The Suffolk Sheep Society Northern Ireland branch’s premier show and sale saw prices hit 10,000gns not once, but three times in Ballymena, Co. Antrim last weekend.

The show and sale was held over two consecutive days with Gerry Killilea of the Carragh Flock, Co. Galway being the judge on the day.  

There was a large entry of females this year with Sean and Jane McCloskey taking the red rosette in the ewe lamb class and reserve female champion selling for 2,000gns to Martin and Eoin Butler, of the Castlewood flock Ballymena. 

Suffolk sheep sale winners

Leading Co. Down breeder Mark Priestley of the Limestone Flock took home the supreme champion title. His champ sold for 10,000gns to Co. Down breeders Patrick Grant, Craigdoo Flock, and Brian Dickson, Islandmoyle flock.  

Campbell and Jason Watson went on to take second place, with their animal selling to D Dijhuizzen in the Netherlands for 800gns. Coming in third was Ian Donald, with his animal selling to Martin Brown in Co. Fermanagh for 700gns.  

In the shearling ewe class, Jason and Campbell Watson came out with the winning rosette. They went on to take the Female Champion award too, with their animal selling for 3,000gns to J Dijhuizzen, the Netherlands.

Patrick McVerry took second place selling for 1,200gns to John McConaghie, Ballymena and Philip Kennedy took third place selling to G Silva, Portugal, for 850gns.

Image source: Alfie Shaw

The shearling ram class saw Andrew Moses take first place, selling to Fergal Rooney, Rostrevor for 1,700gns. Mark Priestley took second place, selling to Tiago Graca, Portgual, for 900gns.

The Gigot ram lamb class saw Co. Fermanagh breeder Keith Johnston of the Rossbrook flock, paying 1,700gns for the first prize Crewelands Red Bull-sired lamb from the Ballyncannon flock of Dennis Taylor.  

Stephanie and William Tait took the second prize with their Bridgeview Boots-sired ram being knocked down to D McLean, Co. Antrim for 1,000gns and Patrick McVerry took third selling to Robin McAdoo, Threeways flock Cookstown for 2,000gns.

Susan O’Keeffe with the Clyda flock took first in the coveted novice class, selling her animal to fellow Co. Louth breeder Philip Lynch of the Glyde flock for 10,000gns.

Second place went to Richard Thompson and third place to Andrew Wilson.

Image source: NI Suffolk Branch

With an impressive line-up of ram lambs, Killilea had a difficult task ahead to select his winner but Limestone flock owner Mark Priestley came out on top and secured the winning rosette, taking overall supreme champion with his Howgillfoot Bat Man-sired lamb selling to Patrick Grant and Brian Dickson for 10,000gns.

Alastair Barkley of the Blackbrae flock went on to take second place and reserve overall champion with his Blackbrae Black Label-sired lamb, selling for 10,000gns to Annakisha flock owners, Arthur and Patrick O’Keeffe from Co. Cork.

Taking third prize was Ian Donald with his Strathbogie Joel-sired lamb selling to Brian Doyle, Co. Wickow for 5,000gns.

The pen of three honours went to the Burnview flock of Stephanie and William Tait, with Campbell and Jason Watson and Mark Priestley named the runners up.

In the young handler classes, Noah Taylor took the winning rosette in the under-14 class, second place went to Isabella Taylor and third place to Caoimhe Dickson.

The under-18 category saw Joseph Trimble take the red rosette, with Beth Cousins coming in second and Neale Fleming coming in third. 

Image source: NI Suffolk Branch

The sale saw a 76% clearance with 152 sheep sold in total.

Sale averages and numbers sold:

  • Ram lambs: 122 sold, averaging £1,458, 72% clearance;
  • Shearling ewes: 13 sold, averaging £1,025, 100% clearance;
  • Ewe lambs: 12 sold, averaging £849, 92% clearance;
  • Shearling rams: Five sold, averaging £1,040, 100% clearance.

Online biding was very prevalent at the sale with over 50 lots sold in the Republic of Ireland, UK and Europe.