Oakworth’s James Drake was crowned champion at Skipton Auction Mart’s August prime cattle show with his first prize 580kg British Blue-cross steer, an all-black snapped up for £1,476, or 254.5p/kg – both top price in class – by judge Simon Barker, of Skipton-based Stanforths Butchers, who took home three in total. (Monday, August 7)

However, it was the Critchley family, from Mercer Farm, Hutton, near Preston, who had the pick of the trade with their first and third prize heifers - the latter, a 545kg Limousin-cross, topping the day’s gross and by-weight prices at £1,534, or 281.5p/kg, when returning to Lancashire as another Skipton purchase by Hamlets Butchers in Garstang. 

The Critchleys - father Richard and his three sons, Robert, John and Thomas – saw their red rosette-winning heifer and reserve champion, a 570kg British Blue-cross, also return across the border when claimed by weekly buyer, Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop in Lancaster, for £1,479, or 259.5p/kg, who claimed six cattle on the day.

The family, who also sold another Limousin-cross heifer at £1,416 to Countrystyle Meats, continued a fine run at the North Yorkshire venue, having earlier this year rattled up four consecutive monthly prime cattle championships.

The second prize steer, a Blue-cross from Malcolm Metcalfe, of Baldersby Park, made £1,407, or 242.5p/kg, when falling to Keelham Farm Shop’s James Robertshaw. The same vendor also sold a Limousin-cross heifer at £1,436, again to Keelham, who were once more the principal buyers with nine acquisitions for their award-winning Skipton and Thornton shops.

Threshfield’s Charles and Richard Kitching presented the third prize steer, another Blue-cross sold for £1,324 to Keelham again, while Trawden’s Jim Baines also caught the eye with a brace of Limousin-cross entries, a heifer at £1,421 and a £1,344 steer. The respective buyers were GI Marwood, of Harom, Helmlsey, and Countrystyle Meats.

A strong entry of 28 under 30-month clean cattle saw all classes well sold, though a couple of buyers left empty-handed, a point for potential future vendors to note.

Cull cow trade improves

Cull cow trade again stepped up a notch, with a variable entry of dairies and more beef- crosses meeting a healthy demand both for meat and feeding. The 33 cows on parade sold to an overall average of £790.53 per head, or 125.03p/kg.

Top call of 157.5p/kg, or £1,181, fell to a Limousin from Silsden Moor’s Simon Bennett, while dairy-bred black and whites peaked at £976 and £974 for entries from Bell Busk’s Brian and Judith Moorhouse.

Pic caption: James Drake with the August prime cattle champion at Skipton, joined by judge and buyer, Simon Barker

Standalone pic of champ also attached