TWO Dalesbred sheep aficionados from the breed’s recognised heartlands in North Craven, both farmers from Horton-in-Ribblesdale, stood champion and reserve at the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association’s final seasonal prize show and sale of rams and females at Skipton Auction Mart. (Tuesday, October 20)

Mick Carr, who farms with his wife, Ann, at Brackenbottom Farm, clinched top honours with his first prize shearling ram in a strong pen-judged show class which attracted a solid 17 entries. Got by a tup from breed stalwarts, John and Jean Bradley, of Penny Grange, Giggleswick, out of a home-bred ewe, the victor sold for top call of 450gns to T&CM Kelsall & Sons in Chipping.

The third generation Dalesbred breeder, who also keeps North of England Mules and suckler cows, had earlier received the Royston Baxter Trophy, awarded annually by the former Skipton Auction Mart foreman, who lives locally in Steeton.

Reserve champion was the first prize aged ram from another third generation Dalesbred man, Neil Jackson, of Townhead Farm. His untried 2 shear, by a tup from RH ‘Dickie’ Brown, of Moody House Farm, West Burton, Leyburn, sold locally for a section-topping 150gns to Bolton Abbey’s Graham Hayton.

Back in the shearling ram show class, the runner-up from A&MA Wright, of Wray, made 100gns, bettered at 120gns by the third prize winner from Trevor Stoney, of Bewerley, a price matched by the second prize aged ram from the Dawson family in Littledale. Pedigree rams saw a good clearance rate, the 57 shearlings forward averaging £110 and four aged rams £141.

Ewe and gimmer lamb trade was strong, shearling gimmers averaging £113 and selling to a top of £122 from the Coates family in Rainscar, while 2/3 crop ewes sold to £112 from Taylor Bros in Tosside, with a section average of £99. Gimmer lambs averaged £59, selling to £68 for a pen from Hayton & Stocks in Bolton Abbey.

As is usual at the annual highlight, the Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association again chose young up-and-coming judges to give them valuable show experience. Adjudicating this year were Helen Drinkall, of Oakenclough on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, and, more locally, Kirkby Malham’s Caroline Brown. Dugdale Nutrition and Massey Feeds sponsored.

Also staged the same day was Skipton’s fourth fortnightly gimmer lamb sale, when the 1,752 head followed the trend seen this autumn with prices again taking a very nice seasonal rise of the year.

North of England Mules again caught the eye when producing another much improved breed average of £82.79, an increase of £22.40 per head on the year. Leading the way with a £120 per head pen was immediate past North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) national chairman Kevin Wilson, who farms with his wife Daphne and son, James, at Hewness House, Blubberhouses. They were claimed by Nigel Pepper, of Laneshawbridge. Another pen from the same home made £100 each.

While most of the better lambs sold in the £90’s, the majority of the rest were away at £80 to £86 and just a few pens of the smallest end in the £70’s. A handful of Masham lambs topped at £88 from the Lister family in Kettlewell and levelled at £86.09, a figured equalled by Continental gimmers, which peaked at £104 for one pen from a strong run of Texels from RKR Wood, of Stokesley, who also sold Blue Texels to a top of £130.

CCM Skipton will stage its fifth gimmer lamb sale of the season on Wednesday, November 4, as part of the annual Lingfields Fair sale of all classes of breeding sheep.