TIP TOP CONDITION: A NEMSA Mule with twin Suffolk cross lambs
TIP TOP CONDITION: A NEMSA Mule with twin Suffolk cross lambs

THE North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) is again looking forward to its annual sale highlights at marts across the region this autumn.
The society remains confident the accompanying shows can go ahead alongside sales at Kirkby Stephen, on September 11, Middleton-in-Teesdale, on September 16, and Barnard Castle the following day and are urging both vendors and buyers to carry on making the usual preparations.
The good news for potential buyers of the all-purpose Mule is that the 2020 lambing season has proved one of the best on record. NEMSA’s national chairman Chris Harrison, who farms near Alston, in Cumbria, described lambing as “probably the best in my living memory,” a sentiment shared by other North of England Mule breeders. Buyers from all parts of the UK are expected to flock up country to source yearly consignments of Mules, primarily their annual crops of ewe lambs.
It’s also another welcome opportunity to meet up with well-known Mule breeders, many of whom have become firm friends over the years.
In turn, all marts are keen to assure Mule buyers both old and new that they can attend sales confident in the knowledge that all possible measures have been taken to ensure their all-important health and safety.
In fact, many have put in place additional bolt-on facilities that not only significantly build on social distancing measures already in place, but more effectively accommodate all buyers in a safe and secure environment.
Mr Harrison said: “The superb weather earlier in the year proved of great benefit to the 2020 lambing season, resulting in an abundance of fit and healthy lambs on the ground, which can only augur well for our high profile forthcoming annual gimmer lamb sale season.
“NEMSA breeders are now preparing their lambs for the autumn highlights and buyers can rest assured that they will arrive at this year’s sales not only in significant numbers, but also in peak condition.
“We are again looking forward to welcoming both regular and potential new buyers – and many old friends – from all parts of the country, for whom the versatile North of England Mule continues to be ideally suited to local breeding conditions.”
Buyers, in turn, require little persuasion to return and little convincing about the all-round attributes of the Mule, which not only remains Britain’s most prolific sheep breed in terms of numbers, but also the country’s most popular commercial sheep for crossing purposes.
“Over the years, countless users have said the same thing – the key to a good year is a good crop of lambs and the North of England Mule delivers on all fronts,” said Mr Harrison.