STILL champion at 90! That was the verdict of judge and leading Suffolk flock owner Mark Priestley as he awarded William Montgomery’s gimmer the Supreme Champion title at the Suffolk Sheep Society in-lamb ewe sale at Ballymena Livestock Market.
William, who turned 90 last June, had a terrific trade for his flock reduction. His champion, a Duncans Double Diamond sired ewe in-lamb to Limestone Bobby Dazzler, sold for the highest price of the evening at 3200gns to Stephen Sufferin of the Crewelands flock, who also snapped up the champion’s full sister for a further 1600gns.
Some 142 ewes and ewe lambs were catalogued for the evening and met with a clearance rate of 94 per cent with many buyers from the Republic of Ireland in attendance.
Patrick Donnelly of the Donrho flock stood well in the gimmer class going on to take second place and Reserve Champion with his Birness Donn sired ewe in-lamb to Lakeview Heart of Gold, being knocked down to the Jalex flock of James Alexander for 1100gns.
Alastair Gault stood third going on to sell to 800gns to H O’Kane, Ballymena and Trevor & Ben Robinson stood fourth selling to 600gns to P&B Duggan, County Tyrone.
The aged ewe class saw Campbell & Jason Watson taking the winning rosette with their Burnview Gin & Tonic sired ewe in-lamb to Ballynacannon President. This was quickly snapped up by M Morton, County Down, for 650gns.
William Montgomery stood second selling to 600gns to A Christie, Ballymoney. Patrick Donnelly took third selling to 400gns to S O’Hare, County Down, and Patrick McVerry took the 4th prize rosette selling to 500gns to W Lennox, County Tyrone.
In the ewe lamb class Alastair Gault took the first and second prize rosettes selling to 800gns and 550gns. Joe Adams stood third selling to 600gns and P Donnelly took fourth selling to 600gns.
Commenting on the sale, NI Branch Chairman Joe Stewart stated: “We had an absolute flyer of a sale which built on the resurgent trade we saw last year for Suffolk sheep, fully inspected to society standards and scanned in-lamb on the evening of the sale.
“If I am totally honest, with entries up 40 per cent on the same evening last year, I was slightly concerned as to the likely clearance but I need not have worried with over 90 per cent of all stock forward finding a new home. As last year I was delighted with the number of new faces at the ring intent on purchasing ewes or ewe lambs to start a new flock, all of which bodes very well for the future of the Suffolk breed.
“Our thanks go to Graham Loughrey, auctioneer, who together with Jim Beggs and the crew at Ballymena Mart did a fantastic job and in particular to Ossie McKay who scanned the sheep for sale.”
The show and sale was generously sponsored by Uniblock.
Aged Class – W Montgomery 1600gns, 1200gns, 1000gns, 750gns, 600gns; P McVerry 950gns 700gns; RC&JC Watson 650gns; J Adams 500gns; T&B Robinson 500gns.
Gimmers – W Montgomery 3200gns, 1400gns, 1300gns, 1100gns, 1000gns 900gns, 800gns, 700gns, 650gns; David Duncan 1300gns; P McVerry 650gns.
Ewe Lambs – A Gault 800gns, 550gns; P Donnelly 600gns, 500gns; J Adams 600gns; J McKelvey 500gns.