A Vale of Glamorgan farmer’s Christmas present earned him 26,000 guineas and a record price at one of Europe’s most famous sheep sales. The NSA Wales & Border Ram Sale has a turnover of around £2 million and is a huge economic driver in Mid Wales.
Tudor Harris was gifted a top breeding ram sperm for Christmas 2020 by his daughter. And one of the rams bred from it attracted eye-watering bids when the sale opened at the Royal Welsh Showground.
A Blue Faced Leicester shearling sold for a record 26,000 guineas minutes after the auction. Tudor and his wife Janet run the Bonvilston Herd at Redlands Farm and have been well-known breeders for over 30 years. Their son Richard runs Harris & Birt in Cowbridge.
Tudor was ecstatic: “He’s a yearling, my daughters bought me from Sperm as a Christmas present, Greg yr Orsedd from Logie Durno. We have a brother who is one year younger at home.”
Buyer Hazel Brown has a Leadburnlea flock of 70 breeding ewes. He is a regular at the NSA Wales & Border Ram Sale and comes for “a great show of Blue Faced Leicester sheep”. He took the previous record holder at the sale in 2018, a 12,000 guinea ram bred and sold by the Harris family.
Hazel said: “He’s a huge big scopeye sheep, lovely eyes, lovely head. Legs are correct, clean and well-skinned.
“If you’re looking for a ram, this is the place to come. Blue Faced Leicester is an excellent terminal for Black Faces, so they have a big commercial role.
Excitement quickly followed in the Texel ring, with another sale record when a Texel sold for 24,000 guineas. Texel Supreme Champion from Paul Tippetts’s Flock sold for 24,000 guineas. The yearling Wilodge sold to Ex Factor, Ted Fox, Jonathan Watson and Michael James.
Paul and his wife Christine Williams destroyed the sheep earlier in the year. They last set the world record two years ago at Carlisle with their Limousin heifer Wilodge Posh Spice selling for 250,000 guineas.
The sale at the Royal Welsh Showground was a week late but the turnover was 2,795 ewes or 88% sold to £1,956,127.99. The overall average was £699.87, up slightly on last year.
Chairman Graham Jones, who farms near Caerphilly, said he was delighted. With a few star performers, almost universally excellent results were achieved.
He added: “It’s great to see people who have been coming here for years can come back and buy replacements for their flocks. That’s what we want to see.
“I think the trade reflects the demand for heavier lamb. Overall it was a great day. There was a good atmosphere.”
A Blue Faced Leicester ram lamb from Wyn and Siwan Harries’ Hope Flock then sold for 15,000 guineas to Scott Thomason for Piel View Flock, Walney Island, Cumbria. Won 13,500 guineas from breed champion Alan McClymont.
Breeds Secretary Helen Carr-Smith said: “We are off to a great start with the 26,000 guinea fur ram and we are delighted for the Harris family.
“We had a good trade with some headline prices. We broke the breed record for a traditional ram.”
Texel Supreme Champion from Paul Tippetts’s Flock sold for 24,000 guineas. The yearling Wilodge sold to Ex Factor, Ted Fox, Jonathan Watson and Michael James. He will start with Michael James for AI before moving on to Berwick on Tweed and then Ted Fox’s College Herd.
Offeror Ted Fox said: “He’s just in a class of his own. We haven’t seen such a creamy ball all year.
“He’s just pure muscle, he’s good on his feet, he lifts his head well and he’s long as a snake. He just has a hell of a good ball. We have a hundred pure Texel sheep and this time we didn’t need a tup, but I couldn’t resist!
“I didn’t expect him to win that much, but we weren’t going to stop. We would buy it if we could. He is a special sheep and will distinguish our herds.
Breeder Paul Tippetts was delighted to go on a high. This is his last Texel sale as they disbanded the females in January.
“She came out of Teiglun’s pet Crackerjack. He was always a stand-up, demonstrative ram, and we thought he had the X-factor. We always thought it would fetch good money, but you never know at auction!
“I think that the breeding fund has a special excitement. You take care of the stud, you raise studs. It is not always about the appearance of the animal. It’s about generation, which makes it more interesting.”
Paul and wife Christine Williams last hit the headlines with their world record Wilodge Posh Spice. A Limousin heifer sold for 250,000 guineas at Carlisle two years ago.
A top-priced Charollais gelding from Probert & Sons Mortimer Flock sold for 3,800 guineas. Went to D Williams, Betws, Anglesey. She is said to be a ‘very fleshy, good bodied, active sheep’. Geoff and Bridget are proud that their pen of 30 bulls averages £880, with the majority going to regular buyers who appreciate their winter hardiness and ability.
The top selling Suffolk ram was sold for 3,500 guineas by Jim and Nikki Hartwright, Springfields Flock. Aled Williams went to Môn Flock, Anglesey.
A ram lamb from Glenys Morgan’s Llangeview flock sold for 1,750 guineas. He said the Suffolk was a good native breed that could withstand the UK weather.
Top price was North Country Cheviot from N & CM Barratt, Condover, Shrewsbury, whose yearling tup sold for 2,100 guineas. He recently sold to Alan Jones, Corwen, who has recently re-entered the breed.
Top selling Lleyn 1,250 guineas, Blue Texel mutton 3,200 guineas, Berrichon ram 1,650 guineas, Dutch Spotted mutton 1,090 guineas, South Country Cheviot 1,090 guineas, Hilliot 1,400, Cheviot 140, and badger face for 350 guineas.