AN increased entry of 3,108 prime sheep at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest weekly Monday turnout met a great all-round trade, producing multiple highlights.

A total of 78 Spring lambs sold to an overall average of £154.75 per head, or 357.4p/kg, topping at £180 twice for 55kg Suffolks from John Key, of Penistone, and 44kg Texel from Tim Robinson in Longridge, the latter falling to Knavesmire Butchers in York, which also claimed the top price 440p/kg, or £176, 40kg Texels from Gargrave’s Andrew Brown. In addition, Mr Key hit £176 with further Continentals sold to John Kearns Butchers in Shipley.

The 2,570 hoggs sold achieved a breathtaking overall average of 318p/kg (SQQ 333p) or £147.95 per head, with two pens hitting the £200 barrier, the first time this has been seen outside a show day.

Leading the gross prices at £210 per head were 60kg Beltex from the returning Hutchinson family in Faceby, followed at £200 by 48kg Beltex from JM Hall in Malhamdale, both pens claimed by Brayton Farm Shop, near Selby. Per kilo prices peaked at 444p for 36kg Beltex from Felliscliffe’s Henry Atkinson, these going to Vivers Scotlamb in Annan.

In the cull section, 460 cast ewes and rams saw six lots make £170-plus, peaking at £175.70 for Texel from Ben Simpson in Derbyshire’s Hope Valley, with Anthony Bolland, from Bolton Abbey, making £135.50 with his top price North of England Mules. The best horned ewes made £100-plus, cull ewes averaging £116.08 overall and cast rams £131.10.

Also penned for sale were 329 breeding sheep, now featuring some nice sized lambs. All bar one of the sections achieved highs of £200-plus, with a top of £292 per outfit for Texel ewes with twins from Michael McKenzie in Arncliffe. Next week’s sale of sheep with lambs will be held on Monday, then the season’s main sales will be held on a Tuesdays. Keep an eye on the press for confirmation.

Monday’s clean cattle trade was stronger than ever, all of the better end U grade types selling upwards of 266p/kg regardless of weight.

Of the 17 under 30-month entries Charles and Richard Kitching, from Threshfield, were again to the fore with another strong pen that included the top gross price, a 625kg British Blue-heifer at £1,734, or 266.5p/kg, and one of a trio sold to Robertshaws Farm Shop in Thornton.

The Smith family, from Masongill, again presented some high quality cattle in the retail weights, among them a 585kg British Blue-x steer at the leading per kilo price of 283.5p/kg, or £1,658, one of 11 acquisitions by Bradford-based Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers.

An improved entry of 22 cull cows with finish met a very good trade, dairies in this category making 140p/kg and upwards, with a leading gross of £1,231 from James Gooch, of Cononley. Beef cows were similar, peaking at £1,348, or 159.5p/kg, for a first cross British Blue from the Mitchell family in Oakworth, while natives sold to 154.5p/kg, all producing a solid overall selling average of 135.76p/kg, or £906.67 per head.