NEW Year trade at Crave Cattle Marts kicked off on a high note as trade at

Skipton Auction Mart began 2020 in fine style.

A total of 4,377 head of livestock were penned for sale and bidding was rapid as they successfully sold at the first big Monday sale day of the new year.

The solid turnout comprised 67 prime cattle, 4,199 prime sheep and 111 rearing calves.

It was also the year’s opening prime shows, with the return to trading after the holiday break.

The auction attracted a large show of clean cattle and pen after pen of high quality entries.

Top grossing cattle were at the heavier end, with Edward and John Parkinson, of Dunsop Bridge leading the way with a home-bred 600kg British Blue-cross heifer.

She made the leading gross price when falling to the hammer at £1,515, or 252.5p/kg, and into the ownership of Jeff Burrow, of Kirkby Malham.

Following close behind at £1,471, or top price per kilo of 260.5p, was a 565kg Limousin-cross heifer.

This fine animal stood runner-up in its show class and overall reserve champion from Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching.

She was claimed by regular Red Rose retail buyer George Cropper Jnr for his Sandersons Butchers in Baxenden.

Weekly buyer James Robertshaw began the New Year as he ended the old when once more becoming the principal purchaser at Skipton.

At the opener he claimed 17 of the 42 under 30-month clean entries. Of these, 11 were for his own Robertshaws Farm Shop in Thornton, the other six for Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton.

Another regular buyer Alan Beecroft, of Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop & Restaurant in Lancaster, judged the New Year opener, nominating his first prize heifer, a home-bred 635kg Limousin-cross from Silsden Moor’s Simon Bennett as champion.

It made £1,457, or 229.5p/kg, when figuring among the Robertshaws acquisitions.

The first prize bullock, a 610kg Limousin-cross from Hargreaves Farms in Walton-le-Dale, headed its section gross prices at £1,406, or 230.5p/kg, when also joining Robertshaws Farm Shop, with the second prize winner, a 565kg Limousin-cross once more from the Kitchings at Grisedale Farm, knocked down at £1,353, or 239.5p/kg, again to Mr Burrows.

North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Lodge Farm, Masongill, stood third in both show classes with a brace of Limousin-cross entries.

Their 550kg bullock topping the section by weight prices at 250.5p/kg, or £1,378, the 555kg heifer doing better per kilo at 256.5p, or £1,423.

They, too, formed part of Robertshaws’ extensive shopping basket.

Other wholesale and retail butcher buyers were Skipton-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers, with four, a trio for Ellisons in Cullingworth, two for Countrystyle Meats and one for Kendalls Farm Butchers, of Pateley Bridge and Harrogate.

Cast cow trade opened up at the same level as pre-Christmas, with the 24 head forward comprising more cattle carrying finish, which were 105p/kg and upwards, while a handful of lean cows also produced a very good trade.

They sold to an overall average of £655.36 per head, or 98.59p/kg.

A dairy-bred Fleckvieh from Chris Watson, of Horton-in-Craven, catching the eye at £974, or 122.5p/kg.

The day’s top price of £998 fell to an Aberdeen-Angus bull from Bingley’s Keith Downs, another Angus bull from the same home making £898, with respective per kilo averages of 111.5p and109.5p.

A third black and white bull from Allan and Sue Throup in Silsden made £964, or 115.5p/kg.

Next week’s farming pages will include coverage of yesterday’s opening Great New Year cattle sale and today’s 27th annual open winter show and sale of pedigree Texel females on behalf of Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders, which has attracted an 85-strong catalogue entry comprising 56 shearling ewes, 16 senior ewes and 13 ewe lambs.

The show judge is Northallerton’s Steven Kirby and judging begins at 4pm in the Lingfield Ring, with the sale to follow at 6pm. A total of 13 pedigree Texel flocks are set to be represented from North, South and East Yorkshire, across into Lancashire and up into Cumbria and Scotland.