Sheep Ireland’s 9th Annual Multi-Breed Ram can now boast to be the largest catalogued ram sale in Ireland. The 2019 sale saw the highest number of ram entries in the sales history with 371 entries catalogued – an increase from the 326 catalogued in 2018. 8 different breeds were on offer to buyers this year, with two sales rings in operation again throughout the day. Eventhough the sale entry increased this year, an excellent sale clearance was recorded with 86% rams offered for sale, finding a new home. This clearance rate is slightly up on 2018 where an 85% clearance was seen. This is a sale designed for commercial sheep farmers interested in finding physical correct rams with the very best genetics available in Ireland. Buyers came from all 26 counties in the Rep of Ireland to source rams this year which is a fantastic indictaion of the growing interest and awareness of performance recording and the benefits that can be gained by using 5 Star rams.
The average price achieved in the sale was €548 which was in line with 2018 (€546). Its key to point out that this sale has a ram for all budgets with rams selling from €250 to €1160. A thorough physical inspection was carried out on all rams entering the mart on the day. Rams are rejected from the sale on issues relating to testicles, feet, teeth and other physical issues such as injuries/infections.
As this is an elite commerical farmers ram sale the entry criteria have increased year on year. This year the entry criteria was as follows:
- 5 Star in either Replacement or Terminal Index
- At least 35% accuracy on the rams qualifying 5 Star Index
- Ram breeders flock DQI must be 70% or greater
- The ram breeders flock must have been muscle & fat scanned
- The ram breeders flock must be genetically linked
The Charollais breed was first into ring 1. Average price of €526 which matched exactly the average of 2018. Prices ranges from €300 to €1020. Top priced lot went to Michael O’Reilly in Co. Meath for Lot 41. This ram ticked all the boxes from a physical point of view and boasted fantastic indexes across all the traits. With a top 3% ranking in both Terminal and Replacement and good accuracy%, it was obvious why he was in demand. A top 1% ranking for Days to Slaughter undoubtily attracted bidders also. This ram was a son of Central Progent Test ram ‘Dalby Ranieri’. A huge amount of independent commercial data has been collected on this sire via the CPT and it is hugely rewarding for all involved in the CPT to see high index sons producing the goods for breeders. This will hopefully act as an encouragement for more Charollais breeders to put forward their stock rams for potential inclusion in the 2019 CPT programme.
The Charollais breed saw an 86% clearance, up from the 81% recorded in 2018.
Next into ring 1 was the Vendeen breed with 13 entries catalogued. An average price of €442 was achieved on the day, which is an increase from the 2018 average of €425. Rams sold from €360 to €620, with top price going to Brendan & Carmel Rooney from Co. Sligo for Lot 121. Again a top 1% ranking for Days to Slaughter attracted interest here. This ram had very high accuracy% figures attached to there indexes, helped by Central Progeny Test Data (commercial farm data) feeding into its back ancestry. A clearance of 85% was seen in this breed (in line with 2018). This ram was also genotyped which enabled Sheep Ireland to validate that the animals parentage is 100% correct. Being parentage verified by genotyping (DNA) is a very desirable category for animal to have going into ram sales and we have no doubt buyers will seek this out more and more into the future.
Rouge de L’Ouest
We had 3 Rouge entries in the sale with just one finding a new home for a price of €350. This was a ram (Lot 127) bred by Oliver Keaskin from Cavan and was 5 Star on both Replacement and Terminal Indexes.
Four Hampshire Down rams were presented for sale with all four being sold for between €350 and €500. Top price went to Michael Gottstein from Co. Cork for Lot 130. This ram sold for €500 and was 5 Star on the Terminal index. Michael had a flock Data Quality Index of 86% on the day of sale meaning a huge amount of data has been recorded by this flock in 2019. This fact was no doubt attractive to buyers on the day.
It was fantastic to see seven Lleyn entries in the sale this year. Sheep Ireland are very keen to include more maternal breeds in this sale going forward. Three of the seven Lleyns entered were purchased on the day for prices from €400 to €580. Top price went to Brian Mathews from Co. Offaly for Lot 135. This ram was 5 Star for both Replacement (top 2%) and Terminal (top 2%) with accuracies of almost 50%. The high accuracy% here was helped in no small part by the fact there is CPT data feeding into the ancestry of this ram. This independent commercial data is a great way to generate higher accuracies which leads to more robust genetic evaluations.
The Belclare breed saw a clearance rate of 74%, slightly down on the 79% clearance seen in 2018. The average price achieved this year was €490 (€440 in 2018). Rams sold from €250 to €1000. This top price was gladly accepted by Galway breeder Barry Cunningham for Lot 174. This ram was 5 Star on both Replacement and Terminal, with very high ranking for Lamb Survival, Days to Slaughter and Daughters milk. This animal also has Central Progeny Test (CPT) data contributing to its genetic evaluation which is very desirable from a commercial buyers point of view.
First into ring 2 was the Suffolk breed where we saw an 87% clearance (80% in 2018). Prices ranged from €350 to €1050. Jim & Frampton Jeffrey from Co. Cork got top price here for Lot 195. This ram is a son of Logie Durno New Direction who has been progeny tested in the Sheep Ireland CPT. It is great to see sons of CPT tested sires in demand and hopefully this will continue as commercial farmers see the value in independent commercial data forming the basis of the €uroStar indexes they are purchasing. This ram won the inaugural LambPlus Multi-Breed class in the NSBA championships earlier in the year so was an excellent physical specimen of the breed also. A fantastic Days to Slaughter index of -24.7 days helped generate interest in this ram. A top 2% Replacement index was helpful also.
Average Suffolk price was €597, up from €558 in 2018.
We saw a very large Texel entry in Tullamore this year with 127 rams catalogued. We saw the sales top price of €1160 in this breed for Lot 309 bred by the Ryan family in Kildare. This hogget ram had excellent physical traits combined with 5 Star indexes for both Replacement (top 3%) and Terminal (top 2%). A Days to Slaughter index of -17 days was also attractive to purchasers.
Prices here ranged from €305 to that top price of €1160. Other notable prices were €1040 for Lot 364 bred by Anne Murphy, Co. Wexford and another €1040 for Lot 283 bred by Robert O’Mahony from Co. Cork. The sire of Lot 283 for the O’Mahonys was ‘Murphys Banjo’ who had been purchased at the same sale last year for the top price on the day of €1220. Its great to see that this ram has bred well and went on to produce very high index progeny.
The overall Texel clearance was an excellent 92% (95% in 2018). Average Texel sale price was €579 (€629 in 2018).
We would like to thank all who made this years sale another great success, including Sheep Ireland staff, our auctioneers George Candler and Gordon Cobbe, Tullamore mart manager Antoinette Daly, mart staff, breeders but most importantly the ram purchasers. We wish all buyers the best of luck with their rams. A post sale letter with advice on how to best manage rams after sale has been posted to all buyers and hopefully this will help to ensure all rams are 100% ready for the upcoming breeding season.