OVER 7,500 head were forward at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest fortnightly Wednesday store lambs fixture, selling to a bustling ringside of travelled customers, with a trade to match and a three-figure overall sale average of £100.78 per head. (Wed, Sept 6)

The annual top draw sale of Suffolk, Texel and Cheviot Mule gimmer lambs again produced some top-notch runs, with trade typically up between £10 and £15 on the year and the three show classes put before co-judges, Skipton NFU’s Sam Bradley and Bedfordshire’s Henry Shaw.

Continental class winners were Roger and Jason Craddock, Flass Farm, Bolton-by-Bowland, with near pure Texel lambs, all home-bred and by a variety of stock tups. They topped at £220 each. Owain Chapman and Jenny Dolphin, Skyreholme, narrowly missed out on landing a fifth consecutive class win when finishing both second and third, again with pure Texel pens, which made £190 and £172 respectively.

Jeff and Judith Throup, Silsden Moor, sold Continental gimmers at £175, with some large runs of 200-500 first-cross lambs very much a feature of the sale, seeing £140-£155 for best end, £120-£135 for good framed sorts and £100-£120 for runners with nice skins and clean heads.

Repeating last year’s win in the Suffolk show class was Robert Metcalfe, Grange Farm Brearton, again with home-bred lambs out of North of England Mule ewes, some of his Suffolk tups purchased out of Skipton. They, too, topped at £175, the second prize pen from the same home making £150, the third prize winners from the Reeday family, Hetton, claiming £138. Other stronger Suffolk pens made £125-£150, £110-£120 for the next grade and £85-£105 for runners.

John Stott, who farms with his wife Christine and son, Simon, at Laund Farm, Chipping, returned to repeat last year’s first prize win in the Cheviot Mule show class with fully home-bred lambs making a show high £157, also consigning the runners-up, which made £152, plus another pen at £148, the third prize pen from Gill Bottom Farms, High Bradley, away at £126.

Show sponsors were Mulberry Asset Finance and Tops Tags Animal ID.

More purchasers were seen ringside for store lambs, with buyers from Wales out in force for good wethers to graze. Mules were in very good demand, trading to a top of £96.50 for a pen of 51 from Chris Ryder, Otley. Swaledale lambs sold at £42 for a pen of 118 from Finlay Macaskill, travelling down from Perthshire.

It was the culmination of a busy five consecutive sale days at Skipton, when around 16,500 head of all classes of sheep, including pedigrees, went under the hammer, the previous Monday sale day itself seeing the highest turnout of the year to date when over 4,000 head were successfully sold.

On the same day’s agenda was the September prime lambs show when Ellis Bros, Addingham Moorside, took the title for the third month running, the reserve championship falling to Richard and Mark Ireland, Whalley.