Pedigree sheep breeders are looking forward this season to a strong market underpinned by the commercial sector, and with more than 1,500 pedigree breeding rams of five different breeds scheduled to come under the hammer within one day at Borderway Mart, Carlisle in August, together with a further 15,000 head at marts throughout the UK, then the omens are looking good.
“Better lamb prices over the last two years have led commercial farmers to get more focused and buy the ram to match their system and flock,” says Harrison and Hetherington’s director of operations, David Pritchard. “In turn we are aware of pedigree breeders selecting more carefully genetics which meet that demand.”
Most farmers will also be prepared to pay good money for what they want as the financial returns in their lamb crop are now easier to see, according to NSA chief executive, Peter Morris. “This very welcome ‘coming together’ of the commercial and pedigree sectors within the sheep industry must be a good thing and once again demonstrates the positive things that can happen when ‘there is a bit of profit in the job’. This positivity will also reflect itself back into the top tier of pedigree breeders who should themselves be keenly watching what is happening as the genetics they control cascade down to the commercial farmer.”
He adds: “Of course with increased prices comes increased expectations, and there will be more emphasis than ever from buyers on choosing rams they can be confident will survive and thrive in the management system they are being introduced to as well as the one they are leaving,” he says. “For those pedigree breeders who are as aware of the needs of their buyers as they are of the needs of their own business it should be a very good season. This can only be good for all sheep farmers - pedigree or commercial, large or small.”
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