SOLID TRADE AS BLUE TEXEL SOCIETY MAKES SUCCESSFUL DEBUT AT CCM SKIPTON Millside flock claims 2,100gns top call with reserve champion shearling ewe A brand-new show and sale on behalf of The Blue Texel Sheep Society at Skipton Auction Mart clearly illustrated the growing popularity of the distinctive breed when attracting a catalogue entry of 169 head, a large crowd ringside and solid trade, including multiple four-figure selling prices.

Four of these fell to Scotland’s David Alexander, who runs the Millside flock at Galston in Ayrshire, including a sale-topping 2,100gns for his first prize shearling ewe, female champion and overall reserve champion.

His March, 2020, daughter of Lyles Django, a 1,500gns acquisition, out of a home-bred dam by Beili Blues Dylan, bred in Wales by Dylan and Bethan Jones, sold to the Pendle flock in Roughlee, Nelson, of Mark, Elaine and Issy Hartley.

In addition, a further trio of shearling gimmers from Millside, all by Django, sold at 1,300gns each, among them the runner-up in its show class and reserve female champion, which found a new home in Wales with WE Evans, of Llanwrst in Conwy.

On what was her first-ever foray into the Blue Texel show and sale area, North Craven’s Becki Dakin, who runs the Rathbone flock in Eldroth, made an immediate impact when her first prize shearling ram and male champion was then tapped out as overall champion by show judge Martin Sivill, of the Glanrafon flock in St Asaph, North Wales.

Becki, who has only been breeding Blue Texels for a couple of years and maintains a small flock, clinched the title with Rathbone Ezra, one of April, 2020-born AI twins to Hackney Captain, out of a Corra ewe by a Beili Blues imported sire.

Judge Mr Sivill, who is vice-chairman of The Blue Texel Sheep Society, described his chosen title winner as “tremendous – solid, good skinned, with good conformation,” then backed his decision by snapping it up for second top call of 1,800gns.

Becki was also among the prizes in the shearling ewe show class, standing fourth with an April, 2020, Hackney Captain daughter which travelled north of the border when sold for 700gns to A&M Duncanson, of Beattock in Dumfries and Galloway.

Stephen and Mathew Benson, who run the Mewstone flock at Pennington, near Ulverston in the Lake District, achieved 1,350gns with a March, 2020, twin gimmer shearling daughter of Farm Mill Blues David, out of a home-bred dam.

It found a new home locally in Long Preston when acquired on behalf of Barney Mellin, 18-month-old son of John Mellin and Clare Cropper, familiar faces at Skipton and one of a duo purchased purposely by them at the sale to give their youngster an early taste and interest in livestock ownership via his Mill House flock, both adding to the first two Blue Texel gimmers purchased as a 1st birthday present by his grandfather, well-known Accrington retail butcher George Cropper.

The second Skipton purchase for Barney at 1,000gns was the runner-up in the shearling ram show class from Suffolk’s Chris and Laura Beck, of Beckbred Blues in Bramfield, near Halesworth. Their January, 2020, Hackney tup, bred by Paul Tippets and Christine Williams, is by the 18,000gns Joe’s Alvin, out of an imported dam.

In addition, the Becks caught the eye with a 1,200gns shearling ewe sale for a March, 2020, AI daughter of the 5,000gns Nantyderri Derek and herself the first daughter of a Hackney dam purchased for 4,200gns. It fell to Andrew Bailey, of Tarporley in Cheshire.

The Bensons also stood third in the ewe lambs show class with a May-born daughter of Farm Mill Blues David, which made 680gns when claimed online by another Scottish bidder, Mark Wattie, of Alford in Aberdeenshire.

Back with the shearling rams, all the principals in the show class made four figures. The third prize winner from Hamish Currie’s Burnholm flack in Carlisle, a February, 2020, home-bred by Cleenagh Dakota, sold for 1,150gns, the fourth prize ram, another February-born home-bred by Caryl’s Blues Cocky Lad from Matthew Holmberg’s Fanny Hill flock at St Asaph in Denbighshire, also away at 1,000gns.

The Hartley family’s Pendle Valley Farm flock was itself among the prizes when presenting the first prize ram lamb and reserve male champion, Pendle Finders Keepers, a March-born son of Pistyll Double Diamond, acquired last year and responsible for this year’s show lambs. Out of a home-bred dam by Cairnrock Ye-Ha, the lamb, which has already been shown successfully, winning at Garstang and standing runner-up at the Royal Lancashire, sold for 750gns.

Ram lamb prices peaked at 1,000gns for one from Phillip and Laura Melland’s Morridge flock in Leek, Staffordshire. Their February-born AI son of Hackney All Gold, out of a home-bred ewe, travelled to South Yorkshire with Sheffield’s MG Mosley & Sons.

Returning to the females, first and second prizes in the ewe lambs show class fell to Norfolk’s Anita Padfield and Paul Barwood, of the Blue Diamond flock in Potter Heigham, Great Yarmouth. Their February-born Turbo Blue daughter headed its section on price at 900gns when joining same day vendor Stephen Taylor, of the Taylor Blues flock in Leyland, Lancashire.

The second prize ewe lamb, by the same sire, made 420gns, the fourth prize winner from Welsh vendor Enfys Williams’ Llan flock in Pumsaint, Carmarthenshire, away at 500gns to Ulverston’s KL Wilson.

Travelling up from Northamptonshire, the Silson flock in Towcester of Messrs Baird & Coles made 750gns with a February, 2020, shearling ewe daughter of Tyisaf Crackerjack, which joined GR Kerr Farming in Daventry.

The standout performance among the aged ewes was a 1,100gns selling price for the Taylor Blues flock with an Import Ewe 08330-19220 claimed by I Richardson, of Catforth, Preston.

Top prices and averages: MV Accredited - 15 Shearling Rams, top 1800gns , average 680gns - £714, 19 Ram Lambs, top 1000gns, average 508gns - £533.40, 3 Aged Ewes, top 1,100gns,
Average 607gns - £637, 40 Shearling Ewes, top 2100gns, average 712gns - £748, 19 Ewe Lamb, top 900gns, average 435gns - £456.

Non MV Section:10 Shearling Rams, top 500gns, average 286gns - £300.30, 4 Ram Lambs, top 280gns, average 266gns - £280, 1 Aged Ewe, 600gns, average £630, 3 Shearling Ewes, top 600gns, average 600gns - £630, 3 Ewe Lambs, top 400gns, average 377gns - £395.50.

There are now over 750 registered Blue Texel flocks across the UK, with rams continuing to grow in popularity as commercial sires, producing prime cross-bred lambs – the majority are white- exhibiting quality carcases.