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Sheep Ireland Sale Report 2023

Sheep Ireland sales going from strength to strength!

Sheep Ireland’s 13th Annual Multi-Breed Ram sale occurred on Saturday, August 26th, in Tullamore Mart.

Breaking last year’s record, this sale was once again the largest ever catalogued ram sale in Ireland. Not only is it the largest, but it also has the highest entry criteria of any sale in Ireland. This high entry criteria ensures that only the most engaged flocks in performance recording can enter (DQI greater than 75%), and only their best lambs are eligible (Top 20% of the breed). This gives all the potential buyers confidence that if they come to the sale, they will find a ram that meets their expectations, and he will increase the profitability of their flock.


The sale had an overall clearance of 90.5%, slightly up on last year’s sale at 87%. The average price of all 11 breeds on the day was €795, up €131 from the 2022 average of €664. In previous years the price was increasing by approximately €40 per year across the sale. There was a ram there for every budget with prices ranging from €300 to €1950.

Table 1 below gives the breakdown of sale per breed.

Breed Top Price (€) Lowest Price(€) Average Price(€) No. through the Ring Clearance Rate
Bluefaced Leicester 800 800 800 1 100%
Border Leicester 850 650 733 3 100%
Belclare 1050 300 560 55 69%
Beltex 650 650 650 1 100%
Charollais 1950 400 794 136 94%
Easy Care 700 700 700 2 100%
Hampshire Down 650 350 494 10 80%
Rouge de l’Ouest 900 450 688 5 80%
Suffolk 1450 350 777 76 87%
Texel 1800 400 907 148 99%
Vendeen 1050 400 617 23 78%






The level of engagement from the breeders who entered this sale was fantastic. Breeders had a lot of hurdles to cross before entering a ram in this sale, and commercial farmers are rewarding them for this. More and more commercial farmers demand top-quality, physically correct rams with excellent breeding values (€uro-Stars) to back them up. Since the start of Sheep Ireland, the number of pedigree breeders’ performance recording has increased year on year and each year the number of commercial farmers searching for €uro-Stars before they purchase is also rising.

This year, performance-recorded rams are in extra demand due to the Sheep Improvement Scheme Genotyped Ram Task. Lowland Flocks that choose this task must select a ram that is 4 or 5 Star on the Replacement or Terminal Index based on a genomic evaluation and be a scrapie Type 1,2 or 3. Hill flocks can also choose the lowland option or purchase a hill ram that is DNA sire verified and Scrapie type 1,2 or 3.

This year’s sale had the highest levels of entry criteria ever needed to enter a ram sale, making the collection of rams and breeders on the day the most genetically elite ever gathered in the country.

  • Every breeder was required to have a Data Quality Index (DQI) of 75% or greater.
  • Every flock in the sale must be genetically linked.
  • Every ram must have passed a thorough physical inspection (2.5% of rams were rejected on the morning of the sale based on physical inspections).
  • Every ram in the sale must be 5 Star (Top 20% of the breed) on either the Replacement or Terminal Index based on a genomic evaluation.
  • 100% of rams were DNA parentage (sire and dam) verified to increase the confidence of potential buyer.
  • Every ram in the sale must have a Genomic Evaluation.
  • Scrapie type 1,2 or 3.



The Charollais were the first breed of the day through Ring One with 152 rams catalogued, the second-largest breed at the sale. The Charollais had a good day in terms of clearance rates, with a 94% clearance rate. The average sale price was €794 with the range from €400 to €1,950.

David Argue from Co. Cavan took the top honours for the second year in a row for the Charollais selling a ram lamb for €1,950 (H2823040) from the Rockdale flock. He was in the Top 4% on the Terminal index.

Hampshire Down

The Hampshire Downs had 10 rams entered this year. They had a clearance of 80% with an average price of €494. Prices ranged from €350-€650.

A triplet ram (COOLKELLURE D-MAN) from the Cork flock of Michael Gottstein snatched the top price of €650. This ram had an impressive Days to Slaughter in the Top 1% of the breed at -14.5 days.

Rouge de l’Ouest

Rouge de l’Ouest had 5 rams catalogued. With 80% sold and an average price of €688.

KYLEEN PRIDE AND JOY bred by Rouge Breeder Edwin Draper went under the hammer at €900, securing the top price for the Rouge de l’Ouest. This ram was in the Top 3% of the Terminal index and top 2% in the Replacement Index.

Easy Care

This was a first for the sale as this was the first time Easy Cares had been entered. They were both from the flock of Kilkenny Breeder, William J. Hutchinson, with both rams selling well at €700 a piece.


Next up was the Vendeens. They had 25 rams catalogued. The Vendeens had a clearance of 78%. The average price for a Vendeen was €617 with a range from €400 to €1050.

Cheryl O’Brien took the top price for the Vendeens for the second year in a row, with the top price of €1050 going for QUITRENT BRODEN. He was in the Top 5% of the breed for Lamb Survivability.

Bluefaced Leicester

Another first for the sale was the inclusion of the Bluefaced Leicesters.  Only one ram went through the ring (IE045680200873A) for the breed. He was from the flock of Dan & Ann O’Mahoney and sold for €800.


Only the one lot was entered for the Beltex breed in the sale and sold for €650 (BALLYHEGAN JERRY). It was from the flock of Denis Kavanagh & Pauline E. Moran. He was in the Top 13% of the breed for the Terminal Index.

Border Leicester

Next up was three Border Leicester rams from Coote Geelan’s flock. The three rams were bought for €650, €750 and €580.

The top priced ram was IE043083401624G, and he was in the Top 6% of his breed on the Terminal index.


The last breed through Ring one was the Belclares with 57 rams catalogued. The Belclares had the highest Replacement Index at the sale. The Belclares had a clearance rate of 70% and an average price of €560. Prices for the Belclares ranged from €300 to €1050.

OLTORE HAROLD (A hogget ram), bred by Tim Keady of Co. Galway got the highest price of €1050 for the Belclares. This is the second year in a row that the Oltore flock took the top price for the breed at this sale.

He was fully parentage verified with Replacement and Terminal Index both in the Top 3% and 7 % respectively of his breed.


The Texels had the largest number of entries in the sale with 173 rams catalogued. This didn’t affect their clearance much as they achieved a mind-blowing clearance of 99% with the highest average price of the sale at €907. The prices in the Texels ranged from €400 to €1800.

The top price went to lot 340, Graigues Fifty Seven, bred by Johnny Ryan. He is in the Top 6% of the Replacement and Top 6% on the Terminal Index with an accuracy of 73%. This ram is a double threat as he is strong in both the Terminal and maternal traits.


Next into ring two was the Suffolks with 83 animals catalogued, making them the third-largest breed in the sale. The Suffolks achieved an excellent average price at the sale with each ram selling for an average of €777, however, the price range was wide, going from €350 to €1,450 and a clearance rate was 87%.

William J. Hutchinson claimed the top spot in the Suffolks, selling a grass-fed hogget Lot 444, Chapelizod Amot for €1,450. He is ranked in the Top 1% on the Replacement Index and the top 2% on the Terminal Index.


Finally, Sheep Ireland would like to thank everyone who contributed to the running of the sale, including our sponsors Cormac Tagging and Weatherbys Scientific, the auctioneers, the mart staff, ram inspectors, breeders and buyers.


Sheep Ireland looks forward to another successful sale next year!