A MUCH-increased entry of 551 cattle – up some 250 head on the previous fortnight – packed the pens at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest midweek Wednesday sale this week.

The turnout was boosted by a bumper entry of 107 suckler breeding cattle, with the sale featuring solid offerings from three local holdings and all outfits forward achieving solid four-figure prices.

An annual consignment from Ashfield Farms in Lothersdale of Limousin-x heifers with both same way bred April and May-born heifer and bull calves at foot saw the former sell to a section-topping £2,500, the outfit returning to its place of origin in the same village with Geoff and Margaret Booth. Ashfield outfits with bull calves sold to £2,450.

Ian Moorhouse, of TB Moorhouse & Son, based at Foulshaw Farm, Dacre, arrived with a strong consignment of Blue-x and Limousin-x cows with calves at foot, topping his run at £2,550 with a Blue with Blonde-x heifer calf, while from Hesketh House, Bolton Abbey, the Heseltine family sold both British Blue and Limousin cows with two-month-old calves to £2,000, plus a 12-month-old pedigree Limousin bull at £1,450..

Trade for 74 young feeding bulls was very strong for a mixed turnout featuring 2021 Spring-born calves getting close to finish at under 16 months and farm assured, though feeders remained competitive in seeking to keep pens full.

Best suckler-bred bulls sold from £1,400 to a top of £1,680 for a Limousin-x from Littondale’s James Pentre. Continental-x averaged £1,210, natives £962. A run of black and white bulls sold to £670, averaging £562.

The 38 beef feeding cows exhibited a full spectrum of qualities, from pure-bred premium types through to hard worked native sorts. Trade peaked at £2,160 for a pure British Blue from Bordley Green’s John Stephenson, while Rick Holroyd, of Wadsworth, Hebden Bridge, presented a strong Limousin at £1,800, with Easingwold’s Ken and Hazel Gamble next best at £1,700. The section selling average was £1,280 per head, with more cows required to meet demand from a full team of buyers ringside eager to source cattle to feed.

Trade took a step up for 332 store bullocks and heifers, plenty both smart and strong, with all classes looking dearer on the week and a full ringside of buyers competing strongly for all goods. Continental feeders sold to extreme heights, producing top calls of £1,900 for a Limousin heifer from R Holroyd, of Hebden Bridge, and £1,840 for another Limousin from Austwick’s James and Deborah Ogden.

Blue-x heifers sold to £1,780 from the O’Kane & Morgan partnership, travelling from Powys in Wales, and same way bred bullocks to £1,580 from Broughton’s Jeremy Taylor, who also topped the native selling price with a £1,900 Aberdeen-Angus bullock.

Native cattle in particular were in high demand, plenty of Angus bullocks with flesh and age making over £1,300, their heifer counterparts showing both strength and flesh reaching over £1,200.

Back with the Continentals, big strong suckler heifers with weight and age could command £1,500-plus, lots of retail-type heifers over 15 months exceeding £1,300. Continental suckler-bred bullocks traded at similar rates, with a top of £1,640 for a Limousin-x at just 12-months-old from the Walker family in Appletreewick, the Clitheroe-based Fox family also catching the eye with a 14-month-old Limousin at £1,580.

Dairy-cross Blues sold to £1,490 from Williamson Bros in Ulverston, black and white bullocks to £1,270 from Winterburn’s Malcolm Taylor.

Store bullock selling averages were: Continental-x £1,324, native £1,206, black and white £1,016, with corresponding heifer averages of £1,229, £1,057 and £1,183.