CCM Skipton New Year cattle opener begins on a high note The 2022 feeding cattle trading year at Skipton Auction Mart began on a high note, with solid selling prices seen at the traditional Great New Year opener, which attracted a bovine bounty approaching 600 head, among them 126 young bulls, 47 beef feeding cows and bulls, and 414 bullocks and heifers.

The smaller than usual entry of young feeding bulls could be put down to smaller numbers of specialist beef cows nationally, though any concerns about increasing feed cost in 2022 temporarily receded because of the need to fill pens with first draw bulls from regular consignees at this time of year. The overall section average of £1,207 was up £200 on 2021.

Bulls under 10 months averaged £1,111, the best a Limousin at £1,490 from John Mellin, of Black Lane Ends. Bulls under 12 months averaged £1,345, headed at £1,580 by a February-born British Blue bred from a Limousin cow from the Walker family from Dunsop Bridge. Bulls over 12 months averaged £1,325, the best a 25-month-old Limousin-x at £1,800 from Jeff Pickles, of Chapel-le-Dale.

However, the increased selling price was most apparent among the 400kg bulls, with a few April-born entries just slipping under £1,000, though most knocking at the door of £1,100. A very good trade reflected an excellent entry of high quality bulls selling to many returning buyers sourcing the same consignments they’ve bought for years.

Feeding cows were a sharp trade, with more liveweight lean cows in the entry than normal. Fed continental cows made £1,200-£1,490, fed native cows around £1,100, while small, lean continental cows got away at £550-£750, depending on age and scope for improvement.

A solid entry of store cattle attracted extra buyers’ ringside, with plenty of positivity in evidence. Bullocks averaged £1,140 across all breeds and ages, and heifers £1,036 for the same.

Trade was especially good for the younger end, these seeing an excellent enquiry, highlighted by a run of 50 Charolais-x bullocks and heifers at seven-months-old from Fleets Farms in Rylstone, which sold to average £905. Their bullocks sold from £900-£1,040 and heifers at £790-£890.

Of the older cattle, under 12-month suckler-bred Limousins were good to sell, with sweet ended heifers going to regular purchasers to grow on. There were plenty in the £850-£1,000 price bracket, the better end trading either side of £1,100, with slightly older goods selling to feed reaching £1,100-£1,220.

Size and power saw good ended retail spec cattle sell well, Austwick’s James and Deborah Ogden hitting £1,500 with a British Blue-x heifer exhibiting a thick end and loin. Other good retail heifers with a nice warming of flesh and thickness made £1,250-£1,350 generally, with some pens exceeding this range. Leaner Limousins sold at £1,090-£1,180.

Under 12-month-old bullocks sold to a top of £1,240 from Stephen Horsfield, of Hebden Bridge, others for nice making at £950-£1,100. Native cattle continued to meet regular demand, with Williamson Bros, of Ulverston, selling strong Angus steers to £1,380 and Silsden’s Ken and Lynne Throup also catching the eye with sales of £1,350, £1,310. Angus-sired bullocks averaged £1,100, heifers of the breed selling to £1,260 from H Downs & Son, of Skipton.

Another strong turnout is anticipated for the next fortnightly midweek cattle sale on Wednesday, January 19, including the first part of a dispersal of 30 breeding cattle from M Mallinson, of Halifax, supplemented by a consignment sale of in-calf heifers from the Handley family’s Gunnerfleet herd in Ingleton, plus five in-calf pedigree Limousin cows and a single pedigree Limousin bull from Kevin Sunderland, of Lumb, Rossendale.