Stellar store lambs from Staffin top Skye sale

MORE than 3,000 lambs were sold in Portree this week – and Staffin stock led the way in one of the biggest days of the crofting calendar.

Crofters from several Staffin townships were at the annual Skye lamb sale with their stock to discover what returns they would be making in the ring. It is one of the key economically important dates of the season and quality livestock from Trotternish did well.

Dingwall and Highland Marts Ltd sold 3,239 store lambs yesterday (Monday) and ewes. The sale topper was a Cheviot from Flodigarry. Charlie Beaton, who has got an excellent Cheviot flock, saw one of his lambs fetch £70. Charlie’s second draw made a tremendous £65. 

Ellishadder lambs from Angus Ross was also among the top prices in the breed, hitting £67. Stewart Clark, of Stenscholl, saw his Texel crosses for £63.50. The top Blackface price also came from Staffin, £60 from lambs reared at Burnside, Culnacnoc by Sandy MacLeod/Alison MacDonald. 

The average price on the day was £41.21, down by £3.69 on the same sale in 2016, albeit there was a bigger number sold. There were concerns in the industry about the potential prices, prior to the sale, after farmers had struggled, or failed, to make a profit on last year’s store lamb purchases. Trade on fat lambs at the start of 2017 had been disappointing. 

Staffin lambs.

Store lambs, and calves, are generally produced in Staffin and the rest of Skye. Crofters don’t have the ground or autumn grazing/feeding needed to turn out or “finish” lambs. Skye lambs are generally bought by dealers from Aberdeenshire, Easter Ross, Morayshire, and even as far afield as Cumbria, who will then fatten them up to reach the key target weights for slaughter. 

The second big lamb sale in Skye is on Monday, September 4 and the mart will see 4,500 lambs and ewes pass through.

Monday’s sale report: Lambs (3,034) averaged £41.21 and sold to £70 per head for a Cheviot from 4 Flodigarry, Portree. The lamb average showed a decrease of £3.69 on the corresponding sale last year for a larger number sold.
Feeding sheep (205) sold to £48 for a pair of Cheviot wedders from 8 Kingsburgh, Snizort.
Other leading prices per head per area: Cheviot – 3 Ellishadder, Staffin, £67, 14 Hungladder, Portree, £65.50, 4 Flodigarry, £65: TexelX – 12 Borve, Skeabost, £66 (twice), 8 & 20 Stenscholl, Staffin, £63.50, £62: SuffolkX – Tigh Gael, Portree, £63, 32 Mains, Bernisdale, £61.50, 1 Waterstein, Glendale, £61; BeltexX – 8, 14 & 15 Struanmore, Struan, £62, £59; Cross – 15 Glenconon, Uig, £60.50; CharolaisX – 19 Kilmuir, Dunvegan, £60; BlackFace – Burnside , Staffin, £60,