5 October 2018
This year may well be one of the most difficult the beef and sheep industry has faced for nigh on two decades. A lack of confidence in the economy, Brexit uncertainty, and the culmination of a long hard winter followed by drought conditions through the summer into autumn, has focussed everyone’s attention on the winter ahead, and the scarcity of forage and straw for winter-housing. As with many other Autumn Sales, trade was consequently lean at the Society’s Autumn Show & Sale. Trade for in-calf heifers took a significant hit. It was a buyers' market with a really excellent catalogue of high quality, well presented females being the feature of the day and a credit to vendors. One to take advantage was new breeder, Noel Sharpe from Ivylan Farm, near Church Stanton, who purchased some lovely foundation stock to start his herd, including the Female Champion, Coxwell Fanciful 43rd for 1150 gns. It was good to see Scottish breeder, Gareth Jenkin’s return to Sedgemoor, with a keen eye for good strong cattle to take home to Caithness. He purchased P&C Gay’s in-calf heifer, Bagnell Lodestone 2nd at 1000gns, and Sue Filde’s Reserve Champion bull, Dittisham Dimpsey, at 2000gns. Top priced female went to Heywood & Hurd’s in-calf polled heifer Whitefield Orange 228th, who met competitive bidding, selling at 1650gns to Steve Cleverdon to join his Coombe Herd at Hatherleigh, Devon. Like the Female Champion, Coxwell Sherpa, was a worthy Breed Champion on this and any day, purchased by AJ Jones & Son from Raglan, Wales, to join their Crown Herd which the family established in 2015. This bull bucked the trend, selling for 3600gns; the highest price for a bull at the Autumn Show & Sale since 2014.