Higher prime sheep numbers than anticipated were seen at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest weekly Monday sale, the 2,771 head comprising 168 new season lambs, over 2,000 hoggs and almost 600 cast ewes and rams.

Spring lambs are now coming forward in good numbers and a fair mix of weights from 29kg up to 55kg saw trade levelling at £146.24 per head, or 351.5p/kg.

It was CR&M Wilson, of Wilpshire, near Blackburn, who claimed top price per head honours when selling Texel Continentals at £182 each to Knavesmire Butchers in York, who also snapped up the next two highest price per head pens at £180 from Tim Robinson, of Longridge, and £178 from Toothill Bros in Doncaster. The Stoney family, from near Pateley Bridge, also hit £178 with lambs claimed by Vivers Scotlamb. All were Texel pens.

Andrew Brown, from Gargave, took top price per kilo when making 469.4p, or £169 each, with 36kg Texel lambs knocked down to Yorkshire Halal Meat Suppliers, of Ossett. The same vendor also made second top of 460.5p/kg, or £175, for 36kg lambs again going to Knavesmire Butchers.

While a mixed turnout of hoggs contained a large proportion of hill-breds quality heavies were still regularly away at £150-£170, commercial medium to heavy sorts making £140- £155 and a few pens of good heavy North of England Mules selling in the late £140’s and early £150’s, commercial types in the £120’s and £130’s.

Well fleshed handyweight and lightweight hoggs met another excellent trade, with Continentals nicely above 300p/kg for meat, Mules and Swaledales regularly making 250-270p/kg, with better sorts nearer 300p/kg and Scotch Black Faced and Cheviots mainly 270-310p/kg. Overall, hoggs averaged £135.48 per head, or 287.2p/kg.

Of the individual selling prices, the best end of the heavies sold to £195 per head for 63kg Beltex from the Hutchinson family, again travelling down from Faceby. They were bought by Brayton Farm Shop, near Selby.

The Hutchinsons sold a further 10 pens from £168 to £178 per head, once more figuring among other high prices, including presenting some cracking pens of hill-bred Mules and Mashams at £155, £153 and £149 per head, the Downs family from Bingley topping per kilo at 302p.

Of other smart sorts, SP Woolhouse & Son returned from Doncaster to take top price per kilo at 414p, or £174, for 42kg Beltex, with other pens from the same home, including horned lambs, also selling well.

Turning to the cull ewes, the best sorts made £140-£155, with some real heavy Continentals selling to £169.50 for a Texel pen from vendors travelling up from Lincolnshire. The overall cull ewe selling average was £94.60 per head and the mart reports that more ewes will be required in May with festivals coming up and a shortage nationally. Cast rams averaged £110.62