Blues lead the way Skipton Spring young bull highlight British Blue-cross entries claimed both class wins and top prices at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Spring show and sale of young feeding bulls. (Wed, March 15) In the under 10-months show class, father and son Alan and Gary Lodge, of Westside House, Malham Moor, were on the mark with a home-bred bull by a Scottish-bred sire they shared with fellow Yorkshire Dales breeder James Hall, of Darnbrook.

Out of a Blue-cross cow – the Lodge family has 40 at home, along with a 1,400-strong flock of Swaledale ewes - the red rosette winner sold for £1,300 to York farmer and butcher Anthony Swales, who was once the leading buyer at the annual fixture.

He claimed 15 cattle in total, among them all but one of the prize winners in the two show classes. As usual, all will be further improved on the family’s Haverland Farm in Melbourne, before returning to the food chain for the summer trade at their Knavesmire Butchers in Albermarle Road, York. They will begin to appear from June onwards.

Mr Swales also said one of his acquisitions, a tidy red Limousin-cross, would likely take its chance on the local show circuit this summer in the hands of his two butcher sons, 22-year-old Harry and Luke, 21.

For the second year running, farming brothers David and Stephen Hollings, of Spinks Hill Farm, Pecket Well, Hebden Bridge, landed the 10 to 12-month-old young bull show class with an all-black home-bred Blue-cross by Littlebank Harry, acquired at Skipton from Rathmell’s Richard Maudsley and also responsible for their 2016 victor. Their latest frontrunner made £1,270.

The two principals were also to the fore in the same day’s beef-bred feedings cow sale, when the Lodges topped with a £1,430 top price Blonde-cross, with the Hollings brothers next best at £1,220 with another Blue-cross. Both joined Wakefield’s John North.

Back with the young feeding bulls, the second prize under 10-month-old from 2016 class winners James and Gill Huck, of Church Farm, Hubberholme, made £1,180, with the third prize winner from the Fawcett family at Fold House, Drebley, selling at £1,150.

The Fawcetts were also responsible for the second prize 10 to 12-month-old young bull, claimed for £1,160, while Brian Lund, of Walshaw, Hebden Bridge, finished third, his charge selling at £1,180 to Thirsk’s Rob Matten, the only rosette winner not bought by Mr Swales.

A good entry of 206 bulls sold away at decent rates, with strong bulls again readily sold and premium bulls also receiving a good following. Outside the show classes, which were judged by Keith Bowes, of York, and sponsored by Lloyd’s Animal Feeds, the top price performer at £1,440 was a Limousin-cross from JM Wilson & Sons, of Beckwithshaw, which joined Stephen Kemp in Durham.

Procters Farm in Slaidburn presented the top price pen of three Limousin-cross bulls, which each made £1,100.Continental-cross entries averaged £949 per head, natives £556.

The fortnightly cattle sale attracted a total entry of 626 head and also included 401 bullocks and heifers. Store cattle on offer were generally a younger selection and the averages reflected this. Any strong cattle, though, were a very good trade, with plenty of customers looking for short keep types.

Bullocks sold to an overall Continental-cross average of £984 and natives £667. Top call of £1,300 fell to a Blue-cross from Norfolk breeder A Padfield, with Andrew Fawcett, of Bishop Thornton, making £1,220 each with his top price pen of three Simmental-cross bullocks.

Mr Fawcett was also responsible for the top price pen of three Simmental-cross store heifers, which each made, £1.090, with section prices peaking at £1,240 for a Charolais-cross from Fleets Farm in Rylstone. Continental-cross heifers averaged £884.
An increased entry of 19 beef-bred feeding cows saw a full range of qualities and the best average of the year to date at £903 per head. Three-quarters bred cattle sold well, while a half bred beef cow found a sharp following for feeding, with the better end selling from £900 to £1,000, and the plainer end from mid £600s to mid £800s.

Two other four figure achievers here were R Wilson, of Cleckheaton, with a Limousin-cross at £1,190 and JG Bamforth, of Slaithwaite, with a £1,100.Blue-cross.

The mart says more beef-bred feeding cows are required to meet seasonal demand with the grazing season just round the corner.