Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset Sheep Breeder's Association

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48th Annual NI Premier Sale 2020

‘Dorset trade on fire at 48th Northern Ireland Annual Premier sale’

The 48th Annual Premier sale of NI Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset sheep breeders club took place on Monday 27th July, 2020 in J.A. McClelland & Sons Livestock Mart, Ballymena. The event was sponsored by Norbrook Laboratories, kindly represented by Noel Gill.

Amy McConnell with the top price Beechmount C509

In light of current circumstances, the sale attracted a smaller but quality entry of 90 sheep. Such quality being reflected by excellent trade both on the male and female side coupled with high clearance rates driven by strong demand. Although there was no show as usual, this did not deter breeders and prospective purchasers from handling stock before the sale, of course being made possible by the efficient management from Ballymena Mart staff.

Top price of the evening was achieved by Amy McConnell, Beechmount Flock, Templepatrick for lot 76, a September born ewe lamb fetching 1500gns. This powerful lamb sired by Downkillybegs Zippit showed excellent breed character and style and so after a surge of bids made its way to join the Maineview Flock of Andrew and Caroline Kennedy, Ballymena. Closely followed behind was another Beechmount ewe lamb, lot 79 selling for 1400gns to Gary Hanna, Mae Flock, Newtownards. The next top price went to lot 71, another ewe lamb from Samuel and Elaine Caldwell, Ballymena which realised a price of 1200gns making the journey across the water to Richard Fitton’s Dynamite flock in Bolton.

Amy McConnell with the second top price Beechmount C504

Other leading prices in the female section were as follows: R Hill 1000gns to S Wilson, Ballynure, S Caldwell 750gns to D Lewis, Pembrokeshire, A McConnell 750gns to L Moore, Aughnacloy.

In the male section, top price of the evening went to Andrew and Caroline Kennedy’s, Maineview flock with lot 26, Maineview Crown Royal showing excellent conformation and type selling for 1020gns to L Moore, Aughnacloy. The next top price in the male section was 720gns which was achieved by David and Sarah Stevenson, Greenhill Flock, Balllymena. This much-admired ram lamb was snapped up by T Wright and B Moorehead, Ballymoney. Not far behind was lot 18, a Maine Valley Zorro son from Michael and Catherine Maybin selling for 700gns to B Moss, Castlederg.

Other leading prices in the male section are as follows: A Kennedy 620gns to P Crawford, Islandmagee, M&C Maybin 600gns to B Moss, Castlederg, A Sloane 600gns to A Davidson, Dungannon.

Andrew Kennedy with the top price male, Maineview Crown Royal, C1157

David Stevenson with the second top price male, Greenhill C7

Ram lamb average: 514gns - Shearling ram average: 328gns
Ewe lamb average: 504gns - Shearling ewe average: 343gns
Top pen averages: 866.83gns (A McConnell – ewe lambs) - 763.87gns (S&E Caldwell – ewe lambs)

Overall the club had what can only be described as a successful sale in testing times, demonstrating the ever-increasing demand for the breed with year on year increased membership. The club would like to express its thanks to Noel Gill from Norbrook for the continued sponsorship and to the owners and staff at Ballymena Mart for their professional service. In particular the availability of live streaming and online bidding made it possible for local bidders and those from the mainland to do business form the comfort of their own homes.

Allistair McNeill, NI Club Chairman (right) with Noel Gill, Norbrook (Sponsor) left

The next club sale is scheduled to take place in the Autumn on Monday 5th October 2020 at Ballymena Livestock Mart which will provide potential purchasers with a further opportunity to invest in top quality stock.