ANOTHER big entry of 3,685 prime sheep at Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly Monday turnout comprised just short of over 3,000 hoggs and 648 cast ewes and rams, the former meeting a variable trade, depending on weight and breed, producing an overall sale average of £115.83 per head, or 250.3p/kg. 
Lightweights and handyweights were good to sell, the 36kg-45kg weight range across all breeds averaging 271p/kg, with Beltex pens again the leading performers with a section average of £129.5, or 311.8p/kg, including the day’s top per head prices of £160 and 402.6p/kg for respective pens from Tony and Kay Kiernan in St Michaels and the Atkinson family in Felliscliffe. The Kiernans also headed the Texel prices at £151 and 321.3p/kg.

Cull ewe trade was just as dear, heavy pure Continental ewes making £175-£190, with the best Texels £200-£230. Plenty of Suffolks with weight got away at £150-£170, the best ewes at £180-plus, producing a cull ewe average of £111. Cast rams averaged £143.

Mart regular Andrew Atkinson generously donated a Texel cull ewe in aid of the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. It sold no less than three times, netting £710 in total.

The weekly breeding sheep sale brought a busier crowd ringside looking for ewes and lambs outfits, the entry of 139 producing a nice trade, with older ewes probably just a shade dearer on the week, topping at £280 for correct Texel-cross with twins from Richard Umpleby in Killinghall. Store sheep also penned from several vendors saw trade peak at £122 for Continental crosses from J Crowther, of Sowerby Bridge, with other better sorts also selling into three figures.

A useful entry of 19 under 30-month clean cattle with not as much weight created a sense that buyers were looking to buy cattle for less to face an uncertain trade. Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers from Bradford were again the leading buyers with nine acquisitions, the remainder of the entry spread evenly around the ring.

Good quality retail weights were still 290p/kg-plus. the best a 555kg Limousin-cross heifer sold by Threshfield’s Charles and Richard Kitching to Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton at 296.5p/kg, or £1,646. The Kitching brothers also headed up the steers with a 620kg British Blue-cross sold at 290.5p/kg, or £1,801, to the mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers.

Pearsons were responsible for the leading gross prices among the heavy cattle, their buys including another Kitching entry, a 665kg Limousin-cross steer at £1,839, or 276.5p/kg, plus the top price heifer, a 635kg Limousin-cross from Jonathan Townley in Clapham at £1,775, or 279.5p/kg. Other buyers present were Halifax wholesalers J&E Medcalf and Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton.

Cull cow trade showed no signs of easing, the 24 head, without a single Continental in the mix, averaging 148.29p/kg, or £996.87. Heavy dairies carrying flesh were around 160p/kg, peaking at £1,284 for a black and white from Cowling’s Martyn Jennings, with beef cows equally sought, young Angus cows from the Lawn family in Skipton hitting 211.5p/kg and £1,474. A mature British Blue bull from Geoff and Margraret Booth in Lothersdale made £1,817, or171.5p/kg,

The weekly sale of 56 rearing calves saw several fresh faces ringside, British Blue-cross bulls meeting plenty of demand with all classes keenly bid for and a section top of £440 from the Sowray brothers in Bishop Thornton. However, it was a Limousin-cross bull calf from the Hayton & Stocks farming partnership in Bolton Abbey that topped the trade at £470.