KELSO tup sales once again proved to be the hub of the sheep industry in the UK with buyers coming from as far south as Cornwall and as far north as Orkney.
They also attracted visitors from Holland, Belgium and Canada to see the 13-ring selling spectacle.
At the end of the eight-hour sale, a new record turnover of £2.9 million was set with a record 4,552 rams heading off to new homes. The average sale price, £636.48, was £13 back on the 2011 level, £649.
At the end of the sale Jack Clark, chief executive of auctioneers, John Swan and Co, described it as strong in the morning but slightly stickier as the day wore on. “It has been a good sale and the best sheep were in real demand.”
Border breeder, Jonathon Watson, of Redhead and Watson, Bowsden Moor, Berwick, topped the day’s trade with a £14,000 bid to buy the top Texel shearling from father-and-son team, Alex and Russell Gray, Langside, Lanark. In the only other five-figure deal, Ted Fox, of Elsdonburn, Wooler took a £11,000 bid from Stuart and Graham Oliver, who run the Scrainwood and Duncraig flocks at Bonchester Bridge, Hawick and West Lilburn, Wooler.
The Gray family also sold at £9,500, £8,000 and £5,500, the last of those being snapped up by J. and C. Connell, Wanton Walls, Lauder.
Illustrating the wide attraction of Kelso, the top price in the Suffolk breed came when Myfyr Evans, Rhaeadr, Denbigh brought north four of the offspring of the 90,000 guinea breed record holder Ardlea Arbennig. The first sold for £9,000 to Pamela Lupton, Ripon. Another, at £4,000, went to Northern Irish breeder, Alistair Barclay, Balllymoney
Jonathon Watson recouped some of his cash when he sold the top-price Suffolk shearling for £2,600 to a man better known in the egg world, John Campbell, Glenrath, Peebles.
In two other high-price deals in the Suffolk ring, David Marshall, Duns paid £2,200 for a ram lamb from David Gilmour, Broomknowes, Maybole and John Elliot, Roxburgh Mains, Kelso paid £2,100 for a shearling with a high breeding index from Arnold Park, Drinkstone, Hawick.
Jim Pate, Mossilee, Galashiels also paid £2,100 for an unregistered Suffolk from Fiona Wight, Carwood, Biggar.
As always at Kelso, there was a strong trade for Bluefaced Leicesters and they ended up with the top breed average of £928 for 502 shearlings and £1,012 for 31 ram lambs. The top deal in the breed came with a bid of £5,000 when the Cunningham family, Parkgatestone, Biggar sold their top shearling which had been unbeaten in its show career to John and Stuart Park of Dalpedder, Sanquhar.
The Parks were also involved in a quartet that bought the top priced Bluefaced Leicester ram lamb for £3,000 from A. Minto and Son, Townhead, West Linton. The other buyers were, John Campbell, Glenrath, J. Raeburn, West Linton, and M. Thornborrow, Easter Dawyck, Peebles.
Isobel Sharp, Longcroft, Lauder brought forward a strong pen of Bluefaced Leicesters and she was rewarded with a top price of £3,200 and a follow up of £3,000 to give her one of the top averages. The first went to a trio of pedigree breeders at Firth, Dreva and Midlock and the second was snapped up by Minto of Townhead. But Mrs Sharp then bought a half share of a Dreva shearling sold for £3,000.