SKIPTON Auction Mart’s latest weekly Monday turnout featured an entry of 2,347 Spring lambs, the highest of the year to date, which sold to an overall average of 295.5p/kg, or £129.13 per head, an improvement on the previous week’s 292.5p/kg, or £124.98.

While lightweight commercial lambs seemed a touch harder to sell, any grade of lamb over 46kg met with increased ringside interest and smart ended lambs of any weight with full backs on them sold extremely well.

Top price per head for the second week running went to Black Lane Ends father and son, John and James Mellin, their 56kg Texel lambs making £188 per head, or 335p/kg, going to the same purchaser as the previous week, Lister Brown, of Halifax. Top call per kilo at 409p, of £188, fell to 44kg Beltex lambs from N&AD Boynton in Ripon, who also headed the 36-44kg prices with another pen at 374p/kg.

Full meat and smart lambs proved easy to sell, commercial first-crossed Texel and Suffolk sheep out of North of England Mules trading around 278-290p/g, with the smart end regularly away at 300-350p/kg.

At the heavier end, lambs at 46kg-plus sold very well, well-fleshed first crosses trading either side of £3 per kilo throughout the sale and while 50kg-plus lambs were in short supply there were plenty of buyers for goods of these sorts. Top price per kilo of 340p, or £187, came for 55kg lambs from WH Marsden, of Crossgates, Leeds.

Also penned for sale were 425 cast sheep, cull ewes selling a touch dearer on the week, with both Mule and horned ewes trading much dearer, producing an overall section average of £120.10, compared to the previous week’s £117.15.

North of England Mules topped at £138.50 from the Coates family in Coniston Cold, heavy Mules selling at £128-£135, lean meat types with weight £105-£120. Texel ewes sold to a top of £189.50 from PB Fox & Son, of Kexby, York, while Texel-crossed ewes with weight were £150-plus, over fat sorts, but with less frame making £140-plus, the biggest of the first crossed ewes selling constantly over £160.

Suffolks traded to £168.50 from GW Thackery, of Harewood, Bluefaced Leicester ewes topping at £161.50 from JW Stockdale & Sons in Burnsall, with Swaledale ewes reaching £118.50 from Ellis Bros on Addingham Moorside. Cast rams averaged £114.95.

In the prime cattle sale ring, 19 head were forward, among them 14 under 30-month clean cattle, which provided a wide range of quality and weights. Heavy Continental cattle were the order of the day, Ellie Hargreaves, of Hargreaves Farms in Walton-le-Dale, representing a pen of Limousin-cross steers which averaged 716kg in weight and sold well to average £2,125. The consignment highlight was a 744kg steer which became one of nine successful buys by Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers in Bradford at £2,184.

Top price per kg was a 640kg Limousin-cross heifer sold by RT&J Critchley & Sons from Hutton, which was also among the Pearson purchases at 303.5p/kg, or £1,942, while the mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers accounted for three, among them the highest gross priced heifer, another Limousin-cross from Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching at £1,796, or 292.5p/kg, for

The highest priced per kilo heifer was also a Limousin-cross from Ben Townsend in Laneshawbridge. Weighing it at 579kg, it made 298.5p/kg, or £1,728, when joining regular buyer, award-winning Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton, above Bradford.

A handful of dairy-bred cull cows sold to an overall average of 131.86p/kg, or £712.55, black and whites peaking at £1,287, or 157.5p/kg, from John Rushton, of Elslack.

A 55-strong entry of genuine rearing calves, many at 3-5 weeks, sold to a good ringside of clients, averaging £168.89 per head overall, with a top of £380 for a British Blue-cross bull from Rainhall Farm Ltd in Barnoldwick, with Airton’s Paul and Janet Bolland heading the heifer prices at £348 with another Blue-cross.

Townhead Farm Products, of Grassington, had the £255 top price Limousin-cross bull calf, plus the top price native, an Aberdeen-Angus bull at £215. Dairy bull calf customers were selective, with the best strong calves making £140-£170, while Fleckviehs were very good to sell, most making £170-£238.

Looking ahead to next week, a brand-new ‘Supreme Genes’ fixture is being staged, with classes for sheep and cattle semen, embryos and recipient females, many on behalf of the Badger Face Texel and Blue Texel Sheep Societies, though open to all breeds. It’s an online timed auction of pedigree genetics, with live bidding available between Wednesday and Friday, July 27-29.