EXACTLY 600 cattle were consigned at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest fortnightly midweek fixture, a full 100 head more than the previous sale and comprising 498 feeders and 102 breeders, which again met a solid across-the-board trade (Wed, Aug 5)

The breeding cattle penned for sale included an exceptional entry of commercial cows and calves from Garrowby Estates, near York, and the strong home-bred Limousin and British Blue cows from the high health status herd created considerable interest.

Sold with strong Spring-born calves at foot, the cows had run with the 10,000gns Limousin bull, Tweeddale Oxygen, and the sale leader at £2,600 was a 2014 Limousin cow sold with her heifer calf to mart regulars John, Gill and James Huck in Hubberholme.

Interest was also seen in breeding bulls, with Alan Twell, of Donnington, selling two four-year-old British Blue-cross stock bulls at £2,750 and £2,300.

Prime bulls are returning well at the moment and with 2019 Spring-born bulls beginning to dry up the opportunity of keeping pens full of in-spec cattle was seized upon once again, when the 84 young feeding bulls on parade sold to an overall section average of £1,143.

Andy Rigby, from Slaidburn, topped at £1,460 with a Limousin-cross, selling another at £1,400, with a British Blue-cross from the Hubberholme Hucks also doing well at £1,420.

Mid-range bulls produced the most noticeable lift, with very few selling at less than £1,100 and small bulls also nicely away at £1,000-plus. A pen of Stabaliser-cross from Clive Lumb in Exley, Halifax, made to £1,150, with Monbelliardes selling to £1,050.

Though a very commercial turnout, there was no let up in trade for 35 beef feeding cows, with Aberdeen-Angus from David Preston, of Stainforth, grossing £1,250, Blonde-crosses from Johnny and Neil Cowperthwaite in Eldroth selling to £1,180 and Salers from Alec Robinson, of Kendal, to £1,110.

Only three cows sold for under £740, the section producing an overall selling average of £942. The mart says more feeding cows are needed for a full ringside of buyers.

So too are store cattle. All classes of bullocks and heifers were seen among the 379-strong entry, with natives proving the real eye-catchers on price, 44 Aberdeen-Angus steers averaging £1,043 and selling to a top of £1,410 from Tom Harrison, of Threshfield. A total of 21 Hereford steers from Ashley Thwaite in Hellifield sold to £1,140, averaging £916.

Of the Continentals, British Blue bullocks were readily sold, the best sorts with weight making £1,200-plus to a top of £1,380 from James Middleton, of Arncliffe. Overall, Blue bullocks averaged £1,108, with 54 Limousin-cross steers selling to highs of £1,305 from the Fox brothers in Clitheroe.

Of the heifers, natives were again popular, with 25 Angus from Michael and Susan Winchester in Coniston Cold selling to £1,015, with plenty of others - small, medium and dairy-bred - selling equally well.

Blue heifers of all shapes and sizes were forward and, like the bullocks, the largest quick short-term cattle looked dearer on the fortnight, with the Hucks again to the fore when taking the two top prices with £1,230 and £1,180 sales.

A total of 86 Limousin heifers were successfully sold, averaging £953 to a top of £1,320 from Chapel-le-Dale’s Jeff Pickles, who sold another at £1,270, with the Hucks once again chipping in with another at £1,280.