While Skipton Auction Mart’s annual winter fixture for Bluefaced Leicester females was without the usual show classes, so preventing last year’s title winners and top price achievers, the Mason family, who run the Oddacres flock in Embsay, from defending their crown, they did head the selling prices again. (Wed, Feb 10)

The Masons - John and Claire, and daughter Annabel – took top call of £500 with a gimmer hogg by their Macqueston M1 tup, out of a home-bred ewe itself by a ram bred locally by Kirkby Malham’s Will Wildman. The buyers were M&K Farrar, Tadcaster,

The 2019 show victors, Kevin and Daphne Wilson, and son, James, who run the Hewness flock in Blubberhouses, secured second top price of £450 with a gimmer hogg sired by their highly regarded and well utilised Harland F1 Bighead tup, out of a Midlock-sired dam.

It sold to the Caton family in Weston, Otley, respected North of England Mule breeders and familiar faces and regular prize winners at Skipton’s annual autumn ewe lamb sales. The Wilsons also claimed £300 with a second hogg, the small, but quality turnout of females averaging £416.

They were among 190 breeding sheep penned for sale at Skipton’s fortnightly midweek sheep fixture and proceedings began with a couple of runs of excellent in-lamb ewes, when prices peaked at £200 twice, first for a pen of Texel Mule shearlings, followed by a pen of 2&3 crop Mules, all due April and both consigned by the Roberts family, from Farnhill, who were also responsible for several other high priced pens.

Other young sheep made £180-plus, while correct ewes were generally £160-£180 for pens carrying mainly twins. A few pens carrying predominately triplets or singles could be picked up for a shade less, while broken mouthed 2/3-crop Mules carrying singles peaked at £115, as did broken mouthed Continentals

The total turnout of 804 head also included 614 store lambs, which sold to an overall average of £87.03, compared to the previous sale’s £83.53. Good trade was seen throughout, with buyers competing keenly for the hoggs on offer due to recent rises in the prime trade prices. Texel-cross hoggs averaged £96, with a top of £120 for a pen of 15 from N&M Hugill in Hellifield. Other hoggs with size made £105-£120 and mediums £90-£96.

A pen of 125 Charollais-x-Swaledales from Settle’s Lynne Throup sold at £87.50, with Scotch hoggs trading to £80 for a pen of 16 from CW&R Sutcliffe, of Bolton-by-Bowland. Herdwicks from Stephen and Helen Robinson in Dunsop Bridge sold at £90 for some larger goods, while Swaledales achieved a smart average of £67 each, with larger Mules making £100-£108.The next sale on Wednesday, February 24, is the last of the season for store lambs.

The mart also broke fresh ground earlier this month when holding its first online live bidding farm dispersal sale on behalf of G Lumb & Son in Greetland, Calderdale, staged due to retirement and featuring an excellent range of 558 lots of tractors, machinery, implements, livestock equipment, workshop items and small tools.

While a new experience for all concerned, it proved an extremely successful venture, with bidders joining the sale online from a wide geographic area, not only from across Yorkshire, Lancashire and into Cumbria, but also much further afield from the southern English counties, Scotland and even Northern Ireland.

A full clearance of items achieved excellent values, with larger lots selling to a day’s high of £10,200 for a Kramer 320 Loadall and other farm machinery and vehicles hitting four-figure prices, including further items at £8,500, £7,200 and £6,800. Plenty of smaller lots made three figures up to £400 twice.

A standalone online produce sale saw barley straw sell to £40.50 per bale, haylage to £15.25 per bale and silage to £12.75 per bale.