Longtown set to host Europe's biggest sheep mart

by Maureen Hodges

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Potential buyers will be flying in from all corners of the UK and Europe for a special sale with a twist of Suffolk sheep – at what is known as Europe’s biggest sheep mart at Longtown.

Sale leader at Longtown's inaugural Suffolk sale topped at 13,000gns
Sale leader at Longtown's inaugural Suffolk sale topped at 13,000gns

Last year a ringside of 150 people flocked to the mart for the inaugural two-day show and sale of top Suffolk breed of sheep, including a contingent of Spanish buyers.

This year the special sale will be fully export eligible on the day and will run alongside the normal show and sale.

All sheep presented by the vendors in the export sale will be eligible on the day to go to Belgium, Holland, southern and Northern Ireland.

Other parts of Europe will require the stock to return home and then be exported at a later date.

All export transport costs will be paid for by the purchaser and not the vendor.

Last year renowned Suffolk breeders, the Barbour family, took top spot at the sale, setting a new record for sheep trade of 13,000gns.

The triplet-born lamb was out of Rhaeader Rastafari and sired by Lakeview Harbinger and joined the Maestro Flock of R Fitton of Bolton in Lancashire.

The family also picked up Reserve Overall Champion, which went to the December-born ram lamb from Iain and Judith Barbour, Solwaybank which sold for 450gns to Mr Ignacio, Llavandera, Spain.

At the same sale the Solwaybank Suffolks also took the female championship ticket.

This year, the Barbours, from Annan, will be returning with a selection of males and females from their Solwaybank Flock on Monday, July 17.

“Just this week I had a telephone call from a guy in London who wants to buy 30 Suffolks to export to Romania,” said Mr Barbour.

“It’s exciting there is a market for the breed abroad,” he added.

The brother and sister duo had their first taste of the breed in the late 1980s, when their parents Robert and Margaret bought them a Suffolk cross pet lamb each.

They celebrated two great weekends in a row for Solwaybank breeding when in Spain a Strathbogie Sirius ewe lamb out of an inlamb Solwaybank ewe took the championship for breeder Nacho Acebal of Llavandera.

Solwaybank Rio also won the shearling ram class for Nacho.

Not to be outdone, Paul and Bert Laermans won the first show in Belgium with a Strathbogie Sirius ewe lamb out of an inlamb ewe purchased at the three nations sale from Solwaybank.

The judge on this occasion was David Inman of the Lindum flock.

Already an impressive list of renowned Suffolk flocks have committed to the export sale at Longtown in July, including Bridgeview, Limestone, Salopian and Wharfe.

Entry forms for the sale are now available at C&D Auction at Longtown.

The Suffolk is one of our oldest, native British breeds and has been in existence since the late 1700s.

The breed society was originally formed in 1886.

The Suffolk is renowned as a terminal sire breed and remains number one for growth rate as proven by numerous independent scientific studies.

This ability to grow and finish quickly is essential in today’s market and Suffolk lambs can also be taken to heavier carcase weights, if required.

Increasing numbers of commercial producers now include Suffolk genetics in their ewe flocks as the breed has high milk output, hard hooves and wide pelvic dimensions for easy lambing.

Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 10:23AM
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