Buyers were generally pleased and relieved with the prices achieved at the NSA Wales and Border Early Ram Sale, where headline prices at the Royal Welsh Showground event, were topped at 1400gns by a Texel shearling.

Overall averages levelled at £542.30 for 282 rams sold with a 71.39% clearance – up 17% compared to the same sale last year. Breed averages and numbers sold were nevertheless down on the year in virtually all sections.

Charollais shearlings topped the averages and were the only section to improve on the year at £611.29 (+£71.32) while Texel shearlings levelled at £549.68 and Suffolks at £558.28.

Executive director Jane Smith said: “Quality rams were finding a ready market, with perhaps a better trade than expected. There is a certainly a degree of concern over the future, but many farmers have held off buying over the past two years and now need to replace those rams."

The top price of 1400gns was paid for a Peacehay Texel shearling ram from the Chave family's Somerset-based flock. Champion at the pre-sale show and a full brother to the 23,000gns Peacehay ram sold at Worcester in 2017, he was knocked down to Phil Uglow.

The highest priced Charollais at 1350gns was a ram lamb from Gethin and Eleri Gibbin, Drefach Farms.

Suffolks peaked at 800gns for the best from Phil Poole’s Salopian flock, a price matched by a Beltex shearling ram from Tim Pritchard.