The top selling ram at the Pound Maker sale in Fort Macleod, Alta., May 24 went for $1,650, which delighted consignors Bert and Andrelei Grisnich.
It was bought by Paul Preston of Hays, Alta.
The sixth annual sale featured 106 head with an average price of $866. That’s better than last year’s sale average of $785 on 101 head, said consignor Warren Moore.
“Our heads are spinning because that is a good price on average,” said Moore, who farms east of Stavely, Alta.
Six breeds were on offer and some were progeny from artificial insemination using British and New Zealand semen.
“The reason for the AI was just to try it, for alternative bloodlines,” he said.
“The Suffolk bloodlines were from the U.K. and the Dorset was from New Zealand. People seemed to bid higher on them than they did on the regular bloodlines.”
Moore said he thinks prices for sheep and lambs will remain strong because demand continues to outstrip supply.
Many smaller producers got out of the business as prices dropped when the discovery of BSE in Canada closed borders for cattle and sheep. The borders eventually reopened to sheep long after they reopened to cattle, Moore said, but the regulations proved so onerous that it isn’t economically feasible to obtain U.S. genetics.
However, he said most commercial sheep producers showed a profit per ewe last year, and even though prices have dropped since then, the business remains profitable.
“We have more people eating lamb now than we ever did. The Muslims are big consumers of lamb and Calgary alone has 100,000 Muslims,” he said.
Consignors at the ram sale included Moore and his wife, Norine, the Grisnichs, who farm near Fort Macleod, Alta., Andy and Frances Pittman of Picture Butte, Alta., and Graham and Janice Rannie of Binscarth, Man.
Sale averages by breed:
- North Country Cheviot: eight head sold for an average of $1,019
- Suffolk: 65 head sold for an average of $913
- Dorset: nine head sold for an average of $827
- Hampshire: seven head sold for an average of $818
- Rambouillet: 15 head sold for an average of $648
- Coloured: two head sold for an average of $725