Exeter's 20th Special August Sale
Maurice Hockridge and Judge, Barry Mildon with the Champion Pen
FM & DM Hockridge stole the show when he was awarded 1st prize with the Top Pen of a run of 200. The Pen was sold to the judge, Barry Mildon. Maurice and Doreen Hockridge have for the last few decades grazed ewe lambs on the un-combinable pastures and steep slopes of the family arable farms and sold them as shearlings mainly through Exeter. Historically they scoured many markets across Devon and Somerset looking for first cross ewe lambs, predominantly Suffolk x mules but since trying a few North of England Mule lambs some 8-9 years ago these have become the mainstay of the lamb to shearling grazing business. Maurice prefers these northern descendants for many reasons, specifically purchasing nemsa lambs with the grey tags means they match up easily when selling as shearlings, he can buy the size and head type lambs he finds best to sell in a good number from the society sales in the North, typically 320-350. And most of all, semi retired Maurice says they’re fantastically quiet and inquisitive, meaning the daily checks can be quite time consuming, but he never tires of looking at quality sheep.
The view from the Rostrum
The Judge was Barry Mildon who farms locally at Cadbury. Barry and Rachel are relative newcomers to the world of Mules and have recently changed their farming policy to have the North of England Mule at the Heart of their flock. The 80 strong flock of Mule ewes are used as a nucleus to breed their own flock replacements and use both Texel and Suffolk tup. The Subsequent first cross Texel and Suffolks are both kept as flock replacements. They are looking to mainstream their lambing time with lambing in March and April. In recent years the early November lambing native flocks haven’t reached a premium so are now tweaking their system to ease the workload. Both Barry and his wife Rachel commented on what a fabulous mother the North of England Mule was proving to be. The sheep run alongside a herd of Store cattle which are bought around that six months of age and taken through to 18-20 months.
The sale followed on what was only described locally as a spectacular first sale. John Bond from Cuttery Farm, Totnes related how he had achieved £190 and £185 from the first sale and this sale his average for Shearlings which haven’t lambed looked to average about that £172 mark. Mr Bond sourced all his runners from Sale centres in the North which stood him at £100.
Last year’s Champion, Emily Pearse stood bridesmaid this year and took the 2nd prize rosette with her run of 85 shearlings which had run dry. The prize pen making £190. Emily lambs the majority of hoggs that she buys are these were retained at home. At Exeter’s first breeding sale on the 11th July where Emily saw more showing success where she also claimed 2nd prize at “The Great July Sheep Sale” for a pen of Suffolk x mules, selling for £220.
Champion Pen through the Ring