Large volumes of grass in all corners of the country were again in the industry’s favour at Dingwall and Highland Marts’ first major store lamb sale of the season.
Farmers and crofters from across the north flocked to Dingwall and witnessed a “firm and realistic trade’’ as regular lowland buyers were still prepared to pay the price for the best store lambs.
A total of 14,827 lambs sold to an of average £49.39, which is back slightly on last year’s sale average of £50.91.
The 7,417 North Country Cheviot wether lambs cashed in at £45.67 (-£2.22 on the year) and reached a top price of £84 from Ken Sinclair, 9 Lochussie, Dingwall, while 2,764 North Country Cheviot ewe lambs levelled at £51.01 (+£6.50) having sold to £82 from Messrs FG Cumming, 46 Blairmore, Rogart.
Commercial lambs saw Texel crosses average £53.27 (-£3.68) and reach £76 from Ewan Simpson, 2 Dounie, Edderton, while Beltex crosses peaked at £71.50 from A Humphreys, Peallaig, Dingwall.
Sale director and auctioneer Paul Spencer, was happy with the day.
“The trade was entirely driven by the sheer amount of grass across the country and we had a large ringside of buyers from Aberdeenshire, Dumfriesshire, Cumbria and down into Yorkshire,” said Mr Spencer. “We witnessed increased numbers on the year due to there being plenty lambs about after a good lambing season but producers are also very anxious about what will happen at the end of October so they want to look after what they have.”
He said that, because ewes have milked well this year, lambs were in good bloom from all areas, particularly Skye, which meant owners were happy to sell earlier than usual.
“Despite wether lambs being back on the year, ewe lambs were up £6.50. There are always fewer ewe lambs at this sale because farmers and crofters keep them for the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme but those forward today with the power and size met a decent trade.”
Scott Renwick from Inverbroom, Ullapool, sold 400 wether lambs to a top of £57.50, which is up £2.50 on the year.
He said he is positive about Brexit and the future.
Mr Renwick’s nephew Gavin MacDonald from the neighbouring Clachan sold wethers from two units to a top of £51.50 and £49.
He wanted to get his lambs sold in case the market collapses.
Leslie Robertson, shepherd at Ham Farm, Thurso, sold just under 400 Texel Cheviot cross wethers to average £56.34 with a top price of £65. He said: “Half of our lambs sold today were May-born so we are delighted with how they sold but perhaps they have suffered too much grass.”