SHEEP continue to flock to Skipton Auction Mart, this Monday’s prime turnout not far short of 3,000 head and comprising 98 Spring lambs, 2,484 hoggs and 356 cast ewes and rams.

Springers met another excellent trade and with retail butcher customers keen and looking to supply additional buyers many more could have been sold, clearly shown by the overall average of 376.6p/kg, or £160.58 each.

Prices peaked at £192 per head, or 436.4p/kg, for 44kg Texel from J Fisher & Son in Goosnargh, purchased for Thompson Wholesale Meats, Witton-le-Wear.

Tony and Kay Kiernan, of St Michael’s, Preston, were close behind at £188, or 427.3p/kg, with others at £184 and £180.

First-time York area vendors PB Fox & Son topped their run at £187 with Texel crosses again selling to Thompson Meats.

Hogg numbers are holding up well and trade remained fairly sharp overall, producing an overall selling average of 300.7p/kg (SQQ 308p), or £137.91 per head.

Handy and medium weights were still excellent and while heavies were easier on the week they still sold to £180 for 60kg Continentals from the Hutchinson family in Faceby, purchased by Hartshead Meat Co, Mossley.

Medium weights of lowland lambs remained good to sell, smarter butchers’ sheep trading to £172 and £169 for 47kg Continentals from the Dobson family in Hartlington.

Lowland export weights and best retail shop lambs were a decent trade, especially as many regular good runs are coming to a close for the season. The Woodhouse family, from Doncaster, took top rice per kilo at 390p/kg, or £160, with 41kg Beltex going to Vivers Scotlamb.

Of the cast sheep, heavy Continentals were in ready demand, peaking at £169.50 for Texels from Anthony and Emma Thompson in Foulridge, with cull ewes averaging £95.50 overall and a few cast rams £105.13.

Despite grass being at a premium in some parishes, breeding sheep numbers showed their usual anticipated seasonal increase with 485 ewes and lambs meeting a good trade, smart young Continental ewes with twins making £260/£300 (£90-£100 per life) and commercial types £240/£250. Younger Mule Ewes with twins were £220/£240 (£70-£80 per life).

Hoggs with lambs are now beginning to make an appearance, better sorts of Texel hoggs with singles trading at £210/£220, commercial sorts at £170/£190.

Several batches of hoggs and lambs are promised for next week, with more outfits in general required.

Customers should note that sales of ewes and lambs will now be held from 11am on Tuesdays for three weeks over the peak season.

A small entry of eight under 30-month clean cattle of premium quality maintained recent excellent trade, Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers in Bradford again the principal purchasers when snapping up all but one, including a clean sweep of the top gross and per kilo price entries, which all came from weekly vendors, Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching.

Highest gross was a 620kg Limousin-x steer at £1,690 (272.5p/kg) and the top grossing heifer a 605kg Limousin-x at £1,667, or 275.5p/kg, also the top price animal by weight. The leading price per kilo steer at 272.5p was a 595kg Limousin-x.

While trade was a shade easier on the week, underlying demand for suckler-bred beef continues to be very strong. The only other entry fell to Skipton-based Keelham Farm Shop.

An increased entry of 27 cull cows of mixed quality and weight saw sought-after dairies hit 140p/kg-plus, with thick, heavy black and whites selling into the late 130’s, steaking cows 135p/kg and worn cows 95.5p/kg, altogether at an overall average of 126.2p/kg, or £807.45 per head.

A fed Limousin cow from Simon Bennett made 193.5p/kg, or £1,267, black and whites selling to respective highs of £1,269 and 143.5p/kg.

The 47 rearing calves again met a serious trade, British Blue-x bulls doing best, with over half of the 12 entered selling over £400 to a day’s high of £460 from Paul and Janet Bolland in Airton, who also topped the heifer prices at £350 with another Blue-x.

Black and white bull calves all sold over £95 for nice sorts at three weeks-plus, the section averaging a robust £131, with a top of £188 from M Fewster, of Cleckheaton, Native youngsters sold to £340 for an Aberdeen-Angus bull calf from Andrew Ayrton in Embsay.

Hereford heifer calves sold to £275.