The sale must go on. Following the cancellation of the biggest event in the sheep farming calendar, Harrison & Hetherington have re confirmed dates for its re-scheduled ram sales, with UK wide entries received.
COVID-19 has meant that the huge gatherings of people usually associated with this exciting event must be strictly managed. So, instead of taking place at Kelso Showground as would happen in normal times, alternative mart venues and dates have been found to host the sales of the thousands of rams still to be traded.
With the most prestigious ram sale event of the year being cancelled, attendees from the across the UK and Ireland will be looking to sell and buy in a different format to one they are used to. Here, Harrison & Hetherington release details of their re-scheduled dates to meet the need to keep in breeding, despite the pandemic.
With H&H’s numbers up at just over 2000 entries, the sales are scheduled to take place at Borderway Mart, Carlisle, St Boswell’s and Lockerbie Marts in the Scottish Borders and Wooler in North Northumberland as:-
Saturday 5th September – St Boswell’s Mart, Newtown St Boswells
Suffolk’s (Non MV) 426
Crosses (Non MV) 103
Texels (Non MV) 146
North Country Cheviots (Non MV) 22
Beltex (Non MV) 3
Hampshire Down (Non MV) 7
Thursday 10th September – Borderway Mart, Carlisle
Suffolk shearling & lamb rams (MV) 405
Friday 11th September Lockerbie Mart:
Border Leicesters (MV) 51
Lleyns (MV) 86
Berrichons (MV) 7
Hampshire Down (MV) 18
Roussin (MV) 4
Saturday 12th September – Borderway Mart, Carlisle
Beltex (MV) 255
Dutch Texel, Blue Texel, Dutch Spotted, Badgerface Texel, Texel (MV) 85
Crosses (MV) 325
Tuesday 15th September – Wooler Mart, Northumberland
Texel & Beltex (Non MV) 150
Suffolk & AOB (Non MV) 25
Scott Donaldson, Joint Managing Director of Harrison & Hetherington, spoke about the change in plans:
“It’s a real shame that the Kelso Ram Sales have been cancelled and are not going to take place this year. It has always been a focal point for the industry, and farmers really do save the best of the best for Kelso. Given the circumstances, H&H have worked hard to divide the sales, as it is our responsibility to schedule events so that producers can present their lambs to a large audience through our auction system and maintain social distancing. We have entries from across the British Isles and we still anticipate people coming from all over.”
The difference is that this year, everyone will be working to very strict guidelines, following the rules set at government level. With this in mind, only two people will be allowed to prepare and sell the tups, and only one buyer from each business will be allowed into the ring. No non-buying visitors will not be allowed to enter at all.
Scott continues: “It is upsetting that we can’t do what we’ve always done, as it goes against the grain of what we’re all about. But quite rightly the call was made that the sales couldn’t possibly go ahead as originally planned. So we’ve worked to provide the best solution we can, and we at H&H are looking at over 2000 rams which is even more than last year. It is imperative that people adhere to the strict guidelines we’ve put in place to make sure these sales can take place. We really don’t want to turn anybody away or deal with an outbreak, so we hope that the farming community will act respectfully and responsibly.”
As the UK’s largest livestock trading company, Harrison & Hetherington has been at the forefront of working with others in the industry to make these alternative sales happen. The team has prioritised collaborating with noted sheep centres to deliver options that work for livestock farmers who are used to making the Kelso sales the key date in their diary.