MARKET REPORT - MONDAY 6TH JANUARY 2014 PRESS Brand-new year, brand-new prime cattle and lamb champions and trade branded as “strong throughout” all combined to make the opening primestock shows of 2014 at Skipton Auction Mart a runaway success. (Mon, Jan 6)

Skipton New Year primestock opener a runaway success

Brand-new year, brand-new prime cattle and lamb champions and trade branded as “strong throughout” all combined to make the opening primestock shows of 2014 at Skipton Auction Mart a runaway success. (Mon, Jan 6)

The prime cattle title winner was Wharfedale’s Richard Stevenson, of Elsing Bottom Farm, Farnley, who has not shown at Skipton for well over a decade, while the prime lamb victors were husband and wife Brian and Lisa Hall, of Scaleber Farm, Gargrave, who were entering lambs into the prize show at the North Yorkshire venue for the first time ever.

Mr Stevenson bred both the sire, from his ‘Richphill’ stock bull lines, and dam of the supreme champion – the first prize 630kg British Blue-x-Limousin steer, which fell for the day’s leading price of £1,717, or 272.5p/kg, to James Robertshaw, of Keelham Farm Shop in Thornton, Bradford.

The business, which is on track to open a new flagship outlet in Gargrave Road, Skipton, adjoining the auction mart site, in August this year, remains the single most prolific buyer of prime champions and prize winners at the North Yorkshire venue, among them the supreme champion, one of seven prize-winning acquisitions at the high profile Christmas primestock show last month

Mr Robertshaw also snapped up the reserve champion, a 575kg Limousin-x-British Blue heifer from Bernard Simpson, of Heathfield, Pateley Bridge, at £1,544, or 268.5p/kg, second top price in show, along with a Blonde-cross heifer from Roger Wood, of Cross Roads, at £1,388, or 227.5p/kg.

The Halls clinched a debut prime lamb championship at the first attempt with their first prize 42kg Beltex-cross pen of five lambs, which also topped the selling prices when falling at £130 per head, or 309.5p/kg, to another regular buyer Anthony Swales, for his Knavesmire Butchers shop in York.

Mr and Mrs Hall, who breed Texel and Beltex lambs, along with dairy replacement heifers, sell all their lambs at Skipton. “We thought we had some decent lambs, so decided to have a crack in the show. We’re over the moon to win the supreme championship at the first attempt,” they said.

Mr Swales swooped to secure all three prize-winning Continental pens, adding the 40kg second prize and reserve champion Texel-cross pen from Trawden’s Hayley Baines at £116 per head, or 290p/kg, and the third prize 41kg Beltex-cross pen from Jimmy Towler, of Grindleton, at £96 each. All will be sold through his Albermarle Road shop.

Back in the prime cattle section, which attracted a solid 98-strong entry, Bernard Simpson, who was also responsible for both the champion and reserve at the 2013 primestock opener, sold a second Limousin-cross heifer at £1,394, or 260.5p/kg, to Gordon Edwards, of Edwards Farm Butchers in Padiham Road, Burnley. The buyer also farms beef cattle in nearby Higham.

Roger Wood also achieved £1,414, or 217.5p/kg, with a second Blonde-cross heifer sold to Stanforths Butchers in Skipton, while Trawden’s Jimmy Baines, a multiple past Skipton champion, was again to the fore with the second and third prize British Blue-cross heifers. They sold at £1,385, or 249.5p/kg, and £1,156, or 224.5p/kg, to, respectively, Riley Bros Butchers in Dunnockshaw, and Charlie Clough for his retail butchers shop in Northowram, Halifax.

Prime cattle over 30 months sold to a high of £1,024, or 136.5p/kg, for a black and white heifer from Bell Busk’s Brian Moorhouse. The buyer was John Thompson, of Samlesbury.

There were standalone show classes for the 79 cast cattle forward, with the championship awarded to a Blonde-cross heifer from Kiirkless pedigree Limousin breeder Janet Sheard, of Low Common Farm, Almondbury, Huddersfield.

Her victor, acquired at Skipton in 2002 and who has since produced some ten calves, achieved the day’s leading per head price of £1,055, with the top by-weight price of 137.5p/kg falling to a Blonde-cross cow from Steeton’s Mark Evans.

The reserve champion, a Limousin-cross cow from E&SCL Harker & Son, of Lofthouse, was second top on price at £1,043, or 135.5p/kg, with the pick of the dairy-bred entries from Bishop Thornton’s Peter Baul also achieving four figures when selling at £1,034. Cull cows sold to an overall average of £728.32, or 111.34p/kg.

Craven Cattle Marts general manager Jeremy Eaton noted: “There was strong opening trade for the first cull cattle sale of 2014 and vendors rose to the task with a nice show of cattle, including a good number held over and carrying finish. Interest was also seen from feeding cattle buyers looking to secure supplies, coupled with renewed interest in manufacturing meat from processors.”

A lighter show of 2,381 prime sheep was seen at the New Year opener, with an active ringside of 18 separate buyers driving up prices by £2 to £4 per head on the week. The 2,115 old season lambs among them sold to an overall average of £76.04 per head, or 181.8p/kg, with prize winners in all show classes heading the respective section prices.

Brian Lund, of Walshaw, Hebden Bridge, stepped forward with the first and second prize 41kg and 42kg Sufffolk-cross pens, which both achieved £82.50 per head on joining Woodhead Bros in Colne.

The third prize 42kg pen from Charles and Richard Kitching, of Threshfield, sold to show judge Paul Watson, of Hellifield, at £80 per head, who also paid £75 each for the first prize pen of 47kg Mules from Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses.

Mr Watson then added the first and second prize pens of horned lambs – the 42kg red rosette winners from WA&A Booth in Feizor at £72 per head, and the 44kg runners-up from Calton’s Robert Crisp for £75 each.

Hill-bred lambs met with a sharper trade on the week, especially heavier Mule lambs, where the day’s top breed price of £100 fell to a single lamb sold on behalf of Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope.

It was champion at the Addingham & District Sheep Breeders’ Association annual charity show and sale at Skipton last month, when shown by Patrick and Thomas Walker, of Appletreewick. The lamb was sold no less than four times to raise £830 in total for Manorlands, before being put away to return to the January opener to boost the charity kitty even further. It was knocked down to Andrew Atkinson in Felliscliffe.

There were also 261 cast sheep among the entry, with cull ewes selling away well at £57.35 per head overall and to a high of £117.50 for a Texel pen from Bob Newby, of Wetherby. Cast rams were also strong when averaging £71.38 each, with a day’s high of £101.50 for another Texel from Embsay’s Bobby and Christine Clarkson.

In the weekly produce sale, barley straw square bales sold to £83 per ton, round bales to £20 per bale and quad bales to £80 per ton.  Small bale hay sold to £3.20 per bale and fodder beet to £26 per ton.