The NSA South West Ram Sale is going ahead next month despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Both the NSA’s regional ram sale committee and Kivells Auctioneers, which conducts the sale of 600 rams, are confident that the Exeter market can accommodate vendors and buyers safely on Wednesday, August 19.

Russell Steer, Kivell’s director and sheep auctioneer at Exeter market, said: “We have the facilities and have already experienced selling breeding sheep under Covid-19 government market regulations so, by August, will have plenty of experience to make this work.

“But in order to meet these criteria there will be some alterations to the sale layout and running order.”

As soon as the NSA South West ram sale committee had consulted with Kivells over the realistic viability of holding the sale, it unanimously committed itself to ensuring NSA buyers and vendors within the region have every opportunity to sell and source rams this year.

Read more: Baa-rilliant photos: First ever virtual show for rare breed sheep society

NSA South West Ram Sale chairman Robert Jordan said: “We need to be optimistic on behalf of our membership and so we are doing all we can to put on this sale under what are very difficult circumstances.

“In order for the sale to be a success both buyers and vendors should be aware there will be some changes to the ram sale rules.

"And, at any point, if and when government legislation relating to markets alters, we have the prerogative to make any changes – or cancel the sale – if necessary in order to protect everyone from this virus.

"It is going to take a great deal of planning but we are determined to offer our membership this opportunity.”