The Young Pretender comes of age – Rugby Show and Sale
Held on the Friday 25th August 2023 there was a record average made at The Midlands Mart of Rugby when this high quality breeding sale had a total clearance and an average of £187. The Sun was certainly shining down on this sale this year after a wet summer, the local farmers had all but caught up with harvest and cropping and all thoughts were back onto sheep and in particular mules. The quality on show was excellent from start to finish but it was a pen from JonJoe Morris which took the eye of the Judges, Ted Taylor and Neil Allan. This pen of Gimmer Shearlings headed a strong show of 13 pens. JonJoe Morris has bettered his last year position of 3rd to achieve the top spot this year.
Jonjoe Morris with Judges Neil Allan (Left) and Ted Taylor (Right)
This is an extract from The Rugby Mart Weekly Report which goes into more detail about the sale:
"On to the Mules and a record entry in Numbers this year and Buyers for all qualities. Trade hot throughout albeit the quality here today to match any and Buyers keen to secure. Dry Theaves back into vogue today as Size seems to be the needed commodity albeit Style and overall bone rewarded throughout. RJ & P Milner set us off as the Sale meant to go on selling Dry Theaves at £196.50 and £195. Welsh Mules then from AP Farms at £181.50. P Broome then with his run of dry run sheep topping at £202 and £192 a figure equalled by L C Threadgold. Henry Tustian brought about his usual quality and was only beaten for the first time by a super pen. These ran dry from Henry where wonderfully shown by Tommy and Rex whom have done the Family proud this Season. Henry Sold his lambed Theaves with singles £232 and £210 and pens at £220,£214,£210,£206 2x £200 and others £192. C R Hill then in with his to see £192 and then W Gaydon £208,£192 and £190 for similar goods. BP Cannon always creates a bidding war selling his quality dry Theaves at £212 then 5 pens x £198. T Lainchbury £195 then for swift headed sheep. R Hicks then dry sheep £193. H Wadland with a lorry full saw singles at £221 and pens £195 x 2 and £190 x 4 pens.
JonjoeMorris with his 1st Prize Mule Theave
"Next the man who has had a week of the word New being the main point. A new Husband and now Father but almost on par now the NEW Champion Mr Jonjoe Morris!!!! These wonderful lambed Theaves sold to the Judge a man whom backed his Judgment when a long Battle to secure them ended at £270 with his second pen at £241 singles from the same £300, £262 and £240. Alan and Jemima Collett faithful RFM Customers then brought their well worked and presented Theaves to see Singles at £244 and £230 with pens £214,£201,£198,£196,£194,£19 6,£191 before daughter H Collett showed she is a serious contender selling singles at £251 and pens at £192. R H Mole then travelling up from the South to take at £197. Northampton due C Stubbs and A Wilson competed to see a top of £202 for Chris with Ann at £182. DJ & ST Webb then forward another new NCM Vendor to see £191 twice. RJ Fox then sold dry Theaves with weight at £192.50 and £190."
Jonjoe Morris farms on the Northamptonshire/Warwickshire border with his wife Megan and Uncle and Aunt Richard and Audrey Morris trading under TH Morris and Son. It is double celebrations for Jonjoe and Megan, as they have recently welcomed a new daughter to their family, Arabella Cecilia.
JonJoe Morris (right) with 1st and 2nd in the Single class
Alongside the staple arable crops of wheat, barley and beans the Morris family have a pedigree herd of Simmentel cattle alongside pure Limousins. Jonjoe’s Granddad, Richard Morris, was very much the instigator of the pedigree cattle and this legacy remains strong at Glebe Farm.
But it is the North of England Mule that has taken JonJoe's interest to the next level under the guidance of friend and local mule enthusiast Henry Tustian. JonJoe has been aiming for the top when sourcing these mule gimmer lambs from the Northern Marts and this has paid off particularly well this year as the young pretender comes of age to take the Rugby Championship for the first time. The Morris family are staunch supporters of the live auction system and in particular his beloved Rugby Mart which the family has given unswerving support over the generations.
The North Country mule joins a flock of Cheviots X, Suffolk Cross & Texel Cross . Jonjoe annually buys anywhere from 100 to 200 gimmer lambs from the Northern marts which are tupped with either the Texel or Texel x BFL. Rams particularly chosen for their ease of lambing. On a normal year 90% of the hoggs are scanned in lamb with lambing percentage of around 103%. Lambing starts at the end of March for a four-week block. Depending on how many replacements are required in his main flock, JonJoe aims to try and sell about 60 at this Rugby Sale annually left. The Morris family had once moved to an early lambing flock of Suffolk crosses but have reverted to the North Country mule with a view to keep food feed costs down all the lambs are finished primarily of grass and then finally on roots. Texel and Suffolk rams are used in the main flock. Jonjoe see sheep as an important part of the farm's future as more and more of his land is put down to environmental grass leys and turnips.
The Collett family while showing the single class
Results: Pens of 20
1st JonJoe Morris, Yelvertoft
2nd J & H Tustian, Epwell
3rd J & H Tustain, Epwell
4th Jonjoe Morris, Yelvertoft
5th A & J Collett, Banbury
1st JonJoe Morris, Yelvertoft
2nd JonJoe Morris, Yelvertoft
3rd J & H Tustain, Epwell
4th J & H Tustian, Epwell
5th The Collett Family