Phil Gregory, of DA Gregory & Sons Butchers in St James Square, Bacup, made another successful foray across the border when securing three entries at Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly Monday prime cattle sale, two of which were high quality retail heifers both selling at top per kilo call of 260.5p. (Mon, Jan 18)

First up was a 560kg Limousin-cross from regular Red Rose vendors, RT&J Critchley & Sons in Hutton, Preston, which grossed £1,459, followed by a 535kg British Blue-cross from Keighley’s David Bailey, snapped up at £1,394.

James Robertshaw took up his usual position at the ringside, claiming six cattle in total, all for his Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton and among them the leading price per kilo steer, a 595kg Limousin-cross from mart regulars, Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching, at 254.5p/kg, or £1,514.

With more weight in the entry these days the top gross animal was one of a pen of seven purchased by Robert Pearson on behalf of Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers in Bradford. Best at £1,583, or 245.5p/kg, was a 645kg Limousin-cross heifer, again from the Critchleys, which joined the leading price steer, a 610kg Limousin-cross from North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Masongill, which grossed £1,540, or 252.5p/kg.

Simon Barker, of the mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers also took home three of the 22 under 30-month cattle penned for sale.

Cast cattle maintained recent sharp trade, aided by a useful entry of 40 head carrying finish. Top call of 153.5p/kg, or £1,105, went to a 33-month-old Aberdeen-Angus heifer from Chris Harrison, of Elslack, while the leading price dairy entry at £1,129, or 138.5p/kg, was a three-year-old 815kg Holstein Friesian from Lothersdale husband and wife, Geoff and Margaret Booth.

With just the odd exception, plain cows in the entry made 90p/kg-plus and steaking types 115p/kg, producing an overall section average of £778.41 per head, or 115.56p/kg.

At 3,035 head, prime sheep numbers were a shade tighter on the week, which certainly helped keep trade moving along quite nicely, the 2,455 prime and lightweight hoggs levelling at £112.44 per head, or 260.71p/kg (SQQ 265.9p).

Lowland lambs over 52kg averaged 236p/kg, up 6p/kg on the week, a few pens selling over £140 to a top of £142 per head for 56kg Continentals from Andrew Hutchinson, of Faceby, purchased by Robertshaw’s Farm Shop. Selling at the same price were 53kg Continentals from Seth Blakey, of Bolton-by-Bowland, going to Kendalls Farm Butchers in Pateley Bridge and Harrogate. Another 19 pens in this weight range made £130 and above.

Top price for 46-52kg lowland lambs fell to 51kg Beltex from JM Hall, of Airton, selling at £152 to Brayton Farm Shop in Selby. Three further pens made £140 and above, with 15 other pens selling in the £130’s.

Solid trade for 36-45kg lowland lambs produced a weight range average of 276p/kg for Continentals, giving some excellent returns for all involved. Top price of the entire sale came for the very first sheep in the ring when Nick Capstick, of Bolton-by-Bowland, sold 45kg Continentals at £155, or 344p/kg each, to regular wholesale buyers Vivers Scotlamb in Annan, who as usual purchased several high price pens. So, too, did Brayton Farm Shop, with this section producing another good list of lambs making in the £130’s, or 300p/kg-plus.

As in recent weeks, decent cross-bred commercial lambs at handy weights were in good demand, prices generally ranging from 265-290p/kg depending upon quality, a few pens of handier 39kg-41kg lambs touching on 300p/kg if just that bit cleaner. A good store trade kept prices for 32-35kg lowland lambs moving along nicely, with prices of £99 and £97 twice for the three leading pens.

North of England Mule and Masham wethers were again a good trade, those 46kg-plus averaging 248p/kg and the 36-45kg range 255p/kg. The top price Mules came from Bernard Simpson, of Pateley Bridge, at £125.

Other hill-bred lambs were again good to sell, lightweight horned lambs still in the 220p-230p/kg slot. At the prime end, Bordley’s Kevin Huck sold Swaledales at £110 top price. Cheviot lambs sold to £114.50, or 260p/k, from WH&JW Hartley, of Barnoldswick

The entry of 580 cast and feeding sheep created plenty of buyer interest and were in good demand, even if trade was just a touch less on the week. Lean, meaty and heavy Continental ewes remained strong, peaking at £149.50 for Texels from JM Croft, of Beamsley, while rams sold to £157.50 for a Suffok from F Reeday & Son in Hetton, Cull ewes averaged £85.06 and cast rams £92.85.

The same morning’s sale of 30 rearing calves saw trade much dearer than anticipated, younger calves at 4-6 weeks looking dearest. Six British Blue-cross bull calves averaged £319 with a sale high £370 for one from Andrew Ayrton, of Eastby.

Simmental bull calves sold to £305 from Threshfield’s Angus Dean, while black and white bulls were a serious trade, with top prices of £160 and £140 for two nice 4 to-6-week-olds. Blue steers sold to £400, with an average of £340, Angus steers to £300, and black and white steers to £115.