Reigning champions retain titles at Skipton prime shows Defending champions retained their titles at Skipton Auction Mart’s June prime shows, with the Critchley family from Hutton, near Preston, winning the prime cattle championship for an unprecedented fourth consecutive month and Neil Tattersall, from Ellerton, York, returning to again lead the way with his prime lambs. (Mon, June 5)

The Critchleys - father Richard and his three sons, Robert, John and Thomas - from Mercer Farm, clinched a memorable four-timer with their first prize 535kg Cumbrian-bred Limousin-cross heifer, which also achieved the day’s top gross and by-weight call of £1,495, or 279.5p/kg, when returning to Lancashire with Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop in Lancaster, who had also claimed the family’s May champion.

The victor was among a trio of Limousin-cross heifers consigned by Robert Critchley. The other two also sold well at £1,422 and £1,263, or 249.5p/kg and 250.5p/kg, to, respectively, Keelham Farm Shop and Simon Duerden, of J Duerden & Son Meats, for further fattening at their Mountain Farm, Blacko. The Critchley family currently has around 100 Limousin and British Blue-cross stores which they are finishing off.

Show judge Simon Barker, who owns Skipton-based Stanforths Butchers and runs the CCM meat production unit at the mart, awarded the reserve championship to the first prize steer, a 555kg British Blue-cross from Charles and Richard Kitching, of Threshfield, which again fell to Countrystyle Meats for £1,374, or 247.5p/kg.

The Lancaster Leisure Park farm shop remains a major buyer at Skipton, taking home four cattle in total, among them the top price by-weight 247.5p/kg (£1,374) British Blue-cross steer again from the Kitching brothers.

James Drake, of Denholme, sold his second prize Blue-cross bullock for a section-topping £1,455 (244.5p/kg), again to Keelham, who once more became the day’s principal buyer with an eight-strong shopping list for its two farm shops in Skipton and Thornton.

Simon Bennett, of Silsden Moor, made £1,109 (233.5p/kg) with his third prize Limousin-cross steer, which also figured among Countrystyle’s acquisitions, as did the second prize Limousin-cross heifer from Jimmy Baines, of Trawden, at £1.351 (252.5p/kg).

Malcolm Metcalfe, of Baldersby Park, caught the eye with a Blue-cross steer at £1,406 (230.5p/kg), this falling to Halifax meat wholesaler Gerald Medcalf. Stanforths Butchers also claimed three, with one each going to Hamlets Butchers in Garstang and T Appleton & Son Butchers in Boroughbridge.

Hartshead prime lambs double purchase
In the prime lamb show arena, Mr Tattersall, who trades as PA&NS Tattersall at Town End Farm, took championship honours with his first prize Continental pen, five home-bred Beltex-crosses by the family’s tried and trusted stock ram.

The 39kg victors were knocked down at £131 each or 319.5p/kg, the day’s leading by-weight price, to Felliscliffe’s Andrew Atkinson, purchasing on behalf of Hartshead Meat Co in Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne.

Judge Andrew Finch, procurement manager for Dunbia Foods in Preston, awarded the reserve championship to the second prize Continental pen, five 42kg Texel-cross-Beltex lambs from local vendor Will Shuttleworth, of Home Farm, Gargrave, which went under the hammer for £123 each, or 292.9p/kg, when again joining Hartshead Meat Co.

Both the champions and reserves will go on sale from this weekend at regular customers WH Frost Butchers in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester. They are members of the national Butchers Q Guild, as are Hartshead Meats, who bought ten Skipton pens, or 31 lambs in total.

Fox Farms in Clitheroe had the third prize pen of Continentals, 37kg Beltex sold for £111, or £3 per kilo, to Vivers Scotlamb in Annan.

In the Down-cross show class, well-known local Suffolk breeder Mark Evans, of Tower Gate Farm, Steeton, picked up another Skipton red rosette with his pen of five home-bred lambs, which fell for £126 per head to The Millstones Restaurant in Kettlesing.

Adjudicator Mr Finch himself brought nine pens totalling 107 lambs, which are destined for the export market in Holland and Belgium.

Solid trade throughout
Outside the show classes, there was solid trade for both cattle and sheep. The 98-strong prime cattle entry included 67 cull cows, of which 56 were dairy-bred, with heavy black and whites making 120-130p/kg and some steakers as much as 122p/kg, while lean cows proved equally good to sell.

The pick of the black and whites was a £1,010 entry from Paul and Janet Bolland, of Airton. Continental-cross cows sold at 140p/kg-plus if farm assured, with brothers Stephen and Stuart Lund, of Litton, doing well with a £1,060 Limousin-cross. Natives with assurance were also in ready demand, a Beef Shorthorn from Joey Drinkall, of Anglezarke, Chorley, hitting £956, or 138.5p/kg.

A Longhorn from Bill Bland, of Kirkby Malham, made £888, or 133.5p/kg, a by-weight price equalled by a £861 Aberdeen Angus from David Preston, of Stainforth. The overall cull cow average was £737.17 per head, or 116.10p/kg.

Four mature bulls were also on parade and these met with a sharper trade for the heavies. A 990kg Limousin from Angus Dean, of Threshfield, grossed £1,470, or 148.5p/kg, pipped by weight at 159.5p/kg, or £1,403, for a 880kg British Blue from Martin Sharp, of Stainforth. Mr Dean also sold a black and white bull at £1,049, or 129.5p/kg, with the bulls selling to an overall average of £1,207.48, or 132.69p/kg.

Back with the prime sheep, the 1,721 head penned for sale included 1,270 new season lambs, the largest turnout of the season to date.

John Robinson, of Settle, topped the sale and the day’s per head prices at £133 each with Texel-crosses selling to Liam Broster for his family-run Broster’s Farm Shop at Lindley Moor, Huddersfield, closely followed by Ian and Stuart Barrett, from Braisty Woods in Nidderdale, with £132 per head Texel-crosses claimed by Kendalls Farm Butchers, of Harrogate and Pateley Bridge.

The Hall family, from Grassington, sold Charollais-cross lambs to £128 each to Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop, with Gordon and Richard Crabtree, of Clifton, Otley, selling 39kg Beltex lambs to 305.1p/kg, or £119 per head. The same day’s prime lamb champion Neil Tattersall had a further pen at 300p/kg and Fox Farms two pens at the same price.

Quite a few 33kg-35kg lightweight lambs among the entry mainly made 240-260p/kg, or £80 to £88 per head, with others in the 32-35kg bracket averaging £84.87. The overall Spring lamb selling average was £102.56 per head, or 256.15p/kg.       

A  typical end of season entry of 258 old season lambs saw the best heavy end still sell away well at £105-plus, up to £119 for a single Texel from Bryan Dibb, of Menston. Jeff Burrow, of Kirkby Malham, had a pen of 52kg Continental-crosses at £116, and other pens at £110 and £108. Keith Marshall, of Niffany Farm, topped the section at £109per head with Suffolk crosses.  Overall, old season lambs averaged a shade over 188p/kg per head.
A total of 191 cast sheep traded to an average of  £64.99 per head for cull ewes, peaking at £125.50 per head for Texels from Robert Marshall, of Dacre, with cast rams averaging £71.68 each.
Of the breeding sheep, while there was a much smaller entry of 22 sheep and lambs, trade was every bit as good, with buyers still out in force looking for stock. Some mixed age Lleyn ewes with strong lambs from JP Stirke, of Easingwold, made £140 per outfit, with the same vendor also achieving £178 with further Lleyns, both correct and broken mouthed sheep with twins.