DESPITE the current heatwave Spring lamb numbers increased again at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest weekly Monday turnout, the 1,920 head forward up over 200 on the previous week, though as anticipated they were back in price following the end of the Qurbani Festival, with ethnic orders slow on the day, the overall selling average dipping to £124.98 per head, or 292.5p/kg.

Heavy and overweight lambs led the trade, with nice heavier sorts meeting the demands of both retail and wholesale butchers when getting away at 300-325p/kg. The pick of the overweights on price were 53kg Texels from father and son John and James Mellin, of Black Lane Ends, which sold at £174 top gross, or 328p/kg, another pen from the same home making £166, or 313p/kg, both falling to Lister Brown, of Halifax.

Heavy lambs peaked at £169 (344.9p/kg) for 49kg Beltex crosses from Ellis Bros, of Addingham Moorside, other pens from the same family also selling well to a per kilo sale top of 370p. Of the other leading gross prices, Colne’s Ken Hird was close behind when making £168 with 50kg Texels, followed by John Nutter, of Hurst Green, at £165 with 50kg lambs, the same per head prices also falling to 51kg and 52kg Texel and Suffolk pens from, respectively, Silsden’s Ken and Lynne Throup, and RA&E Smith, of York. Heavies levelled at 302p/kg or £144.25 per head.

In the main weight bracket, the best end of the 36-45kg lambs could command 320p-350p/kg, nice goods 295-315p/kg, with commercial first crossed types generally 275-290p/kg. Thorlby’s John and Alison Spensley made £150, or 348p/kg, with 43kg Beltex crosses, Mark Crabtree, of Kettlesing, also hitting £150 with 45kg Continentals, while 43kg Beltex from the Fawcett family at Dalehead, Barden, sold at £148.50,

While there was a shortage of cull ewes among the 184 cast sheep forward trade continued in a similar vein, few ewes selling under £100 and Texels from Mark Smith in Winterburn leading the way on price at £215.50.Heavy ewes were generally £170-£180, mediums £135-£155 and leaner Texel-cross ewes £100-plus..

Masham ewes sold to £134.50 from Keith and Jeanette Marshall in Skipton, North of England Mule ewes to £129.50 from Silsden’s Edward Fort, with large Mules making £120-plus, mediums either side of £110 and plain ewes £70-£90. Swaledale ewes traded to £94.50, the overall cull ewe average coming out at £117.15, while cast rams averaged £149.25, with a section top of £193.50 for a Bluefaced Leicester from the Ryder family in Haverah Park, Harrogate.

Due to the hot weather, entries were light in the prime cattle sale ring, though trade proved just as strong as previous weeks, with Bradford-based Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers making a clean sweep of the entire entry of five under 30-month clean cattle, all consigned by Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching.

Top gross of £1,996, or 293.5p/kg, fell to a 680kg British Blue-cross steer, top price per kg at 304.5p, or £1,553, going to a 510kg Limousin-cross heifer. Another Blue-cross steer from Grisedale Farm made £1,773, or 281/5p/kg, two other Limousin-cross heifers from the same home selling to £1,754 and 289.5p/kg.

Even with high temperatures, strong demand for manufacturing meat continued among the seven cull cows penned for sale, with heavy dairies selling to £1,585, or169.5p/kg, for a black and white from Brian and Judith Moorhouse’s Aireburn herd in Bell Busk.

Of the beef-breds, a first cross British Blue from the Beckwith family in Gargrave made 183.5p/kg, or £1,403, and even worn cows were able to make 120-125p/kg, producing another solid overall section average of 157p/kg, or £1,069.75 per head.

With increased interest ringside, rearing calf trade for 58 head improved on the week, peaking at £445 for a Blue-cross bull from James Wellock in Eshton, closely followed by another at £440 from the Sutcliffe family in Queensbury, all Blue bulls averaging £384.

Limousin bull calves sold to £355 from the Rylstone Shuttleworths, while taking top call among the natives was a £290 Aberdeen-Angus bull calf from W Stapleton & Son, of Hellifield. Some nice Simmental and Charolais crosses from Jonathan Peel in Newsholme sold well, topping at £385 for a bull calf and £325 for a heifer.

Black and white youngsters were a mixed trade, the older end selling either side of £100, with a top of £235 for a bull calf from the Drake family in Thornton.