A STRIKING red and white British Blue-cross bull calf – the red comes from Montbeliarde breeding on the dam’s side – stood supreme champion for James Wellock, of Seat House Farm, Eshton, at Skipton Auction Mart’s summer rearing calf show and sale on Monday.

Show time was a family affair for the Wellocks, with the victor exhibited by James’s father, Brian, accompanied by eight-year-old grandson Charlie, enjoying the summer break from Kirkby Malham Primary School.

The Wellocks, who run a 150-head Holstein Friesian dairy herd, saw their calf picked out by Tadcaster show judge and regular Skipton rearing calf purchaser John Gibson, who backed his decision in the sale ring when claiming his chosen champion for the day’s top call of £520.

Defending champions from the previous show, the Sowray brothers, who run their Holstein Friesian dairy herd at Bowes Green Farm, Bishop Thornton, were again among the leading honours, Shaun Sowray taking the reserve championship with the first prize Limousin-cross bull calf, by the Genus sire, Newpole Kojak, sold for a section-topping £490.

The Sowrays picked up seven tickets in total with their 12-strong offering of dairy-bred Blue, Limousin and Charolais youngsters, including two more first prize winners in the Charolais-cross bull and heifer show classes, the former by Norbreck Genetics’ French import Duracel, knocked down for £405, the latter at £350, plus the £350 top price Limousin heifer calf. Their consignment averaged £357.

With a turnout of 88 head, solid trade for Continental calves saw 23 Blue-cross bulls sell to an overall average of £403, this section also producing the day’s second top call of £500 for a nine-week-old, one of two first prize winners from Dewsbury’s Ian Collins.

Blue-cross heifer calves sold to £435 for the red rosette winner from the Hartley farming partnership in Beamsley, while the Pickersgill family from Hawksworth claimed £490 with a Limousin-cross bull calf that stood runner-up in its show class. Strong native bull calves traded well, JM Smith & Son in Carleton seeing their first prize Aberdeen-Angus top its section at £325.

In the prime cattle sales ring, among the 20 under 30-month clean entries was another impressive pen of heavy Continentals from Alistair Hargreaves, of Walton-le-Dale, which again cleared up the leading gross prices, with a top of £2,039 (298.5p/kg) for a 683kg Limousin-cross steer sold to Hartwith’s Nick Dalby.

The top grossing heifer at £1,882 (304.5p/kg) was a 618kg Limousin-cross presented by Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching, one of eight purchases by Bradford-based Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers.

Returning to the prime cattle ring after recent show success was Willie Timm, of Castleford, who claimed the top per kilo price of 327.5p for a 533kg British Blue-cross heifer, another 589kg Limousin-cross steer from the same home also doing well at 323.5p/kg, both going to Knavesmire Butchers in York, which took home four.

In the heifers, a 534kg British Blue-cross from the Hutton-based Critchleys was among the Knavesmire buys at 321.5p/kg, a second 563kg Limousin-cross Critchley heifer becoming one of two Robertshaw’s Farm Shop acquisitions at 309.5p/kg. Mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers also claimed a brace.

Sixteen cast cattle met a similar trade on the week, heavy dairies selling to £1,400, or 165.5p/kg, and heavy natives to 175.5p/kg or £1,393 for a pure Angus cow, while a single mature black and white bull made145.5p/kg, or £1,413, the section achieving an overall selling average of 159.31p/kg, or £1,104.

Another bumper turnout of 3,373 prime sheep saw trade for 2,776 Spring lambs pretty much as expected when averaging £112.17 per head, or 259.8p/kg (SQQ 258.49 p/kg).

Heavies were in good demand, lambs weighing 46kg or more levelling at 264p/kg, with smart lambs of all weights either side of £3 per kilo. At the top end, the heavies and overweights accounted for the most top prices per head, Charles Marwood, of Whenby, York, hitting £178 with a Charollais pen going to regular Halifax buyer Lister Brown. Per kilo, handy smarter types were 300-340p/kg, with both the Bordley-based Huck family and Paul Drinkall, of Gargrave, selling 45kg Texel and Beltex crosses at 344.4p/kg, or £155 per head.

With almost 600 cast sheep also penned for sale, there was no drop in cull ewe trade, with all classes just as dear as the previous week, the heaviest North of England Mules selling to £144.50 per head on three occasions from the Ryders, of Haverah Park, James Foster in Bolton Abbey and the Ellison family in Embsay. Texel ewes sold to a top of £221.50 from JW Hardcastle in Harrogate, the section producing an overall selling average of £114.26. Cast rams averaged £134.50.