Colin Whitelock calf champion as new Skipton sales ring is launched Skipton Auction Mart’s brand-new rearing calf sales ring was packed to the rafters for the first-ever sale in the new facility on a snowy bank holiday Monday Easter. (April 2) Known as the Stirton Ring, it forms part of the impressive new sales ring complex in the heart of the mart. There is also a new standalone sheep sales ring, which was also used for the first time on Monday.

The project, which began in early January, is said to represent the biggest single investment in more than a decade at the North Yorkshire mart.

Back with the calves, it was also a show day, when the honour of having the first-ever supreme champion to be sold through the new ring fell to Colin Whitelock, of Low Green Farm, Gargrave, with his first prize British Blue-cross bull calf.

Born on February 20, the youngster is by Mr Whitelock’s main stock bull, acquired locally from Nick Parker, of Heights Farm, Silsden. Out of a British Friesian cow, the title winner sold for £460 to SH Stott, of Rishworth in Calderdale.

For good measure, Mr Whitelock also stepped forward with the reserve champion, the first prize Limousin-cross bull calf, by a Skipton-bought Oddacres bull bred in Embsay by John and Claire Mason. This made £450 when claimed by ME&EM Garbutt, of Danby Wiske, Northallerton.

The same vendor was also responsible for the second prize Limousin-cross bull calf, with Mr Whitelock’s five entries on the day grossing £2,055.

The distinction of becoming the inaugural top price performer in the new sales ring fell to Mark Houseman, of Church Farm Enterprises, based at Burton Top Farm, Burton Leonard, with a British Blue-cross bull calf knocked down for £470. This, too, was claimed by the Garbutts.

Mr Houseman arrived with a cracking run of seven Blue-cross calves, all by the Genus sire, Brookfield Dev. He took first and second prizes in the heifer show class, along with second and third prizes with his bulls. The majority made over £400, with all averaging £435 per head.

Some handy Limousin-cross calves from GCL Stephenson, of Kirkby Lonsdale, sold away nicely, with heifers past £300 and bulls to £360 for month-old calves. Other Continental-cross bull and heifer calves among the 51-strong turnout regularly topped £400, producing an overall section average of £335 per head.

Native calves hit a higher gear, notably some strong youngsters from Alan Middleton, of JP&KE Hartley in Bolton Abbey, which sold to a section high of £355 for an Aberdeen-Angus bull calf, the same vendor also heading the heifer calf prices with a £280 Angus.

John Marshall, of Dacre, took first and second prizes in the native heifer show class with a brace of Hereford-crosses that topped at £370. The overall native selling average was £247 per head.

Black and white calves averaged £56.50 each, peaking at £115 for a bull calf from Sutton-in-Craven’s Richard Spence, with Chris Watson, of Horton-in-Craven, also catching the eye with Flekvieh calves sold to £255. Show judge was Calderdale’s Martin Hutchinson, from Mixenden.