OVER 500 head of cattle were penned for sale at October’s opening fortnightly midweek fixture at Skipton Auction Mart, which included the annual Autumn show day for 2022 and 2023-born suckled bull, steer and heifer calves. (Wed, Oct 11)

Also in the mix were 20 beef breeding cattle and it was this section that produced the day’s lead price of 4,000gns for a 26-month-old pedigree Blonde bull from South Yorkshire’s Ken and Anita Jackson, of Forlorn Hope Farm, Stubbs Walden, Doncaster, heading to Cheshire with CW Shenton, Handforth.

The grand sire of the bull, Stubbswalden Stevie Boy, is the famous Hallmark Boxster, probably the best Blonde bull in the country in his day, a multiple champion never beaten in the show arena one year when shown countrywide by the couple’s daughter Kate McNeil.

Boxster hit the national headlines back in 2011 when at the centre of an 18-month wrangle over a contested test for Bovine TB, before being formally declared free of the disease and vindicating the Jackson family’s decision to fight a slaughter order issued the previous year.

Son Paul took over the reins at the farm during the protracted court case, also looking after the on-farm wood recycling and coal businesses, with the enterprise since diversifying with the addition of a family-run farm shop, The Ranch, and on-farm butchery. While Paul continues at the helm Ken remains firmly hands-on at the age of 79. Boxster is also the subject of books by Kate, who was also integral to the court battle to save him.

Anita noted: “Ken and I could not have undertaken any of this without the support from our two children and their partners. It was a harrowing and costly experience which we wouldn't choose to repeat.”

Back at Skipton, all classes of breeding cattle sold well into four figures, among them Limousin-x heifers with Charolais-x calves at foot to £2,555 and in-calf Limousin heifers to £2,280.

In the show arena, familiar faces from the previous year were again among the prizes. Ribble Valley brothers Peter and Edward Fox, Fox Farms, Withgill, returned to stand both first and second in the 2022-born steer class with Limousin-x entries sold at £1,950 and £1,850 respectively, their solid run also including a brace of Charolais bullocks at £1,900.

The first prize 2022 heifer again came from James and Deborah Ogden, Austwick, with a 16-month-old British Blue-x topping their run at £1,880, the class runner-up from TH&K Wood, High Birstwith, making £1,720, the third prize winner from Robert and Andrea Wade, Cononley, £1,450. The two 2022-born show classes were both won by G&PS Fleetwood, Mirfield, with Limousin-x youngsters, each selling at £1,000.

Of the 387 stores, a larger turnout on the fortnight and a mixed offering, the best cattle got away very well, with prices of £1,700-£1,900 regularly seen for top end16–18-month-old heifers and bullocks. Store bullocks sold to a Continental-x average of £1,283, natives averaging £1,149 and black and whites £992, store heifers averaging £1,182 for Continental-x and £1,033 for natives.