Scotsman David Alexander mounted a successful ‘raid’ south of the border when his first prize pen of five shearling ewes progressed to take supreme championship honours at the annual Lleyn Sheep Society’s registered show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart. (Thus, Sept 29)
The 2011 Skipton Lleyn shearling ewe champions. Exhibitor David Alexander, left, is congratulated by show judge Paul Nicholson
Mr Alexander and his wife Jennifer, who are based at Millside Farm, Galston, in Ayrshire, stepped up on their Skipton reserve championship shearling ewes success last year, courtesy of show judge Paul Nicholson, of Malton.
Mr Nicholson, who himself breeds Llyens and is head butcher at Fodder in Harrogate, run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, praised the overall quality of the show, notably a strong gimmer shearlings class, which achieved 100% clearance.
The 2011 victors, recipients of the Green Farm Health Cup, sold for top price in class at £295 per head to J Vickerton & Sons, of Grange Farm, Driffield.
They were among a 30-strong consignment from Mr Alexander, who farms 200 Lleyns, predominantly ewes, some of which are crossed with his Blue Texel holding. He also sold pens at 205gns and 200gns a head to TA & J Swinbank, of Brafferton, Darlington, along with a further pen at 190gns to Staffordshire buyer S W Edwards, of Leek. “It was the best Lleyn sale of the year,” said Mr Alexander.
Terry Fort with his Skipton Lleyn shearling ram champion, which achieved top price in show.
Reserve show champion was the first prize shearling ram from Terry Fort, of Brighton House Farm, Whitley Head, Steeton, Keighley, sold at 2,000gns (£2,100), top price in show, to T Riley, of Stoney Royd Farm, Midgley, Hebden, Bridge.
Terry’s parents, Graham and Mandy Fort, were also responsible for the second prize shearling ram, which sold for 920gns to G Hodkinson, of Chipping, Preston. Both the victor and the runner-up are by the home-bred Brighton House Big T, whose has produced shearling rams to 5,000gns.
Graham is chairman of the North & East England Lleyn Sheep Breeders Club and, together with daughter Bev, the family has achieved many high profile successes in exhibition arenas throughout the country. Last year, they clinched the supreme championship at three of the four main annual Lleyn Sheep Society shows – Skipton among them - sending out the reserve champion at the other.
In addition, the Forts sold a shearling ram at 880gns to P Weaver, of Newark, along with the second prize pen of shearling ewes at £275 each and a third gimmer shearling pen at £205, both to J Vickerton & Sons.
On a busy day at the ringside, the Vickertons also paid £200 per head for two further shearling ewe pens – one from MJA & SIJ Shields, of Timble, Otley, the second from Welshman William Williams, of W J & D J Williams, Bodtacho, Nefyn, Pwllheli.
Two further shearling rams were knocked down at 900gns – one from John and Charles Geldard, of Low Foulshaw Farm, Gilpin, Kendal, a second from William Williams. Both fell to the same buyer, Denton Park Estates at Ilkley. Mr Williams also sold the second prize pen of ewe lambs at £145 a head to M Harris, Northallerton.
In total, eight shearling rams sold for 800gns and over, with the overall selling average £563.41 (+£93.21 on last year).
Back with the shearling ewes, local vendor Simon Cavanagh, of Draughton, sold a pen at £200 apiece to Atraine Ltd, of Belper, Derbyshire. The overall selling average in this class was £175 per head (up £38.40 on 2010).
The first prize pen of ewe lambs came from first-time Skipton exhibitors, Cumbrians Peter and David Knowles, of Cragg Farm, New Hutton, Kendal. With a flock of 400 Lleyns, they are staunch supporters of society shows and sold a total of 50 sheep at Skipton, including their red rosette-winning pen at £152 each, top price in class, to M Kinnes, of Driffield.
The same buyer also paid £140 for a second ewe lamb pen from Farmstock Genetics, of Selkirk. Ewe lambs averaged £113.14 (+£37.43).
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