BOTH prime sheep numbers and trade remained solid at Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly Monday turnout of almost 3,000 head, the 2,618 prime hoggs among them selling to an overall average of 251per kilo, or £110.45 per head.

This looked extremely favourable when compared to the day’s AHDB national average. It was also a marked improvement on the previous Monday’s show day averages of £103.89, or 242p/kg, again clearly demonstrating the strength of trade in the live mart.

As usual, the smart end proved good to sell, with Stephen Pepper, from Oxenhope, taking top price both per kilo and per head when his 42kg Beltex crosses made 340.5p/kg, or £143 each, when purchased by purchased by regular wholesale buyer Hartshead Meat Co in Mossley, Greater Manchester.

Making another appearance with a solid consignment of 77 lambs, the Hutchinson family, from Faceby, saw them trade to a top of 329p/kg, or £135, for 41kg Beltex claimed by another wholesale regular, Vivers Scotlamb in Annan.

The same vendors were also on the mark with a £140 Texel pen, these falling to West Scottish Lamb, followed by pen at £138, plus six more at £137, their whole run averaging £133.25.

Bank Newton husband and wife, Anthony and Heather Hewetson, sold Texels at £138 per head to Worsley Wholesale Meats, while Settle’s Harry Parsons made £137 with lambs knocked down to Joe Bosworth, again buying on behalf of A&D Meats in Rossendale.

An additional 51 pens of lambs made £130 or more, with Thwaite Bros, from Crakemoor, Long Preston, taking the best overall sale average on the day at 300.78p with their run of Texel/Beltex.

Heavy lambs were dearer on the week, with prices typically £65 to £75 over the weight range, the over 52kg bracket averaging £128 and those at 46-52kg £117.17.

Hill-bred lambs were a fantastic trade, averaging 234p/kg across the board. Mashams averaged 247p/kg and topped at £108 per head for a pen of 18 weighing 43kg from regular long distance traveller, Lincolnshire’s Steve Dorey.

North of England Mules averaged 231p/kg, peaking at 242p/kg from Jeff Pickles, of Ribblehead, who sold 105 Mule wethers at 45kg to overall averages of 238.6p/kg and £109.60 per head.

James Towler, of Grindleton, also made 242p/kg with Mules, which sold to joint per head highs of £118 for pens from Cheshire’s Bob Stubbs and Mark Smith, of Winterburn.

Of the horned lambs, Scotch Black Faced from AR&CA Parkinson in Chipping, sold to £116, with a by-weight high of 244.2p/kg, again from Mr Stubbs, while Swaledales topped at £96 and 214p/kg from W Mason & Son, of Appletreewick.

Dalesbred lambs peaked at £107 and 219p/kg for respective pens from Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses, and Peter Houseman, from Padside, with Cheviots selling to 260p/kg, or £127.50, for a 49kg pen from Tony and Kay Kiernan, of St Michael’s on Wyre on the Fylde.

Also penned for sale were 218 cast sheep. Cull ewe trade was very similar on the week, with the best lowland ewes making from £110 up to £120.50, these for two Texel pens from Winterburn’s Mark Smith and Jonathan Binns, of Oakworth.

The better Mules sold in the £90s, while horned ewes were also good to sell, in the £60s and £70s for best end. Good cheviots made over £100, producing an overall cull ewe average a shade over £79 per head. Cast rams averaged £72.