PRIME lamb numbers at Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly Monday sale topped 3,000 for the first time this season, accompanied by a robust trade that produced an overall selling average of 203.42p/kg – up 7p/kg on the week – or £82.33 per head.

With a very mixed bag of weights, commercial lambs weighing 40kg to 42kg saw the best trade of 205-210p/kg, with smart lambs under 40kg getting away well too, though commercial sorts under 40kg were 5p/kg less on the week.

Good heavy lambs also found a good following, with plenty selling at £2 per kilo or more. Top end prices saw Peter Houseman, of Padside, making 261p/kg, or £102, with his 39kg Beltex pen, while 39kg Beltex from Ian Moorhouse, of Dacre, also sold well at 259p/kg, or £101 per head. Both pens fell to Vivers Scotlamb,

Tim Robinson, of Longridge, hit 248p/kg, or £92, with his 37kg Beltex, purchased by Felliscliffe’s Andrew Atkinson. Other vendors with lambs above 230p/kg were Paul Bolland, of Airton, Jim and Christine Scriven, and Andrew Guy, both from Elslack, Jonathan Townley, of Clapham, Tim Robinson again and Rob Paisley, of Ilkley.

Top price of £108 fell to 50kg Texels, again from the Guy family, purchased by Swaledale Foods in Skipton, while Richard Webster, of Cracoe, made £107.50 each for his 55kg Suffolks, purchased by Halifax meat wholesalers J and E Medcalf & Son.

Other three figure prices came from Tim Robinson, the Guys, Ian Moorhouse and Peter Houseman once again, Mick Collinson, of Clayton-le-Dale, and Michael and James Spensley, of Elslack.

Some good pens of hill-bred lambs are now coming forward, with Joe Throup, of Draughton, selling 45kg Mules to £86 each.

Close on 400 cast sheep again sold to a sharp trade, with more customers operating ringside and plenty of competition, especially for fresh weaned medium ewes. Cull ewes averaged £57.51 per head overall, peaking at £113.50 for a Texel pen from Tom Smith, of Padside. Cast rams averaged £68.25 each, with a high of £99.50 for another Texel from David Robinson, of Bashall Eaves..

* Store lambs made their seasonal debut at Skipton Auction Mart yesterda for the high profile opening show and sale, which attracted an entry of more than 4,000 head.

As usual, all eyes were firmly on the fixture, one of the first to be staged nationwide, as it again provided a major pointer to early store lamb trade. It also featured the annual Top Tags Animal ID-sponsored show for 40 or more store lambs.

A report will follow next week.