Jeff Pickles plots repeat coup at CCM Skipton Spring young feeding bulls highlight Skipton Auction Mart staged its traditional Spring show and sale of young feeding bulls, with North Craven’s Jeff Pickles, of Far Deerstones Farm, Chapel-le-Dale, notching up a notable double as he did the previous year when again standing both winner and runner-up in the over 12 months show class.

Like last year, he took the prizes with a brace of home-bred Limousin-cross by Haltcliffe Malley, one of three stock bulls he runs from the Ridley family’s well-known pedigree herd in Hesket-new-Market. Mr Pickles saw his leading duo sell at £1,550, top call in both show and section, and £1,420, the former to Rob Matten, of Newsham, Thirsk, the latter to Durham show judge Stephen Kemp. The same vendor also made his mark in the store heifer section with a 16-month-old Limousin/Blue-cross at £1,460.

At the younger end, the under 10-month feeding bull show class was won by a nine-month-old British Blue-cross from John Fawcett, of Dale Head Farm, Barden, which headed its age section on price and became the second top price young bull at £1,500 when joining Knavesmire Butchers in York, one of ten purchases on the day for the Easter trade at family-run Albermarle Road shop.

In the same class, winners for the past four years, the Huck family, from Church Farm, Hubberholme, just missed out on a fifth consecutive red rosette when finishing second and third, their Blonde-cross and Blue-cross brace away at £1,400 and £1,460 respectively.

The third show for 10-12 months bulls fell to Robert Wade, who trades as JA&JM Wade at Royd House Farm, Cononley, with an 11-month-old home-bred Limousin-cross sold for £1,270 and again to the show judge, while a second Continental-cross entry from the same home topped its age bracket at £1,355. Both the second and third prize winners each made £1,260, the former from TH&K Wood in High Birstwith, the latter from Littondale’s James Penter.

Trade for 170 young bulls was predictably cautious with feed prices volatile. Heavy bulls and the very best end were still able to make £1,400-plus, though middleweights were easier, a lot more making £1,150-£1,300. However, a sale average of £1,115, against £1,114 the previous fortnight, indicated a very good show of smart cattle, causing the reduction in values due to feed and world events to appear less marked on paper.

Of the feeding cows, there was some fire in the trade across all classes, producing an overall average for 42 head of £1,229, with a minimum price of £800 up to a maximum of £1,960, this for a pure British Blue from SD Gill, of Dacre, In fact, pure-bred types of heavier making cows were extremely well sold, while medium types of cows proved the trade of the day with 20 of the entry away at £1,100-£1,380. 

Stock bulls sold to £1,820 for a nine-year-old British Blue from G&R Bulmer, of Wakefield, who also sold a Charolais feeding cow at £1,680, along with young 16-month-old Blue-cross-Limousin store heifers at £1,490 and £1,390. 

Multiple four-figure prices were also achieved among the 292 store bullocks and heifers penned for sale, with stronger cattle continuing to produce a nice trade. However, it was the heifers that proved the standout performers on price, especially retail butcher quality types, which saw a top call of £1,680 for a Blue/Limousin-cross at just 16-months from Ashley Mills, of Redmires, who also claimed £1,560 and £1,520 with other similarly bred sorts. Jeff Pickles again caught the eye when making £1,600 and £1,550 with a nice pair of Limousin-cross heifers.

Suckled calves, yearling cattle and younger sorts were also in ready demand throughout, the Lister family from Kettlewell making a round £1,000 per head for a pen full of nine and ten-month-old Hereford bullocks, plus £1,050 each for a pair of Limousin bullocks and £960 for Blonde-crosses, both at ten and 11 months.

Store bullocks traded to an overall Continental-cross average of £1,094, with a native average of £1,065, while respective heifer averages were £1,103 and £931.

A busy bovine sale day also featured a dozen breeding cattle, which sold to a top of £2,220 for a pedigree Simmental heifer with her Simmental bull calf from David Loftus, of Singleton on the Fylde Coast.