There may be more cash in the sheep sector currently, but buyers attending Kelso tup sales this year were being selective in the rams they were bidding for.
The overall average for the sale was a record £649 per head with 4,457 rams sold. This was £27 a head above last year’s average and it gave a sale total of £2.89million.
However, Jack Clark, of auctioneers John Swan, said that buyers were looking for the better sheep and, with just over 10 per cent going home unsold, he added that there were just too many tups forward for the demand.
For Maurice and Catherine Hardy-Bishop, Grey Peel, Jedburgh, it was a sale to remember, as their top Texel shearling made a sale breed record price of £15,000, before being knocked down to a trio of buyers – Bruce Goldie, Mouswald, Dumfries; Ted Fox, Elsdonburn, Wooler; and Redhead and Watson, Bowsden Moor, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
The record-breaker was one of the top performance rams in the breed and earlier this summer had taken the main prize at the Border Union show.
Bowsden and Watson were back in the limelight when their own pen went through the sale ring as their top Texel shearling was bid to £7,600 by John Elliot, Roxburgh Mains, Kelso.
Neil Crighton, Loanend, Berwick-upon-Tweed was also prominent in the high end of the sale, buying one of the top Texels from Alex and Russell Gray, Langside, Lanark, for £4,600
Another Texel enthusiast, Gordon Gray, Sunnycroft, Selkirk, had a first-class sale, with his top tup making £3,200 before going off to Proctor, Swarland, Morpeth. He then sold his reserve male champion from the Great Yorkshire Show for £3,000 to Messrs Robb, Mauchline and J. Logan, Pirntaton, Galashiels. These sales helped the 25-strong Ettrick pen to average £1,186.
Late in the day, Robin Bell, Roxburgh Mill, Kelso, took a £3,000 bid for his top Texel shearling from Neil Crighton.
There were two more £3,000 deals for Texel shearlings. In the first Messrs Woodcock, Hagg, Cornhill-on-Tweed, bought from Wood of Kingledores, Biggar and then Steven Renwick, Craig Douglas, Yarrow bought from James Orr, Wester Walston, Carnwath.
The Suffolk trade was headed by a £5,000 bid for the top lamb from the Solwaybank flock belonging to Iain Barbour, Dumfries. This ram was one of a number heading over the Irish Sea following a lifting of the bluetongue restrictions.
Malcolm Stewart, Brotherstone and Arnold Park, Drinkstone, both sold unregistered Suffolk shearlings to £2,000.
Roderick Runciman, Allanshaws, sold his top unregistered Suffolk to Highland show president, Clark Stewart, Kininmonth, Cupar for £3,000.
Demand for Bluefaced Leicesters was also strong and Douglas and Derek Hall, Lilyburn, Penicuik, took the top price of £6,500 from Crowhall farms, Hexham.
Alan McClymont, Kirkstead, Yarrow, paid £3,200 for the best Bluefaced Leicester from Matt and Nicky Robinson, West Cocklaw.
Top Border Leicester price was a £1,800 bid from Messrs T Hamilton, Earlside, Hawick, for a shearling from Sandy and Alex Watson, Fernie, Ladybank.
Philliphaugh Farms, Selkirk, then went to £1,600 for a BL shearling from R. Howie and Partners, North Lyham, Alnwick.