One of Europe’s largest store lamb auctions draws over 15,000 sheep

An entry of approximately 15,500 store lambs – a mixture of ewes and wethers – will be sold at one of Europe’s largest one-day auctions.

Set to get underway tomorrow, August 14, the first great annual sale of North County Cheviot wether and ewe hill lambs will take place at Lairg Auction Mart in Scotland.

Hailing from the Sutherland, Caithness and surrounding hills, the sale of store lambs is seen by many in the industry as a marker as to how the store lamb trade will fair down the line.

Commenting on the sale, United Auctions’ regional managing director Donald Young said: “There’s about 15,500 sheep entered, which is down about 3,000 head on last year.

The smaller sale is partly down to the year and lambs are not as well grown. Many farmers have opted to keep their lambs for the second sale in September.

“We’re also expecting fewer buyers, as drought in the south and in Wales is likely to keep people away.”

Although a sizable number of lambs are expected to be sold on the day, Young added that the sale will conclude at approximately 4:30pm. This is helped somewhat by the size of the lots on offer, with some farmers opting to sell lambs in bunches of up to 400 head.

At last year’s sale, the average price achieved for wether lambs stood at £51.06/head – down £3.37/head on the previous year’s sale; ewe lambs traded to an average of £76.52/head – up £5.73/head on the corresponding sale in 2017.