RETAIL customers were out in force for Skipton Auction Mart’s April prime cattle show and sale, when Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching presented another in a long line of monthly champions. (Mon, Apr 4)

Their first prize heifer, a 580kg British Blue-x, was knocked down for £1,731, or 298.5p/kg, to Bradford-based Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers, which was once again the volume purchaser and leading buyer among the heavier entries when claiming 12 of the 25 under 30-month clean cattle.

Show judge Frank Wrathall, of Gisburn, remained in the same show class for his reserve champion, the second prize heifer, a 615kg Blonde-x from the Critchley beef farming family in Hutton, Preston, which grossed £1,928, or 313.5p/kg, when again joining Pearsons.

Looking to the leading performers on price, Red Rose retail butcher Phil Gregory paid the top by-weight call of 339.5p/kg, or £1,884, for a 555kg British Blue-cross heifer from North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Masongill.

The same buyer followed up with a 530kg Limousin-x heifer from the Jowett family in Queensbury at 327.5p/kg, or £1,736, making it a trio of buys when also taking home the third prize heifer and second highest gross price of the day, a 600kg Blue-x from Jim and Christine Scrivin in Elslack at £1,959, or 326.5p/kg. All are for the family-run DA Gregory & Sons Butchers in Bacup.

Hargreaves Farms, of Walton-le-Dale, Preston, again crossed the border to stand second and third in the bullocks show class, the runner-up, a 715kg Limousin-x, going on to secure the day’s top gross price of £2,063, or 288.5p/kg, when also figuring among the Pearson acquisitions, as did the best price per kilo steer and first prize in class, a 615kg Limousin-x again from the North Craven Smiths, which made 313.5p, or £1,928.

Clapham’s Jonathan Townley returned with a 560kg Blue-x heifer sold at 327.5p/kg, or £1,834, and one of a brace falling to Knavesmire Butchers in York, while Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton also took home two, among them the leading per kilo lightweight heifer, a 430kg Limousin-x from L Bamforth & Sons in Wainstalls, Halifax, at 300.5p/kg, or £1,292.

Every category of the 20 cull cows on offer proved good to sell, as trade increased again, with the best dairies now circa 170p/kg, topping at £1,371 and 173.5p/kg for two from a nice run of black and whites from the Downs family in Bingley, who also made £1,086, or 164.5p/kg, with a Brown Swiss.

Lean cows got away at from 135-150p/kg, while a pure Limousin cow from Charles Stanton, of Cowark, Clitheroe, caught the eye at 222.5p/kg, or £1,802, with a brace of British Blue half bred dairies from Geoff and Margaret Booth in Lothersdale selling to 216.5p/kg and £1,781. The overall cull cow average was 168.47p/kg, or £1,154.

The same morning’s sale of 60 rearing calves, when trade was slightly easier on the week, produced a top call of £475 for a Limousin-x bull from the Hayton & Stocks farming partnership in Bolton Abbey.