BOTH numbers and trade were again solid at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest fortnightly Wednesday midweek cattle sale, the 707 head on parade comprising 668 feeding and 39 breeding cattle. (Wed, March 3)

Trade was very strong for the 164 young feeding bulls, which averaged £1,050 overall, up £110 per head on last year’s corresponding sale, with prices said to be driven by lighter number of suckler-bred animals because of the continuing reduction in numbers of beef breeding cattle.

Bulls under 12 months averaged £1,057, with those at one-year-old and over, most February, 2020-born calves, averaging £1,093. At less that 400kg most of the smaller bulls still hit £1,000, given over to the fact that they finish towards the end of the season for Spring calves, attaining 16 months of age when both the market and factory prices improve.

Jeff Pickles again ventured down from Chapel-le-Dale to present the top price £1,350 young bull, a Limousin-x, plus another at £1,330.

A tremendous entry of 444 store cattle comprised large runs of suckled calves and Spring, 2020-born yearling cattle, all offering a great selection of both harder sorts for grazing and retail quality forward sorts for housing and finishing. And while strong bullocks and heifers were lighter in terms of numbers consigned selling prices were still at a premium.

Travelling up from near King’s Lynn in Norfolk, Robinson Farms presented a run of 33 nine and ten-month-old Simmental-x bullocks, sold in lots of five up to 13 head and making £1,000 to £1,010, with others at £960-£1,000. From Penistone in South Yorkshire, Flash House Farms sold heifers at 7/9 months from £850-£950, these for fresh weaned calves, and steers at £880-£1,000.

British Blue heifers sold well, with plenty of buyers for feeding and bulling sorts. Dairy-bred entries to feed or breed were able to command £1,140-£1,280, while the pick of the suckler-bred Blue-x nine-month-olds from the Huck family in Hubberholme sold from £1,320 up to a section high £1,480.

Of the bullocks, strong dairy-bred Blues regularly sold at £1,240-£1,330, with a top of £1,390 from the Darley-based Housemans. Native Aberdeen-Angus bullocks met a flying trade, big feeders making £1,140-£1,230, while Limousin bullocks were again in ready demand by regular purchasers, selling to a section-topping £1,440 from E Simpson & Son in Blackburn.

Also penned for sale were 60 beef feeding cows, with trade for the latter stronger than ever, the overall average of £947 including a good number of lightweight and plain cows which were very well sold. Any number of Continental cows made over £1,100, with plenty at £1,200-plus, the standout performer at £1,540 a Limousin from Chris Akrigg in Cray.

Cast bull buyers were supplemented by breeders looking for bulls to go on to work. Top call was a £1,780 Limousin from Jan Feather, of Hainworth Shaw, above Keighley, followed by a Blue bull from the same home at £1,640.

Plenty of breeding cattle made four-figure prices, peaking at £1,850 for a 2017 Limousin bull again from Flash House Farms, while among the ladies Limousin-x cows with Limousin steers at foot sold to £1,780 and Blue-x cows with Limousin heifers to £1,650.

The next fortnightly cattle sale on Wednesday, March 17, also includes the rearranged annual two-day Craven Champions fixture for bullocks and heifers with future show potential, with prize shows staged on the Tuesday evening, the actual sale day also featuring the Spring show of young feeding bulls and special Spring sale of native-sired cattle.