EARLY ewes with lambs with foot made their first appearance at Skipton Auction Mart this Monday, with a great start to the new season seeing buyers from five counties help produce a sharp trade for 118 head, comprising 45 ewes and 73 lambs.

Leading the way at £305 per outfit for Texel-cross ewes, mixed mouths, with twin lambs, was Richard Umpleby, of Killinghall, the same vendor receiving £300 for Suffolks with twins, while other strong pens made £270-£290.

A run of Dorset ewes made to £240 for twins and £180 for singles, while North of England Mule ewes broken mouth with twins sold to £205 and singles to £150. Sales continue every Monday at 11.30am, with several batches already entered for next week.

Almost 3,500 prime sheep were penned for sale. With trade at morning markets up and down the country setting off lower than anticipated as processors came under some pressure on the sales front this trend followed into the afternoon market at Skipton.

Handyweight and lightweight sheep would take the least hurt on the week, these selling at a reasonable trade. Smart retail types were a decent trade, though when it came to commercials, especially those weighing in the late 40kg and above, the going got tougher.

The 2,986 hoggs sold to an overall average of £114.36 per head, or 258.9p/kg (SQQ 264p), with Beltex pens as usual seeing the best trade when selling to day’s highs of £170 per head from the Hutchinson family in Faceby and 378.6p/kg from Walter Parkinson; of Garstang.

Conversely, cull ewes among the 470 cast sheep were stronger on the week, with all classes a touch dearer, best-bred types with full meat selling to a more competitive audience ringside. Charollais ewes sold to £176.50 from Chris Buckley, of Holmfirth, Texel-cross ewes from the same home away at £173.50. Cull ewes averaged £103.59 and cast rams £118.79.

In the prime cattle ring, top end Continentals leaned more towards the heavier weights, with Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers in Bradford again by far the volume purchaser with 22 of the 25 under-30 month quality entries,

Top call at £1,970, or 275.5p/kg, was a 715kg Limousin-cross steer from Hargreaves Farms in Walton-le-Dale, while the leading priced per kg heifer, a 565kg Limousin-cross from TK Drinkall, of Newton-le-Willows, made 298.5p/kg, or £1,687, and the top price per kilo steer, a 580kg Limousin-cross from the Smiths in Masongill 296.5p/kg, or £1,749. All were among the Pearson purchases. Leading gross priced heifer at £1,914, or 283.5p/kg, was a 675kg Limousin-cross from JW Stockdale & Son in Burnsall, claimed by Hartwith’s Nick Dalby. The other two went to the mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers.

Trade was again firm, with steers averaging 641kg by weight trading to average 284p/kg and heifers at 681kg weight average levelling at 287p/kg. Eight clean cattle made 290-298.5p/kg, a further nine 280-290p/kg and eight more 270-280p/kg. This coming Monday, heightened retail interest for 550kg premium Continental cattle is anticipated.

Cull cow prices remain solid, with strong demand across all classes, producing an overall selling average for 13 head of 137.24p/kg, or £961.24, while in the rearing calf ring 38 head again saw solid trade for a predominantly younger entry, with a top of £345 for a British Blue-cross bull from the Bolland family in Airton.