Chris Craven champion and reserve coup at Skipton prime lambs show Chris Craven, of Kexby, east of York, clinched a first-ever prime lamb championship, supplementing it for good measure with the reserve champion pen at Skipton Auction Mart’s May fixture. (Mon, May 3)


Assisted by fiancée, Caroline Easton, Mr Craven, of Whitethorn Farm, claimed principal honours with pairs of Beltex-x lambs tapped out by show judge Andrew Atkinson, from Felliscliffe. The 35kg victors sold for £160 per head, or top price per kilo of 457p, when purchased on behalf of Yorkshire Halal Meat Wholesalers in Ossett. The same vendor/buyer combination accounted for the 37kg reserve champion pen at £165, or 445.9p/kg.

The third prize 42kg Continental-x pairs from J Fisher Son, of Goosnargh sold for £154 each to Oldham wholesaler M Rafi, while taking first and second prizes in the Down-x show class for Suffolks was Jenny Smith, showing on behalf of Craven Farms in York. The 41kg red rosette winners sold at £167 per head to wholesalers J Penny & Sons in Rawdon, the 39kg-runners-up making £142, also to Yorkshire Halal.

A robust bank holiday entry of 2,163 prime sheep saw vendors arrive in their droves from a wide area, with both retail and wholesale buyers active and very keen ringside. A tremendous turnout of 267 Spring lambs was nearly double the normal entry for the time of year and 104p/kg dearer on average on the year at 358.8p/kg, or £148.32 per head.

Hogg numbers were tighter, with almost 1,200 penned for sale, handyweights meeting a very sharp trade, mediums and heavies mixed depending on quality, with the 46-51kg weight range finding a nice enquiry for good level meated sorts, though lean heavies were a shade easier. An overall selling average of £136.90 per head, or 296.2p/kg, was recorded.

The 600 cast sheep were again primarily cull ewes, featuring some large runs from Lincolnshire, Durham and Preston consignees, with ten active buyers ringside operating on numerous accounts. Trade topped at £197.50 for Texel heavies from Silsden Moor’s Simon Bennett, with an overall ewe average just shy of £110, while cast rams averaged £119.10.

Last week, the first Tuesday breeding sheep sale of the current season attracted an increased turnout of 716 ewes with lambs at foot, including many top-notch outfits, with a premium price paid for those with Texel/Beltex lambs. 
First-cross Texel shearlings with Texel lambs met strong demand, P&AM Simpson, of Dacre, selling to highs of £315 and £308, while North of England Mule shearling outfits were all away at £220-£240. 

Hoggs with lambs also sold well, Mules and singles making £190-£195 and Texels from W, Stapleton, Hellifield, hitting £200 per outfit, followed by Calton’s Ellie Crisp at £195. 
Texel ewes got away well, many making £200-£240, an outfit with twins from JT Spencer, Southfield, Burnley catching the eye at £242. Mule ewes with twins sold well from £185-£208

Any ewes with strong single lambs were keenly contested with buyers keen for quick turnaround, while outfits with younger singles also met a nice trade for anything with a bit of style in the lamb.