THE opening rearing calf show of 2020 at Skipton Auction Mart saw regular vendors the Sowray brothers, from Bishop Thornton, consign the overall champion, just as they did at the previous year’s New Year fixture. (Mon, Jan 6)

The Sowrays - Shaun, Peter and Paul - who run their Holstein Friesian dairy herd at Bowes Green Farm, secured another in a long line of Skipton titles with their first British Blue-cross bullock, born on November 25 last year.

The victor, a son of Tweeddale Ebony, confirmed the choice of Gargrave show judge Paui Drinkall when selling for the day’s top call of £430 to regular buyer Graham Stainthorp, of West Tanfield, north of Ripon, who claimed a total of four Skipton title winners last year.

Standing reserve champion was the first prize Charolais-cross bull calf from Sutton-in-Craven’s David Smith. By a stock bull that has produced past Skipton prize winners for Mr Smith, the overall runner-up made £350 when heading to the same neck of the woods as the champion with Tom Watson, of Sawley, Ripon. From the same home and by the same sire came the first prize Charolais-cross heifer calf, this selling at £340.

Mike Longster, of Fellbeck, presented the first prize Blue-cross heifer calf, which topped its section at £310, while G Pickersgill & Sons, from Guiseley, won both Limousin show classes with price-topping bull and heifer calves selling at £375 and £245 respectively.

While the native bull show class fell to a £265 Aberdeen-Angus calf from Tosside brothers Trevor and Clive Robinson, top price in section of £325 fell to another Angus from JM Smith & Son, of Carleton.

The first prize native heifer, another Angus from Eshton’s James Wellock, made £190. Black and white calves peaked at £122 for a bull from Mark Smith, of Winterburn.

Over six-week-old entries saw the first prize Continental stirk, a Blue-cross from the Houseman family, of Church Farm Enterprises in Burton Leonard, make £290, while the first prize native male stirk, another Angus from RL Wright & Sons in Airton, sold at £280.

A solid entry of 111 calves for the first show of the year attracted a good attendance of buyers.

Native breed bulls continue to be the most resilient week on week, with most making £250 to £325 and the heifers trading at £130-£190. The best Continental bulls still made £360-plus, although strong British Blue heifers proved easy to buy, with plenty either side of £250 and the best £300-plus. Dairy bulls a month of age produced a strong trade of £80 to £122 and even the bobby types met a fair trade at £30 to £45.

The overall Continental-cross selling average was £269 per head, with native calves averaging £201 and black and whites £66.