Ram sales growing

Kelso Ram Sales.
Kelso Ram Sales.

NUMBERS are up on last year for next Friday’s tup sales in Kelso.

Nearly 5,550 rams are entered to the famous sales on September 14, an increase of 280 on last year

Kelso Ram Sales.

Kelso Ram Sales.

Ron Wilson, secretary of the Border Union Agricultural Society, which organises the sales, said: “Though weather conditions have made it a dreadful summer for everyone and everything, there is justified confidence in the sheep industry and the entry is giving plenty of choice for buyers with representation from 15 breeds plus crosses.”

Last year 4,457 rams sold for a total of £2.9million to average £649.71 with the top shearling making £15,000 and the top lamb, £5,000.

Following tradition, Mr Wilson will ring the bell to mark the start of the sale at 10am.

The breed with the biggest entry is again the Texel, with 1,837 expected, followed by the Suffolk, with 1,576 entered.

Otherwise numbers expected are: 607 Bluefaced Leicester, 480 Charollais, 169 Lleyn, 135 Beltex, 95 North Country Cheviot, 90 Border Leicester and 101 pedigree sheep from the following: Berricon, Hampshire Down, Oxford, Vendeen, Poll Dorset, Easycare and Blue Texel. There are also 459 crosses entered.

Nine auction companies – Border Livestock Exchange, Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers Mart, Glendale Livestock, Harrison & Hetherington, Hexham & Northern, Lawrie & Symington, North East Livestock Sales, John Swan and United Auctions – will be selling simultaneously in 13 busy 
rings. Large double marquees will house the rams and all the sale rings will be under cover, said Mr Wilson.

As last year, buyers will be able to buy tups and export them direct from the sales to Northern Ireland.

Mr Wilson added: “It will be appreciated if purchasers for export make themselves known to Merlin Veterinary Group, who will have an office at the sale within the main hall.

“Please do this as soon as possible after purchasing to allow the physical inspection of tups and the paperwork to be completed in good time.

“If you have any queries please phone Michael Kyle, who will be in charge of the export service, on 01573 224496 or 07813 692587. This is only available to MV accredited tups (Rings 1 to 10 ).”

There will be “tup taxis” again this year, with the Border Union and a buyer’s commission covering their cost.

Mr Wilson said: “The society will endeavour to minimise the waiting time for taxis by increasing the number available for 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.”

To complement the sales there are trade stands including companies promoting sheep identification, handling equipment, feedstuffs, fencing supplies, clothing and green energy. The British Wool Marketing Board and the Scottish Sheep Strategy will also be present.

Mr Wilson added: “The Border Union is indebted to Pfizer VPS who, through their Cydectin and Startect brands, are in their 11th year as sponsors of the Kelso Ram Sales. It is very reassuring for the Border Union and the sheep industry to have a multi-national company being so supportive.”

The first tup sales were held in the Knowes in Kelso in 1836.

Meanwhile local MSP John Lamont last week lodged a parliamentary motion to mark the success of the renowned sales.

Mr Lamont said: “We are lucky to have such a great event being held here in the Borders.

“The sales have a fantastic history in the region. It is now a famous event and the one that other sales in the country aspire to match.

“Each year the Border Union Agricultural Society does fantastic work in organising these sales and they deserve full recognition for these efforts.

“That’s why I have lodged a parliamentary motion celebrating this and I am sure that many of my fellow MSPs will join me in recognising them.”