Another Skipton prime cattle show coup for North Craven Smiths Just as they did at the New Year opener, North Craven father and son hill farmers, Francis and Andrew Smith, stood champion again at Skipton Auction Mart’s February prime cattle show, also adding the reserve championship with a brace of Limousin-cross entries. (Mon, Feb 1)


The overall victor for the Smiths, of Lodge Farm, Masongill, was a 555kg red bullock, the reserve a 550kg black heifer. Both figured among a total of ten purchases by Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers, at, respectively, 262.5p/kg, or £1,457, this the top price steer, and 263.5p/kg, or £1,449. 

Bradford-based Pearsons also accounted for both the highest priced animals. Top price per kilo at 266.5p/kg, or £1,506, was a 565kg British Blue-cross heifer from Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching, with the leading gross price of £1,516, or 244.5p/kg, going to a 620kg Limousin-cross heifer from the Jowett family in Queensbury at £1,516, or 244.5p/kg. 

The turnout of 20 under 30-month clean cattle included a number of 600kg entries, along with a nice entry of 530kg commercial heifers carrying finish which found a ready demand.

Weekly buyer James Robertshaw claimed an eight-strong haul of high quality retail cattle – six for his own Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton, the other two for Skipton-based Keelham Farm Shop. Show judge Simon Barker himself claimed three for his mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers,

Also penned for sale were 23 cull cows and trade was similar on the week when producing an overall selling average of £729.96 per head, or 112.87p/kg, with a four-figure top of £1,040, or 140.5p/kg, for a black and white from M Ryder & Son, of Haverah Park, Harrogate.

Eldwick’s Mick Etherington judged the monthly prime lambs show and both his principals came from the Continental-cross hoggs class, presented in pens of five. The first prize and champion pen of 42kg Beltex lambs by home-bred Dutch Texels rams from Hayley Baines, of Horton Green Farm, Gisburn, sold for £140 per head to buyers Vivers Scotlamb in Annan.

The second prize and reserve champion 48kg Beltex pen from Taylor Bros in Rathmell did better at £158 each, the day’s joint top call, when joining Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton, supplementing their same day’s retail cattle purchases.

D&A Livestock, of Haverah Park, consigned the first prize pen of 41kg Suffolk-cross hoggs, knocked down for £119 to Halifax wholesalers, the Medcalfs, with the second prize 56kg pen from the Hutchinson family in Faceby selling for £127.50 to ringside regular Andrew Atkinson, of Felliscliffe.

The Hutchinsons also stepped up with the first prize pen of ten 60kg North of England Mule hoggs, sold for £124 to Scotbeef, with regular Lincolnshire vendor Steve Dorey responsible for the second prize 45kg pen, which made £119 when joining Dan Towers in Hornby.

A standalone show class for pens of ten horned hoggs was won by 40kg Swaledales from John and Claire Wright in Airton, sold at £102.50, the 43kg runners-up from Matt Mason of Appletreewick, making £107.50. Both fell to Andrew Atkinson. 

Another solid trade was seen for the 2,938 prime and lightweight hoggs penned and sold, producing overall selling averages of £118.88 per head, or 273.5p/kg.

A larger entry of 672 feeding ewes and rams sold to a full ringside of buyers actively competing for all classes. A good run of 233 white-faced ewes averaged £100 per head, top price of £162.50 falling to Texels from the Kiernans again followed by some fed ewes from the Faceby Hutchinsons at £151.50. Heavy pure ewes made £130-£150, the section producing averages of £85.28 for cull ewes and £88.55 for cast rams.

An online produce sale saw straw hestons sell to £37 per bale, round haylage to £24 per bale and small bale hay to £2.20 per bale.

The mart reports that because of current ongoing restrictions it has decided to put back for a month the annual Craven Champions two-day fixture. Originally scheduled for a pre-sale show on Tuesday evening, February 16, followed by the sale the following day, the annual highlight for store cattle with show potential, featuring annual consignments of high-quality crossbred cattle, many suitable for the 2021 commercial beef show circuit, will now take place on March 16 & 17. Entries close the previous Wednesday, March 10.