Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Balance of genes and looks pays off for Kells flock

Eamonn Duffy with his son, Thomas and some of their Suffolk Flock at Kells, Co Meath.
Eamonn Duffy with his son, Thomas and some of their Suffolk Flock at Kells, Co Meath.

Martin Ryan

A strong commitment to a good balance between visual appearance and genetic merit as the policy for the careful selection of breeding stock continues to deliver dividends for Eamonn Duffy's Kells Suffocks as the flock set a new record price for a ewe.

Breeders from across the country flocked to the second production sale of ewes from the Meath flock at Carnaross Mart, where demand outstripped supply and the keen competition to acquire the 'Kells' genes fuelled a new record flock price of 2,300gns and a complete clearance of the 50 lots on offer.

The price-topping ewe, sired by Birness Royal, was purchased by Seamus Browne for his Errigal flock at Listillion, Letterkenny.

Eamonn Duffy said "she was a real nice one, as good as we have ever bred with great length and very well made".

The reigning Suffolk Flock of the Year for Ireland - for the second consecutive year - was presented with the Brook Perpetual Challenge Cup two months ago for flocks of more than 100 breeding ewes in Ireland and UK 2018.

"We have built up the flock over the years with a heavy weighting on the appearance of the ewes we use for breeding in conjunction with consideration of the genes," said Eamonn.

"Of course I always look at the breeding when I am buying stock but I have built up the flock over the years by going a lot on appearance, which has worked very well for me and brought us to where we are today."

The sale achieved an average of 790 gns with full clearance. "Some of the breeders were disappointed that they did not get as many as they were looking for," said Eamonn.

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In addition to the price-topper another ewe sold for 1,700 gns to a Co Cavan breeder.

The third highest price paid was 1,100 gns, by one of the leading breeders in Co Donegal, while another Donegal breeder paid 3,500gns for six ewes.

Indo Farming