PRIME lamb trade at Skipton Auction Mart stepped up yet another gear on Monday, as the 2,258 prime and lightweight hoggs forward averaged over £3 per kilo at 302p/kg (SQQ 308p), or £130.44 per head.

All classes were dearer by some margin, especially heavy lambs and commercial handy to medium weights, with 37-43kg Continentals and other lowland-bred lambs short of requirements and more required each week.

The strength of demand for heavies was clearly illustrated when lowland lambs over 52kg sold to a weight range average of 280p/kg, or £152 per head, with the Hutchinson family from Faceby in the north-west corner of the North Yorks Moors returning with multiple top-notch pens across most classes.

One topped the heavy section at £166 per lamb to Farmers Fresh, two others selling at £165 and £163.

Several other pens sold in the £160s, 16 more in the £150’s.

Lowland lambs 46-52kg topped at £161.50 from Michael Hall in Airton, claimed by Hartshead meats while Kendalls Farm Butchers, of Harrogate and Pateley Bridge, took home a £160 per head pen from Rob Bailes, of Aldborough, plus another at £158 from the Hutchinsons.

Over the weight range the best end of heavy Continentals made 300-330p/kg, primes 280-300p/kg, with commercials selling in the 270’s.

Of the 36-45kg lowland lambs, the Hutchinson family again led the way on price and top call of the entire day with a 41kg Beltex-x pen at £167.50 per head, or 408.5p/kg, to Hartshead Meat Co in Mossley, with Vivers Scotlamb in Annan buying more high price pens from Felliscliffe’s Henry Atkinson and Rob Bailes.

The best lambs across the weight range sold at 370p/kg upwards, Beltex averaging 347p/kg and Texel 312p/kg.

At the lighter end, lowland lambs weighing 35kg and under were notably short of requirements, with Continentals selling to very good rates, up to £111 and 354p/kg for pens from High Harbour Farm in Lincolnshire.

Trade for hill-bred North of England Mule and Masham wether lambs was up in the £140’s and £150’s, with the Hutchinsons leading the way yet again with Mules at £153 and Mashams at £149.

Both pens falling to Halifax wholesalers J&E Medcalf.

Some excellent prices for horned and hill-going breeds saw Cheviot lambs top of £155 each for a pen from North Lincolnshire regular Steve Dorey, these again claimed by the Medcalfs. Horned lambs topped at £133 from SP Woolhouse & Son, of Doncaster.

A turnout of almost 500 head of cast sheep was also short of requirements, especially for medium and lightweight types, with some solid runs of cull ewes coming up from the south and across from the east.

They were in great demand, heavy continentals making £155-£171.50, with the best pure-bred ewes with less weight, but full meat trading at £150-£160. The overall cull ewe average was £117.56 per head, a few cast rams averaging £101.78.

With wet, cold weather just damping the spirits from trade seen over the early season, the 336 breeding sheep saw better sorts still able to achieve in the region of £90 per life. Texel ewes with twins were the pick of the trade, selling to £270 per outfit and averaging £230, closely followed at £265 for Suffolk ewes with twins.

Ewes with singles sold to £160 for Texel.

Several runs of store and gimmer hoggs forward for sale saw Hurries Farm in Otterburn make £126 and £128 with geld Continental hoggs, while store hoggs commanded an excellent following at £99 to £108.

Earlier in the day, plentiful buyers from a wide area were again present for the weekly sale of 60 dairy-bred rearing calves, when Blue-x bulls were the trade of the day, 16 head averaging a solid £362 and selling to a top of £445 for another quality youngster from the Hartley dairy farming family in Beamsley.

Another 14 Blue-x heifer calves topped at £430 from the Sowray brothers in Bishop Thornton.

A tremendous run of Limousin youngsters from the Pickersgill family in Hawksworth saw their bull calves all make £370-£415 and heifers £310-£385.

Black and whites sold to £390 for a three-month-old British Friesian bull from the Hayton & Stocks partnership in Bolton Abbey, while of the natives Aberdeen- Angus bull calves sold to £300.