Kelso ram sales has become the latest casualty of Covid-19, with the Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS) announcing this week that the September event had been cancelled due to public health concerns.
About 5,000 rams were sold through seven auction companies at last year’s event, with a turnover of nearly £3 million.
Stuart Craig, chairman of the Border Union ram sale, said: “Due to public health concerns, the safety of our sellers, buyers, staff, contractors and volunteers must come first.
“We realise this decision will be a huge disappointment to most, and it was one we really did not want to make.”
The society welcomed everyone to next year’s sale, which will be held on Friday September 10, 2021.
The announcement follows the cancellation of the National Sheep Association’s Wales and Border ram sale at Builth Wells last month, but industry remains positive breeding sales at individual auctions will still go ahead alongside social distancing regulations.
Chris Armstrong, auctioneer at Hexham and Northern Marts, who has sold Texel rams at Kelso for the past 10 years, applauded BUAS for its decision.
He said: “The cancellation of Kelso is a huge disappointment but, looking at the bigger picture, with a UK-wide catchment area for buyers and sellers, it seems common sense prevailed.
“As auctioneers, we are working hard on contingency plans to hold sales in our premises to attain good trade for our sellers and make the best of a bad situation.
“Trade will no doubt be affected as there will be no ‘one-stop shop’ for rams this year. The best pedigrees will not have that concentrated number of buyers in one place and there will also be an adverse effect at the bottom end, with buyers unlikely to trail around individual auction marts looking for lesser tups at lower prices.”
He also expressed concern for the ageing population, suggesting sales could be greatly depleted this year in comparison to previous years, as farmers opt to stay home to look after their health.
The Thame summer sheep sale will still go ahead this year on August 5, 6, and 7 for sheep, with rams and store lambs to be sold on August 14 and 21 at Thame Market.