NEXT week's Closamectin® Border Union Ram Sales at Kelso, on Friday, September, 14, has not only attracted an increased entry of tups, but also a new breed of sheep, with the Dassenkop set to make it's debut at the event.

A variation of the Blue Texel which originates from Belgium, four Dassenkops have been entered alongside a further 5454 tups of various breeds and crosses (47 more than last year).

As Europe’s biggest one-day ram sale, and one which dates back to 1838, the sale will see no fewer than 18 breeds and crosses sold through 15 rings by seven different auctioneering companies.

And, in a change to previous years, new secretary, Mags Clark and veteran Borders' sheep breeder, James Jeffrey (92) will be performing the official the Ringing of the Bell, to herald the start of the sales at 10am.

“The official 10am Ringing of the Bell to mark the start of the Kelso Ram Sales is one of the event’s most important traditions and we felt that this year, the honour of starting proceedings should go to someone who has made a significant contribution to the sheep industry in the region," said Mags.

"James’ family has been selling sheep at this event since around 1900 and he’s a past president of the Border Leicester Sheep Society with a huge commitment to the industry, so we believe he’s the ideal person for the job this year.”

James first attended the Kelso Ram Sales in 1942 at the age of 15, when he was responsible for selling the family farm’s Half-bred tups. His son, John now manages the family business, which operates from Kersknowe, Kelso and includes the oldest registered flock of Border Leicester sheep.

This year's event however, has a long way to go to exceed last year's record breaking turnover and average which saw some £3m change hands at £700+ per head, from a lead price of £23,000 for a Texel shearling ram from Midlock.

Texels have again topped the leader board with no fewer than 1957 (+29 on the year) expected, followed by 1129 Suffolks (+16); 725 Bluefaced Leicesters (+82); 680 crosses (-114); 339 Beltex (+265) and 227 Charollais (-44).