CCM Skipton Auction Mart’s store lambs and breeding sheep 2024 opening sale on Wednesday (January 10)  attracted a total entry of 1,432, with trade for the former described as strong despite a turnout of very mixed quality, the overall selling average of £87.92 per head showing an impressive increase on the previous year’s £64.98. 

With a solid ringside attendance, some good runs were still in evidence, while also starting to come forward were plenty of last draws of lambs, though Beltex were few and far between, top call among these at £134 falling to Andrew Throup, Silsden, plus another pen at £114. Two other Beltex pens from Paul, Janet and James Bolland, Airton, topped at £107, the section averaging £109.25.

Smart long keep three-quarters bred lambs made £100-£114, first-crossed Continentals selling similarly at £96-£112. Long keep first-crossed lambs generally made £76-£90, while end of draw lambs could make anywhere between £55 and £65.

Suffolk and Charollais-type lambs also made good money, 75 Suffolk Mules in one hit from Neil Bancroft, West Marton, selling for £119 each, plus another Suffolk pen at £102 from Rob Smith, Foulridge, with Charollais trading to £113 from Stuart Baines, Sawley, Clitheroe, who also chipped in with a Bluefaced Leicester pen at £109.50. The Robinson family, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, also hit three figures with a £108 Charollais pen. The Suffolk average was £111.03, Charollais levelling at £94.03. Other stronger lambs made £95-plus, among them at £100 a Dutch Spotted pen from Myerscough College.

Texel-cross lambs sold to average £96, a good number of pens away at three figures to a top of £117 from Ian Coates, Hellifield, with Rob Smith returning to sell Mule lambs to a section top £97, followed by a £94 pen from John Smith, Carleton. Strong Mules were £88-£97, with long keep sort £70-£80 and end of draw lambs £58-£65. The Mule average was £82.83.

Swaledale lambs averaged £40.64, with long keep lambs with frame making from £40 to £51 top from the Newbould family, Dallowgill, while long keep small lambs sold at £28-£40.

Skipton’s second midweek Wednesday fortnightly sale of feeding and breeding cattle was staged yesterday (Wed, January 17), with an anticipated turnout of over 650 head, including another strong entry of both young feeding bulls and store bullocks and heifers, plus  a nice selection of under 30-month clean prime cattle.

Looking forward to next month, potential exhibitors and vendors should note that entries close on Wednesday, February 7, for Craven Champions a week later on February 14, the annual highlight for 2023-born store cattle with show potential.

In recent years, the Walker family – husband and wife, Geoff and Margaret, and sons, John and Rob, of Brennand Farm, Dunsop Bridge – have made the early season showcase their very own, landing no less than ten supreme championships this century. Whether an unprecedented 11th title awaits remains to be seen, but they are likely to return to give it a good go.