CATTLE took centre stage at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Autumn pedigree event, which produced a clearance rate described as ‘reasonable’ in both the pedigree and commercial sections.

In the pen-judged show of pedigree beef breeding cattle, adjudicator, Nidderdale’s Andrew Fisher, pulled out a Limousin bull born on New Year’s Eve, 2018, as best in its shown class.

Originally bred in North Craven by Ian Handley’s Gunnerfleet herd in Chapel-le-Dale and consigned by the Garrowby herd from Bugtorpe, York, the red rosette winner, a Gunnerfleet Plunas son, progressed to achieve top price of 2,100gns when claimed by Graham Coates, of P Coates Farmers in Barrowford.

The females saw first and second prizes awarded to entries from James and Sarah Cooper's Tomschoice herd at Hill Top Farm, Dacre, Harrogate. They were among a trio of 2019-born Tomschoice entries, two selling at 1,400gns, the other at 1,350gns, all three falling to the same buyers, C&J Creaser of Gowthorpe, near Pocklington.

The prize show formed part of Skipton’s fortnightly midweek cattle sale, comprising 639 head, the majority feeders, plus 39 breeding cattle.

The 74 young bulls saw selling prices affected by a significant drop in prime values and as a consequence trade was back on the fortnight, though strong bulls under 16 months could still command £1,200-£1,300 for the best.

Sixty beef feeding cows saw those carrying flesh make £980-£1,100. Two pure-bred British Blue Cows from Easingwold husband and wife, Ken and Hazel Gamble, caught the eye at £1,620 and £1,540.

The 466 store bullocks and heifers met a mixed trade, though Limousin steers sold to £1,500 Fair Place Farm in Cowling, the best sorts still making £1,200-plus, with exceptional cattle exceeding £1,300. Heifers topped at £1,375 for a Limousin-cross from Lothersdale husband and wife, Geoff and Margaret Booth, closely followed at £1,360 by another Limousin from Harrogate’s TH&K Wood.

Aberdeen-Angus bullocks were again good to sell, especially younger suckler-bred sorts. They sold mainly around the £1,000 mark for strength, up to £1,340 for some exceptionally big weighted bullocks from Bargh Bros, of Bracewell. Angus heifers sold to £1,025 from N&J Thwaite in Hellifield.

The sale also featured several large annual consignments of suckled calves from regular vendors. The Blades family, from Keerholme, Carnforth, presented 27 Limousin-crosses born in January and February this year, with the heifers finding favour ringside, a pair selling at £1,040, a single at £1,030 and a pen of three at £1,020, with the rest mainly in the £900’s.

The Longton family from Quernmore, near Lancaster, regular consignees at the sale for many years, arrived with a fabulous run of 34 mainly five to six-months-old Charolais calves, their bullocks selling to £950 and £890, with most of the rest in the £800’s and heifers in the £700’s.

GP&S Fleetwood, from Mirfield, had forward 20 February, March and April-born Limousin crosses, their steers selling to £970 and heifers to £920, with other good heifers in the £700’s and £800’s.