Coates Greystone herd claims leading prices at CCM Skipton Blue Wednesday highlight Littlebank herd retains supreme championship North Craven brothers Alan and Graham Coates, who trade as Messrs Coates and run the Greystone herd at Rainscar Farm, Stainforth, were the standout performers on price when claiming top calls of 4,600gns and 4,000gns with a brace of April, 2017-born bulls at Skipton Auction Mart’s 2019 pedigree beef season opener – the annual ‘Blue Wednesday’ show and sale for British Blue bulls and females. (Wednesday, May 1)

Their top price performer was the aptly named Greystone Money, a son of the £20,000 Almeley Ginola, acquired in 2013 as a two-year-old intermediate male champion from Herefordshire breeder Graham Morgan and said to be “well worth the money” by the family.
Bred from the easy calving Greystone Coin, the price leader sold locally to the Hartley family in Beamsley for use in their dairy herd, which regularly produces quality rearing calves that are themselves often right on the money at Skipton.
Also taking due credit at second top of 4,000gns was Greystone Mastercard, by the easy calving Astrics JJ, now standing with Norbreck Genetics in Cockerham, Lancaster, out of the natural calving Greystone Judy, herself a daughter of Almeley Ginola. The buyer was Tim Metcalfe, of Clayton, Bradford.
Regular Red Rose vendors Mark and Elaine Hartley, who run the Pendle herd at Pendle Valley Farm, Roughlee, Nelson – they claimed the same top price of 4,600gns at last year’s Blue Wednesday highlight - continued their solid trade this year when making 3,800gns with the April, 2017, Jalon de Martinpre son, Pendle Mojo. The well utilised Belgian sire has sold bulls to 10,000gns for the Hartleys.
Bred out of Pendle Heather, a natural calver and member of the herd’s show team for three years. Mojo, a full brother to last year’s top price performer, will hopefully live up to his name with new Wharfedale owner, JC Bellerby, of Weeton.
Husband and wife Richard and Wendy Maudsley, who run the Littlebank pedigree herd in Rathmell, repeated their championship success of 2018 when again sending out the title winner, a February, 2017, bull, Littlebank Milo, shown by their son Tom.
He is an AI son of Heros Du Peroy, also standing with Norbreck Genetics, and well utilised by the Maudsleys, for whom he has sired sons to 7,000gns. The dam is the Empire D’Ochain daughter, Littlebank Hotstuff, who is herself out of Pendle Chattocks, acquired from the Hartleys and mother of bulls sold to 7,500gns.Her breeding lines go back to their highly acclaimed Pendle Witch, who remains in the Hartley herd and is still producing embryos at the aged of 15.
Milo, who has himself been used on a pedigree Blue cow due this month, sold for 3,400gns to long distance Cornwall purchaser Gail Ellis, who runs the Trencrom pedigree herd at Lelant, just ten miles from Lands End. The family has another bull out of Pendle Chattocks and 19-year-old son Matthew made the near 800 mile round trip to successfully claim yet another of her progeny.
Mrs Ellis, who established her well-known British Blue herd in 1999 – she now has up to 450 sucklers on the ground at any one time – said the two bulls were stamped very similarly. The first was acquired in 2011 aged 18 months and has more than proved his worth on both Trencrom pedigrees and cross-breds.
“He has done really well and been very consistent. We have had 25 pedigrees and numerous cross-breds from him and some of his progeny will be shown and sold this year. He’s currently out with 30 cows. We are always looking for different bloodlines and bulls that are fit for purpose to suit our criteria,” said Mrs Ellis.
The Maudsleys followed up with a 3,600gns sale of a further Jalon de Martinpre son, the August, 201, Littlebank Mr T, out of another Empire D’Ochain daughter, Littlebank Hannah. He joined K&A Woof in Leyburn.
Also making his first Blue Wednesday appearance was Norbreck Genetics’ owner Philip Halhead, who was rewarded with a first prize success in the show class for pre-2017 bulls with his December, 2016, Norbreck Leonardo, by Tenace De La Praule, imported from Belgium five years ago after graduating from the Ciney testing station.
Mr Halhead said the bull was one of the highest rate growth bulls in Belgium with1.95kg daily liveweight gain and had already sired four 2017 and 2018-born calves, among them show champions. Out of Graymar Electra, herself dam to dual Royal Welsh and Great Yorkshire Show champions, Leonardo painted a pretty picture in the show arena, later making 3,100gns when joining South Yorkshire’s John Key, from Stocksbridge.
The females also presented opportunity, with a pair of nice outfits from West Yorkshire husband and wife, Richard and Elizabeth Ibbotson’s Hawksbridge herd at Stairs Bottom Farm, Oxenhope, selling away well.
Top price was the 3,400gns paid by Bill Stephens, of Turiff in Aberdeenshire, for the second prize female, Hawksbridge Katherine, a Mountjoy Utopia daughter, out of College Valley Greta, bred by the Fox family in Kirknewton, sold with her March heifer calf, Hawksbridge Oreo, a Tweeddale Ebony daughter. 
The second Ibbotson outfit comprised College Valley Greta, a mother of five, and her latest Greystone Bonzer-sired February-born heifer calf, Hawksbridge Olimpia, which sold locally for 2,500gns to Skipton’s Keith and Jeanette Marshall.
Scottish buyer Mr Stephens also added the first prize female, a maiden heifer from North Craven’s Jack and Rebecca Wallbank, of the High Moss herd in Keasden, to his trailer at 2,000gns. High Moss Nora is a January, 2018, daughter of Farouk de St Amand, also from Norbreck Genetics, out of Tamhorn Georgia, a dispersal sale purchase.
The overall reserve champion, the second prize 2017-born bull from Kirklees brothers John and Matthew Bamforth, who run the White Rose herd at Upper Hagg Farm, Thongsbridge, Holmfirth, was unsold.
Averages: Intermediate bulls 2017 £3,738, junior bulls 2017 £2,835, cows with calves  £3,098. Show judge was South Lakeland;s Richard Pedley, who runs the Oaktree pedigree British Blue herd in Barbon.

Skipton’s 2019 pedigree beef season continues next Wednesday (May 8) with the fourth annual and increasingly popular Native Day fixture, with show classes for Aberdeen-Angus, Hereford and other native cattle, both pedigree and stores.