RED Rose farmer Robert Towers, of Camp House Farm, Farleton, has hardly put a foot wrong in the sheep show arena at Skipton Auction Mart this year.

His latest success was a first prize in the Easter show and sale of ewes with lambs at foot, following multiple prize wins at the opening ewes with lambs showcase, as well as a championship and reserve championship double at the Easter prime lambs highlight, both staged last month. Many of his frontrunners have also achieved top prices.

Mr Towers maintained his flying start to the season when presenting the red rosette-winning pairs pen, home-bred Charollais ewes with Beltex-cross twin lambs at foot.

Like his earlier top performers, the lambs were by a Beltex ram acquired from Paul Tippett’s Hackney flock in Shifnal, Shropshire, as a second prize winner at Skipton’s main pedigree breed show and sale two years earlier. They sold for £220 per outfit to Barnoldswick’s Geoff Carr, with Mr Towers also selling Charollais shearlings with twins to £210 and same way bred ewes with single lambs to £140.

Successful for the first-time in the show class for pens of five was Calderdale breeder Allan Midgley, of Dean House Farm, Halifax, with Texel-cross-Mule shearlings with Charollais-cross-Beltex twin lambs at foot. These made £235 per outfit when joining AJ Philip, of York. Runner-up in the pairs show class was David White, of Hebden, with Mule ewes and twin lambs sold for £165 per outfit, while finishing second in the fives’ show were the Johnson family, from Felliscliffe, with Suffolk ewes with single lambs sold for £122 per outfit. Both topped their respective sections. Show judge was Neil Tattersall, of Ellerton, York, himself a regular prime lambs champion at Skipton, who reports that his first crop of Spring lambs are due at the mart for the next monthly show on Monday, May 7.

A total of 630 breeding sheep were on parade, among them 235 sheep with 362 lambs at foot. Numbers are steadily on the rise, with more customers at the ringside as grass starts to appear. Trade was up for smart outfits by around £10-£15, with older ewes with lambs £5-£10 dearer. Top call of the day at £240 per outfit fell to Andrew Throup, of Silsden, with a pen of Texel ewes and twins claimed by South Yorkshire buyers T Hill and R Wright, of Wadworth, Doncaster.

In the prime sheep section, trade for the 2,704 head met an anticipated downward trend following the heady – and, in effect, unsustainable - prices seen the previous week, which led to a revaluation. Yet, while the 241p/kg overall average was down 39p on the week, it still represented a very strong trade in real terms, with a return to prices seen a fortnight earlier. A total of 64 spring lambs sold to an overall average of £119.71 per head, or 293.91p/kg, with smart lambs £3 per kilo or just over and Robert Towers again leading with way with a £151 per head, or 314.6p/kg, pen knocked down to Hartwith’s Nick Dalby on behalf of Kendalls Farm Butchers.