A healthy crowd flocked to Steinish last Friday (23rd August) as the Auction Mart played host to the Lewis and Harris Sheep Producers Association’s (LHPSA) Autumn Event.

Following an introduction from LHSPA Chair Iain Maciver, Jane Thompson of Shearwell Data Ltd entered the auction Mart ring. Jane began by talking the crowd through correct tagging procedure before giving a demonstration of Shearwell’s EID scanner. The scanner sends information read from a sheep’s tags to your smartphone, giving better control over data management and record keeping.

Next to take to the ring was Joyce Campbell of Armadale farm. Located on the North Coast of Sutherland Armadale Farm has been in Joyce’s family for over 50 years. At present Armadale, which was named Scottish Sheep Farm of the year in 2015, is home to a flock of around 830 pure-bred North Country Cheviot Hill Ewes in addition to around 50 tups, 255 ewe hoggs and 25 suckler cows.

Joyce gave a thorough demonstration of how she prepares draft ewes for sale. An intrigued and slightly bemused ringside audience watched on as Joyce trimmed stray hairs, cut eye lashes and washed the ewe’s face with a chalk solution.

Explaining the process Joyce said, “These Ewes work hard for me their whole lives and I have a real pride in them. When I put them into the auctioneer’s ring I want to know that they’re the best that they can possibly be.” With top prices paid for Armadale’s draft ewes each year it is clear that Joyce knows what she’s talking about.

Joyce’s husband Iain Macleay followed on with a sheep batching demonstration. Iain who is an auctioneer at Caithness Mart split a pen of lambs into different auction lots based on size and a number of different criteria.

Iain said, “When a group of lambs enters the ring the buyers are immediately drawn to the worst lamb, not the best. If you don’t batch your lambs correctly you will lose money, you’re penalising yourself.”

The event raised a total of £170 pounds for Bethesda, which has been topped up to £350 by the LHSPA.

LHSPA Vice Chair Donald Mackinnon said, “Thanks to Jane, Joyce, Iain and everyone that came along on Friday. The talks from all the speakers were well received and very relevant as we move into the peak sale period for store lambs. We hope to host more events like this in the near future.”