Numbers and overall selling average up at CCM Skipton store lamb opener Ryders ride high with first-time prize show success Skipton Auction Mart’s high profile opening store lamb show and sale of the 2021 season proved an all-round success, with a larger entry of 4,572 head,


270 more than the previous year, quickly cleared to produce an overall selling average of £85.32 per head, an increase of £11.78 on the year, enhanced by what was thought to be a better quality of lambs this year. (Wed, July 14)

Trade was certainly aided by a large ringside of travelled customers seeking sheep to graze grassland countrywide, where keep is in better supply than some previous years. In fact, it was good to see more people now returning to the mart following lockdown to conduct business, with a much more convivial atmosphere and positive outlook in evidence.

The prize show for pens of 40 or more lambs was won by Chris and Christine Ryder, of Scaife Hall Farm, Blubberhouses, the Hardisty Hill husband and wife taking leading honours at the annual highlight for the first time with their 40 home-bred Texel-x-North of England Mules, all born after the beginning of April and by a brace of Procters Farm, Wennington, and David Towell, Glusburn, tups. 

The Ryders, who lamb some 400 Mules, saw their red rosette winners sell for £99 per head to the Errington & Son farming partnership in Penrith. The couple consigned a total of 100 lambs at the seasonal opener, which averaged £91.90 per head. They will arrive with more consignments at future Skipton store lamb sales.

Show judge Nigel Bowen, of St Leonard’s in Herefordshire, who annually ventures up country to buy store lambs at Skipton, picked out a pen of Beltex-x as his second prize winners. They were consigned by local father and son, Chris and Tom Heseltine, of Hesketh House Farm, Bolton Abbey, also home to the well-known farm park, their charges matching the first prize winners on price when also selling at £99 each to Melton Mowbray’s Ken Gill.

Standing third in class were Suffolk-x lambs from Knaresborough’s Stephen Robinson, which sold for £95.50.

Back in the mix, strong short to medium keep runs readily found favour among buyers, assisted by a better than usual seasonal prime sheep trade. However, it was the medium to long keep lambs that were in the highest demand, with a large crowd eager to secure consignments from this noted sale, especially large level lots.

Malhamdale’s Richard and Val Brown presented a run of young late April and May-born Continentals, among them the day’s largest pen of 130 head for longer keep, which made £77 each, the second biggest run of 127 medium keep Texel crosses from John Schindler, of Thorpe, achieving £87 per head.

Smart pens were generally in smaller batches, with 2020 top price achiever, Andrew Haggas, of Grove Farm, Otterburn, returning with his annual consignment of 40 Spring-born Dutch Texel/Beltex crosses and standing joint top again at £108 per head, matched on price by Ian Brown, of Marske, near Richmond, for a pen of 10 Beltex crosses, with others from the same home at £100.

Michael and Elaine Dugdale, of Gigglewick, sold two pens top side of £100, joined by pens from Mick and Cath Briggs, of Malhamdale, and M Stocks, of Hebden Bridge, while a pen of 40 lambs presented by John Swainson on behalf of Mrs R Capstick, of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, made £99.50.

Individual breed selling averages were: Beltex £92.26, Texel £84.56, Suffolk £87.92, Charollais £80.05 and Mule £71.31. Mule wethers were especially in good demand for early season

The requirement for store lambs remains strong and the mart says more are needed for future fortnightly Wednesday seasonal sales. The next is on Wednesday, July 28, and will also incorporate the annual prize show for Down-x lambs, along with an early sale of breeding ewes and rams.