Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Herdwick sale

A sea of Herdwicks.

As far as the eye could see.

There were commercial breeds for sale later in the day.

Lots of 'draft ewes'. Draft ewes are 2 or 3 crop ewes.  Ewes that have had 2 or 3 lots of lambs out on the fells.  They are sold to farmers on the lower greener kinder ground.  This is quite different from Mull, where we sell our oldest ewes each autumn as 'cast ewes'. They will have had more crops of lambs and be a couple of years older than the 'draft ewes' from Cumbria.

We had room for 5 ewe hoggs in our trailer alongside the new tup, so we had to watch to see how the pens were split up as it would be no use us bidding for 20 if we can only take 5.

So many ewes.

They are so calm and quiet in the pens.

The sale begins with the 'draft ewes'.

It is busy.  The ring arena is pretty full as the sale gets underway.

Each farmer tells the auctioneer what treatments each pen has had, what age they are.

(I wasn't quite sure what breed these were).

Then it was the ewe lambs turn.  The ones we bought had come second in the Show, and we are pleased with them.  The breeder gave Daughter a luck penny. 

Next day, it is the tup sale.  Pens and pens of them, and very difficult for us to judge what we can afford as we have no way of telling what each tup is worth, according to its breeding/bloodline. We just don't know.  We are told of one breeder to look out for, who has good bloodline but hasn't got a name for himself yet.  His tups went way over our budget! 

This tup topped the Show at the start of the day.  He sold for 10,000 guineas.  The tups were all sold in guineas not pounds.

After the hammer. Looking down on the prize tup having his eartag read and recorded.

This was second or third.  Prices went down dramatically.

In the end Farmer and Daughter selected their tup as it went through the ring, having seen that prices were going way over our budget.  With only 9 ewes for the tup this year, and 14 next year, we cannot justify spending a lot on a tup.   

And here he is...

It was a fascinating couple of days, observing a different farming community, and how things work.   We loved that the market was so busy.  Looking at the sale reports, the average tup sold for £745 up £275 on the year.  I am glad to say that we bought ours for A LOT less than the average! 

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