Suckled calves to the fore at CCM Skipton bovine bounty Cattle took centre stage in the midst of the hectic sheep sales season at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Autumn show day.

Four show classes for 2020 and 2021-born suckled calves, judged by Stephen Lofthouse, of Grewelthorpe, produced a Kirklees double when Chris Bamforth, of Hey Knowle Farm, Slaithwaite, won two of them with home-breds, both, like many others on the day, achieving four-figure selling prices, His first prize 2021 Limousin-x steer made £1,060, his red rosette 2020 British Blue-x heifer £1,040.

Doing better at £1,340 was the first prize 2020-born steer, a 16-month-old Limousin-x from Ribble Valley brothers Peter and Edward Fox, of Fox Farms in Withgill, the remaining show class for the best 2021-born heifer falling to Sandra Blades, of Hill Top Farm, Carnforth, with a Limousin-x away at £920, bettered at £960 by the third prize winner from the same home.

The midweek bovine bounty produced a 450-strong feeding cattle entry, among them 365 store bullocks and heifers. Continental store bullocks met a straight trade, the Hall family from Gargrave selling a brace of black Limousin-x at £1,350, while a pair of Charolais-x from Nicholas Pinder of Coniston Cold, was close behind at £1,340 each.

Generally, older bullocks were mainly £1,200-plus, with the strongest dairy/beef-x entries approaching £1,200 up to the mid £1,200s, the next grade of decent framed types generally £1,080 to £1,150 and long-term sorts £900-£1,050.

Young suckler-bred bullocks were a nice trade, many annual customers present seeking cattle to farm on. Limousin/Blue crosses with that extra spark of carcass suitable for the retail sector could make £950-£1,050 at seven to ten-months-old, the next grade £800-£920. Charolais bullocks attracted a good amount of interest, calves in the six to seven-month-old age range generally away in the mid to late £800s, odd ones sneaking over £900.

Of the store heifers, good trade was in evidence for older short-keep sucklers suitable for the retail market or quality wholesale use. Continental heifers with shape, flesh and a decent sized frame commanded £1,200-£1,400, the Nelson family in Bordley making £1,480 and £1,350 with two 17-month-old Limousin-x, the Fox brothers again chipping in with £1,420 for another Limousin-x at the same age.

Like the bullocks, suckler-bred heifers found an excellent enquiry, the best end of 2021-born entries peaking at £1,050 for a six-month-old Limousin/Blue-x from Mirfield’s George Fleetwood.

The 39 young feeding bulls incorporated the first seasonal turnout and a decent entry of Spring-born Continental calves, with crept calves in forward condition getting away at £1,100-£1,240, this for the highest priced 2021-born entry, a Limousin from SJ&CJ Handley, of Westhouse, Carnforth, with smaller, shapey bulls generally £950-£1,000.

At the older end, a run of autumn bull calves from James and Deborah Ogden in Austwick confirmed continuing interest in high health status cattle when selling to £1,540 twice, £1,360 and £1,340. Bulls over 12 months sold to £1,590 for a Limousin from Ian Pratt, of Hebden Bridge, and with a good trade prevailing the mart is advising potential vendors to consider bringing out strong Spring calves, as well as Autumn-born bulls, as purchasers seek to keep pens full.

A mixed entry of 46 beef feeding cows and bulls saw buyers competing well for the better end, D Wallbank, of Oakworth, taking top price of £1,180 with a British Blue.

Pedigree beef breeding cattle sold to a top of 2,000gns for one of two Limousin bulls consigned by Tim Vickers, of T&K Vickers, who run the Meadowmist herd at Ladyhills Farm, Wintringham, near Malton. The March, 2029, Lodge Hamlet son, out of a home-bred dam, joined John Beckwith in Gargrave.

Of the other breeding cattle, Wharfedale’s Brian Church, of Askwith, made £1,650 with a January, 2020, Aberdeen-Angus bull claimed by Dacre’s Ian Moorhouse, while a Limousin heifer with Hereford calf at foot achieved £1,400, with £1,360 seen for both a Blue heifer and her Hereford calf and a Simmental cow with Limousin calf.