Breeding groups specialising in the production of replacement ewe hoggets and ewe lambs have been setting their sale dates in recent weeks. There is a good deal of interest among farmers as to when the sales are taking place, with confidence levels high among sheep farmers despite the recent sharp reduction in lamb prices. The current positivity is also being underpinned by the strong cull ewe trade significantly reducing the cost of incorporating replacements into the flock.

Tullow sheep Breeders

Tullow Sheep Breeders Association are first out of the traps again this year with their premier show and sale of Suffolk x Cheviot cross sheep, taking place in Tullow Mart, Carlow on Wednesday 4 August. The group expectS to have in the region of 1,200 ewe hoggets and 1,200 ewe lambs on offer. The sale is a good barometer of how the replacement ewe hogget and ewe lamb trade is starting the season.

Their second sale takes place on Wednesday 25 August, again for Suffolk x Cheviot cross ewe lambs and hoggets. The South East Mule Breeders Group will hold a sale of primarily Mule ewe lambs and Mule ewe hoggets on Saturday 1 September, While a third Tullow Sheep Breeders Association sale incorporating Cheviot sheep takes place on 8 September.

Borris Ewe Breeders

Close neighbours, the Borris Ewe Breeders Association will hold their premier sale on Saturday 14 August in Borris Mart, Co Carlow. The group says the move to a Saturday sale in recent years is a better fit for their customers looking to source Suffolk x Cheviot cross sheep and that they are sticking with a Saturday sale date for 2021. The group expects to have in the region of 1,100 to 1,200 ewe hoggets, 800 plus ewe lambs and a share of mature sheep entered for the first sale.

A second sale will be held on Saturday 28 August, while a third sale incorporating higher numbers of Cheviots sheep and later-born ewe lambs will take place on 11 September.

Mayo Mule and Greyface Group

The Mayo Mule and Greyface Group are sticking with Friday and Saturday sale dates for their premier sales. which will be held in Aurivo Ballinrobe Mart, Co Mayo. Approximately 1,000 ewe hoggets are expected to fall under the hammer on Friday 20 August, with 2,000 ewe lambs entered for sale on Saturday 21 August.

The group's second sale comprising 500 hoggets and 1,000 ewe lambs will take place on Monday 6 September, while the final sale of the season including 500 ewe lambs takes place on Friday 24 September. Sheep are all on the Heptavac-P system and the group can facilitate organising nationwide delivery.

Donegal Mule Group

The Donegal Mule Group will again hold sales in Donegal and Wicklow in 2021. The group’s first sale takes place on Friday 27 August at 6pm in Ballybofey and Stranorlar Mart. The group are also heading to Carnew Mart in Co Wicklow for the third year in a row and are offering a consignment of Mule ewe hoggets and ewe lambs on Tuesday evening, 14 September.

Donegal Cheviot and Cheviot Cross Breeders

The Donegal Cheviot and Cheviot Cross Breeders group are a relatively new breeding group and are this year holding their third sale in Ballybofey and Stranorlar Mart, Co Donegal on Friday 3 September.

The evening sale includes Suffolk x Cheviot cross ewe hoggets and ewe lambs and also includes Cheviot sheep which have been breed pure and a selection which have been crossed to Scottish Blackface genetics. Numbers have been building since the first sale and an entry in excess of 1,300 head is expected for this year’s sale.