The first official society breeding sale of Swaledale sheep in NI will be held at Beattie’s Auction Centre, Omagh on Saturday 30 September.
Going under the hammer are pedigree and commercial breeding animals, ranging from ewe lambs to aged ewes, as well as shearling and mature rams.
The event starts at 10am with a pre-sale show, and the auction of breeding sheep kicks off at 12pm. Buyers can bid ringside and online through MartEye.
With a marked increase in the number of purebred breeding flocks across NI, the sale is a natural progression to help local Swaledale breeders market their genetics.
Previously, breeders relied on farm-to-farm transactions and society sales in Britain.
Martin Conway, who runs the Craigatoke flock outside Plumbridge has five shearlings and four mature rams entered for sale.
“I ran different hill breeds on our mountain, but was looking for something different to increase the number of lambs born and reared. Since moving to Swaledale breeding, ewes are regularly scanning between 150% and 160%,” he said.
Martin established his flock in 2015 after purchasing 30 ewes from noted Cumbrian breeder, Craig Ridley.
The flock has since grown to 170 purebred ewes, with additional females purchased from the Haltcliffe flock to run alongside home bred animals.
Glenariff-based Eddie Haughey has been breeding Swaledale sheep for 25 years and has a strong reputation for selling top quality stock for pedigree and commercial use.
His 200-ewe flock has been selected primarily on maternal traits such as prolificacy, with at least 1.3 lambs per ewe sold annually and scanning typically around 166% in recent years.
Last week, the champion at the Irish Swaledale sale in Stranorlar was sired by rams bred from Eddie’s flock.
“Longevity and fertility is a big thing with the breed. I have ewes in the flock at eight and nine years old that are still rearing good lambs every year. Last spring, from 200 ewes put to the ram, only three scanned empty,” he said.
Eddie added that the sale will be a big boost to local breeders, giving them a greater chance to sell sheep to different customers. He has four shearlings entered along with 50 ewe lambs and 20 aged ewes.