A new name will be engraved on the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association trophy presented at their annual show and sale of shearling and aged rams at Skipton Auction Mart following a debut championship success by the North Yorkshire-based Ryder family. (Tues, Oct 23)
Husband and wife Jeff and Jayne Ryder, of Central House Farm, Haverah Park, Harrogate, lifted the title with their first prize shearling ram, though were quick to pass all the credit to their 21-year-old son Josh, who had prepared and exhibited the victor. He also works part time as a stockman at the mart.
The home-bred champion is by a ram from the Penyghent flock of John and Jean Bradley, of Penny Grange, Giggleswick – Jean is secretary of the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association – out of a ewe sired by a ram from association chairman David Wilson, of Crimple Head Farm, Beckwithshaw.
With the spoils went the Royston Baxter Trophy and the former Skipton Auction Mart foreman was on hand to present it personally to the Ryders, who later saw their inaugural Skipton champion sell for a show-topping price of 320gns to John and Karen Harrison, of Hill Top Farm, Blubberhouses, Otley.
The Ryders have for long been mainstays of the breed, with their flock first established in 1966 by Jeff’s father Hugh. They currently run some 120 Dalesbred ewes and also breed Swaledales. At the Skipton highlight, they were also responsible for the second prize aged ram, which fell for 150gns to JC Lister Farms, of Boroughbridge.
The reserve championship was awarded to the first prize aged ram, a home-bred four-shear from John Horner, of FW Horner & Son, Redmire Farm, Buckden, at the very heart of Dalesbred country. By a Stuart Guy Bishopdale tup, the runner-up, shown by David Lambert, sold for 260gns to Richard Close, of Starbotton. The Horners also sold a further aged ewe at 120gns.
The second prize shearling ram from GC & PM Haygarth & Daughter, of Wigglesworth, sold for 160gns to John Fisher, of Withnell, Chorley. The Haygarths also sold further shearling rams at 160gns and 150gns.
Father and son Joe and Trevor Stoney, of Pateley Bridge, were also prominent with shearling rams at 260gns and 200gns, while association chairman David Wilson himself sold a shearling ram at 160gns, with DA & JM Robinson, of Hesleden Farm, Litton, achieving 150gns with another shearling.
Selling averages showed an improvement on the corresponding 2011 fixture. Aged rams averaged £152.25 (£133.08 last year) and shearling rams £133.88 (£117.88), with the 24-strong turnout selling to an overall average of just shy of £137 per head.
Co-judges were two local young Dalesbred aficionados from Starbotton, 30-year-old Paul Lister and Ian Close, 26. The show was sponsored jointly by JG Animal Health, Wynnstay, Forum Animal Health and Craven Cattle Marts.
Mrs Bradley said the association was making every possible effort to promote the breed, which, after a decline in recent years, was steadily increasing in popularity, with a growing spread of some 120 members across the North of England and the recent addition of a new Irish breeder in County Antrim.
She explained: “We could still do with more breeders coming on board and have recently launched a campaign to promote the Dalesbred ewe as a viable alternative with Bluefaced Leicester cross to produce a Dales-type Mule for both breeding and commercial purposes.
“The breed is extremely flexible and can be crossed with almost anything to produce lambs with strong confirmation and a good, all-round carcase. In fact, we are actively seeking to breed sheep that are far better suited to the present-day market.”
Mrs Bradley urged all sheep enthusiasts to make a note in their dairies ahead of next year’s National Sheep Association’s annual northern showcase, to be staged on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association chairman David Wilson’s Crimple Head Farm, Beckwithshaw.
“The breed will have a strong presence at this high profile event, as we further strive to spread the word about the many attributes of the Dalesbred,” said Mr Wilson.
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