A total of 28 pairs of ewe hoggs of 16 breeds will be on offer at a novel auction sale of breeding sheep which will round off Scotland’s national sheep event, NSA Scotsheep 2014, on Wednesday.
The biennial day-long event organised by the Scottish region of the National Sheep Association is being hosted by farmers, John and Iain Macfarlane at Quixwood, Duns, Berwickshire, and is set to attract a large attendance of sheep farmers from throughout the North of England and Scotland.
David Leggat, executive chairman of United Auctions and chairman of the organising committee for the event, said: “This is the first time a sale of ewe hoggs has been held as part of Scotsheep and it will give prospective buyers a great opportunity to acquire high-quality breeding stock from some of the top pedigree flocks in the country.”
The various breeds consigned by 22 exhibitors from Cumbria to Aberdeenshire will include Lleyn, Suffolk, Texel, Zwartbles, Kerry Hill, New Zealand Suffolk, Bluefaced Leicester, North Country Cheviot, Scottish Blackface, Mules, Scotch Mule, Shetland, South Country Cheviot, Easycare, Greyface and Rough Fell.
Features of the event will include a farm tour, breed society displays, trade stands, practical demonstrations, stockjudging, sheep dog trials, sheep shearing competition, Young Shepherd of the Year final and a comprehensive seminar programme covering CAP reform, animal health and nutrition and the marketing of lamb. Meanwhile, the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) will be showcasing the work it does on behalf of British sheep farmers at NSA Scotsheep 2014.
The current strong market for wool achieved significantly higher payments for producers than last year – up 34% on average and farmers marketing their wool through the BWMB are set to benefit with average wool payments in 2014 further increasing, explained BWMB chairman Malcolm Corbett of Northumberland.
“The average 2014 guide clip value for Blackface wools will be £1.05/kg, with Scotch Mule wool about £1.25/kg.”
The BWMB stand will feature examples of all the work done by the organisation at every stage in the wool supply chain, said Mr Corbett.
“Farmers may just see the BWMB as a wool collection service, but it does far more than that.
“BWMB is active at all stages of the wool supply chain, being involved in wool harvesting, grading fleeces and the selling of wool by auction to processors and manufacturers.”
In addition to the board’s own promotional activities, through its involvement with the Campaign for Wool (CfW) it is also very active in promoting wool and woollen products to consumers, both as a fashion fabric and also as a furnishing and interior design material, he added.
Mr Corbett said the CfW has been a major force for good in the wool industry, both at home and abroad.
“We’re delighted to be taking this opportunity to show what the CfW is doing and highlight its success both here in the UK and internationally.
“With the patronage of the Prince of Wales, the campaign has galvanised the wool industry across the world into working together to promote the fibre, something which has never been achieved successfully before.”
On the farming front, visitors to the stand will also be able to find out more about BWMB’s involvement in shearer training, said Colin MacGregor, regional manager for Scotland.
“Training new and upcoming shearers is one of the most important activities of BWMB and the quality and quantity of the shearers we have in this country is something we are very proud of.”
Young British shearers learn skills which can lead to a range of opportunities across the world and set them up for life, he added.
“But crucially, highly-skilled shearers, such as those trained by BWMB, are essential to ensure wool is harvested from sheep in an efficient and welfare friendly manner.”
As joint sponsors of Scotsheep 2014, BWMB and CfW are looking forward to meeting producers at the event to showcase the work of the two organisations and help farmers make the most of their wool in the coming years, added Mr MacGregor.
He said: “Worldwide demand for wool is strong and BWMB is here to help producers make the most of their wool. Presenting clean, good quality wool to BWMB will help maximise their income and ensure BWMB is able to sell it to the producers’ best advantage.”