A SMALL, but all retail quality entry of seven under 30-month prime cattle, all bar one heifers, competed for the opening monthly title, which, as the previous year, fell to multiple past champions, North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, Lodge Farm, Masongill, Ingleton, with a 550kg Limousin-x topping at £2,037, or 370.5p/kg, and falling to James Robertshaw, who bagged all six heifers for his award-winning Robertshaw’s Farm Shop, Thornton, Bradford.

The Smiths sold a second 552kg Limousin-x heifer at £1,923, 348.5p/kg, also consigning the only steer, a 564kg Limousin-x bullock, which made £2,005, 355p/kg, when joining another regular retail buyer, Knavesmire Butchers, York, at CCM Skipton’s New Year opener.

The Baines family, Gisburn, made £1,871, 281.5p/kg, with a 665kg Limousin-x heifer, Ben Townsend, Laneshawbridge, again doing well with another 552kg Limousin-x heifer at £1,852, 336.5p/kg.

Back among the mix, the 40 grazing cows on offer provided plenty of choice for all tastes. Plainer long-keep cows were a shade dearer on the December sales, the section averaging £1,137 and best fleshed entries selling to £1,800 for a British Blue again from Ben Townsend, with another at £1,780 from Ken and Hazel Gamble, Easingwold.

Other fleshy cows not just as heavy made £1,400-£1,650, anything with that bit more meat soon moving towards £1,200 as trade looked better, with an expectation that finished cow trade will pick up over the course of the next few weeks. A beef-bred Limousin feeding bull from Roland Carr, Addingham, made £1,650. The mart says more beef cows of all classes and OTM clean cattle are required for the next fortnightly sale.

Sixteen breeding cattle sold to joint highs of £2,250 for Limousin-x heifers due February and March both again from the Gargrave Halls.