THE 2024 feeding and breeding cattle year at CCM Skipton Auction Mart on Wednesday (January 3) began on a high note with the traditional fortnightly opener, the Great New Year sale of a bumper 600 head of cattle, among them 394 bullocks and heifers and 142 young feeding bulls. 

The opening young bull sale is one of the most important feeding sales of the year and is keenly anticipated by vendors and buyers alike, launching a season which lasts right through until June. It heralded the return of many regular buyers keen to fill pens at what was the first real opportunity to buy 2023-born calves in quantity.

The section achieved an overall selling average of £1,371 per head, a solid £102 up on the year, the pick the trade falling to 10/12 month-old bulls, which themselves averaged £1,492, with leading prices from £1,650 up to £1,940 for a February-born British Blue-x from James and Deborah Ogden, Owlett Hall Farm, Austwick, who also sold other Blue bulls at the same age at £1,820 and £1,700.

The Walker family - Geoff and Margaret and sons, John and Rob – Brennand Farm, Dunsop Bridge, hit £1,730 with another Blue-x at 10/12-months, others in the same age range making £1,720 from Martin Wilson, Beckwithshaw, £1,720 from Matt Bamforth, Holmfirth, and £1,680 from John, Gill and son James Huck, Austwick. All Blues bulls averaged £1,458.

Under 10-month bulls averaged £1,219, the Ogdens once more leading the way at £1,660, Matt Bamforth again chipping in with £1,600, £1,500 and £1,480 sales, another at £1,560 from Saddle End Farms, Chipping, £1,500 and £1,480 sales from Taylor Bros, Tosside, the latter price also falling to Alan Myerscough, Ulverston.

Bulls over 12 months tracked opening prime bull prices, the eye-catcher at £2,020 a 22-month-old pure Limousin from R Capstick, Ingleton, others at £1,920 for a Charolais from Nick Pinder, Hellifield, £1,900 from Richard and Liam Horsfall, Luddendenfoot, and £1,880, £1,780 and £1,740 from J Nelson & Son, Clapham. This age group averaged £1,538.

The overall Limousin-x average came out at £1,376, with Parthenaise averaging £1,061, among them four four-figure sales up to £1,400 from Stuart Pollard, Colne, plus two others to £1,200 from MJ Parker, Silsden. Of the native young bulls, Aberdeen-Angus averaged £1,285, peaking at £1,500 from Ben Townsend, Laneshawbridge.

Stores started the New Year as they ended the old one with another flying trade, a packed audience seen ringside for all classes of goods and multiple four-figure prices achieved across all breeds and categories of cattle, with a section high of £2,120 going to a Limousin-x bullock from JG Hall & Son, Gargrave.

Plenty of strong suckler-bred feeding bullocks with frame and weight sold at £1,700-£1,900. Next grade retail bullocks also got away well at £1,500-£1,700, younger models with ends and frame selling at £1,200-£1,400.

The annual run of 8/10-month-old Charolais from Fleets Farms, Rylstone, met a strong buying audience, bullocks selling to £1,260 and heifers to £1,000. Back with the bullocks, other pens were easily sold in the £1,100s, with some younger end entries in the mid-£900s. Good growing younger bullocks regularly made £1,000-£1,200.

Strong suckler-bred heifers met a fiery trade, peaking at £1,950 for a Limousin-x from JA&J Harper, Sedbergh. Plenty of retail heifers with both frame and size sold at £1,750-£1,900, the more handy weighted retail goods also meeting strong demand at £1,450-£1,700.

Dairy Blue bullocks sold to £1,810 from DT&LA Houseman, Darley, with other strong bullocks regularly making £1,550-£1,750, the next grade £1,400-£1,520 and leaner feeding bullocks sold more as long-term goods £1,200-£1,350, just a few yearling dairy-bred Blues selling at £800-£1,050.

Dairy Blue heifers traded to £1,490 for a brace from KM&L Throup, Silsden Moor, with other strong types £1,340-£1,400, lean heifers £1,200-£1,300 and plainer goods £1,080-£1,180. Black and white bullocks sold to £1,300 from H Downs & Son, Skipton, other lean types trading at £1,080-£1,170.

Of the natives, Aberdeen-Angus bullocks sold to £1,610 from AJ Shepherd, Eshton, further strong sorts regularly making £1,400-£1,500, the leaner end £1,300-£1,400, the plainer end and growing bullocks £1,110-£1,280. Angus heifers sold at £1,440 from T Jowett & Sons, Bradford, plenty making £1,200-£1,350 for strong feeding heifers, the plainer end away at £1,080-£1,180.