AN increased entry of 3,588 prime sheep at Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly Monday turnout produced a slightly more subdued buyer-driven trade than anticipated for the 2,743 prime hoggs among them, which sold to an overall average of £112.17 per head, or 257.1p/kg (SQQ 265.1p).

However, really good trade was in evidence for well-fleshed lightweight lambs and smarter heavies, with some nice top end prices achieved for both butchers and quality retail types of lambs.

The Hutchinson family again travelled across from Faceby, making their usual impact when selling eight pens between £148 to a sale-topping £162 for Texels purchased by Lister Brown, of Halifax.

Ben Simpson, from Bradwell in the Derbyshire Peak District, made £158 and Menwith Hill’s Kevin Marshall £150 with other pens. Best lambs per kilo were generally 320-360p, topping at 371p/kg for Beltex from Henry Atkinson in Felliscliffe.

Well-fleshed lowland lambs weighing in the mid 30kgs could make 280p-320p/kg depending on quality, while Cheviot crosses saw a few runs in the 270s and 280s. North of England Mule wethers were a touch easier than the previous week, as were horned lambs.

The cast sheep section was outstanding, with 845 head forward, predominantly cull ewes, and quality seen throughout all classes. Texel ewes sold to £239.50 for five from Henry Atkinson again, with PB Fox & Son, of Dunnington, York, selling their Texels to £223.50. Leyburn’s Martin and Val Brown also caught the eye with Beltex ewes at £221.50, several other pens away at £200-plus.

White-headed ewes attracted plenty of purchasers for both medium and heavy types, producing a nice trade. Pure Texels were generally £160-£185, though heavies carrying full meat were popular either side of £200.

Mule ewes sold to £140.50 from both Chris and Christine Ryder, of Blubberhouses, and Silsden Moor’s Ken and Lynne Throup, with the latter also heading the Swaledale ewe prices at £106.50, while Swaledale tups traded to £97.50 from the Hird family in Buckden. Cull ewes averaged £111.66 overall and cast rams £127.22.

The weekly breeding sheep sale of 162 head met a busy ringside, with buyers seeking strong lambs on ewes able to go outside. Correct Texel ewes with twins sold to £328 from Chris Craven, of Kexby, York, and again at £300 from the same vendor.

Broken-mouthed Mule ewes with twins sold at £225 from SJ Phillips, of Burton Leonard, with W&M Bland, of Kirkby Malham selling theirs to £200, Mules with singles from the same home hitting £160 per outfit and Texels with singles from T&G McGarrell, of Earby, trading to £190.

In the prime cattle ring, a tidy entry of 16 under 30-month clean cattle saw Continental bullocks average 274.3p/kg, or £1,813 per head, with Hargreaves Farms, of Walton-le-Dale, again crossing the border to claim top price of £1,983 with a quality Charolais-cross bullock heading to Bradford based wholesalers Ralph Pearson, once more the volume buyer with a ten-strong haul that also included a Limousin-cross heifer at the leading per kilo price of 304.5p, or £1,889, from Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching.

The Hargreaves family sold other heifers at £1,855, £1,854 and £1,840, the Kitchings further heifers at £1,843, £1,827 and £1,813. Angus-cross bullocks made to £1,534, black and whites selling to £1,109. The mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers was again among the purchasers, as was regular retail buyer Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton.

Fourteen cull cows produced a sale average of £862 per head, or 142.9p/kg, for a very mixed turnout containing only a handful of heavy, well fleshed types, though demand was excellent and many more could have been sold. Leading gross price at £1,235 (161.5p/kg) was for a black and white from JG Hall & Son in Gargrave.

The weekly rearing calf sale saw flying trade for 73 head, with dairy-bred Continental-crosses again popular, peaking at £410 for a British Blue-cross bull from Threshfield’s Angus Dean, Blue-x heifers selling to £355 from the Bolland family in Airton.

JC&DJ Marshall, of West End, dominated the Limousin-x prices, selling bull calves to £360 and heifers to £330, also chipping in with the top price native, a £300 Aberdeen-Angus heifer. A solid entry of black and white bull calves saw mediums away at £70-£90 and smalls £30-£60.