A group of hill sheep farmers specialising in breeding the Lanark type of Blackface sheep have come together to form a new group called the South of Ireland Lanark Sheep Breeders.

The group is holding its inaugural sale in Roscommon Mart on Saturday 1 October, starting with the show at 8am and sale at 10am.

There is an entry of almost 200 rams entered, broken down to 110 hogget rams, 70 ram lambs and 15 aged rams.

There are in the region of 30 members showing sheep, but the group membership figure is higher, with not all members exhibiting on the day.

Group chair Gerard Goss explains the group was formed to bring breeders together under one umbrella, where sheep can be marketed with strength in numbers and breeders can gain access to sheep with a wider gene pool.

Rapid growth

“The number of Lanark sheep has grown rapidly over the last two decades and sheep are present now in all corners of the country.

“The new group aims to build on the positive work undertaken by regional groups or individual breeders and bring a wide array of genetics together in the one sale.”

The inaugural sale of the South of Ireland Lanark Sheep Breeders will see almost 200 rams on offer in one central location.

A contributing factor to the increase in the number of Lanark sheep or incorporation of genetics into the gene pool of Blackface sheep in certain regions is breeders striving to breed a Mule sheep possessing Lanark genetics.

In the longer term, the group plans to develop a national event to showcase the type of sheep available to breeders further afield and attract custom from other countries.

The group also plans to work together on breeding initiatives to continue to bring the breed forward.

A catalogue for the sale and further information is available online.