REIGNING champions successfully defended their titles at CCM Skipton Auction Mart’s 16th annual Christmas prime cattle show and sale, the Bordley Stephensons again taking supreme honours, North Craven mother and daughter, June Dowie and Jennifer Hyslop, once more clinching reserve supreme. (Sun, Nov 26)  

The Stephensons - father John, son, also John, and daughter Laura, Bordley Green Farm – continue to excel at the annual highlight, taking supreme honours for an unprecedented fourth time in the past five years with their 630kg British blue-x heifer, first winner of its weight range show class, then female champion, then overall victor, courtesy of co-judges, retail butchers Phil Gregory, Bacup, and Phil Parkin, Howden.

The 16-month-old home-bred, by Maverick, acquired four years ago from Cumbria’s Ross Patterson, had already won prizes at local shows this year. Out of an easy calving Limousin-x-Blue cow, the all-black title winner, retaining the Alf Lister Trophy presented to the champion, and also the best home-bred beast, was purchased for the day’s top per kilo price of £4.54, or £2,863, going to West Yorkshire with Jon Black, Black Farm, Wakefield.

Jon, aged 29, is a 1st generation farmer, establishing his new enterprise just 18 months ago after selling his previous Land Rover concern, buying 16 acres of land and starting his cow herd with a brace of Highland cattle that he swapped for a ride-on mower!

He has since built up a 20 head pedigree Limousin herd, plus a 70-strong commercial herd, predominantly Limousin-x-Blue, plus some Charolais breeding, among them around 20 commercial show cows.

Jon regularly travels over to Northern Ireland to source in-calf heifers to sexed semen from James Alexander, who runs Jalex Livestock in Co Antrim, also buying pedigree heifers from other well-known breeders, again from Northern Ireland James Mackay’s Ampertaine herd, plus, on home shores, the Mystyle, Haltcliffe, Garrowby and Maraiscote herds, along with bulls from the majority of these.

Jon plans to flush his Skipton supreme champion purchase, with the embryos going to dairy cows, predominantly Holstein Friesian, plus some Danish Reds, in the hope of producing some top-notch show calves. Jon’s journey to date is also due to be featured on Channel 5s ‘The Yorkshire Vet,’ who are currently filming.

The Stephensons also stood third in the same show class with a 610kg Limousin-x heifer sold for 369p/kg, £2,253, to Hagg Lane Farm, South Duffield, Selby, further consigning an all-white 550kg Blue-x heifer away at 390p/kg, £2,005, to Knavesmire Butchers, York.

June Dowie and Jennifer Hyslop, Cleatop Farm, Settle, again secured overall reserve supreme with their first prize 581-680-kg steer and male champion, an 18-month-old all-black home-bred Limousin-x named Turbo Tam, which also won the commercial Limousin-sired bullock show class at CCM’s show-only Northern Limousin Extravaganza this May.

Now weighing in at 630kg, the AI son of Uptonely Living The Dream, out of a home-bred Limousin-x cow, went under the hammer at 351p/kg, £2,214, when becoming one of 19 acquisitions by the day’s principal purchaser Robert Pearson, of Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers, Bradford.

From the same home, a 780kg home-bred Charolais-x steer stood runner-up in the heavy class. Known as Fools Gold, the home-bred AI son of Garradale Neptune had already excelled in this year’s show arena, standing breed champion at both the Great Yorkshire Show and Agri Expo. Out of a Limousin-x cow, the steer was another Pearson acquisition at £2,648, 339p/kg.

Both the male and female reserve championships fell to a brace of home-bred class winners from local husband and wife regulars, John and Clare Mellin, Mill House Farm, Long Preston

The latter, a 565kg Limousin-x by a home-bred bull, sold at 377p/kg, £2,132, to Kitson & Sons Butchers, for its north-east shops, principally Five House Farm Shop and Kitchen, Crathorne.

The male reserve, a 560kg Blue-x by a John White, Middleton-in-Teesdale, sire, sold at 375p/kg, £2,097, the 575kg runner-up from the same home at the same by-weight price, £2,132, both further Knavesmire Butchers buys.

A special prize awarded to the best beast purchased from CCM Skipton went to a 650kg Limousin-x from 2021 supreme champions, the Critchley family, Mercer Farm, Hutton, making 344.5p/kg, £2,239, and again among the Pearson purchases.

The Critchleys, again represented by husband and wife, Tom and Charlotte, also finished runners-up in a Continental heifer show class with a 565kg heifer sold at 389p/kg, £2,200, to David Green, of K&J Green Butchers, Heskin, Chorley, a regular Skipton festive buyer of Critchley beef cattle, past champions among them.

North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, Lodge Farm, Masongill, were again among the prizes, winning the heavyweight class with a 730kg red Limousin-x bullock acquired from Austwick mother and son, Janet and James Huck, by Mr Smith Snr for his seven-year-old grandson, George, who had a major input into its further development. It sold in his name for 363p/kg, £2,653, when also claimed by Kitson & Sons Butchers.

The Smiths also stood runners-up in 581-680kg Continental steer class with a 637kg entry making 367p/kg, £2,333, to Pearsons, also making their mark in the pen-judged un-haltered section when consigning the overall reserve champion, a red rosette-winning 630kg Blue-x bullock bred in Cumbria by Julia and Martin Winn and sold at 329.5p, £2,075.

The un-haltered champion came from Jim and Christine Scrivin, Park House Farm, Elslack, a 550kg first prize Blue-x heifer by Tannat Nutcracker, acquired from Welsh breeder Wynn Jones and now the herd’s main stock bull, used for the past three seasons. Shown by Christine’s son, Chris Beckerton, the section victor, also the best home-bred beast and recipient of The Dick Binns Trophy, awarded by his family in memory of the late well-known Saltaire family butcher, made 357.5p, £1,966, again going to Pearsons.

The same sire was also responsible for other Scrivin un-haltered prize winners, of which there were legion. The family stood both first and second in the under 580kg Continental class, the red rosette winner, a 570kg Blue-x steer, making 357.5p/kg, £2,037, to co-judge Phil Gregory for his D Gregory & Sons Butchers, Bacup, the other, a 565kg Limousin-x, another Pearson purchase at 324.5p/kg, £1,833,

There were three further third prize wins for the Scrivins, two  more in the un-haltered Continental classes with a 565kg Blue-x heifer, 351.5p, £1,985, to Kitsons, a 650kg Blue-x steer at 347.5p/kg, £2,258, plus a haltered 625kg Continental steer making 367p/kg, £2,296.

The Baines family, Gisburn, won a third prize rosette in the haltered section with a 550kg Limousin-x heifer, 384p/kg, £2,133, again to Kitsons, plus a runners-up ticket in the un-haltered section with a 470kg Limousin-x heifer, 354.5p, £1,666, to Knavesmire.

The first prize heavy un-haltered heifer, a 615kg Charolais-x from Bill Cowperthwaite, Malham Moor, sold at 347.5p/kg, £2,137, to Kitsons, the second and third prize winners both coming from TK Drinkall, Newton-le-Willows, the former, a 675kg Limousin-x, away at 345.5p/kg, the latter a 620kg Blue-x heifer, claimed by Ellisons Butchers, Cullingworth, at 319.5p/kg, £1,980.

Mr Drinkall also stood third in the under 580kg Continental steer class with a 575kg Blue-x steer making 329.5p/kg, £1,894, also consigning the best beast purchased from CCM Skipton, a 550kg Blue-x heifer making 349.9p/kg, £1,922, to Kitsons.

Last, but not least, the second prize un-haltered 581-680kg Continental steer, a 655kg Limousin-x from Hargreaves Farms, Walton-le-Dale, sold at 348.5p/kg, £2,282. There was a total entry of 43 head.

The annual festive showcase was once more supported by multiple sponsors, with Skipton NFU again the keynote sponsor with Agri-Lloyd chipping in with special prizes in the prime cattle section.