An abundance of grass coupled with a strong demand for prime lambs, is helping to bolster breeding sheep sales which have witnessed a flying trade in recent weeks.

“Ewes with lambs and hoggs with lambs are a serious trade. People think store cattle are dear, but breeding sheep are just as good a trade,” said Archie Hamilton, head sheep auctioneer at Lawrie and Symington’s Lanark centre.

He added that some people had enjoyed prices up £5-£10 per outfit on the previous year, at their last sale where prices peaked at £117 per life for Texel hoggs with lambs from Messrs Hamilton, Gilmeadowland, while broken mouthed Blackface ewes with Texel lambs were making £60 per head.

It’s a similar situation further north too, with Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ Thainstone Centre also noting strong values.

“We’ve not had big numbers forward yet, but the sales we have had, have been pretty much on a par or up slightly on the year,” said sheep auctioneer, Colin Slessor.

“Broken-mouthed, cast Mule ewes with good Texel and Suffolk cross lambs were making anything from £60 to £68 per life,” he added.

And, United Auctions sale of Blackface, Texel, Scotch Mule and Cheviot yeld ewe hoggs, at Stirling on Monday, not only witnessed a new record of £2400, but also increased averages in all sections (See report on page 27).

At Harrison and Hetherington’s New Fair sale of 1000 head at Kirkby Stephen, trade was described as the dearest of the season to date with prices peaked at £128 per life and £256 per outfit for a pen of eight Texel cross hoggs with single Beltex lambs from Messrs Cornthwaite, Balgray Hill, Lockerbie. Notably, their 20 Texel hoggs with single Beltex lambs averaged £121.56 per life or £243.12 per outfit.

Trade also far exceeded expectations at Mitchells’ auction mart at Cockermouth, where a top price of £140 per life was achieved for a pure Texel ewe with Beltex ewe lamb at foot from Woodhow Farm, Wasdale, while Mule hoggs with lambs sold to £130 per life.