The Irish Texel Sheep Society held its biggest-ever premier show and sale on August 12 and 13.
The sale saw a record price of €13,000 achieved for a ram lamb, with the trade as hot as the weather on both the Friday and the Saturday.
Judges of the day were brothers James and Robbie Walker of the renowned Kilcurley flock, who last year received the overall champion prize at the sale.
This year’s champions
First to be judged on the day was the shearling ewe class. Brothers John and Colm McHugh, came out on top with a daughter of the renowned Procters Class Act.
She later went on to be reserve female champion and sold on Friday evening for €2,500 to fellow Co. Monaghan breeder Damien Kerr.
In the ewe lamb class, like in the earlier category, another family duo came to the fore: Father-and-son duo Pat and Barry Farrell with their Garngour Craftsman ewe lamb.
Garngour Craftsman later went on to claim female champion and reserve overall champion of the show. Later in the evening the hammer fell at €4,000, which topped the ewe lamb trade. She went on to join new breeder Fintan Hackett from Co. Monaghan.
First up was the shearling ram class was John Neville, who came out on top with a Glenroe Bacardi son. The ram sold on Saturday morning to Charlie Clarke in Co. Monaghan for €3,200.
Taking the top spot in the open ram class was Rodney McLaughlin’s much-admired son of Sportsmans Daredevil. Bred out of homebred ewe by Procters Cocktail, this lamb had already claimed reserve male champion at the All-Ireland in Co. Donegal a few weeks earlier.
He went one better this time taking male champion and overall champion of the day. And, not only did he leave his mark in the show ring, but he also topped the sale at €13,000. Ronan Gallagher (Enniscrone Texels) and Jimmy Garrivan (Clew Bay Texels) were the highest bidders.
In the recorded ram lamb class, it was a ram lamb from Robert and James Dunne that was the Walker’s pick. Sired by Loosebeare Chief, this ram lamb was snapped up by Co. Donegal breeder Andrew Cox for €2,000.
The novice class was the biggest class on the day and was won by new breeders the Doherty brothers from Co. Donegal. This was their first year breeding, and their winning streak did not end there: They later went on to claim reserve male champion with a son of Midlock Dorito.
Last but not least was the Irish-sired class, where another father-and-son duo, John and Neil Kidd, were tapped out first by the Walker Brothers. Their Son of Thornville Elvis, who himself was purchased at Blessington Mart last year, was picked up by Paul Swindell from Co. Down for €2,000.
Other leading prices
Quality was in high demand in the shearling ewes. The previous record price of €6,500 was matched on Friday evening by the Walker brothers for their much-admired Harestone Commander daughter, who had earlier in the year stood second in the National Championship at the Clonmel show.
Next up was a daughter of Garngour Dictator from John Neville. This lady was previously South East Female Champion and she went to the Uskvale flock for €3,800
Another Harestone Commander daughter from Thomas Kenny, who earlier stood second in the shearling ewe class, was the pick of new breeder Paul Murphy.
Overall, the shearling ewes averaged €1,200 and had an 80% clearance rate.
Much like the shearling ewes, good-quality ewe lambs were in demand. The ewe lambs topped at €4,000 by the previously mentioned female champion.
The next-highest price of €2,200 went to Brian Divilly for his Sportsman A Star ewe lamb; she went to Northern Ireland breeder Brian Hanthorn.
The same amount of money was paid to John Kidd for Teglium Eclipse, who stood second earlier in day. She went to new breeder L. Walshe from Co. Wexford.
Increased commercial demand for ram lambs led to a strong clearance rate of 81%. An exceptional average of €12,26 for ram lambs was achieved. Commercial farmers picked lambs up from €500 to €1,000 throughout the sale, which was then backed by a strong breeder demand with 53 ram lambs selling at €1,000 or above.
The highest amount paid for a ram lamb was €13,000, and the next highest was €5,500 for a Loosebeare Chief son who went from Robert and James Dunne’s pen to syndicate of Scottish flocks Robert Laird, Neil Edmundson and Kenny Johnstone.
Pat and Barry Farrell sold his Rhaeadr Edge son, who came to sale off the back of a successful show season after being champion in Dundalk and reserve overall at the Nationals in Clonmel, to Patrick and James Murphy and Padraig Varley from Co. Mayo for €5,000.
The first in the ring from the Greenhill flock, a son of the renowned Procters Class act, also sold for €5,000, this time to Eugene and Malachy Hand.
Selling for €4,000 was a Midlock Dapper Son from A and P O’Keeffe. He was the choice of Co. Meath breeder Michael Bird.
In other prices, John and Neil Kidd’s Teiglum Eclipse son sold for €3,800 to Co. Galway breeder Jack Swift; the Greenhill pen sold a son of last year’s €10,000 Kilcurley Ed for €3,500; and Brian Connelly sold his Teiglium Cinnamon son for €3,200.
Texel shearling rams were in high demand this year with a clearance rate of 88%. Furthermore, 13 more shearling rams sold this year than last year. The average selling price increased to €1,236, with a high number of farmers sourcing long, well-bodied rams from €500 to €900.
Topping the shearling trade were new breeders Irene and Iris Brazil with their Mount Prospect Flock. Their first-ever ram shown in the premier sale Efrain, a son of Murphys Dakota, sold in a four-way split.
Hitting the €3,000 mark was the second-prized shearling ram from Eugene and Malachy Hand. Sired by Hillswood Doane, this ram was the pick of Matthew Ryan from Co. Wexford.
Thomas Kenny’s Lakeview Destiny ram found a new home in Co. Fermanagh with Owen Donohoe for €2,500.