SKIPTON Auction Mart’s opening fortnightly Wednesday cattle sale of 2021 attracted a solid turnout of 681 head, with the 402 store heifers and bullocks among them the standout performers on price when attracting purchasers ringside for all classes of breed and quality. (Jan 6)

Short-term Continental heifers set the pace early on, with buyers present for both finishing and breeding competing for the best retail quality end. Clapham’s Mark Nelson led the early trade with a brace of 14/15-month-old Limousin heifers at £1,620 and £1,550, while other smart heifers with style sold at £1,300-plus from start to finish.

Some tremendous runs saw Ned Simpson, of Pateley Bridge, sell Charolais heifers from £1,140-£1,320, with British Blue heifers from Malham’s David Newhouse making £1,410-£1,430 section top, along with four-figure prices for plenty of others.

Suckled heifer calves were keenly sought, Charolais from Rylstone-based Fleets Farms’ annual consignment of eight-month-olds selling in the £800’s, while heifers under 10 months topped at £1,180 for a Limousin from RS Harker & Son, of Grayrigg, Kendal, with 11-month-olds from Peter Holt in Rossendale hitting £1,360 and £1,220.

The same vendor also made £1,290 with a strong Aberdeen-Angus bullock.

Of the store bullocks, Nicholas Pinder, of Coniston Cold, sold Blondes to £1,270, Withgill brothers Peter and Edward Fox making £1,400 with a Charolais, while topping the section at £1,450 with a Limousin-x was Blackburn’s John Walmsley.

The 247 young feeding bulls included the first big show of 2020-born cattle, with numbers up on 2019 and a £40 per head increase on the average price on the year for Continentals at £1,017 per head.

With some exceptional runs of cattle, the pick of the January-born bulls was a £1,350 section-topping Limousin from Jeff Pickles, of Chapel-le-Dale, closely followed by a very good pen of Continental bulls from Austwick mother and son, Janet and James Huck, headed by two February-born Continentals at £1,340.

An increased entry of 29 beef feeding cows for the opening sale included more first dairy crosses. A pure Limousin from Mark Crabtree, of Kettlesing, made £1,350, while Stephen Horsfield, from Mytholmroyd, also hit the same price with a Continental, though it was Austwick’s James and Deborah Ogden who topped the section with a £1,380 Limousin-x.

A handful of breeding cattle sold to £2,500 for a pedigree Limousin bull from Ulverston’s Thor Atkinson, while a British Blue cow with Blue bull calf at foot from Peter Fawcett in Long Preston made £1,680.