3,000 sheep sold at Dalmally auction
UNITED Auctions held its second September sale of all classes of lambs and sheep at Dalmally Auction Mart on Saturday, September 19. An increased entry of over 3,000 head again sold at very satisfactory levels and to a good following of buyers. The overall average for the lambs was £37.39 whilst the corresponding sale last year averaged £38.16. Principal lots and prices Top prices per head Lambs Suffolk cross: £59.00 – Lettershuna : £59.00 – Ardchattan HF. Texel cross: £60.00 – ArdchattanHF : £55.00 – Achnacreemore : £52.00 – Baluachrach. Cheviot cross: £49.00 –3 Morven Crescent, Lochaline : £48.00 – Barndromin Farm. Cross: £46.50 – Alaval : £45.00 – Balnahard, Colonsay : £44.00 – Homefield Croft, Colonsay. Mule: £49.50 – Ardchattan HF : £47.50 – Baluachrach : £46.00 – Kiloran Farmers, Colonsay. Cheviot Mule: £45.00 – Barguillean Farm. Blackface: £49.50 – Tullochcan : £46.50 – Achnaba : £45.50 – Littleport : £43.50 – Scallasaig, Colonsay : £43.00 – Tullochcan : £42.50 – Pitcastle Estate : £42.50 – Littleport : £41.50 – Stronchullin : £41.50 – Castles Estate : £41.00 – Tayvallich Estates : £40.50 – Balnahard, Colonsay : £40.00 – Kiloran Farmers. Cast ewes Texel cross: £57.00 – BarguilleanFarm : £55.00 – Duallin. Suffolk cross: £50.00 – Lettershuna. Cross: £44.00 – Glenaros, Mull : £44.00 – 15 Ardmhor, Barra : £44.00 – Barguillean. Blackface: £42.00 – Innischeroch. Rams Blackface £340, £320, £300(3) – Castles Estate. Top prices per kilo Lambs Suffolk cross: 163p –3 Morven Crescent, Lochaline : 157p – Drimnin Estate : 156p – Couston Farm : 156p – Ardsheal Farm : 153p – Drimnin Estate : 153p – 3 Morven Crescent : 152p – Baluachrach : 150p – Lettershuna : 150p – Drimnin Estate. Texel cross: 167p – Barguillean Farm : 163p – Birchfield : 162p – Balnahard, Colonsay : 162p – Achnacreemore : 160p – Glenmachrie : 158p – Achnacreemore : 155p – Barguillean Farm : 153p – Ardsheal Farm : 152p – Birchfield : 150p – 7 Whitegates. Cheviot cross: 171p –3 Morven Crescent : 163p – Lochdochart : 158p – 15 Ardmhor, Barra : 157p – 1 Davaar : 153p – 15 Ardmhor, Barra : 153p – Barndromin Farm : 152p – Dunach Estate : 150p – Barndromin Farm. Cross: 157p – Homefield Croft, Colonsay : 151p – Couston Farm : 150p – Balnahard, Colonsay. Mule : 142p – Baluachrach. Cheviot mule: 149p – Barguillean Farm. Blackface: 173p – Littleport Farm : 160p – Glenmachrie : 151p – High Balernock : 150p – Scallasaig, Colonsay : 150p – Balliemeanoch : 149p – Kiloran Farmers, Colonsay : 148p – Tullochcan : 147p – Rhemore : 146p – Blarghour Farm : 146p – Achnaba : 143p –Stroneskar : 143p – Auch Estates : 143p – Littleport : 143p – Stroneskar : 142p – Keilator : 141p – Drimnin Estate : 140p – Ardachy : 140p – Homefield Croft : 140p – High Balernock : 140p – Laggan Partnership : 140p – Tullochcan : 140p - Killundine Estate. Summer is just about gone now and we are preparing for the next phase in the livestock calendar. We have weaned all our lambs and are in the process of selecting those which will be kept for breeding. The ewe lambs will be sent to farms near Airdrie and Buckie at the end of the month, where they will spend the winter. The male lambs which are not required for breeding will be sorted before we put them into the shed for finishing over autumn and early winter. We try to get these lambs into the shed as soon as possible in order to keep the grass that remains in good condition, clean for the ewes through October. This helps get them ready for mating in November.
The calves have also just been weaned and have spent a few days in the new cattle shed at Kirkton. This is to get them used to being away from their mothers. They will soon be sent away to be wintered down at SRUC’s Oatridge campus, the same as last year.
The heifers we retained from last year’s calves were not put to the bull earlier this year as it was felt that only two out of five were big enough when the bull went out at the start of May. As it transpires they have grown well over the summer and probably would have been OK to be mated. But, as often happens in farming, hindsight is a wonderful thing! We have also recently sold our bull as he was coming back into his own stock. He has gone to an estate near Oban where we hope he will be as successful as he has been at Kirkton.
We have also just had a farming and industry Livestock handling, health and welfare open day on the farms. The event was centred around the new sheep handling facilities at Auchtertyre and the new cattle handling and shed facilities at Kirkton.
This day was designed to allow local farmers to hear more about our new cattle stock cube and the automated weigh crate, drafter and double conveyor system that we have installed in the sheep fank.
These new facilities have markedly improved the ease and safety with which we can handle the livestock on the farms. Colleagues from SAC Consulting and SRUC Research were also on hand to highlight how these improvements provide more scope for regular and detailed assessments of the health and welfare of sheep flocks and cattle herds.
We are also saying good-bye to our French student who just spent three months with us on a placement. Thibaut Salanon, who is originally from Lyon, is studying for an agricultural masters degree in Toulouse, in the South of France, and the placement was part of his studies. He has spent the summer helping us on the farms and with some of the research projects we are carrying out. He was involved most particularly with the work of our PhD student, Ping Zhou, who is looking at the effect of harsh environments on breeding ewes. To help Ping, Thibaut spent most of the summer on the hill, looking at ewes’ grazing behaviour. Despite the cold Scottish summer (a far cry from his native France!) and the midgies, we hope Thibaut has enjoyed his stay with us, and we wish him good luck for the rest of his studies.
Finally, we are running the second in a series of free half day workshops looking at controlling rushes without chemicals on 30th October. These workshops are being organised in collaboration with Soil Association Scotland. The October one follows on from a very successful meeting in June which explored a number of available options for non- chemical rush control on the farms. This second meeting will look at the effects of topping and liming which have been carried out over the summer. You do not need to have been at the first meeting to attend this meeting. However, places are limited, so to book your place please contact Jane Dingwall at email@example.com.
Ewen Campbell with the new sheep handling system in action