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Dorset sheep set bidders alight at Exeter May Fair

Dorset sheep set bidders alight at Exeter May Fair

A tremendous entry of sheep went under the hammer at the annual Dorset Horn and Poll Dorset May Fair in Exeter on 5 May. "The quality of the sheep here was fantastic" said judge Joe Dufosee.

Full report from the Poll Dorset and Dorset Horn Association is posted here 

In total, 1,493 head sold under the Kivells auctioneers, with 947 breeding ewes peaking at £220 apiece and averaging £173. In the ram ring, 119 stock rams averaged £1138 and sold to a peak of £5,460 a head.

Winning the overall breed championship was Jeremy Durrant's Poll ram Hydes Duranimo D1209 on his owner's first visit to the Fair. By Blackhill Bart B4778 and out of Sherborne B5454, this ram impressed with his overall presence. Duranimo has terminal and maternal indices of 230 and 199, respectively, and went on to sell for 3,400 guineas.

In reserve place was R & D Rossiter's Poll ram Huish Dynamite D20352 from the family's Burton Farm, Kingsbridge, Devon, where they run 550 pedigree Dorsets. He was sired by Sherborne Benchmark B5736, which was the highest indexed lamb on the farm in autumn 2018. "We bought Benchmark 18 months ago as star of the Sherborne flock’s production sale for 3,400 guineas," explained David Rossiter. "And the performance figures match - his sons are at the top end of the recording scheme."

Dynamite has maternal and terminal indices of 221 and 269, respectively, and is out of Huish U6184. "He's a real breeder's sheep - he comes from a line that's stamped great muscle and correct character within the flock," added son Richard Rossiter.

Huish Dynamite went home with Mr Durrant, who paid 4,000 guineas for him. The Rossiter family also scooped second spot in the Poll ram lamb class with Dynamite’s half-brother Huish Denzil, which went on to top the mart at 5,200 guineas.

Setting the female ring alight was female champion Sherborne Daisy D6834 from R & R Hole's Hill Street Farm, Sherborne, Dorset. This eight-month-old Poll by Huish Action A14324, out of Sherborne A5075, commanded rapid bidding and sold for the top female price of 1,200 guineas.

"She's physically a big lamb and she's going to grow into a big ewe," said Rob Hole, who farms 400 pedigree Poll Dorset ewes at home. "I bought her father here from David Rossiter four years ago for 2,400 guineas, and we've had a lot of great offspring from him." Daisy has a maternal index of 201 and a terminal sire index of 218.

The reserve female spot went to Christina Johnson's Poll Bamburgh D706. Born in September 2020, she was sired by Poorton B790 and out of Bamburgh A470, and has maternal and terminal sire indices of 273 and 310, respectively.

About the author

Samuel Boon

Samuel Boon

I am the Manager of Signet Breeding Services, within the AHDB.

Enthusiast on all things genetics to do with sheep and cattle and currently also supporting Bridget Lloyd in running the @RamCompare progeny test with ~18,000 lambs/annum.

I am also involved with the:-

  • Relaunch of Terminal Sire Breeding Programmes (Sheep)
  • AHDB lead for the Welsh Sheep Breeding Project run by HCC - working with Innovis, HCC and Janet Roden
  • Database design and development for this website
  • National Sheep Breeds Survey
  • Development of Carcase Trait EBVs in Beef Cattle
  • Formerly involved with the delivery of the Welsh Sheep Strategy, Northern Upland Sheep Strategy, Suckler Cow Project, Highlands and Islands Sheep Strategy

I can be followed on Twitter @SamBoonBreeding