THE second seasonal ewes and lambs show at CCM Skipton, the Easter Monday highlight, attracted a total of 231 outfits, comprising 572 breeding sheep, which met a flying trade, producing solid overall selling averages of £267.64 for ewes with twins, £283.93 for shearlings with twins and £216.04 for ewes with singles.

Top price honours of £340 per outfit fell to a packet of Texel ewes with single lambs from Calderdale regular John Midgley, Luddendenfoot, who also sold Beltex-x ewes with singles at £300, another same way bred pen with singles at £290, among them the first prize Continental pairs.

A large proportion of twin outfits achieved £290 and above, peaking at £330 for Texel-x from Chris Craven, who trades as B&ME Craven & Son at Kexby, York, and was also responsible for the first prize pen of five Continentals, 3 and 4-shear Suffolk-x ewes with February-born single lambs at foot, which made £250, another pen at £260, along with Suffolk-x with twins to £320.

The best of the North of England Mules from David White, Hebden, realised £305, the same vendor also selling Mule shearlings with twins to £300. Winning the show class for pens of five Mule ewes and lambs for the first time, also standing runners-up, were James and Deborah Ogden, Austwick, both with 4-crop ewes and Charollais-x twin lambs. The correct victors made £300, the Ogdens also selling Mules with singles to £222. Richard Umpleby, Killinghall, sold Texel-x shearlings with single lambs to £315.

CCM’s breeding sheep auctioneer Robert Cloughton noted: “Breeding sheep numbers are now increasing sharply and with more buyers getting into gear we continue to seek more outfits due to strong demand. We are now into April and the weather is showing signs of drying up. With trade for prime hoggs and Spring lambs flying, ewes and lambs are certainly looking a good investment.”

The busy Easter bank holiday also saw not far short of 4,000 prime and cast sheep penned for sale, a small turnout of Spring lambs meeting a fast trade. Neil Tattersall, Ellerby, York, headed the per kilo prices at a touch over £5, £196 per head, with 39kg Texel purchased by Andrew Atkinson, Felliscliffe, while Charles Marwood, Whenby, York, brought his usual solid run of Charollais lambs, which traded to highs of £220 and 490.9p/kg. The 14 new season lambs averaged £212.92 per head, 465p/kg (SQQ 489.4p/kg).

A larger and more mixed entry of 2,818 prime hoggs met a sharper trade across the board, averaging £154.29, 388.4p/kg (SQQ 382.9p/kg). Smart hoggs were particularly good to sell, topping at £5. 85 per kilo, £240 each, for 41kg Beltex from Rob Bailes, Aldborough, while Neil Tattersall chipped in again with £262 for overweight Texels.

The monthly prime hoggs show saw first and second places fall to 50kg and 51kg Lonks from A&AR Phillipson, Briercliffe, both pens selling at £172.

Hill lambs were a sharper trade on the week, both Mules and Mashams selling well, N&M Hugill, Hellifield, topping the former at £200, the Nelson family, Ripon, the latter at £180, 375p/kg, with the majority of the nice prime weight wether lambs making 350-370p/kg.

Horned hoggs sold to 375p/kg for both Lonks and Cheviots from Joe Drinkall Anglezarke, with good wethers 350-370p/kg and others 300-350p/kg, depending on quality. Another good enquiry for Cheviots saw Tony and Kay Kiernan, St Michaels, Preston, top at £198, three of their pens making 400p/kg-plus to 404p/kg, with others to £188 from Lincolnshire’s PR Baker, Boston.

Across the weight ranges, trade was described as ‘amazing’ for overweights at 52kg-plus, with £220 to £240 a common price range for the best sheep and many pens £200-plus. Neil Tattersall achieved another top at £262, the section averaging £209, 375p/kg.

Some good flesh and smart sorts were on offer among the 46-52kg heavies, supplemented by nice runs of travelled sheep straight from keep catching the eyes of buyers and making for a decent section average of 400p/kg, £196, Rob Bailes topping again at £255, 554p/kg, with 46kg lambs.

A mixed entry of 36-45kg medium/standards, some end of season runs dropping into this weight range, averaged £162 or 389p/kg, Rob Bailes once more leading the way with a brace of pens at £240, 585p (41kg) and 533p (45kg). Lightweights were a similar trade on the week, some smart 35kg pens making from £135 upwards to £162, 462p/kg, again from Neil Tattersall.

Also forward were over 1,000 cull ewes, entries from York, Preston and Norfolk filling many of the pens and a much dearer trade seen, with a ring full of buyers all actively bidding to secure all classes of ewes.

Best-bred Charolais ewes sold to £294.50 from the Marwood family, Texel ewes topping at £269.50 from Owain Chapman, Skyreholme, and Keith and Jeanette Marshall, Skipton. Plenty of well-bred Texel ewes made £220-£265 with medium smart ewes £180-£220, lighter smart types £150-£170, plenty of heavy crossed ewes at £180-£210.

Masham ewes sold to £174.50 from Mike and Betty Allen, Saltburn, Mules to £171.50, again from the Marshalls, Swaledales to £125.50 from CE Nelson, Fellbeck, Lonks to £129.50 from RG Church, Askwith, and Cheviot-x to £173.50 from J Greenwood, Moor Monkton. Cull ewes averaged £139.63 and cast rams £163.79, Neil Tattersall yet again leading the way with a £239.50 Beltex.