New record turnover at Kelso Ram Sales

Kelso Ram Sales, Springwood Park  in the Scottish Borders. John Elliot of Roxburgh Mains Farm, Kelso.

Kelso Ram Sales, Springwood Park in the Scottish Borders. John Elliot of Roxburgh Mains Farm, Kelso.

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The heavy rain overnight on Thursday did not deter buyers from attending Friday’s 2016 Kelso Ram Sales with a new record turnover for the day of £2,937,285.

From the start, after traditionally the bell was rung at precisely 10am by Ronald Wilson, Secretary of BUAS, the trade was buoyant with Lot 1 in the United Auctions Ring 10 from master breeder, Jimmy Douglas, Cairness, making £4,500 to a Northern Irish triumvirate.

This theme continued throughout the day with a total of 4,813 going under the hammer, with 315 not forward, the lowest percentage for many years of 6.14%.

There were 4,285 rams sold from 16 different breeds and crosses giving a clearance rate of 83.56% to average £685.48p, up £74.80p from the 2015 Sales.

Consignors and buyers were pleased as were the seven auction companies.

The sheep industry is in better heart this year and the whole day was a very steady trade for quality sheep from all breeds.

Though principally the top annual commercial multi-breed sale, such was the quality of sheep, many with outstanding EBVs and genetics behind them, it was not surprising that quite a number were bought for pedigree use.

In all there were 91 shearlings sold at £2,000 or more and 38 lambs at £1,000 or more.

Top price of the day was a Bluefaced Leicester shearling from Messrs Wight, Midlock, sold for £12,000 to William Keir for his flock at Lancaster followed by three Texels at £7,000, two of which were from Jack Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, firstly to Peter and Lynn Gray, Scrogtonhead, and Messrs Wight, Midlock. His other sold to Stuart Barclay for his Harestone flock at Insch, Aberdeen. The third at £7,000 from the Grays at Scrogtonhead sold to Messrs Cockburns, Kingside; the Jacksons, Wolfclyde and Messrs Gibb, Toftcombs.

The top Suffolk of the day was from the unregistered Ring 14 from Messrs Warden, Skelfhill, Hawick, to Mr Davey, Rothbury, and Andrew Walton, Preston Mains, selling for £4,000.

Not far behind were two Beltex shearlings from Neil McQuiston, Airyolland, Ayrshire, both at £3,800 firstly to Jonathan Watson, Bowsden Moor, Alnwick, and secondly to Mr Knight, Cumbria, who also purchased the top Dutch Texel for £3,800 from Mr S. Wood, Woolhilloch, Aberdeenshire.

The oldest breed on the day selling since the very first Ram Sales in 1836 – the Border Leicester - were topped By Messrs Tennant, Gilmanscleugh, Lanark, when they sold their top shearling to Messrs Somerfield from Stafford for £2,100.

The top Cross ram of the day was sold by C. Mellor, Anstead, Chathill, Beadnell, for £1,550 to G.W. Lee, Stockleyburn, with the Charollais to a top of £1,200 for a shearling from Mr H.W. Sloan, Rigghead, Dumfries, sold to Mr Peart, Weardale.

The Border Union is licenced to export high health status Maedi Visnae rams direct from the sales to Northern Ireland and the number of buyers increases every year with a total of 51 rams being exported.

The day vindicated the confidence in the sheep industry with the evidence of buyers faith in that more rams sold with record prices and record averages in some breeds.