THIS week started off with another day of sharp trade at Craven Cattle Mart, Skipton.

Monday (March 18) saw 2,962 Prime Sheep through the ring, with an average almost identical on the week. “Heavies and Overweights were dearer on the week, whilst smartest lambs proved a good trade as well, making 450p plus. 500p plus for the very best” commented livestock auctioneer, Ted Ogden.

Strong and Medium Mule Wethers averaged £170, topping at £185 for goods from RG Church of Askwith, Otley. This was closely followed by J&K Harker of Lofthouse, Pateley Bridge, who topped at £183. Again, there was a good enquiry for Horned Lambs, selling to £170 twice from Hayton and Stocks of Beamsley, Skipton, and £166 twice from C Crowther of Greenfield, Oldham. Messrs H Downs & Son of Carleton again led the Cheviot prices, making £190, followed by Bryan Dibb of Menston, who topped at £180.

Averaging £211 per head, or 375p/kg, goods over 52kg were again dearer on the week, with buyers very keen for weight. Rob Bailes of Aldborough, Boroughbridge, topped the trade at £244, followed by Peter Lingdin of Tickhill, Doncaster, who sold to £240, and Seth Blakey of Bolton-by- Bowland near Clitheroe, who twice made £240. Similar to last week, £200 plus was commonplace, and £220 plus for anything smarter.

Those weighing 42-56kg were within a whisker of averaging £4 per kilo; not long ago this was the top price! Rob Bailes took top price in this section, making £238 twice, £235 and £234 in a super run of 120 lambs, to average £220.37. Mark and Gemma Dobson of Hartlington also achieved £238 and others at £230 per head. Many other lambs of the best end also reached £200 to £230, and well-fleshed commercial goods topped at £180 to £195, leaving a decent section average of £195 per head.

Those classed medium weight (36-45kg) averaged £158/head (or 386p/kg). Whilst many of the better end sold at £230/head, JC Marshall of Dacre, Harrogate, made the top section price of £246 for a pen of 44kg Beltex crosses taking the top kilo price on the day of 559p/kg. Rob Bailes followed closely, selling at £238 and £230, or 553p/kg and 522p/kg.

MJ Wells and Son of Monyash, Derbyshire sold 35kg goods at £158, topping the lightweights section.

New season lambs were a sharp trade too, levelling at £220 per head. CW Marwood and Son of Whenby, York, sold to a top of £226 twice and to a top of 491p/kg, followed by £225 from R&J Towers of Ingleton.

CW Marwood and Son also took top price for ewes, selling at £229.50 twice for Charollois ewes. Best weighing and bred ewes sold at £200-£220, with medium well-bred ewes £150-£180. Mule ewes sold to £123.50 from WD Douthwaite and Partners and Swaledale ewes sold to £108.50 from W Mason and Sons, Appletreewick.