Trade Talk by Archie Hamilton

17th September 2016


Our Annual Show and Sale of Cheviot Mule ewe lambs and shearlings took place at the end of last month, with a catalogued entry of 7,825, which was a massive rise of 1,825 on last year's sale.

The sale at Longtown is the principal sale for the breed and has gone from strength to strength with only a small selection available in other centres through the country. The buyers come from Caithness to Cornwall, Aberdeen to Anglesey, Banff to Buckinghamshire, and always go home with what they want, if not always in their price range!

This rise in numbers is due to the increasing popularity of the breed, and at present demand well outstrips supply. Many people are switching from Mules to Cheviot Mules with the cast ewes being worth more and the quality of lambs produced being much better.

The increased popularity lead to a packed ring of buyers and a rise in trade on the year especially for the ewe lambs.

A great show of 4,251 ewe lambs was forward selling to a top of £155 and averaging £106.45, which was a rise of £6.78 on the year.

The 1,917 shearlings met a mixed trade with the best end of the shearlings dearer on the year to a top of £192, with an average of £138.94, although the lesser end proved harder to cash as men were more selective with their purchases.

Going forward, the outlook for the breed seems very positive and is going from strength to strength as demand continues to grow, which in turn helps other things such as Cheviot ewes and True Blue Leicester rams as men look to produce the breed.

Last Friday saw us partake in the Annual Closomectin Kelso Ram Sales, where a much smaller show of 5,145 rams, down 520 on the year, met a much stronger selling trade due to an increased lamb trade this season, with a very good clearance rate achieved. Best quality rams met extreme rates and our company managed to sell 16 rams at four figure prices, with a top call of £1,350, twice, for Beltex x Texel rams.

Vendors have realised that buyers are becoming more selective and are not afraid to pay for the best, hence, many producers took less rams to the sale but in turn increased the quality on offer.

Rams look to be scarcer in numbers this year, therefore my opinion is that trade should stay strong, especially for the best end on offer.

My advice to all is to keep selling whilst demand is good and reap the rewards without the extra cost.

Archie Hamilton - C&D Auction Marts Ltd, Longtown