FOLLOWING a successful sum-mer show season and a strong start to the prime lamb season, breeders of both pedigree and commercial Beltex sheep will now be looking ahead to ram sales with the breed’s largest offering of 1,394 entered for the Carlisle Premier Sale, which takes place at Borderway Mart today and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday, August 11-12).
Beltex sheep have grown in popularity thanks to the breed’s ability of passing on superior carcase traits that prove popular with producers and butchers due to the high meat yield and fine bone which makes for a high killing out percentage.
The breed has an ever-increasing share of the terminal sire market with pure and cross-bred lambs achieving the higher carcase grades, and consequently high values in both the sale ring and on the hook. This is regularly delivering premiums of £30 to £40 above average, which is an important boost to any producer’s bottom line.
The breed has been showcased to a very high standard at shows the length and breadth of the country, with the line-up of aged ewes at the Royal Highland Show in particular one that any breed would be proud of. The breed has claimed the Inter-breed Championship titles from Devon up to Aberdeenshire as well as in Northern Ireland.
Local shows, too, have welcomed strong Beltex classes back and butchers lamb and carcase classes continue to see Beltex-sired lambs pick up the top prizes.
Beltex Sheep Society Chairman Kevin Buckle commented: “Although there is a certain degree of uncertainty in the market place at the minute as production costs continue to increase, lamb producers are looking for maximum efficiency to get the most from their commercial ewes and can have no doubt that using Beltex rams will improve their profit margins.
“Lambs with Beltex genetics continue to lead both store and prime and the interest in the breed continues to grow but while the breed excels as a terminal sire, its maternal traits cannot be ignored as retained females continue to display the milkiness and mothering characteristics desired from a cross-bred commercial female.”
The pre-sale show will take place at 11am on Thursday with the 325 shearling ewes taking to Ring 3 at 3.30pm with 242 ram lambs in Ring 2 at 4.30pm. The 15 aged rams and 812 shearling rams will be on offer from 10am on Friday, split between the two rings.
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