Past principals again to the fore at CCM Skipton Easter prime lambs highlight
As in previous years, two dyed-in-the-wool Charollais sheep stalwarts again dominated the show classes at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Easter prime lambs highlight, with Robert Towers once more standing supreme champion and Charles Marwood reserve, both with single lambs.
In fact, Mr Towers, who farms with his wife, Jackie, and daughter, Josie, at Greenlands Farm, Ingleton, was in effect claiming his fourth successive Easter title, repeating his previous successes in 2018, 2019 and last year – the 2020 show fell victim to Covid.
His latest victor was a home-bred 44kg gimmer lamb by a Beltex tup out of a Charollais ewe that headed the Spring lamb prices at £169 when claimed by regular wholesale buyer Hartshead Meats in Mossley, Greater Manchester, which also bought Mr Towers’ 2021 champion.
Charles Marwood’s reserve champion, a pure 41kg Charollais ram lamb by a stock ram purchased out of Northern Ireland in 2020, followed hot on the heels of the title winner on price when making £168, going to show judge Anthony Swales for Knavesmire Butchers in York.
The Marwoods, who run the Foulrice flock in Whenby, York, also won the Continental-x pairs show class with a 43kg pairing – both again tup lambs, one by their prolific stock ram Osprey, still going strong at eight-years-old, the other by Galtres Upper Class, acquired from daughter Deborah. These, too, joined Knavesmire Butchers at £160 each, as did the third prize 46kg Continental-x pairs from the Towers holding at £159.
Keeping it in the family, Mr Towers’ daughter Josie, who runs her own small flock of pedigree Suffolks, repeated her previous year’s success when again winning the Down-x show pairs class with 45kg lambs sold at £152 per head to Hartwith’s Nick Dalby, who also went to £160 each to claim the second prize Continental-x pairs from the Stott family in Chipping. Josie Towers also finished runner-up in the Down-x single show class, her 45kg lamb another Knavesmire acquisition at £155.
Well-known South Craven Suffolk breeder Mark Evans, of Steeton, was again among the prizes, winning the singles show class with a 48kg ram lamb out of a home-bred tup, which made £165, also standing runner-up with his Down-x pairs, 48kg ram lambs away at £160, all three joining regular buyer Andrew Atkinson, of Felliscliffe.
Mr Atkinson also claimed the remaining rosette winners, the third prize 39kg Continental-x single from Harry Walters, of Sheffield, at £134, the third prize 40kg Down-x pairs from Anthony Bolland in Bolton Abbey, at £117 each, and the third prize 39kg Down-x single from Claire Critchley, of Hutton, at £115, who also sold a brace of Zwartble to £131.
Skipton Spring lambs remain popular for the Easter trade among both retail and wholesale butchers, the handyweight bracket averaging £144.48, heavier lambs £154.75 and overweights £160, with the 62 head forward selling to an overall average of £146.72 per head, or 337.4p/kg.
A busy show day also featured the April prime hoggs highlight, won by a pen of five 43kg Beltex-x from mart regular Adrian Leach, of Hebden Bridge. By a mix of both home-bred and Thompson family, Foulridge, tups, out of Skipton-bought ewes, they made £160 each, bettered at £170 by the 46kg runners-up from Malhamdale’s Jeff Burrow, these going to Andrew Atkinson, the third prize 41 pen from the same home making £155.
The Suffolk-x show class was won by a 54kg pen from John Greenwood, of Moor Monkton, York, claimed by Nick Dalby, who also paid £123.50 for the red rosette-winning hill hoggs, 50kg Lonks from A&AR Phillipson, of Briercliffe. The Mule/Masham show fell to 48kg Mashams from North Lincolnshire regular Steve Dorey, again falling to Andrew Atkinson at £119.
The total entry of 2,393 hoggs sold to a much sharper trade on the week for both standard and medium weights, £170 highs seen across several weight ranges, with a top gross of £180 from Jeff Burrow and by-weight high of 448p/kg from the Atkinson family, both for Beltex pens in the 36-45kg weight range. Hill-bred and horned lambs also sold well, notably the latter, producing an overall sale average for old season hoggs of £125.22 per head, or 267.2p/kg (SQQ 281p).
Also among the mix were 383 cast ewes and lambs, the former averaging £120.39, the latter £136.50.