THE nine fresh milkers on offer at January’s second fortnightly Craven Dairy Auction show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart on Monday met with very strong trade, resulting in a heifer in milk average of £2,069, a brace of third calvers averaging £1,535.

Trade topped for the champion and first prize milk heifer, this black, silky good-uddered heifer fresh since January 7 from Paul, Janet and James Bolland, Airton, going on to make £2,300 when heading to John Howard, Gargrave.

Next in line was a 31kg per day fresh heifer from Robin Jennings, South Stainley, going at £2,250 to the Coates family, Baildon, after being awarded reserve champion honours, while in the same trailer was a very fresh and improving daily Claynook Directive-sired heifer also from the Bollands’ ongoing Dykelands dispersal at £2,200.

Others over £2,000 included an 11 day-calved Charming daughter from Robert and Ellie Crisp, Calton while the top placed cow was a Bolland third calver by Bomaz Daredevil, which made £1,650, joining David Smith at Riffa Farm, Otley. Massey Feeds and NMR co-sponsored. The next Craven Dairy Auction is on Monday, February 5.

Given the weather conditions, the weekly Monday prime sheep sale attracted a higher than anticipated turnout of 2,818 head, comprising 2,361 hoggs and 457 cast ewes and rams, the former seeing a roaring trade when producing an overall selling average of £137.74 per head, 312.7p/kg, or an SQQ of 315.8p/kg for comparison.

With trade on a high note, hill lambs in particular took a tidy lift on the week, good heavy Mule and Masham wethers making £130-plus, up to £136.50 and £134.50 three times from James Pate, Gisburn, while RG Church, Askwith, made £135 for Mule wethers, another 44kg pen from the Kitching family, Threshfield, away at £134.50, these also topping the Mule and Masham per kilo prices at 305.7p.

RG Church  returned to make £120 per head top gross with Swaledale lambs, top price per kilo of 281p, £118, falling to a pen of 21 at 42kg from Anthony and Heather Hewetson, Bank Newton. Making it a top price three-timer, Mr Church also headed the Zwartble lamb trade at £140, 280p/kg.

Lincolnshire vendor PR Baker sold Gritstone wethers to 332p/kg, W Holden, Oswaldthwistle, making 322p/kg with Cheviot wethers, Herdwicks from the Bolton Abbey Heseltines selling to 302p/kg, Scottish Blackface from JE Greenwood, Denholme, to 291p/kg, while regular easy care vendors John and Judy Garnett, Draughton, sold lambs to 309p/kg.

At the top of the weight ranges, 52kg-plus overweights averaged £171 per head, 308p/kg, local vendors, the Stapleton family, Skibeden, heading the section and the day’s selling prices at £189 for some 62kg Texel in a run of 20 sheep that averaged £181.30. WR Gill, Leicestershire, sold a solid consignment to include 11 weighing 62kg at £188, and 15 at 58kg for £186 in a run of 176 lambs to average £175.60.

JG Senior, Cumberworth, and JA Brown & Son, Retford, both sold overweights to £187.50 and £187 respectively, with Tony and Kay Kiernan, St Michaels, selling a nice run of heavy and overweight lambs, with 60kg at £186 and £180, 55kg at £175, in a trailer load of 35 to level at £168.94. J&K Harker, Pateley Bridge, also had some good lambs among their 20 at £167.10.

The selling average for 46-52kg heavies was £148.52, 307p/kg, Stephen Breare, Silsden Moor, presenting a good run of fed lambs to £186, followed by J&M Blakey, Bolton-by-Bowland, with one of the consignments of the day selling to £178 with 46kg and 31 lambs in total to average £172.35. The Kiernans returned to sell 52kg lambs at £178 and 49kg at £175, £172 twice and £171.

Medium-standard 36-45kg lambs averaged £130.18, 316.5p/kg, Ellis Bros Addinham selling 42kg entries at 433p, £182 per head, with N Morphet, Otley, taking top price per kilo of 439p when his 41kg lambs sold for £180, plus others from the same home at 429p and 413p, or £176 and £174. The Blakeys again caught the eye with 41kg lambs at 431p, £177, Tim Robinson, Longridge, selling at 425p and 422p for 39kg and 41kg pens.

A shortage of smart premium lambs produced a stronger trade, with prices of 350-420p/kg regularly achieved, and as a consequence bringing more of the next grade into the 320-350p/kg price bracket and a fed commercial sort 300/310p-plus.

Lightweight 32-35kg lambs averaged £99, 294p/kg, with another good call for meated lightweights which made to 335p/kg, again from N Morphet, and 280-320p/kg for the best of the rest and a very similar average.

A lighter entry of cull ewes produced a slightly stronger trade, best bred types selling at £170 to £211.50 top, again for Kiernan Texels. Mule ewes sold to £109.50 from G&G Thornton, Knaresborough, horned ewes to £74.50 for Dalesbred from RH&DE Parker, Clitheroe. The overall cull ewe average was £96.58, a few cast rams averaging £116.10.