The Irish Charollais sheep society hosted its premier show and sale in Tullow livestock mart last Saturday (31 July), with prices hitting record highs.
Spectators and breeders didn’t have to wait long for the records to tumble as lot 17, a shearling ram from the Duiske flock hit the market at €9,000.
This year’s sale topper was bred by Gerry and Dympna Grogan who run the Duiske herd based outside Donadea, Co Kildare. Their March 2020-born ram boasts five stars on both the terminal and replacement indexes. Sired by the 2018 premier sale topper, Ballyhibben Talisman, he is out of a home-bred dam by Blakeney Oscar. After back and forth bidding, auctioneer George Candler eventually dropped the hammer at €9,000 to a round of applause. Successful bidder was the Northern Ireland-based Tullyear flock ran by Drew and Stephen Cowan
This record price comes off the back of last year’s premier sale which also broke records when a ram sold for €7,500. Before this the top price of €5,500 was set sixteen years previous.
The record-breaking price helped to boost average sale price for hoggets drastically to settle at €1,282, up from €710 on a good 2020 sale. Demand for shearlings again proved strong throughout with 18 of the 20 forward selling.
Securing the top price in the ram lamb section was the Kellistown flock of Sinead and Eoin Brophy, Co Carlow. Their stylish January 2021-born ram is the result of an ET programme, with the sire Oakchurch Utopia and out of a Springhill ewe. The Oakchurch-bred sire also bred the reserve supreme champion at last year’s sale who sold for €4,100.
Boasting four stars on the terminal index, Kellistown Whats App, was knocked down at €5,000.
Closely following up on this was lot 108 a lamb from the pen of Ger and Paula O’Leary’s Ralahine flock in Co Clare. This five star terminal ram is the first son to be sold from Riverdale Van the Man who the couple purchased at Dungannon last year. Securing the ram at a bid of €4,700 were Raymond and Eamon Shanahan.
Just behind this at €4,300 was the pick of the Knockychottaun pen from Peadar McGee, Westport, Co Mayo. This February 2021-born ram is out of the French imported ram Napoleon and a Moylough-bred ewe.
Tasked with judging the pre-sale show this year was Gerry Clarke who used to run the now dispersed Paulard flock. He selected his male and supreme champion as lot 32, a ram lamb from the Caltra flock of Liam, Shane and Eric Conway, Ballinasloe, Co Galway. The stylish champion ram was sired by Ballyhibben Major John and out of a dam by Kilconnor McGregor. Boasting five stars on the terminal index and four stars on the replacement he was knocked down to Ronan Gilligan for €2,000.
Awarded the reserve male championship was a young ram from the Turret flock of Raymond and Eamon Shanahan, Leap, Co Cork. Sired by a French-bred ram he is out of a home-bred ewe from the same family as the supreme champion at the premier in 2015. With four stars on the replacement index, this Turret ram met his reserve at €3,100.
Just behind this was a super, long ram lamb from the Ballyhibben flock of Michael and Alymer Power, Co Limerick who sold their top lot at €3,000. This double five star ram is a son of the 9,000gns stock ram Sant Andras Sergeant Major who has bred many high sellers since his purchase back in 2017.
The Power’s Limerick flock deserves special mention following last Saturday's sale given that both the record price sale topper and sale champion were out of Ballyhibben-bred rams by Sergeant Major.
Overall, very strong breeder trade meant that 30 rams hit four figure sums on the day – nine higher than last year’s figure. That said, the sale did seem to lack on commercial buyers, which meant that ram lambs were a harder sell then previous years. In total 98 of the 164 ram labs on offer sold, representing a 60% clearance. This clearance is back 13% on 2020. Average price for rams however came in at €995, an increase of €70 on the year.
Judge Gerry Clarke awarded his female and reserve supreme championship to a ewe lamb from the Ballinaslee flock based in Co Kilkenny. Bred by Frank Jordan, the January 2021 born ewe is out of the 6,000gns Knocklin Shop and a dam by Glyn Coch Ogi Ogi Ogi. With four stars on both traits, she was knocked down at €2,100.
Securing the reserve female championship was Edmond and Paul O’Gorman with a shearling from their Lisfuncheon flock. This January 2020-born daughter of Hillside Nova is out of a Ringclare Dynamite-bred dam and met her reserve at €1,200.
In total five ewes hit four figure sums an increase of three on the year. In total four of the five hogget ewes sold to average €1,100 while ewe lambs were harder sold, with 19 of the 31 selling to an average price of €670.