The trade at the Knockcroghery Belclare flock dispersal sale on Saturday lived up to the high expectations with a vibrant trade throughout.

The entry of 39 mature ewes recorded an average price of €852, ranging from a top of €2,000 to €360. The lower price gives an unfair representation of the trade, with only three ewes selling below €500/head, while 12 ewes topped the €1,000 mark.

The top price was paid for lot 15, a 2018-born ewe which claimed the all-Ireland ewe lamb title in that year. A price of €1,880 was paid for a ewe hogget that vendor Declan Miley described as having high expectations including being the flock’s show hogget. Other notable prices ranging from €1,200 to €1,400 were paid for former show champions and breeding lines which have consistently bred top-quality sheep.

It was a similar story for ewe lambs, with a top price of €1,020 paid for Declan’s pick of ewe lambs and one which he described as having a bright showing and breeding future. All 24 ewe lambs sold well, recording an average price of €569 and selling on average in a tight price range of €480 to €700.

There was a strong online presence of both active bidders and viewers, with many prospective buyers happy to view animals before the sale and bid at home in light of COVID-19 concerns.

The sale ended on a bright note with seven pedigree-registered Dutch Spotted ewe lambs selling for an average of €1,747. The April-born lambs generated intense bidding, with prices ranging from €1,200 to €2,260, while a Dutch Spotted sired commercial lamb sold for €940.