Smiths retain crown at CCM Skipton March prime cattle showcase
Back-to-back prime cattle championships were clinched by North Craven father and son hill farmers, Francis and Andrew Smith, at Skipton Auction Mart’s March show and sale. (Mon, March 2)
The Smiths again took top billing with a Limousin-cross heifer, which followed much the same route to market as their February victor, being bought in as a suckler and further improved on their Lodge Farm, Masongill.
Weighing in at 530kg, their latest title winner was picked out by Red Rose retail butcher judge
Phil Gregory, who then transferred his interest to the ringside when claiming his chosen champion for the day’s highest per kilo price of 269.5p/kg, or £1,428.
Mr Gregory was returning to the North Yorkshire mart for the first time since co-judging and again buying the overall supreme champion at Skipton’s high profile Christmas primestock show last December.
In fact, on his latest visit he bought all three of his female prize winners, adding the second prize heifer and overall reserve champion, a home-bred 520kg British Blue-cross, by a Welsh-bred Dragon Blue stock bull from brothers Edward and John Parkinson, of Haredon Farm, Dunsop Bridge, for £1,235, or 237.5p/kg.
Mr Gregory then purchased the third prize heifer, a 530kg Blue-cross from Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching at £1,360, or 248.5p/kg. All three will be going on sale at his family-run DA Gregory & Sons Butchers shop in St James Square, Bacup.
Making the top gross price of £1,456, or 199.5p/kg, was a heavy Limousin-cross heifer at 730kg from Calderdale regular Brian Lund, of Walshaw, Hebden Bridge. It fell to Kendalls Farm Butchers, which has shops in Pateley Bridge and Harrogate.
The latest show day produced an exceptional entry of 26 high quality under 30-month clean cattle, which all sold well to a total of nine buyers ringside, the majority as usual retail customers.
James Robertshaw was once again the leading buyer with a total of nine acquisitions, half a dozen for his own Robertshaws Farrm Shop in Thornton, above Bradford. Among them was the third prize bullock, a 530kg Blue-cross again from the Westhouse Smiths at £1,306, or top price per kilo of 246.5p.
Continuing to buy for Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton, Mr Robertshaw bought three for them, including the second prize bullock, a 565kg Limousin-cross from the Hutton-based Critchley family at £1,359 top gross price in section, or 240.5p/kg.
Another regular buyer Alan Beecroft was again in action, taking home five for his Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop & Restaurant in Lancaster Leisure Park.
Lothersdale husband and wife farmers, Geoff and Margaret Booth, while familiar faces in other sales rings at their local mart, were making their first-ever foray into the prime cattle show arena.
They were immediately rewarded when their 595kg Limousin-cross bullock was tapped out as the first prize winner in its show class. The AI son of the well-known Genus sire, Lodge Hamlet, out of a Blue cow, sold for £1,348, or 226.5p/kg, to Simon Barker, of Barkers Yorkshire Butchers. It was one of two buys for the mart-based wholesaler.
With an increasing number of 500kg cattle coming forward for sale, Queensbury retail butcher Charlie Clough added two to his account.
The 51 prime cattle forward also comprised 24 cast entries, all but one cull cows, which met a sharp trade, the top end of the heavy dairies doing notably well and selling to a four-figure top of £1,004, or 117.5p/kg, for a black and white from Winterburn’s Mark Smith.
Cows with improvement were particularly good to sell, with the odd animal under 30-months at 161.5p/kg for a lean beef-cross and 129.5p/kg for a 27-month-old dairy. Heavy dairies made 112-117.5p/kg and steaking cows 100-112p/kg. The overall selling average was 106.31p/kg, or exactly £700 per head.
The same morning’s weekly rearing calf sale saw the 40 head on offer sell to a top of £380 for a British Blue-cross bull from regular vendor Joss Lancaster, of Horton-in-Craven, who also headed the heifer calf prices with another Blue-cross at £300. Blue bulls averaged £295 and heifers £242.
Native calves sold to £195 for an Aberdeen-Angus bull from Silsden Moor’s Edward Fort, with black and white entries topping at £108 for a bull calf from H&M Dugdale & Son, of Stackhouse, the section averaging £76.