How one Suffolk breeder bred success in his flock over the years
A Suffolk sheep breeder from the Banner County is the breed price topper for this country for 2016 after his home-bred ram became the fancy of a Northern Ireland breeder who outbid breeders from the Republic at auction.
P J Howard, who keeps a small Suffolk flock in the Burren, received €3,100 for his February-born ram out of Kells' Liam Og and by the sire Garryhinch Impact from Coleraine sheep breeder Denis Taylor at the Society Premier Show and Sale at Roscrea Mart this year.
The Ballyvaughan sheep breeder was "pleased" with the sale price topper, which set the record for 2016, given the "tougher seasonal trade" which all breeders of pedigree stock experienced during the year.
However, the price paled against the €7,200 which he was paid for a ram from the same flock a couple of years ago.
The highest price paid for an Irish-bred Suffolk in 2016 was achieved by Donegal breeder, Andrew Wilson at the Scottish Sale at Stirling where his ram lamb sold for €13,000.
The Carlisle Flock had swept the boards in the awards at the Premier Show and Sale winning the supreme championship with a January-born ram out of Rookery Classic by the sire Birness Murray.
The overall champion, judged the male champion of show, was also awarded the Suffolk Sheep Society Cup for the best Suffolk ram bred in southern Ireland, the Bocock cup for the best exhibitor bred ram, and the Arthur O'Keeffe cup for the open ram class.
However in the sales ring on the day, auctioneer Michael Taaffe's hammer fell on the champion at €1,500, a disappointing price for a brother to a ram, Castleisle Knockout, which sold £14,000 from the same flock in 2015.