Heady turnout of 659 at Skipton cattle highlight Cattle numbers passing through Skipton Auction Mart show no signs of letting up and the latest fortnightly Wednesday sale attracted a very high turnout for the time of year with 659 head forward and all successfully sold. (June 21) The fixture incorporated a well-supported sale of 151 beef breeding cattle, including significant standalone consignments of cows with calves at foot, which were eagerly sought by returning buyers.

Top price of the day at £2,450 fell to a 2013 Blonde second calver from Joe and Nancy Throup, of Draughton, which sold with a December-born British Blue-cross heifer calf sired by their stock bull, Brennand Hurricane, and a positive pregnancy diagnosis. The buyer was Laneshawbridge’s Ben Townsend, a familiar face in the Skipton prime cattle arena.

Adam Townley, of Clapham, also did well at £2,200 with a 2010 British Blue cow with her Blue bull calf, sold to regular Skipton buyer, York farmer and butcher Anthony Swales.

Ashfield Farms in Lothersdale achieved the same price with a black 2014 Limousin heifer with her four-week-old heifer calf, which joined Gargrave’s Michael Winchester. It proved a good day for Ashfield Farms, who hit the £2,000 mark and upwards no less than nine times.

A production sale of Continental-cross heifers with Limousin bull and heifer calves at foot from Ashley and Rachael Caton, of Otterburn Lodge Farm, Otterburn, produced a top price of £2,100 for a 2013 Saler-cross heifer with her May-born calf.

A total of 121 young feeding bulls were easily sold to a large contingent of buyers, with the stronger sorts making £1,100-plus and an overall average of £1,037 per head clearly indicating the strength of the trade.

Jonathan Townley, of Clapham, topped the section with a Limousin-cross at £1,310, also heading the British Blue-cross prices at £1,160, while the top price pen of three Charolais-cross young bulls from B&LN Dibb, of Dob Park, Otley, also made £1,160 each. The section produced a Continental-cross average of £1,041, with a native average of £955.

The store cattle section offered a good selection of both strength and yearling grazing sorts. All grades were keenly contested, with strong cattle especially good to sell.

Bullocks topped at £1,460 for a British Blue-cross from North Humberside’s David Sandham, of Croxton, while heifers peaked at £1,350 for a Limousin-cross from the same vendor, who consigned a total of 150 Scottish-bred store cattle, most acquired last November and grown on. He achieved some solid prices throughout.

Notably, 105 of the 369 store cattle penned for sale achieved £1,200 or more, with bullocks averaging a solid £1,134 per head across the board, while heifers levelled at £973 each.

Charollais-cross entries were the top price pen achievers, four bullocks from Clitheroe’s Peter and Edward Fox each making £1,410 and three heifers from Andrew Fawcett, of Bishop Thornton, selling at £1.270 per head.

 A lighter show of 18 beef-bred feeding cows topped at £1,180 for a Limousin, again from Jonathan Townley, closely followed at £1,100 for a Charolais-cross from David Pawson, of Billinge. The section average was £908 per head.

Skipton to stage major Aberdeen-Angus sale
Looking ahead to later this year, CCM Auctions will stage, together with Scotland’s leading pedigree livestock auctioneers, United Auctions, who host famous annual bull sale in Stirling in February, a special dispersal sale on Saturday, November 11, of Aberdeen-Angus cattle on behalf of Henry Rowntree, of Rowntree Farms, who runs the Ribble pedigree herd at Windy Pike, Gisburn.

The standalone fixture - one of the biggest Aberdeen-Angus dispersal sales ever staged in the UK - will comprise over 400 registered animals and 100 pure-bred steers, including 170 cows with Spring-born calves at foot, 48 in-calf heifers due next Spring, 32 yearling bulling heifers, eight stock bulls, up to 60 Spring-born steer calves and up to 80 heifer calves. Viewing days will be arranged later this summer.

Mr Rowntree established his renowned herd in 2002. He explained: “We have focused on genetics for economic production and have been sending steers to leading beef supplier Dovecote Park which have been averaging £1,500 each at 19-months-old. They have also told us that we are among the top 5% of producers sending cattle to them both in terms of quality and sustainable production. “

Mr Rowntree sells his cattle at home, both bulls and females, to many repeat customers, with cattle sold to establish new herds throughout the UK. Virtually all female calves are reared and sold for breeding. Last autumn, cattle also went to both Romania and France.

The choice of Skipton on Mr Rowntree’s own doorstep for the dispersal sale is expected to create significant interest, particularly among potential export buyers seeking quality native cattle for expanding EU markets. It also further establishes CCM Auctions as a principal venue for selling pedigree cattle with its central location.