As he has done for the past 20 years, Border Union Show secretary Ron Wilson rang the bell at precisely 10am to get the world-famous Kelso Ram Sales underway last Friday.
However, it is the last time Ron will perform this duty as he has announced his retirement. But he ended his tenure at Springwood in a similar fashion to his beginnings with a record-breaking Ram Sales.
Continuous rain last Thursday did not deter buyers from attending on Friday and from the start trade was buoyant throughout the day. There were many satisfied faces, both consignors and buyers, with the quality of rams on offer.
During Ron’s first sales back in 1997, he oversaw a record entry of 7,730 rams and on Friday he witnessed more records with the £3million sales barrier being broken for the first time, and the average sale price surpassing £700. The turnover of £3,160,290 was a record (+7.6%) and the average of £709.54 was also a record, up £24.06 (3.51%) for 169 more sold (3.92%).
In all there were 101 shearlings sold at £2,000 or more and 35 lambs at £1,000 or more.
The Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS) is licenced to export high health status Maedi Visnae rams direct from the Sales to Northern Ireland and the number of buyers increases every year with a record of 103 rams being exported, with three also being bought for export to Eire.
The retiring secretary said: “The day vindicated the confidence in the sheep industry with the evidence of buyers’ faith in that more rams sold, with a record turnover, a record average and record exports.”
Top price on the day was £23,000 for a Texel from Karen and Allan Wight, Midlock, Crawford. John Elliot, Roxburgh Mains, Kelso, Jonathan Watson, Bowsden Moor, Berwick, and Mike and Melanie Alford, Foxhill Farm, in Devon, were the joint buyers.
Top priced Bluefaced Leicester was £12,000 for the Wight family from Biggar to Jack Kay, Hartside Farm, Lauder. The £12,000 top price was followed by £10,000 for a shearling from T. Dick and Son, Hamildean, Peebles, which was bought by Messrs Lauchry and Mills from Northern Ireland.
Best in the lambs was a Suffolk from Gary Beacom’s Lakeview Farm, which went to Wales for £4,800. And £4,400, for a Texel from Allan Campbell, Strawfrank, Carstairs, which went to Herefordshire.