Smiths strike to take top honour at CCM Skipton prime cattle show North Craven father and son hill farmers, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Lodge Farm, Masongill, above Ingleton and close to the Yorkshire-Lancashire border, claimed the monthly prime cattle title at Skipton Auction Mart’s February show. (Mon, Feb 3)

The Smiths, who landed a brace of prime cattle championships at Skipton last year, secured their latest victory with their first prize 590kg Limousin-cross heifer, which won a strong class and went on to achieve the highest gross price at £1,572 and top price per kg at 266p when purchased by retail butcher show judge George Cropper Jnr for his Sandersons Butchers shop in Manchester Road, Baxenden. He also snapped up the previous month’s overall reserve champion.
The Smiths were also on the mark with the first prize steer, another Limousin-cross weighing in at 545kg, which made £1,338, or 245.5p/kg, when falling to Robertshaws Farm Shop in Thornton. Both entries from the Smith family had been bought in as suckled calves and further improved on the farm.
Top gross among the steers was the third prize winner, a 615kg British Blue-cross from Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching, which made £1,368, or 222.5p/kg, when also joining Robertshaws.
Leading weekly buyer James Robertshaw procured no less than 11 of the 29 under 30-month clean cattle on offer, six for his own farm shop above Bradford, the other five for Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton, for whom he also secures cattle on a weekly basis.
Another principal purchaser from over the border, Alan Beecroft, of Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop & Restaurant in Lancaster, also took home six cattle, among them at £1,488, or 256.5p/kg, the second prize 580kg home-bred Limousin heifer and overall reserve champion from Paul Baines, representing his father Jim, who farms in Widdop.
The Critchley beef farming family from Hutton, near Preston, were again among the prizes when presenting both the second prize steer and third prize heifer, the former a 560kg Blonde-cross sold for £1,313, or 234.5p/kg, the latter a 560kg British Blue-cross, which made £1,324, or 236.5p/kg. Respective buyers were Simon Barker, of Barkers Yorkshire Butchers, who claimed three, and Countrystyle Meats.
Four cattle in the entry made £1,400 or more, with retail sorts a similar trade on the week, while more choice among the commercial types caused prices in this section to be slightly easier.
Cast cattle met a sharper trade for an increased turnout of 34  cull cows, which comprised a good entry of very heavy dairies, most trading around 107-112p/kg, with anything slightly easier in terms of weight and offering good meat making 112-118p/kg. Trade continues to pay well for plain, lean cows, which are less plentiful and not far behind on price, with steakers selling around 110p/kg and others at 80-105per kilo.
The day’s overall cull cow selling average was £619.35, or 103.71p/kg, with a per head high among the dairies of £968 for a black and white from Threshfield’s Angus Dean, and a by-weight top of 127.5p/kg for a beef-bred Limousin-cross from Ian Parkinson, of Barden.
A brace of mature bulls both hit four figures. One, a Limousin from F Reeday & Son in Cracoe, made £1,132, or 118.5p/kg, the other an Aberdeen-Angus from the Beamsley-based Hartley family £1,050, or 104.5p/kg.