By Ruth Wills
A farmer has successfully held a breeding sheep market on his farm following the closure of the local market.
James Moon, together with Stags auctioneer Chris Clapham, held a sheep sale at Bolitho Farm near Liskeard, Cornwall, at the end of July. It was the first sheep sale in the Liskeard area since the closure of the local market in December.
"The idea was that farmers could trade locally rather than travel 40-50 miles to the nearest market,” said Mr Moon. These would be Hallworthy, Holsworthy or Truro. Liskeard Market closed after Kivells’ tenancy came to an end and the site is now up for redevelopment.
The impact of the Liskeard Market closure was clear as nearly 1,000 sheep were entered in the sale and around 100 farmers attended.
“As the first market following the closure of Liskeard, it was very well received and there was a big crowd,” said Mr Clapham.
Trade was good despite it being a tricky time for selling, due to the long winter and the prolonged dry spell leading to a forage shortage.
“It went well considering the lack of grass and the hard winter we experienced,” added Mr Moon.
Female trade topped at £130 a head for a pen of Suffolk Mule ewes, while a pen of Zwartbles ewe lambs realised £125.
Though breeding rams were not in such high demand, prices were still respectable, climbing to £450 for a Suffolk ram, noted Mr Clapham.
Following the success of the sale, plans are in motion for a breeding stock and store lamb market to be held on August 28.
Mr Moon is also looking into the viability of a livestock collection centre at the 101ha farm, where he keeps 300 sheep and about 50 head of cattle.
Stags has committed to the next – and any future – markets and Mr Moon hopes this will raise awareness about the need for a selling facility in the area.
“We are committed to the next one and building it for the future – as long as farmers support it,” said Mr Clapham.