THE month of December has been ‘cracking’ for County Fermanagh-based Beltex Sheep breeder Matthew Burleigh.
Starting with the Beltex Crackers Female Sale at Harrison and Hetherington’s in Carlisle right at the beginning of the month, December 1, Matthew registered the third highest price on the day with 4,000gns paid out for his shearling ewe, Matt’s Betty Boo.
Sired by the Balmoral Champion from Matt’s flock, Hackney Wonderboy, and out of Horseclose Tiramisu, the gimmer was sold in-lamb to Hackney Corker, a son of the record priced 60,000gns Topflite Alpacino to Gary Beacom from Fivemiletown, County Tyrone.
And Matt wasn’t finished there.
He was also responsible for the next two sheep in the price rankings, Carrigans Bambi, a shearling ewe sold for 3,000gns and Matt’s Corker, a ewe lamb, which had champion status from this year’s Irish National Show and which also made 3,000gns.
Carrigans Bambi, which was also sired by Hackney Wonderboy, was sold in lamb to Hackney Corker to ME Wannop & Sons, Heaton Hall Farm, Morecombe, while Matt’s Corker was purchased by Paul Tippetts from Shifnal, Shropshire.
The idea for a Beltex Crackers Female Sale was something which Matthew Burleigh came up with along with friend and fellow Beltex breeder Ali Jackson (Tiptop Flock) from south west Scotland.
Development of the concept led to the involvement of three other noted Beltex breeders, Allan Jackson and his Headlind flock, Lanark, Henry Jewitt and his Jewitt Flock from County Durham and Andrew Wood and his Withy Trees flock from Whittingham, Preston.
“It was very well received and something we will definitely repeat,” explained Matthew.
At the Beltex Crackers Female Sale Matt sold a total of 13 gimmers with prices averaging £1,3337.88, six ewe lambs averaging £1,102.50 and two recipients averaging £656.25.
Next on the agenda was the Carlisle Premier Sale on December 8, which Matt won with his ewe lamb, Matt’s Crystal, a full sister to Matt’s Corker.
The winning lamb went on to fetch 1,800gns in the sales ring.
The following day, December 9, and Matt travelled to Skipton Auction Mart as a first-time exhibitor where he continued with his winning ways.
Taking the title here was Matt’s Bumble Bee, one of March 2016 born triplets to Kingledores Apollo, which had been acquired by Matthew Burleigh for 5,580gns when the ram had taken male and reserve supreme champion honours at Carlisle in August 2015.
Matt’s Bumble Bee was purchased by show judge Sue Wilkinson for the second highest price of the day, 1,050gns. The winning ewe was scanned carrying a single lamb.
Matt sold four more shearling ewes on the day obtaining prices of 1,000gns, 800gns, 700gns and 650gns.
“It has been a tremendous month all round and in the run-up to Christmas I couldn’t have wished for better,” said Matthew.
Closer to home and Matthew also enjoyed success at the Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders Club’s In-Lamb Christmas Show and Sale on December 15 in Dungannon Farmers Mart when Matt’s Clown won the Ewe Lamb class.
It all adds up to a very Happy Christmas for the Beltex breeder from Kinawley in County Fermanagh.