Ram entries up as countdown begins for Kelso’s annual sale

Ian Georgeson'07921 567360'Kelso Ram Sales, A breeder prepares his Suffolk Ram for sale
Ian Georgeson'07921 567360'Kelso Ram Sales, A breeder prepares his Suffolk Ram for sale

PLANS are well advanced for the 2011 Cydectin Kelso Ram Sales with a healthy entry of 5,269 rams, up slightly on last year’s figure of 5,233, writes Mark Entwistle.

The buoyancy of the sheep industry is giving breeders confidence and there will certainly be plenty of choice on Friday, September 9 with representation from 17 breeds, ranging from 1,791 Texels to two Chamoise.

The numbers of other breeds to be offered for sale are 1,311 Suffolk, 563 Bluefaced Leicester, 397 Charollais, 160 Beltex, 144 Lleyn, 93 North Country Cheviot, 88 Border Leicester, 23 Berricon du Cher, 18 Hampshire Down, 15 Oxford, 10 Vendeen, nine Poll Dorset, seven Millennium Bleu, six Easycare and five Dutch Texel.

There are also 627 Crosses, 381 of which are MV Accredited. These will sell in 14 rings simultaneously by nine auction companies – Border Livestock Exchange, Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers Mart, Glendale Livestock, Harrison & Hetherington, Hexham & Northern, Lawrie & Symington, North East Livestock Sales, John Swan Ltd and United Auctions. Once again the large double marquees will house the rams and all the sale rings will be under cover ready for the secretary, Ronald Wilson, to adhere to the age-old tradition of ringing the bell to start the sale at precisely 10am.

As the Blue Tongue regulations throughout the UK are now the same for each devolved area it has been decided to re-introduce the service of being able to export direct from the sales to Northern Ireland.

Organisers say it would be appreciated if purchasers for export could make themselves known to Merlin Veterinary Group, who will have an office at the sale within the Main Hall. If they do so as soon as possible after purchasing to allow the physical inspection of tups and the paperwork to be completed in good time.

Alternatively if you have any queries phone Michael Kyle, who will be in charge of the export service, on 07813 102997. This is only available to accredited tups in rings one to 10.

Since the introduction of Tup Taxis this service has been subsidised each year by the Border Union Society, with the contribution of a buyers commission subsidising the rest.

Tup taxis are actually quad bikes and trailers which farmers can flag down and use to transport their rams to a waiting stock lorry, as a way of cutting down traffic congestion.

This will continue and the society will endeavour to minimise the waiting time for taxis by increasing the number available for those purchasers wishing to use this free service.

It was amazing last year that out of nearly 5,000 tups at the sale there were only a handful left overnight.

Last year there were 4,516 rams sold for a total of £2,811,470.00p to average £622.56p. with the top shearling making £10,000.00p and top lamb £4,200.00p.

A far cry from the first auction in 1838 when 120 Border Leicester and Cheviots realised a total of £700 averaging just under £6 !

To complement the sales there are around 30 trade stands, including companies promoting sheep identification, handling equipment, feedstuffs, fencing supplies, clothing, green energy and the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institute.

The Border Union is indebted to Pfizer VPS who, through their Cydectin brand, are in their 10th year as sponsors of the Kelso Ram Sales.