Good, big, commercial shearling rams met a ready trade at the Blackface Sheep Breeders’ association sale at Newton Stewart, where the best from Gerard McGinn’s Chirmorrie flock, from Barrhill, secured the lead price of £8000.
However, while the top end sold well, and 10 more shearling rams were sold compared to the same sale last year, the tup lamb entry took a real knock, with a lot failing to sell.
“Sheep with size, strength and breed character were easy to sell, but anyone looking to buy a tup for a good commercial breeding flock was having to pay a fortune,” said auctioneer, Jim Craig. 
“There was a real shortage of good, big commercial tups with the result such breeders were having to pay up to £2500 for them,” he said.
There were, though, some breeders who enjoyed a good day, and that included Gerard McGinn, Chirmorrie, Barrhill, who sold the top lot at £8000. 
His pen leader from the 730-ewe flock ‘herded by Tony Dalton, is by a £3200 Knockdon that was by a Craig son of a Nunnerie. Bred from a ewe by a £5000 Nunnerie, he sold to Colin McClymont, who sold the second top priced shearling ram at £6000 from his Cuil flock, at Palnure, Newton Stewart.
This was the first prize shearling ram and male champion from Dumfries Show, a son of the £1800 Balmurrie ram bought here in 2015 in partnership with Gass. He is out of a ewe by a £22,000 Connachan and sold in a two-way split to the McIlwricks at Balmurrie and Keith Brooke, Carscreugh, both New Luce.
Chirmorrie and Rob Hannah, Blackloch, Gatehouse of Fleet, teamed up to buy Cuil’s third, at £3000, another by the Balmurrie sheep, out of a ewe by an £800 Cuil.
It was Jimmy Wallace’s 750-ewe Fingland flock from Dalry, that enjoyed the most level trade of the day, when he produced the lead shearling flock average for the second year in succession at £2750 for seven, backed up by top prices of £5000, £4500 and £2700. 
Dearest was the pen leader, a son of the £17,000 Craigdarroch bought two years ago at Lanark, out of a ewe by a £17,000 Midlock. This tup which was used as a lamb, with virtually all his ewe lambs retained for stock, saw Mr Wallace retain a half share, with the remainder selling to David Wilson, Kirkmabreck, Creetown, Newton Stewart.
The £7000 tup lamb bought here in 2015 from Allanfauld, also produced the goods for Fingland, being the sire of the £4500 and £2700 shearling rams. The former, which is bred from a ewe by the same £17,000 Midlock, was knocked down to Robert Fergusson, Barlaes, Dalry.
Earlier, Robert Dunlop, Pinvalley, Barr, went to £2700 for Fingland’s number two.
Matching that £5000 shearling sale was the number two from James Murdoch’s Knockdon flock, from Straiton, brought out by shepherd, Ian Fergie. This was one of the second batch of shearling rams by a £3200 Midlock son of a £28,000 Loughash. 
He is out of a ewe by a £4000 Elmscleugh and sold to Bill Ramsay and sons, Wilson, Jim and Colin, Milnmark, Dalry, who later in the day took £4000 for their pen leader, a son of a £24,000 Midlock bought five years ago. The buyers were Gavin Campbell and his daughter, Susan Archibald, Larg, Creetown.
Milnmark’s No 8 shearling, by a £3000 Milnmark and out of a ewe by a £6500 Milnmark, made £2800 to Graham Stratham, Lagghead, Gatehouse of Fleet.
Sons of the £10,000 Cuil shearling bought here in 2015 proved popular for Davie Ferguson’s Markdhu flock from New Luce, with sales at £4500 and £3000. The former, out of a ewe by a £9000 Dyke, was knocked down to Cuil, with the latter, bred from a daughter of a £550 Little Larg, selling to Francis McMicking, Miltonise, New Luce.
Andrew Kay and sons, Robert and Andrew’s Gass flock, from Straiton, also sold to £4500 for a shearling ram, purchased by Jim Boswell, Burnhead, Darvel and Aberuchill Estates, Comrie, Perthshire. 
First in his class at Colmonell Show, this tup is by a home-bred son of a £12,000 Crossflatt retained for breeding and out of a ewe by a £15,000 Connachan.
The last of the top priced shearlings came from the first lot through the ring, when Larg’s number two, a son of the £2000 Fingland bought here in 2015, made £4000 selling to Fingland, and Andrew Paton, Craig, Straiton. His mother is by a £9000 Balmurrie.  

 Although only a handful of lambs found new homes, those that did, sold well, with two making £7000.
First up was John Murray’s pen leader, a son of the £52,000 Crossflatt sold last year to Dalblair and Dalwyne, with a share retained, out of a £24,000 Elmscleugh-sired ewe. He sold to Sanny Blackwood, Greenside, and Hugh and Alan Blackwood, Auldhouseburn, both Muirkirk.
Another by the same sire but out of a ewe by a £26,000 Crossflatt, made £3500 to Archie and John MacGregor, Allanfauld, Kilsyth.
Jim and Fiona Burns’ 300-ewe Craignell flock, from New Galloway, also got £7000 for their pen leader backed by home-bred genetics on both sides. The sire is by a son of an £8000 Dyke retained for breeding while the dam is by a son of a £14,000 Elmscleugh. He also sold in a two-way split to Ian Bond, Glen, Gatehouse and Markdhu.
Two other lambs made £3500 to include a son of a £16,000 Dyke, out of a ewe by a £18,000 Culdoach, from the Ramsays at Milnmark, purchased by Balmurrie.
And, Colin McClymont’s Clanary consignment from Creetown, brought out by shepherd Gordon Porter, received the same money from Charlie Mitchell and Sons, Little Larg, New Luce, and Carscreugh. Behind this lamb is a son of a £12,000 Allanfauld, retained for breeding, onto a ewe by a £31,000 Little Larg.

Averages:  227 shearling rams, £834.49 (-£111.22 for 10 more); 28 ram lambs, £1223.92 (+£114.11 for 25 fewer sold).