RED Rose husband and wife, David and Laura Coar, of Yew Tree Farm, Darwen, improved on their reserve championship success the previous month when stepping up a notch to clinch the supreme champion’s crown at Skipton Auction Mat’s July prime lambs show. (Mon, July 4)

The Coars took top honours with their first prize Continental pen, five home-bred 44kg Beltex-Texel cross ram lambs by a tup acquired from Cheshire breeder Paul Slater, which had also been responsible for past Skipton champions from the couple. Tapped out by show judge Anthony Swales, of Knavesmire Butchers in York, they sold to him at £158 per head and will go on sale in the Albermarle Road shop

Running a flock of 250 Beltex and Texel ewes, the Coars also stood third in the same class with their second show pen, same way bred 46kg tup lambs which matched their champions’ selling price when joining regular wholesale buyers Hartshead Meat Co in Mossley, Greater Manchester, who also paid £158 again for the second prize 44kg Continental pen from JA Gibson & Son, of Church Fenton, Tadcaster, making their weekly trip to Skipton.

A standalone Down-cross lambs show class was won by 51kg Suffolks from the Hartley farming partnership in Beamsley, selling at £167 per head to Dan Towers for Pak Mecca Meats.The 40kg runners-up from FM Shepherd & Son, of Bewerley, made £134 when claimed by KPK Meats in Accrington , the third prize 47kg pen from CR&J Kippax, of Briercliffe, away at £145.50 to farmer-owned wholesaler group, Farmers Fresh.

Trade was excellent for all classes of the 1,705 Spring lambs among the 2,695 prime sheep forward and well up on the week by 28p/kg on average, far dearer than anyone had expected in the run up to the Islamic Qurbani Festival when levelling at 332p/kg across the board, or £141.14 per head.

All weights were good to sell, with handyweights for export taking the best lift on the week and proving the trade of the day with extra demand clearly in evidence. Commercial handyweight sorts made 325-340p/kg, some nearer 350p/kg if just a little cleaner bred.

However, the bulk of the top per head prices fell to heavy and overweight lambs, those weighing 36-45kg averaging £137.68, while 46-52kg heavies levelled at £160 and 53kg-plus overweights £172.12.

Leading the gross prices among the Springers at £198, or 404p/kg, were 49kg Beltex crosses from Ellis Bros, of Addingham Moorside, who sold four pens at 400p-plus, also topping the day’s by-weight prices with a 409p/kg pen. Ian Marsden, of Penistone, presented a £190 per head pen, with local vendor Mark Evans, of Steeton, making £188 and £182 with 53kg and 49kg Suffolk crosses.

In total, 91 pens achieved £160 or more per head and 92 pens 350p/kg-plus. Several pens of North of England Mule wethers sold to £129, or 300pkg, again from Ellis Bros.

It’s the back end of the season for prime hoggs, the 323 head meeting a straight trade when averaging £108.63, or 235.3p/kg. Nice meated handyweight lowland types with no faults made 250-300p/kg, with heavies generally £135-£150.

The total entry also comprised 667 cast ewes, rams and goats, with cull ewes dearer on the week, the section averaging £120.79. Best-bred Texel ewes with weight were £200-plus, trading to a top of £219.50 from Kelly Jowett in Thornton.

Strong medium Beltex ewes made £150-£170, strong Texel £170-plus, with first crossed ewes away at £150-plus for weight and £135-£145 for good full meat mediums. Lean ewes were £115-130, the plainer end £90-£110. Suffolk ewes sold to £193.50 from G&MA Lawn, of Skipton.

North of England Mules met a very good trade, with not much price difference between the good meat medium ewes and the heavies. Anything with full meat could command £115-£125, with lean Mules just a touch less and plainer end £70-£90. The overall breed average was £116 per head.

Swaledale ewes sold to £112.50 from John Airey, of Skipton, Cheviots topping at to £143.50 from Fleets Farms in Rylstone

Cast rams averaged £144.07, peaking at £229.50 for a Texel, again from South Yorkshire’s Ian Marsden, while goats, sold to £121.50 from PA&PJ Ormerod, of West Marton.