SKIPTON Auction Mart’s opening annual store lamb show and sale of the 2022 season, again traditionally held on the second day of the Great Yorkshire Show, attracted a near 4,000 head turnout, with all class leaders on price achieving three figures, producing an overall sale average of £84.64 per head, very much on a par with the 2021 sale average of £85.32. (Wed, July 13)

With the high profile fixture once more attracting travelled customers seeking sheep countrywide, smart lambs were well sold, Beltex crosses of this type averaging £101.98 per head and peaking at a sale-topping £122 each for a pen of ten from the Brown family in Marske, Richmond, going to Lindley Moor sheep farmer Liam Broster for his family-run Bolster Moor Farm Shop in Golcar, Huddersfield.

Second top call of £121 per head fell to the first prize show pen, 40 April-born Beltex-cross lambs from Andrew Haggas, of Grove Farm, Otterburn, who also won the same show class in 2020 and was this year joined by daughter Sarah-Jane. Mainly by Skipton-bought tups, they comprised the first draw this year for the Haggas team, with 600 more lambs to follow. The victors joined G Abbott & Son in Dacre, Harrogate.

Standing runner-up was South Yorkshire’s Harold Smith, of Dunford Bridge, with a pen of 50 Texel-cross lambs which made £104 section top, the third prize pen of 40 Beltex-cross from local father and son, Chris and Tom Heseltine, of Hesketh House Farm, Bolton Abbey, making £91 each.

Michael and Elaine Dugdale, of Giggleswick, chipped in with £118 Beltex crosses, other smart breed types making £95 to £110. Strong Texels were £90-plus, Silsden’s Phillip Sedgwick also hitting three figures with a £102 pen, the section averaging £83.30.

While all the rosettes in the prize show, again sponsored by animal ID firm Top Tags, went to Continental-cross lambs, show judge Nick Dalby, of Hartwith, had special praise for a strong pen of 40 Suffolk-cross from Knaresborough’s Stephen Robinson. Out of Welsh Mules and by a tup from near neighbour Robert Graham, of Minskip, they made £100 each, a second pen from the same home away at £95.

Suffolk crosses always sell well early season, notably handy-sized pens, while some large pens from Michael Parker, of Winterburn, achieved £98 and £97, with CF Farming in Paythorne selling 145 Suffolks in one hit at £90 per head. The overall breed average was £86.59.

In the mix, nice medium keep lambs could make from the early to late £80s, though a mixed trade was seen for medium to long keep lambs, some in the late £70s looking reasonable value to those with keep available, though a lack of grass countrywide proved a problem for this class of lamb. However, some genuine young long keep lambs would look better sold in comparison.

Another sold turnout of store lambs is anticipated for the second seasonal sale on Wednesday, July 27, which again features the annual show for Down-cross lambs, plus the opening sale of Suffolk, Texel, Continental and Mule breeding ewes.