Early wedding present for farming couple at Skipton Beltex show There was an early wedding present for soon-to-be-married farming partners Ian Moorhouse and Laura Hammond when they secured first prize in the annual Beltex-cross lambs show at Skipton Auction Mart

The couple, of Fouldshaw Farm, Dacre, who are set to tie the knot on Friday, August 17, tied a red rosette to their prize-winning pen of 25 lambs, which were by a selection of home-bred and bought-in Beltex tups, one of which was used by Mr Moorhouse when he also won the inaugural Skipton show in 2015.
The 2018 victors were picked out by show judge Andrew Phillips, of Burton Leonard, who then transferred his interest to the ringside when purchasing the lambs for £81.50 per head, top price on the day.
Andrew Haggas, of Grove Farm, Otterburn, who won the corresponding show in 2017, was runner-up this year, his charges selling for £79.50 each, while the third prize pen of lambs from Derbyshire vendor MJ Wells, of Monyash, made £67 per head.
On the whole, Beltex lambs saw an improved trade, with numerous pens selling between £68- £79 and plenty of buyers to take them there.
The show classes, sponsored by Laurence Pierce Wool Merchants, Top Tags Animal ID and FiveF Alka, formed part of the mart’s third major fortnightly Wednesday store lamb sale of the season. It attracted another solid turnout of 4,788 head, which exhibited a better stamp on the fortnight and traded to an overall average of £60.26 per head.
First-cross Continentals and Suffolks met an honest trade, with short to medium keep lambs present in strong numbers. Large runs of lambs sold away nicely, with Chris Harker, of Nesfield, Ilkley, selling 137 Texel-cross lambs in one hit at £67.50 per head, while a pen of 94 from E&AM Simpson, of Pateley Bridge, each made £66.50. Long keep lambs were still present in good numbers, with prices ranging from £47-£54
Mule wethers saw a trade £3-£4 stronger on the fortnight, with a selling average of £52.55 and fleshy wether lambs commanding prices well into the £53-£58 bracket, the Stockdale family, from, Burnsall topping at the latter price with a pen of 74.
Also penned for sale on a busy day when just short of 5,000 sheep passed through the sale rings were almost 200 breeding sheep, with quality entries commanding a nice trade.
A run of Continental 3-crop ewes from Peter Houseman, of Padside, Harrogate, made from £114 up to £120 for the best sorts and £90-£100 for more commercial types, with further 3-crop Suffolks from the same vendor selling at £108.
Kirklees vendor B Roberts, from Holmfirth, sold Continental shearlings at £130 and £132, while a run of correct Mule ewes from Draughton’s John Turner made £80 to £88.
A turnout of up to 8,000 head is anticipated at the next fortnightly Wednesday sheep sale on August 22, which features the opening sale of Suffolk gimmer lambs and a special sale of Suffolk rams. There are also show classes for 20 Suffolk gimmer, 50 Mule wether and 50 Down-cross lambs.