BREEDING sheep numbers are on the seasonal increase at Skipton Auction Mart, with a large proportion of Monday’s 243-strong turnout comprising North of England Mule ewes with both Suffolk and Texel lambs at foot, correct Mules with twins selling to £200 and Mule shearlings with twins to £235.

Suffolk and Continental families were a little more mixed than of late, Texel with singles trading to £160 and Suffolk with singles to £158. As in previous weeks, the sale was again topped by Killinghall’s Richard Umpleby, who sold Texel ewes with twins to £290.

There was also an increased prime sheep entry of over 3,500 head and plenty of customers ringside to move them, with 3,166 hoggs trading to an overall average up 5p on the week at £120.18 per head, or 264.2p/kg, including an SQQ of 280p/kg. Beltex pens again led the way on price, producing day’s highs of £185 and 445p/kg from Malhamhdale’s Jeff Burrows.

All classes were dearer, with handy and lightweights an excellent trade, and heavies and overweights also better to sell. Mule, hill and horned lambs also took a nice lift on the week.

The 36 Spring lambs in the mix averaged £131.30 per head, or 280.2p/kg, Harry Walters, of Penistone, topping at £166, or 404p/kg, with Texel, other nice sorts making £135-£148, or 290-345p/kg. Within the entry was a large run of milk sheep, both Lukerne pures and crosses from the Stott family in Chipping, which sold to £142, or 289p/kg.

The 382 cast sheep saw cull ewe trade on fire once again, even with a more mixed turnout in terms of quality. Heavy Suffolk ewes sold to £199.50 from DJ Grassam, of Wetherby with Texels making £209.50. The overall cull ewe average was average £112.50, with cast rams averaging £166.17 and trading to £204.50 for Bluefaced Leicester tups.