Beltex to the fore as sheep sales season starts in Carlisle

Buyers from across the UK are expected to flock to massive sheep breeding sales being held this month

Beltex 1st prize Tup shearling
Beltex 1st prize Tup shearling

Farmers can look forward to a busy month when thousands of sheep come under the hammer in a series of major breeding sales in the region.

Livestock auctioneers Harrison and Hetherington, which has seven marts across the North, is kicking off the main breeding sheep sales season at its Borderway Mart in Carlisle.

Three major sales during August are key dates in many of the UK sheep breed societies’ calendars. Buyers from across the UK will have the opportunity to bid for the cream of pedigree rams and breeding females.

More than 3,300 top-quality pedigree sheep, including some of the UK’s major winners from the current show season, will be auctioned at the annual breeding sales.

These feature the UK’s biggest Beltex and Zwartbles sales, with top prize-winning animals among the breeding stock on offer.

Harrison and Hetherington sales director Scott Donaldson said: “The Carlisle August sales really are the centre of the sheep breeders’ calendar.

“Borderway’s reputation for quality pedigree and commercial animals is unsurpassed. The number of breed societies that base their annual breeding shows and sales here is a mark of the high regard the centre is held in, and the number of entries is growing every year.”

The August selling season starts with the Carlisle August Fair on Friday , with 2,000 entries comprising breeding ewes of all classes, and also Suffolk and Continental rams.

It includes the UK’s biggest Zwartbles sale, with an entry of 420 head in the annual show and sale of MV-accredited Zwartbles rams and females.

The Carlisle and Northern Counties Suffolk Sheep Society show and sale, which has an entry of 225 MV accredited pedigree rams and females, is also part of the August Fair.

Up to four rings will be in action at Borderway Mart the following week for the UK’s biggest Beltex sale. An entry of almost 1,600 pedigree sheep will be sold in the two-day sale on Thursday and Friday August 15 and16, dominated by the 21st annual show and sale of MV-accredited Beltex sheep, which boasts an entry of 1,350 pedigree rams and females.

The two-day event also includes the 24th annual show and sale of MV-accredited Rouge sheep, with 120 pedigree rams and females on offer, and the 28th annual Bleu du Maine show and sale, with an entry of 100 MV-accredited pedigree rams and females.

Top Beltex breeder Paul Tippetts is bringing a consignment of 24 shearling rams, gimmer shearlings and tup lambs from his Shropshire-based Hackney flock to the Carlisle sale.

This includes the 2013 Three Counties champion Beltex ram lamb, Great Yorkshire Show Breed Champion Ewe lamb and her full sister the Royal Welsh Champion Beltex – ewe lamb.


Paul said: “This has been a tremendous year for the flock, one of the best years ever. We’ve won three big shows with three different sheep.


“The tup lamb that was Beltex Champion at the Three Counties show was sired by Ryders Roonie, bought as a shearling at Carlisle last year for 10,000gns.


“Carlisle is an important sale because it is the biggest Beltex sale in the country, and it is the main event for selling Beltex. Beltex are becoming more popular than ever, and with the premiums that Beltex lambs are commanding, this hopefully will be one the best Beltex sales that has ever been recorded.”

Cumbrian breeder Anne Story, of Hobbiesburn, Longtown, Carlisle, will be selling 11 tups from her Borderesk flock.

The 10 shearling tups will include Reserve Male Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show, and the ram lamb which won second prize for the Beltex ram lamb at the Royal Highland Show.

Anne said: “This year has been a great year for the Borderesk Flock as we are selling what I think is one of the best runs of shearling tups we have ever produced.

“This is the annual Beltex show and sale of pedigree rams and females, and it is always a special sale as it is held at Carlisle, which is our local auction mart.”

Borderway Mart will also host a sale of breeding ewes on Friday, August 23, with an entry of around 2,000 mainly two and three shear Suffolks and Continentals.

Friday, August 30, will round up the August selling season with a major showcase that includes a number of noted breed society shows, including additional commercial Beltex rams and females.

Around 1,000 sheep will go under the hammer on the final Friday of the month in a bumper event catering for both pedigree and commercial buyers.

The sale features an entry of 65 accredited rams and females in the 21st annual show and sale of Berrichon sheep.

The annual show and sale of MV-accredited Charollais sheep has an entry of 120, as does the Dorset Horn and Polled Dorset sheep show and sale of 150 head. The Blue Texel breeding sale includes 120 entries, and a Beltex breeders sale of 170 sheep. The popularity of the Beltex is being catered for with an additional breeders’ sale, with 150 head entered, and 250 commercial sheep will be offered in the annual cross-bred Beltex rams and females sale.

These sales will include some of the best locally produced commercial breeding sheep, from Cumbrian farmers, Thomas and James Whiteford of Tercrosset Farm, Brampton, in the cross-bred Beltex sale.

Scott said: “We’re particularly pleased to report a rise in entries this year, which give buyers the opportunity to bid on some of the creme de la creme of breeding stock, including some champions from this year’s major shows.”

Beltex are becoming more popular than ever… this hopefully will be one of the best Beltex sales ever


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