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Thame Sheep Fair 2023 - Day 2 - The North of England Mules

Mule Ewes

Held in the first week of August, Friday was the Turn of the North of England Mule through the Thame ring and things set off on fire with the Mule Ewes. The ewes averaged £150.93, topping at £185 from Tommy Tustian, Epwell. The regular consignment of A Pearson & Son set off at a flying £175 for full mouthed ewes, they followed with 2 more pens at 172. These quality Mule ewes had been sourced from this very sale three years ago. With depreciation at a minimum, we saw the Pearson family buy their placements from the regular Theave vendors later in the sale – A farming model to be replicated perhaps. 3 crops of lambs and very little depreciation is illustrative of a very sustainable sheep farming model for the NE Mule Farmer. The mule ewes were highly sought after throughout the morning and whether they be broken mouthed or double theaves – there was a premium to be had on selling these very productive ewes in the prime of their lives.

Champion Pen from J & H Tustain Epwell

Mule Theaves

The Theave average was up about £6 on the year to make a very respectable £178. Tommy Tustian took full charge of the Yarnhill flock of mules from J & H Tustian and successfully defended his championship from the year before. Taking 1st prize the theaves which topped at £215 and averaged £202.50 for the 200 forward. All Tustian theaves had had lambs.

Tommy Tustian (Left)from J & H Tustian with the Judge: Nigel Haynes, Maidford

(photograph by Greg Knight, Rural Shots)

2nd Prize was awarded to TJ Smith and Son, Puxley for a run of double theaves. CR & DP Hunt, Hockcliffe took the third prize rosette with a pen which topped a massive run of 600 NC Mules which had also had lambs. The majority making over the £190 mark. David Morris, from PL Morris, Brill had his regular quality consignment of NE Mules making 195 x2 190x2 185. Vendors certainly seem to be getting their money’s worth form lambing their hoggs.

Thorncombe Park Estate, Bramley were my pick of Theaves that had run dry. They topped at £188 and kept their average and quality up throughout their run.

The regular consignment of double theaves from Conrad Lester, Radclive topped at £195 with four pens following making 185, he would be down on the year but last year’s formidable average was always going to be a tough act to follow.

Thame Summer Sheep Fair was blessed with sunshine and missed the showers. The grass was growing and where all the talk appeared to be of rain that had marred people’s efforts of harvest and cropping there was a general positivity behind the sheep trade. From what I could see there was a full clearance and both vendors and buyers happy with their day’s work. There doesn’t appear to be any shortage of grass and we will just have to wait and see if the farmers are willing to come up North to part with their money and keep the NE Mule Train on track.

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