Cracking Carlisle Cracoe calf clinches championship and top call at Skipton A Limousin youngster eclipsed the British Blues for a change at Skipton Auction Mart’s Spring rearing calf show and sale, on Monday, February 19. The home-bred heifer, just one month and one day old, secured a first-ever calf championship at the venue for Tom Carlisle, who farms with his father John at Coxons Farm, Cracoe.

The victor was one of the last calves by the family’s former stock bull, acquired locally from John and Claire Mason’s Oddacres Limousin herd in Embsay and used successfully for some eight years.

Out of a Limousin-cross cow, the champion was tapped out by show judge Samantha Asquith, of Otley, whose pre-sale judgment was confirmed when the title winner went on to head the prices at £500, falling to Calderdale’s Martin Hutchinson, from Mixenden.

On another day of tremendous calf trade, multiple past champions, the Sowray dairy farming brothers, from Bowes Green Farm, Bishop Thornton, again did well with their seven-strong consignment – six Blue-cross calves and a Limousin-cross

Among them was the first prize Blue-cross bull calf and overall reserve champion, by the Devon-bred Hawktree Jupiter, out of a black and white Friesian cow, which sold for £440 to Simon Thompson, of Driffield. The Sowray pen’s three Blue bulls averaged £433 per head, with their three heifer calves selling to a class high of £420. The 11 Blue heifer calves penned for sale on the day averaged a robust £433 each.

Shaun Sowray’s single Limousin-cross bull calf, by Aigulle De Paraille, picked up another red rosette, later selling for £420, though this class was headed at £460, second top call, by another strong calf from Bolton Abbey breeders, Hayton & Stocks, also claimed by Mr Thompson.

Continental-bred calves sold to an overall average of £374 per head, while natives also commanded a healthy trade, averaging £216.31 overall and peaking at £295 for an Aberdeen-Angus bull calf from John Marshall in Dacre, with Angus bulls averaging £262 and a mixed show of Angus heifers £180.

A small selection of black and whites sold away to expectations when averaging £60.74 each.

Calves continue to be in strong demand at Skipton and the mart’s auctioneer Sam Bradley said many more could have been sold.

Around the rings
Elsewhere on the same day, 3,609 sheep were also penned for sale, with the 3,074 old season lambs among them trading to an overall average of £93.57 per head, or 221.14p/kg. Almost 400 Beltex averaged 285p/kg, with 29 pens, or 174 lambs in total, selling for over £3 per kilo, up to 336.8p/kg, or £128 per head, for 38kg entries from Hayley Baines, of Trawden, bought by Hellifield’s Paul Watson. Gross highs of £138 and £137 were achieved by 45kg and 44kg pens from the Heseltine family in Bolton Abbey, sold to, respectively, Vivers Scotland and Mr Watson.

Also among the mix were 1,500 Texel lambs that averaged 223p/kg, or £96.17 each, complemented by 195 lowland lambs sold between £120 and £138. Hill-bred lambs, which again accounted for over a third of the total entry, were also in ready demand, with 680 Mule and Masham wethers averaging 206p/kg, peaking at 215p/kg and £106 per head for respective pens from Newark’s Steve Dorey and Nick Carlisle, of Kilnsey.

Of the 388 horned lambs, the best prime weight wethers made 190-215p/kg, topping at £100 for Dalesbreds from Richard Close in Starbotton.

A large turnout of 535 cast sheep also sold well, with all buyers keen and trade strong for quality types, several strong lots selling to three figures and peaking at £114.50 for three Texel pens from the Brown family in Leyburn. Cull ewes averaged almost £64 per head and cast rams £68.50

There was quality and depth at the weekly prime cattle sale, with many of the 25 under 30-month entries once more consigned by regular vendors and again falling to familiar retail butcher buyers.

Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop in Lancaster headed the purchase prices at £1,522 gross, or 269.5p/kg, for a 565kg Limousin-cross heifer from the Critchley family in Hutton, who were also responsible for the top gross £1,496, or 253.5p/kg, steer, a 590kg Limousin-cross claimed by Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton and Thornton, which also added the second highest gross to their seven-strong haul with a 645kg Limousin-cross steer from Bill Cowperthwaite, of Malham Moor, at £1,454, or 225.5p/kg.

While the 35 cull cows featured more cattle with finish, plenty of plain cows remained available. The top dairies made 120-128.5p/kg, steaking cows trading to 110p and plain cows regularly 90p+. More beef-crosses scanned empty came forward, the best a £1,169, or 137.5p/kg, Simmental from CN&SA Harrison, of Elslack The overall cull cow average was £769.45 per head, or 118.16p/kg. A mature black and white bull from Broughton’s Jeremy Taylor made £1,136.25, or 112.5p/kg.

A much increased entry of 15 loads of produce saw strong prices for straw, with Spring barley selling to £140 per ton, wheat quads to £38 and pea round to £36. Hay mini hestons sold to £57 (av £36.80) and round hay to £37, with round haylage selling to £43.