RENEWED interest in the Suffolk sheep breed ensured a buoyant demand for ram lambs at the Scottish show and sale at Stirling Agricultural Centre, where no fewer than six lots attracted prices at 10,000gns or more and with an extra 20 cashed.
By the end of the day, some 159 tup lambs found new homes, to average £2119, which is down just £12 on the year. Clearance rates were also higher than the last sale at Shrewsbury at 74%.
There was also an international flair to the proceedings, with growing interest in the breed from Spain and Portugal over the past 18 months, due to the breed’s ability to withstand the heat, resulting in several lots travelling across to the continent.
“This has been a great sale,” said society chief executive Robin McIlrath. “I firmly believe things are taking off for the Suffolk breed. With buyers from across Europe, the appeal of the Suffolk as a high performing terminal sire stretches well beyond these shores. 
“It was also very encouraging to see a strong representation from the commercial sheep world with quite a number of tups going to commercial flocks.”
This was also the first year the Suffolk Sheep Society broadcast its sales live on Facebook, which proved a huge success.
“Our Facebook feed has been a staggering success. At Stirling alone we reached nearly 425,000 Facebook users, and had 21,000 individuals watching our show and sale at some stage over the two days,” added Mr McIlrath.
It was also a good day for Iain and Judith Barbour, who own the Solwaybank flock at Rosefield, Annan, when they sold the lead priced lot at 26,000gns, with their pen of seven lambs securing the second top average at just shy of £6000.

The Scottish Farmer:

Solwaybank's 26,000gns lamb

Their sale leader, which was unplaced in the pre-sale show, is by Lakeview Harbinger, a tup lamb bought privately in 2015 that produced several of the flock’s lead priced lots last year. 
A full brother to the 13,000gns Solwaybank Braveheart, sold last year at Longtown, this mid-December born lamb is out of a ewe by Rhaeadr Rastafari, and sold to Phil Poole, buying for his Salopian flock from Battlefield, Shrewsbury.
The brother and sister duo also received 5000gns for their pen leader, a similarly aged lamb by the same sire, but out of last year’s show gimmer – a ewe by Solwaybank Solario that is a daughter of the two times Highland Show champion, Solwaybank Eva Jane. 
Northern Ireland breeder, Aaron Myles, Silver Hill, Ballyshannon, was the last man in.
Later in the day, Jim Innes, who runs just nine pedigree Suffolk ewes alongside his better-known Strathbogie Texel flock, from Dunscroft, Huntly, sold his No 1 for 24,000gns. 

The Scottish Farmer:

Jim Innes' lamb made 24,000gns

This was the fourth prize winner in the open, an ET son of last year’s Strathbogie A Kind of Magic which made 6000gns to Mark Priestley, with a half share retained. The dam, a Deveronside ewe by Strathbeg Stan The Man, is one of the flock’s best breeders having already produced sons to 20,000gns, 16,000gns and 6200gns. 
Forking out the final bid on this mid-January-born lamb brought out by shepherd Michael Leggate were Helen Goldie, who owns the Harpercroft flock from Dundonald, Kilmarnock, and Gordon and Donald Mackie, Drimmie, Forfar. 
Mr Innes, who produced the lead flock average at £9503 for four, also sold two ET lambs by the 4200gns Lakeview No Limits at 4500gns and 4200gns. 
The former, which stood third in the elite class, is out of a Strathisla ewe by Strathisla Stifler that bred last year’s Strathbogie Kind of Magic, and sold to Stephanie Ryder, Holme House, Ainstable, Penrith.
Minutes later, Yorkshire breeders, JT and E Midgley, Uncleby Wold, Kirkby Underdale, went to 4200gns for an ET lamb bred from a full sister to the 16,000gns Strathbogie Sirius.
Members of the fourth prize pen of three sold well for Jimmy Douglas’ Cairness flock from Fraserburgh, with the first two making 12,000gns and 8000gns. 
Both are sons of Cloontagh Chieftain, the 6500gns purchase at Stirling last year owned in partnership with the Birness, Collessie and Pyeston flocks. 

The Scottish Farmer:

Jimmy Douglas' 12,000gns lamb

The dearest is an ET son of the flock’s top breeding ewe – 33H:K55 which bred the 17,000gns Diamond Geezer; the 2012 national champion and Cairness Custom Made. Jimmy Wilson, Barnyards, Mintlaw, was the last man in on this entry, buying on behalf of a client.
Mr Douglas’ second entry, another ET lamb this time bred from a ewe by Middlemuir Messi, which is a full sister to Diamond Geezer, made 8000gns selling to Devon-based breeder, Mrs Julia Cornish, Buckfastleigh, who also went to 6000gns for near neighbour, Ross Lawrence’s third lamb from the 12-ewe Roundacre flock from Winkleigh. 
This was a son of Rookery Gold, bred from a ewe by Cairness Classic Fyvie that bred the 5800gns ewe lamb sold at the Dark Diamonds sale last year and which went on to stand reserve champion at the Highland this year.
Matching the 12,000gns sale, Roy and Gregor Hiddleston, who own the Irongray flock from Shawhead, Dumfries, bought John Sinnett’s best from the Stockton flock from Stockton-on-Teme, Worcester. 

The Scottish Farmer:

Roy Hiddleston went to 12,000gns for this Stockton lamb

Buying back some of their own breeding, this late December-born lamb is by Irongray Black Magic – a tup that bred the inter-breed sheep champion at the Royal Welsh last year and at the Three Counties, this year – is out of a ewe by the privately purchased Rhaeadr Madman.
Two lambs came under the hammer for 10,000gns, to include the reserve champion at the pre-sale show from Northern Ireland breeder, Gary Beacom, who also enjoyed a cracking trade, selling six lambs from his Lakeview flock to average £4340.

The Scottish Farmer:

Gary Beacom's reserve lamb made 10,000gns

His lambs were all by the 13,000gns Rookery Rodeo, a lamb bought last year at the National and which bred Mr Beacom’s 26,000gns sale leader at the Shrewsbury sale the previous week.
The reserve champion, an ET bred from a ewe by the 20,000gns Strathisla Jackpot, sold back across the Irish Sea in a two-way split to Andrew Wilson, Shannagh, Rathoe, Co Donegal, and B and C Dickson, Cabra, Newry, Co Down.
His ET brother, which was reserve overall champion in the NI championships, made 8000gns to Dennis Taylor, buying for his Ballynacannon flock from Macosquin, Coleraine.
Aberdeenshire breeder, Graeme Christie, Newton of Balquhain, Inverurie, also got in on the act, going to 6000gns for another Lakeview lamb by Rodeo, this time bred from a ewe by Cairness Cyclone, which is a full sister to the 5500gns Lakeview Tornado.
The dearest of the rams selling to Portugal at 10,000gns was Paul Delves’ pen leader from his 50-ewe Bridgeview flock from Churchstoke, Powys, where his main business is bottling mineral water. 

The Scottish Farmer:

This lamb made 10,000gns to a consortium of Portuguese buyers

Producing a personal best here was the first prize ram lamb at the Shropshire County Show, an ET bred from a Solwaybank ewe by Solwaybank Skyfall bought privately in 2015, and sired by the Barbour’s stockram, Lakeview Harbinger. He goes out to work for a consortium of breeders from Rua Diogo Bernardes, Amadora.
A trio of Scottish breeders went to 9500gns for Mark Priestley’s pen leader from the 30-ewe Limestone flock from Seaforde, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. 
Ronnie and Mike Black, Newton of Collessie, Ladybank, and John and Stewart Lathangie, Pyeston, Markinch, both Fife along with Aberdeenshire breeders, George and Melvin Stuart, Milltown of Birness, Ellon, teamed up to buy this ET son of Strathbogie A Kind of Magic, bred from a Forkins ewe by Birness Bacardi.
On the debit side, Mr Priestley bought a third share of William Tait’s first lamb from the Burnview flock from Lislap, Co Burnview, at 8000gns, along with Andrew Wilson, Shannagh, with Mr Tait retaining the remaining third. 
This was an ET lamb bred from the supreme champion at Omagh Show and reserve female from Ballymoney – a home-bred ewe by Cairness Liam. The sire was the 18,000gns Ballynacannon Attitude and former NI Male of the Year which has bred sons to 5500gns.
More than financing that third share, Andrew Wilson’s Castleisle flock from Shannagh, received 5000gns for his fifth prize winner in the open, which is a full brother to the 14,000gns Castleisle Knockout sold here in 2015. Stewart Craft, Little Balquhomrie, Leslie, Glenrothes, purchased this ET lamb bred from a Shannagh ewe by Cairness Liam.
Mr Craft also bought the top priced female at 1900gns. This was the reserve female, a gimmer from Paula and David Reid’s Conchar flock from Dumfries. She is by Solwaybank Spudulike and bred from a ewe by Flodden Magician.

Auctioneers: United Auctions