Young James, 3, crowned supreme champion at CCM prime cattle festive highlight
Victor sells for all-time record Christmas show high
A three-year-old boy owned the supreme champion heifer shown by his mother at Skipton Auction Mart’s Christmas prime cattle show and sale – the annual high profile highlight attended by independent retail butchers and meat wholesalers again seeking top quality beef for their customers’ Christmas tables. (Sun, Nov 26)
Young James Moorhouse, accompanied by mum Hayley Baines, of Lower Middop Farm, Gisburn, first won the young handlers show class with a 600kg Blonde-cross heifer, before seeing it progress to first become champion female, then overall supreme champion at the fixture, which again marked the culmination of the mart’s primestock year.
James was born and bred into farming, and has been attending the auction mart with his mother since being a babe in arms – he was one of the participants in the annual young handlers’ prime lambs show at Skipton in July - also taking a keen interest at home in both cattle and sheep. His father, Thomas Moorhouse, runs Moorhouse Agricultural Contractors in Gisburn,
The supreme champion, also recipient of the Alf Lister Trophy, was bred in North Craven by Austwick mother and son, Janet and James Huck, and acquired by the Baines family at Skipton earlier this year.
It then went on to command top price by far in the sale ring when knocked down for a new record high Christmas show price of £4,857, or £8.10 per kilo, to D&S White Butchers in Marple, Stockport.
It was the first time the small independent family-run butchers had bought cattle at Skipton and owner Richard White, accompanied by shop manager Alex Sweet, said they had been attracted by the excellent quality of the cattle on offer.
As well as the overall show victor, White’s Butchers also claimed two other rosette winners – the third prize British Blue-cross heifer, again from Hayley Baines at £2,483, or £4.39 per kilo, along with the runner-up in the same show class, another Blue-cross heifer from Clare Cropper and John Mellin, of Mill House Farm, Long Preston, at £1,796, or 294.5p/kg.
The meat from all three cattle will be fully matured and prepared in readiness for the Christmas trade. “We wanted something really special to give back to our customers to thank them for shopping with us throughout the year,” said Mr White, who took over the reins of the Market Street shop a decade ago from his butcher father David, who had himself bought the business in 1976.
The reserve supreme championship fell for the third year in succession to local breeder John Stephenson, of Bordley Green Farm, Bordley, with his first prize and reserve champion female British Blue-cross heifer, a 575kg home-bred by a bull acquired six years ago and used with great success on the herd, producing some first-rate show cattle.
The overall runner-up, shown successfully all summer, sold for £2,699, or 469.5p/kg, to Anthony Kitson, owner of Kitson & Sons Butchers, which has three shops in Northallerton, Stockton-on-Tees and Hutton Rudby, and in September launched its brand-new Five Houses Farm Shop and Kitchen in Crathorne.
Mr Stephenson was also responsible for the champion steer, the first prize 595kg Charolais-cross, which had also done well on the summer show circuit, including winning the breed championship at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show. Another home-bred out of a Blue cow, the male champion sold for £1,871, or 314.5p/kg, to Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop in Lancaster, a weekly Skipton buyer which claimed five cattle in total on the day.
For good measure, Mr Stephenson’s son, John, also finished third in the young handlers show class with a home-bred Charolais-cross heifer sold for £1,714, or 314.5p/kg, to Hamlets Butchers in Church Street, Garstang, who took home several cattle, along with the same day’s prime lamb supreme champions for the second year in succession.
The Stephenson family prize winners also picked up two special awards for the best home-bred animal and the best beast from a regular CCM vendor.
The 2015 Christmas prime cattle supreme champions, Clare Cropper and John Mellin, were again to the fore with multiple prize winners, including three firsts, one with a 500kg Limousin-cross steer also awarded the reserve male championship. Acquired from Middleton-in-Teesdale’s John White, the bullock sold for £1,797, or 359.5p/kg, again to Hamlets Butchers.
Also prominent among the prizes with three firsts and two runners-up rosettes were the Critchley family, from Mercer Farm, Hutton, near Preston, who have been in sparkling form in the Skipton prime cattle show arena all year, rattling up a total of six title wins at the monthly shows, along with three reserve championships.
The Critchleys – father Richard and his sons Robert, John and Thomas – won two of the Limousin-cross show classes, one with a 460kg heifer sold for £1,377, or 299.5p/kg, to Edwards Farm Butchers in Padiham Road, Burnley, the second with a 570kg steer that made £1,564, or 274.5p/kg, which also joined a Lancashire butcher, D Gregory & Sons in St James Street, Bacup.
Their third red rosette success came with a 435kg British Blue-cross heifer that also won a new trophy presented for the first time in memory of well-known and long established Saltaire family butcher Dick Binns, who passed away earlier this year after a long illness.
It was presented jointly by his widow Barbara sister Kathleen Gemmell and the couple’s son Paul Binns, who took over the Binglley Road shop 18 months ago and now trades as Binns Quality Meats. Fittingly, Mr Binns, who also acted as Christmas prime cattle co-judge, then claimed his father’s inaugural trophy winner for £1,824, or 419.5p/kg.
The Critchley family also presented the second prize 500kg Charolais-cross heifer, sold for £1,347, or 269.5p/kg, to West Yorkshire butcher Paul Ellison, of Ellisons Butchers in Cullingworth, along with another second prize 530kg Limousin-cross steer, which again joined Gregory & Sons Butchers for £1,534, or 289.5p/kg.
Also doing well with second and third prize Limousin-cross steers were Stephen and Nicola Jowett, of Lower West Scholes Farm, Queensbury, Their 575kg runner-up sold for £1,520, or 264.5p/kg, again to Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop, with the 580kg third making £1,551, or 267.5p/kg, to Lincolnshire meat wholesalers K Littleworth & Sons, of Horncastle.
Janet Sheard, of Low Common Farm, Almondbury, Huddersfield, who also acts as a fieldsperson in West and South Yorkshire for Craven Cattle Marts, presented the third prize 610kg Charolais-cross heifer, which made £1,509, or 247p/kg, when joining Bishop Auckland livestock farmers I&RA Watson.
Picking up the final red rosette with a 600kg British Blue-cross steer was Freddie Shorrock, of Cliviger, Burnley. This became a third acquisition by Gregory & Sons Butchers at £1,737, or 289.5p/kg.
Local breeders Geoff and Margaret Lawn, of Skipton, were runners-up in the native show class with a 570kg Aberdeen Angus heifer which also found a Red Rose butcher buyer in George Cropper Jnr, who took over Sandersons Butchers in Baxenden in April this year.
The fixture again included four show classes for pen-judged un-haltered steers and heifers to further cater for the many commercial beef producers who support Skipton’s weekly prime cattle sale, but are not able to halter train animals.
This section, too, produced another coup for the Baines family when Hayley’s brother Paul – he too is based at Little Middop Farm, Gisburn - clinched both the championship and reserve championship with a brace of home-breds, the former with a 665 British Blue-cross heifer also claimed by Kitson & Sons Butchers at £1,925, or 289.5p/kg, the latter with a 685kg Limousin-cross steer that became another K Littleworth & Sons buy at £1,772, or 251.5p/kg.
A special prize for the highest priced per kilo beast purchased from CCM Skipton fell to Simon Bennett, of Silsden Moor, with his second prize un-haltered Limousin-cross heifer, sold for 281.5p/kg, again to Ellisons Butchers, who also paid 261.5p/kg for the third prize Limousin-cross heifer from Threshfield’s Charles and Richard Kitching.
The red rosette winner in this class came from Brian Lund, of Walshaw Hebden Bridge, selling at 269.5p/kg to Countrystyle Meats, who also paid 289.5p/kg for another second prize winner, again from the Critchley family.
The Scriven family, from Elslack, also picked up a first prize win with a Blue-cross steer sold at £1,498, or 267.5p/kg, to Hamlets Butchers, with the red rosette in the native steer or heifer show class awarded to an Aberdeen-Angus from Hurries Farm in Otterburn, selling for £1,354, or 229.5p/kg, to Isherwoods Butchers in Silsden.
Also buying prize winners in the un-haltered section were Keelham Farm Shop, of Skipton and Thornton, Stanforths Butchers and farmers Hargreaves Estates in Walton-le-Dale.
The 52 prime cattle on parade sold to an overall average of £1,708.96 per head, or 308.57p/kg.
The other prime cattle co-judge was Steven Priestley, of Kirkambeck in Cumbria, who regularly shows cattle at Skipton. There were multiple sponsors on the day, the main one Skipton NFU.