THE 3,000-plus prime sheep on offer at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest weekly Monday turnout comprised 1,609 Spring lambs, a 50 per cent increase in numbers on the week, and with trade easing in price nationally the trend was seen locally with the sale levelling at 304.2p/kg, or £126.36 per head.

Trade of the day was for heavy Continental and Suffolk-cross butchers’ type lambs and smart premium Beltex crosses, prices peaking at £190 per head for 57kg Texel crosses from the Spensleys in Elslack.

Travelling across from Grewelthorpe, near Ripon, the Boynton family were next in line when selling 45kg Beltex at £188 per head, or 417p/kg, which was second highest price per head and per kilo on the day, adding a second 41kg pen at 385p, or £158.

Pipping the Boynton’s per kilo price with Beltex at a sale-topping 423.8p, or £178 per head, were P Crabtree & Son, from Clifton, Otley, who sold further lambs at £175, or 389p/kg. Tim Robinson, of Dutton, Longridge, hit £182 per head with Beltex crosses, followed by WH Marsden, of Crossgates, Leeds, with pens at £177 and £176 twice. J&F Nutter, of Hurst Green, Clitheroe, topped another good weekly run at £175, while Tony and Kay Kiernan, of St Michaels, Preston, made 385p with 41kg Beltex.

In total, 61 pens of lambs achieved £150 or more, or 151 pens at £135 or more, the main of the handier weight premiums selling for 330p/340p-plus to 390p/400p per kilo. Commercial lambs were also a decent trade, 35- 42kg Texel, Suffolk Mule and Charollais Mule pens generally getting away from 290p to 310p/315p depending on levels of finish and type, while a slightly smarter skinned sort was 315p/325p.

Hoggs were short of numbers and with buying for the Islamic month of Qurbani in full swing the 208 head saw a much firmer trade on the week when averaging 257.5p/kg (SQQ 264p), or £127.78 per head. More are certainly required for this coming Monday’s sale.

The long trip north from Lincolnshire paid dividends for PT&L Johnson, who sold seven pens of Continental Texel hoggs in the late £160s and early £170s, topping at £172. Good heavy Continentals were generally £150-plus and nice handyweights 270-300p/kg. Mashams sold to £140 and £134 from John and Claire Wright in Airton.

The cast sheep section attracted a solid entry of 1,214 cull ewes and while they were in general less money in the face of large numbers of sheep about nationally – the majority being £10-£15 per head down on the week - they still sold very well for time of year, averaging £103.66 per head.

The section comprised a large entry of plain or lean fresh weaned Swaledales, with big strong full meat ewes still trading to £100-plus and to heights of £110.50 from Ken and Lynne Throup in Silsden, £109.50 from KN&C Heath, of Macclesfield, and £109.50, from Otterburn’s Ashley and Rachael Caton. Other best end Swaledales were £88-£95, lean sorts £50-£65, with plain ewes £28-£45.

Best-bred Texel ewes were £180-£200, with a top of £207.50 from J Robinson, of Ripon. Big first crossed ewes made £140-£160, mediums £120-£130 and lean ewes £100-plus, with some plain feeders £70-£90.

Large North of England Mules and Mashams were £120-plus, up to £130.50 for the former from Nidderdale regulars Joe and Trevor Stoney in Bewerley, Pateley Bridge, with strong mediums selling to £115, smaller full meat ewes at £85-£100 and plain ewes £70-£90. Teeswater ewes sold to £163.50 from Silsden’s A&SL Throup & Son.

Cast rams also sold with plenty of trade and to a high of £207.50 for Beltex tups from High Harbour Farm in Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire, the section averaging £127.24.

Of the 26 breeding sheep forward, aged Mule ewes with twins lambs sold to £235 from GD&CJ Holme, of Bolton Abbey, while Texel hoggs with single lambs again from the Lincolnshire-based Johnson family made to £225.

Looking ahead to Saturday, July 9, the monthly collective livestock sale is supplemented by another popular machinery and Agri-Trader fixture again featuring farm vehicles, livestock equipment, plant, stone and timber.... and more. Potential vendors should note that new delivery arrangements are in place for the previous Thursday, with commission bidding available from the Friday.