This sale boasted a record entry of rams for this Sheep Ireland sale. In total 306 lots were catalogued across seven breeds. On sale day we saw a huge crowd attend and this justified the decision to introduce a second sales ring for the sale. The growth in entries and buyers attending illustrates the growing interest and awareness in performance recording. The sale saw ram buyers from 22 counties and the four corners of Ireland, with rams finding homes in Kerry, Wexford, Donegal and Louth.

A clearance of 84% was recorded across the entire sale, with an average sale price of €540. The top price seen on the day was €940 for a Susan O’Keeffe Suffolk ram, but the key message from this sale is that there was a ram for all budgets with rams selling from €280 upwards. This is a commercial ram sale and rams presented went through a thorough physical inspection upon entry. Each ram also had to meet a high entry criteria in terms of their genetic evaluation information – All rams had to be 5 Star on the Terminal or Replacement index. Minimum accuracy of 35% was also required. The breeders Data Quality Index (DQI) needed to be at least 60% and the breeders flock needed to have carried out Ultrasound scanning of muscle and fat in 2017.

Vendeen

First breed into Ring 1 was Vendeen. Pictured below is Lot 2 (Noggus Robben) from Ciaran Coughlan who topped the Vendeen prices at €910. This ram had a Terminal Index in the top 11% of the breed with a 40% accuracy% on that index. Ciarans flock Data Quality Index is a healthy 70%. The Grand-sire of this lot was tested in the Sheep Ireland Central Progeny Test (CPT) which means there is commercial farm data supporting the evaluations of this lot. The lot was purchased by commercial farmer Michael McGrath from Co. Westmeath. Overall, 13 Vendeen rams went through the ring and they saw an 85% clearance. The average price achieved was €526 with rams selling from €380 up to the top price of €910.

Suffolk

Next into sale ring 1 was the Suffolk breed. Top price here was €940 for a Susan O’Keeffe ram (Lot 27), which was purchased by Michael McKiernan, Co. Westmeath. Overall 52 Suffolk lots passed through the ring and achieved an excellent clearance of 96%. The average price realised was €582 with rams selling from €280 right up to the top price of €940.

Pictured below is some of Eamonn Duffys Suffolk entries from the the Kells flock in Co. Meath. Eamonn acheieved the top average of the Suffolk breed and the entire sale with an average price of €770 for his four Suffolk entries that all sported a 5 star index for both the Replacement and Terminal Indexes. All four rams presented were within the top 10% for both traits.

Rouge de l’Ouest

Following Suffolks into ring 1 was Rouge. There was 4 entries from Co. Wexford breeder Anne Murphy. All four rams sold on the day to an average price of €420. Top price was €480 for lot 77 which went to commercial farmer John Healion from Co. Westmeath. This ram was double 5 star ram with strong accuracy% on both the Replacement and Terminal index. For smaller performance recording breeds such as the Rouge de L’Ouest, building accuracy% can be difficult giving the number of recorded sheep so an accuracy of 37% on the Replacement index and 42% on the Terminal index was great to see.

Pictured below is top priced lot 77 (FMI17004) on the farm of Anne Murphy in the week before the sale.

Texel

Top price for Texel was  €780 for an Anne Murphy ram (Lot 128) which was purchased by Patrick Concannon, Co. Roscommon. The picture below shows lots 127 and 128 exiting the sales ring. This ram had an excellent Days to Slaughter Index (in the top 5% for the Texel breed). He was also 5 Star on both the Replacement and Terminal indexes. The ram also had CPT data in its ancestry background which has helped to boost the rams accuracy%.

Overall the 70 Texel lots went through sales ring 1. A great clearance of 89% was recorded for the breed, with an average sale price of €540. Rams sold from €300 up to the top price so there was a ram for all budgets and requirements.

Charollais

First into sale ring 2 on the day was Charollais. This breed boasted the largest entry of rams in the sale which is evidence of the growth in performance recording within the breed. This fact bodes well for commercial farmers using this breed as continued genetic gain is made in the coming years. Top price here was €750 for a Maria Philpott ram (Lot 207) which was purchased by a commercial flock.

Overall clearance within this breed was an extremely respectable 73%, with an average sale price of €491. Rams sold from €350 which again meant there was a ram for all budgets available on the day. Rams with a very strong Terminal index seemed to find the best demand here.

Pictured below is lot 222 from Albert Ferguson, Co. Cork which sold for €620. The ram was 5 Star on the Terminal index (top 13%) with an strong accuracy% of 44%. Albert has a very good Data Quality Index of 90% which illustrates that a large amount of data is being recorded by him throughout the year.

Belclare

The second and final breed into sale ring 2 was Belclare. 23 lots went through the ring here and there was another excellent clearance of 87% with an average price of €586 achieved. This was the top average across the sale. Top price was €880 for a John Renehan ram, Violet Hill Baola (Lot 293). This ram was purchased by Belclare breeders Eoghan and Larry Barrett.

This ram himself was a past participant in the Sheep Ireland CPT programme and as result as excellent accuracies for both the Replacement and Terminal Indexes which are 69% and 81% respectively. The ram is 5 star on both the Replacement (top 4%) and Terminal (top 2%) Indexes. This ram is an excellent prospect for future pedigree breeding. Pictured below is Violet Hill Baola (IE042821309437D) from October 2016 when in the Sheep Ireland CPT centre in Lyons Estate farm, UCD, Co. Kildare.