New format two-day multi-breeds sheep fixture at Skipton produces multiple highlights
There were multiple ovine highlights at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual multi-breeds sale of 754 head of rams and females, minus the usual shows and staged over two days to assist with Covid-19 safe distancing regulations, a new format that was well received. Top call of 1,700gns fell to a Texel shearling ram from regular Red Rose vendor Procters Farm. (Thursday and Friday, Oct 1&2)
A total of 195 sheep went under the hammer on the opening day, among them a strong contingent of Suffolks, a section where buyers were looking for powerful rams ready to work, particularly with North of England Mule sheep in the light of another good year trading prime lambs and ewe lambs.
Regular consignments attracted their usual followings. Of the Suffolk shearling rams, Skipton’s Geoff, Margaret and Alistair Lawn were among the high prices with entries selling at 850gns, 700gns, 620gns and 550gns, producing a solid pen average of £475.
From South Yorkshire, John Key, of Midhopstones, sold shearlings to 650gns and 500gns twice, with Ben Hardcastle of Middlesmoor in Nidderdale, not far behind at 640gns. Shearling rams averaged £409, a rise of £5 per head on the year.
While Suffolk ram lambs averaged £324, back £20 on the year, Stephen Bolland, of Bolton Abbey, caught the eye when producing a pen to average a solid £459, with a top call of 600gns and further sales at 550gns twice. Regular Derbyshire consignor Steve Buckley, from Dove Holes, sold ram lambs to 450gns, with Ben Hardcastle also producing quality ram lambs to 380gns.
A mixed sale of Continental tups in the MV sheep section also attracted regular vendors and a good contingent of buyers keen to try out some powerful tups with both size and frame. Texel-x-Suffolk shearling rams sold well, all making 380gns-480gns, with section a top of 720gns for a pure Rouge shearling ram from Angela Nairey in Luisey, Blackburn.
Charollais rams also sold well to regular purchasers seeking to service both tupping hoggs and ewes. Annual vendor Charles Marwood, of the Foulrice flock in Whenby, York, topped a well-sold run at 420gns with a shearling ram, with many other strong Charollais shearlings selling from 300-400gns, one at this price from Welshman Wynne Davies, of Bronhalt, Pwllheli. The section averaged £336. Charollais ram lambs were in demand too, the majority making 200-300gns, with an overall average of £294.
Blue Texel shearling tups were comfortably sold to 380gns for one from Skipton’s Chris Windle, the section averaging £399, and while ram lambs were less sought after some made 200gns-plus at an overall average of £213. However, Blue Texel ewe lambs sold to a more active audience at around 240-350gns – this for one H&J Dean in Selby - averaging £318.
Texel-x rams regularly sold at 300gns-plus, with Wynne Davies again to the fore with a price-topping 450gns sale, while Beltex tups sold to 480gns for a South Yorkshire-bred entry from Stuart Calvert, of Doncaster. Also making 480gns was a Texel-x-Suffolk shearling ram from Pam Lupton, of Ripon.
Of the other breeds sold on the opening day, Cheviot sold to 370gns (£331) and Hampshire to 220gns (av £231).
Friday was busier, with 559 sheep penned for sale, predominantly Texel, and another positive response to the split format from buyers looking for both power and good skins, resulting in all sections seeing improved trade on the year.
The undoubted highlight was another exceptional run of Texel sheep from Procters Farm in Wray, Lancaster, all 12 of their shearlings rams making four-figure prices and selling to a top of 1,700gns – the leading price of the entire two-day sale. The buyers were K&G Brierley, of Rochdale.
Other shearling rams from the same home sold at 1,250gns, 1,200gns and no less than eight at 1,000gns. In addition, Procters Farm, as usual represented by flock manager Jeff Aiken, sold all of its ram lambs at 400gns or over to a high of 750gns, with two more at 600gns, two at 580gns, another at 500gns.
It was Procters Farm’s second top price coup at Skipton within a matter of weeks, as they also achieved 3,000gns top call with another shearling ram at September’s Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders’ annual sale of pedigree rams and females.
Simon and Audrey Taylor, from Cumberworth in Kirklees, also did well with a shearling ram at 1,500gns, another from Jennifer Aiken, of Wennington, making 1,100gns. Shearling rams averaged £604, well up on the previous year’s £460, while ram lamb averages also took a hike from £282 last year up to £339, with two from Cumbrian vendor Richard Wilson, of Appleby, doing well at 580gns and 480gns.
Of the Texel females, Giggleswick’s Jill Perrings topped at 400gns with a shearling ewe, two others from the same home making 360gns, the same selling price achieved for another from Angela Nairey, plus two at 360gns from Phil Weaver, of Newark. Shearling ewes averaged £344, again well up on 2019’s £222.
Turning to the Continental non-MV section, this, too, attracted a top-notch selection of tups, featuring many regular consignments of quality rams mainly for crossing. Leading the trade were annual visitors from Cumbria, Thomas and James Whiteford, of Brampton, with a Beltex-x-Texel shearling ram at the sale’s second top price of 1,300gns, purchased by Tony Kiernan, of St Michaels, himself a regular Red Rose vendor of quality prime lambs at Skipton. The Whitefords had a further ram at 1,100gns and five more at 1,000gns each in a run of 60 head that averaged £787.
Steve Buckley, from Dove Holes, was next in line at 1,250gns with a Beltex-x-Texel, while regular brother and sister consignees, Geoff and Ann Robinson, of Pannal, Harrogate, topped their annual run at 1,200gns, with others at 1,100gns and 1,000gns. The Robinsons also sold a Charollais shearling ram for a section-topping 800gns.
Rob Ellis. from Addingham Moorside, also a well-known local producer of quality prime lambs, produced a Beltex shearling ram at 1,200gns, while Jason Craddock, from Bolton-by-Bowland, was another in the money at 1,100gns, with Simon and Audrey Taylor, Mark Crabtree, of Kettlesing, and the Priestley family, also from Brampton, all topping their runs at 1,000gns.
Local breeders Anthony and Emma Thomson, from Foulridge, achieved two section highs with their ram lambs, a brace of Beltex at 500gns and a Charollais at 280gns.
Strong rams with good skins and a bit of style for prime lamb production regularly sold from 700gns to 1,000gns, good working tups at 500/600gns, and commercial types 250/450gns. Beltex shearling rams averaged £625, Texel shearling rams £513 and Charollais shearling rams £437. Beltex ram lambs averaged £397 and Charollais ram lambs £212.