No matter what the weather on January 26, the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders' Association of New Zealand's national sale will be an outdoor event.

In keeping with tradition, the sale takes place at the Waimate showgrounds - an easily-accessed site in the central South Island.

But the old pavilion in which it was held for many years is no longer available.

So, following last year's initiative, the sale organisers are again going al fresco.

Advertisement

They are creating a ring in the yards near the sheep pens, from which auctioneers from Peter Walsh and Associates plus volunteers from the association will run the sale.

Convener Reg Partridge, of Oamaru, said it would go ahead ''rain, hail, or shine''.

Entry numbers were similar to last year's 40. A few were still being finalised this week.

The vendors were coming from as far as Gore in the south and Rolleston in the north.

There were no adult sheep in the line-up so far, Partridge said - just ewe lambs, two-tooth ewes, and two-tooth rams.

The breeds on offer would be Romney, Merino, Corriedale, and Polwarth.

After inspections in the late morning, the sale will begin at noon.

The sheep judged the Champion Animal of the Show would be up for auction according to the catalogue, not singled out to go first as in recent years, Partridge said.

Advertisement

Everyone present at the sale was invited to travel the short distance to association members Sue and Stuart Albrey's farm to view their coloured sheep and learn about handcrafts using coloured fleeces.

The day would finish with a barbecue.

Prospective buyers should be aware that black and coloured sheep were not just run by people on lifestyle blocks, Partridge said.

The animals on offer were breeding sheep whose owners often relied on the income from their wool.

Long-time Gore breeder Julie Howden topped last year's sale, earning $375 for a registered two-tooth Romney.