SPRING lamb numbers are increasing week by week at Skipton Auction Mart and the latest Monday turnout of 589 head also produced improved trade with more wholesalers switching from hoggs to springers and requiring extra supply.

The best quality were the best trade of the season to date, chief price honours falling to PB Fox & Son, who travelled from Dunnington, east of York, with a quality run of 25 Beltex lambs, returning home with an amazing average of 465p/kg.

They topped the per kilo prices at 513.9p/kg, or £185 per head, to Worsley Wholesale Butchers in Liversedge, selling others at £196 and £190 twice, one of these hitting £5 per kilo and going to Vivers Scotlamb in Annan.

Multiple pens of Spring lambs made 400p and upwards, with other vendors selling high priced pens including David Breaks, of Slaidburn, Tim Robinson, from Longridge, Neil Tattersall, of Ellerton, York, DJ Grassam, of Wetherby, Austwick’s James and Deborah Odgen, and, from Clitheroe, G&MM Dakin & Son.

The day’s leading gross price of £202 per head fell to Charollais crosses from KJ Marston, of Otley, claimed by Brayton Farm Shop, Selby. The overall Spring lamb average was 355.2p/kg (SQQ 356.3p), or £143.42, £37 up on the corresponding week in 2020. Also penned for sale were 601 prime hoggs and while it proved a typical late season turnout this was not reflected in the trade, with some nice Continentals regularly away at £150-£180, or 300-340p/kg, commercial goods generally 250/300p/kg. Hill-bred hoggs saw meated horned breeds making 270p-300p.The overall selling average for hoggs was £114.23 per head, or 271.2p/kg.

Of the 444 cast sheep, another large run of ewes from High Harbour Farm in Lincolnshire topped at £160.50 and £159.50 for Texels, with the Hutchinson family again travelling down from Faceby, near Middlesborough, to successfully sell ewes to £158.50.

The rest of the market was full of local farmers’ ewes and demand for the best was notably strong, with 164 white-faced ewes averaging £114. The best weighing ewes made £128-plus, with Beltex from the Ribble Valley Dakins trading to £137.50. Swaledales averaged £65, Cheviots, Lonks and Gritstones again finding a good trade. The overall cull ewe average was £96.29, while cast rams averaged £106.63.

Breeding sheep comprised 343 ewes and lambs, with a wide audience of buyers for all goods. Suffolk ewes with twins from Liam Broster, of Lindley Moor, topped at £220 per outfit, the same vendor selling correct Suffolks to £170, along with Mules with singles at £142.

Hoggs topped at £215 for Texel with singles from John Airey, of Elslack, with 42 North of England Mule hoggs with singles averaging £201.

This coming Monday’s bank holiday sale features the usual ewes with lambs show and will also be supplemented by a special sale of Blue Texel females. Primestock and rearing calves are also on a busy agenda.