Exciting New Features in Premier Sale
The Charollais Sheep Premier Sale held annually at Worcester Market on the first Saturday in July will have some new and special features this year.
As the breed is celebrating 40 years since its introduction into the UK the event will kick off on Friday evening (30th June) with a spectacular sale of some of the very best shearling ewes from around the UK. Breeders from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have joined in the spirit of celebration and entered their prize-winning and top performance ewes. There will be a party atmosphere for the sale which starts at 7.30 with accompanying lights, music, free hog roast and refreshments.
The sale will follow on from the show classes for the 200 rams that will be sold the following day (Saturday 1st July) starting at 10.30 am. Again entries of the very best in the breed are catalogued for both pedigree and commercial farmers alike. It is the best opportunity of the sale season to select tups of the highest quality; both in terms of breeding and performance results.
Resistance against Scrapie
The Charollais Society has continued a policy of maintaining the very high level of resistance in the breed to scrapie and at this sale all animals forward will have been tested as ARR/ARR. And of course all sheep will be from maedi visna accredited flocks, which is a disease that is increasing at an alarming rate within commercial flocks. Commercial farmers would be wise to consider the enhanced health features that the breed offers at this sale.
Golden Balls Competition
Charollais rams are renown for working hard with a high level of fertility and it is this aspect that will also be featured this year. We want all our rams to be ‘fit for purpose’ which means good feet, locomotion, teeth, general condition and most importantly a good set of testicles. We always have an inspection team checking these points before any rams are allowed forward for sale. In addition this year the ‘Golden Balls’ competition will identify the ram with the best testicles. Although big is beautiful in this department the prize will be awarded to the ram the ticks these boxes; size relative to age and body weight, tone and anatomical correctness, prominent tail of epididymis and no excessive fat in spermatic chords. The competition is being judged by artificial breeding expert, veterinary surgeon Ian McDougall, who is also awarding a £150 voucher towards semen freezing with his company Farmgene.
With nearly 30 years experience of collecting and examining rams semen worldwide, Ian knows a thing or two about testicles! He also knows that across and within breeds there is a great range of performance and the positive effect that fertile rams can have for profitable lamb production.
“Rams with large firm testicles are able get more ewes pregnant per day than those with small or flabby testicles because large firm testicles have a higher daily rate of quality semen production. Testicle size is heritable!” says Ian and hence the great importance of highlighting this aspect of rams that will be used as stock sires in the future.