Sheila Mason secures top price at Skipton festive store cattle showcase Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Christmas store cattle show and sale – the last of the festive fixtures - attracted a tidy and quality turnout of 269 head, comprising 122 young feeding bulls, 137 bullocks and heifers, and ten breeding cattle, with trade seen to be stronger than of late, as a good company of buyers sought goods. (Wed, Dec 9) Like last year, Sheila Mason, who runs the Keasden Head pedigree herd in Clapham, produced the first prize heifer, a British Blue by her well-regarded stock bull, Bringlee Campbell, who was also responsible for the 2014 victor.

Acquired three years ago from his Shropshire breeder Graham Brindley, the sire has been responsible for a good number of Mrs Mason’s recent Skipton prize winners. Out of a home-bred Blue-cross cow, the heifer sold for the day’s leading price of £1,340 to farmer and butcher Philip Marley, who will further feed his purchase on the family farm in Exelby, near Bedale, before it returns to the food chain at his two butchers’ shops in Ripon and Helmsley.

Mrs Mason also presented the third prize young bull, knocked down at £890 to regular Skipton buyer, York area farmer and butcher Anthony Swales, who also paid £1,100 for the class winner, a home-bred eleven-and-half-months-old British Blue-cross from father and son Keith and Simon Wilkinson, of Northdene Farm, Out Rawcliffe, Preston.

The victor was by their stock bull ‘Deano,’ acquired from Cumbrian breeders Ross and Elaine Pattinson, out of a three-quarters Limousin cow. Mr Swales bought 23 cattle in total, other prize winners among them. All will be further fed on the family farm in Melbourne, then finished for next year’s Easter trade at his Knavesmire Butchers shop in Albermarle Road, York.

The Wilkinsons were also responsible for the top price pen of three Blue-cross young bulls, which each made £1,160.

Show judge Keith Bowes, of Bilbrough, nominated a 13-month-old Limousin-cross bullock from another Clapham breeder, Jonathan Townley, as his winner of the show class for steers. Out of a Blue-cross cow, it sold at £1,060 to another Skipton regular, Malcolm Metcalfe, of Baldersby Park.

Staying with the steers, Fox Farms in Clitheroe notched second and third prizes, the former selling at £1,230 to Ernie Wardle, of Monyash in Derbyshire, bettered at £1,280 by the yellow rosette winner, which became a further Malcolm Metcalfe buy.

Back with the heifers, the second prize winner from 2015 CCM Farmers of the Year, the Fawcett family in Drebley, made £1,100 on joining Lincolnshire buyer H Catlin, of Boston, while the third prize entry from TH&A Pickard, of Bolton-by-Bowland, sold for £930 Stephen Eastwood, of Emley.

The remaining prize winner, the young bull class runner-up from Calderdale’s David Broadbent, of Midgley, sold away at £1,080.

The Fawcetts – Stephen and Tracey and their daughter Samantha – also presented the top price British Blue-cross and Limousin-cross young bulls, which made £1,240 and £1,220 respectively.

Also catching the eye in the same section were Ian Pratt, of Hebden Bridge, with a £1,270 Simmental and James Huck, of Austwick, with a nice run of Blondes  that topped at £1,210, Young bulls sold to a Continental-cross average of £927 per head, with a native average of £600.

The respective store bullock averages were £983 and £970, with a section high of £1,300 for a Charolais-cross from Darren Beck, of West Marton, who also produced the top price £1,060 Shorthorn. The best-selling pen of three Limousin-cross bullocks from R Brewer, of Sedbergh, each made £1,045.

Store heifers sold to an overall Continental-cross average of £913 and a native average of £732, with Donald Sunderland, of Halton East, turning out the top price pen of three £1,030 per head Charolais.

Breeding cattle sold to a high of £1,220 for an in-calf British Blue-cross cow from Stainforth’s Richard Caton, closely followed at £1,200 by a Limousin-cross cow with same breed bull calf at foot from Gareth Newburn, of Bailiff Bridge.

Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager Jeremy Eaton said: “Bull trade was good, with demand concentrated around nine-to-11-month-old cattle that will finish under 16 months and as maximum weights now apply at the larger abattoirs there is every reason to encourage breeders to push cattle on to sell at these optimum ages.”

It was the last store cattle sale of the year. They resume in the New Year on Wednesday, January 6, when a 1,500-strong entry is anticipated.