes, stepped up significantly at this year’s renewal.
His March, 2008-born, home-bred shearling ram Moor Top Ozone headed both class and show prices when living up to his name and selling for a breathtaking 4,200gns. This was the highest price ever achieved for a Texel by Mr Towell and one that equalled the association’s record top price paid at Skipton in 2003 for a shearling ram – the all-time record there at 5,000gns was achieved in 2003 for a ram lamb.
The joint purchasers were John Mellin, of Hull House Farm, Hellifield, and John Wood, of Hill Top Cottages, Trawden. The duo, both prominent Texel breeders – Mr Mellin exhibited the Skipton Texel champion in both 2000 and 2004, and the male and reserve supreme champion two years ago - regard their well-bred acquisition as an exciting prospect and hope he will equip himself well as a father of potential future champions.
Not entered in the show classes due to his lively disposition, he is by Mr Towell’s own Moor Top Nero, sold for 750gns at last year’s Skipton Texel fixture, out of a daughter of Tophill Jerusalem, bred by Red Rose Texel showman David Houghton, of Affetside, Bury. The grand sire is Gib Farm Moose The Moochie, which also performed well for Mr Towell.
A lot number of 100 also proved fortuitous for the same exhibitor when his April, 2008-born shearling ewe, another high-class product of Moor Top Nero, was sold for the top shearling ewe price of 2,400gns, again to joint purchasers - Peter and Trish Benson, and John Mellin’s wife Linda, a Texel breeder in her own right.
Mr Benson has worked as a shepherd for the Mellins for 25 years – he and his wife live in at Hull House. He also runs his own breeding flock, Benny’s Texels. The new Benson-Mellin acquisition is out of an ewe bought by Mr Towell for 1,200gns, herself a product of the 36,000gns Ettrick Jackpot.
“It’s the first time we have bought anything together. We’ve already named her Tia Maria. We have a hot tup and will breed from him. It’s very exciting and will be great fun,” enthused Mrs Mellin.
Mr Towell had an outstanding day, selling a total of eight shearling rams at an average of £1,297. This included Moor Top Orion, a March-born son of Moor Top Mustang, who made 1,350gns when knocked down to Cumbrian purchaser Stephen Bland, of E & K Bland, Gaisgill, Tebay.
The first prize shearling ram, male champion and overall supreme champion was a February-born entry from Graham and Sarah Taylor, who run the Thirsk-based Parkholme flock and were securing their first-ever Skipton championship success with Parkholme Omaha.
He is by Woolney Mosquito, acquired by the Taylors two years ago from East Anglian breeders Terry and Jenny Prentice, whose Woolney flock is based at Creeting St Mary, Ipswich. The grand sire was the Mellins’ Hull House LSD, with the dam a product of the home-bred Parkholme Genius. Earlier this year, Woolney Mosquito was also responsible for the Taylors’ North Yorkshire County Show champion.
The Skipton title winner joined Carl Fawcett’s Kissthorn flock at Sand Hutton, York, for 1,100gns, while the Taylors also sold a second shearling ram for 1,000gns to JL Miles & Son, Ellerbeck, Northallerton.
Strength in the shearling ram class was clearly illustrated when the runner-up from Simon and Audrey Taylor’s Dearne House flock at Cumberworth, Huddersfield – Audrey is secretary of Northern Area Texel Sheepbreeders - went on to take the reserve male and reserve supreme championship.
Dearne House Outlaw is a March-born son of the Scottish-bred Muiresk Inspirational (by Muiresk Final Winston), bought by the Taylors three years ago as an aged ram for 600gns – he had earlier sold at Worcester as a ram lamb for 27,000gns – out of a dam sired by Graham and Susan Taylor’s Parkholme Jumbuk. The couples are unrelated.
“Outlaw is among the last crop of lambs by Inspirational, who was a fine sire, breeding good, big commercial sheep, with good skin and back end,” said Mr Taylor. The reserve supreme champion made 800gns when joining Matt Townsend, of Laneshawbridge, Colne.
South Yorkshire’s Stephen and Sherry Richardson, whose Stonebridge Texel flock is based at Mount Pleasant Farm, Great Houghton, Barnsley, and was responsible for the 2008 Skipton Texel champion, this year sold six shearling rams at an average of £903 and to a top of 1,320gns, this joining Nick Dalby and Jackie Bradley, of Hartwith, Harrogate. Mr Dalby also purchased the Richardsons’ 2008 title winner.
The 2009 female champion was a February-born shearling ewe from the Wharfedale-based Manderlea flock of association chairman Mark Keighley, and his wife Helen, of Leathley.
The first daughter to be sold by the home-bred Manderlea Norman Kam, described as “a good carcass breeder” by Mr Keighley, she joined young up-and-coming West Yorkshire breeders, brother and sister Richard, 19, and 21-year-old Sarah Priestley, of Hill Top Farm, Denholme, Bradford, for 1,000gns.
Richard recently completed his education at Bishop Burton Agricultural College, near Beverley, and he and his sister have already been breeding and trading in Texels for a number of years in their own right. They have been given an excellent grounding by their parents, Steven and Ruth Priestley, who are also renowned for breeding and showing Limousin cattle.
Reserve female champion was the second prize shearling ewe from Cumbria’s Peter Woof, of Storth End Farm, Stainton, Kendal. His February-born shearling is by another Scottish sire, Glenside Ludo, purchased by Mr Woof four years ago, out of a home-bred Stonebridge Kes dam. She sold for 850gns to East Yorkshire breeder, Sam Beachell, of Beswick, Driffield.
Calderdale Texel showman Spiros Spyrou, of Gib Farm, Hebden Bridge, achieved a four-figure sum when his home-bred shearling ewe, a March-born daughter of Gib Farm No Nonsense, by a Hilltop Jupiter-sired dam, went under the hammer at 1,000gns to W Farnell, Barrowford.
The champion ram lamb was exhibited by the Red Rose pairing of Jack Davies and Carol Wareing, based at Holly Farm, Halsall, Ormskirk, who have been staunch supporters of the show over the years, but were landing their first title.
Their February-born son of the Scottish-bred Haddo Moonbeam, bought three years ago and sold on the week before the show, is out of a half-Dutch dam by the home-bred Holly Farm Hilversum, whose semen is still being used for breeding purposes by the exhibitors. The ram lamb victor, Holly Farm Panther, sold for 850gns to Joe Townley, of Caton, Lancaster.
Best of the ewe lambs was a February-born youngster from the North Craven Pergill flock of Margaret Perrings, who trades as JM & M Perrings at Tilt Hammer Mill, Rathmell. By Ballynahone Nutcracker, out of a Haddo Morrange dam, she made 220gns when acquired by D & S Prince, Chesterfield.
John Mellin was also responsible for the top-priced ewe lamb at 240gns. The February-born daughter of Castleknowe Matchmaker joined M Tennant, of Barrow, Clitheroe.
The show was judged by Cambridgeshire-based John Williams, of Honeyhill Farm, Kimbolten, Huntingdon, chairman and treasurer of the Eastern Texel Club. Main sponsors were animal feeds manufacturer I’Anson Bros, Masham, and animal healthcare firm Laycocks, of Skipton.
Gimmer shearlings averaged £309.75 (£226.77 in 2008), ewe lambs £145, shearling rams £570.31 (£421.16 last year), ram lambs £344.73 (2008 - £262) and aged rams £567 (2008 - £384)
Shearling ewe – 1 and female champion MH & HJ Keighley, Leathley, 2 and reserve female champion PK Woof, Stainton, 3 Spiros Spyrou, Hebden Bridge. Ewe lamb – 1 JM & M Perrings, Rathmell, 2 J Mellin, Hellifield, 3 J Wood, Trawden. Shearling ram – 1 and male and supreme champion G & S Taylor, Thirsk, 2 and reserve male and reserve supreme champion S & A Taylor, Cumberworth, 3 AF Harker, Long Preston. Ram lamb – 1 J Davies & C Wareing, Halsall, 2 T Nesbitt & Son, Winston, 3 PK Woof.
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