CCM Skipton prime lamb trade best for some time Smart prime lambs were the dearest seen for some time at Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly Monday sale, with no less than 44 pens selling at £3 per kilo and above and 345 Beltex crosses averaging a healthy 302p/kg. (Mon, Feb 3) In fact, sheep were dearer on the week by some margin, with the 2,747 prime hoggs forward levelling at 242p/kg, or £103.89 per head. All classes were very good to sell, with an increased attendance of buyers all keen to secure supply, hill-bred lambs looking every bit as well sold as lowland types.

It was also monthly show day, when Brian Lund, of Walshaw Farm in the Calderdale village of the same name near Hebden Bridge, consigned the first prize Continental and supreme champion pen, five home-bred 43kg Beltex-cross lambs by a stock tup bought three years earlier at Skipton, where he is a regular exhibitor and prize winner of both sheep and cattle.
His victors, chosen by another regular vendor at the mart, Steve Dorey, from Norton Disney in Lincolnshire, sold for £136 per head to retail butcher George Cropper Jnr for his Sandersons Butchers shop in Manchester Road, Baxenden.
Mr Cropper Jnr, who had earlier purchased the same day’s monthly prime cattle champion, also paid the day’s top per kilo price, a heady 390p/kg, or joint top per head of £160, for the reserve champion prime lambs, the second prize Continentals, five 41kg Beltex-cross from Joanne Andrews, of Easingwold.
For good measure, Mr Cropper Jnr also went to £152 each for another smart Beltex pen from Michael Hall, of Airton, who, in addition, achieved joint top call of £160, or 347p/kg, for another pen claimed by Vivers Scotlamb in Annan, whose multiple acquisitions also included the third prize Continental pen, 40kg Beltex from Jeff Burrow, of Hanlith, at £140.
Generous local farmers are now donating lambs for charity on a regular basis. This week, Silsden Moor’s Simon Bennett presented a 49kg Texel which raised £145 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance when equally generously claimed by Alan Beecroft, of Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop & Restaurant in Lancaster.
In previous weeks, John Thwaite, of Horton in Craven, had donated another single Texel lamb which netted £135 for the Luke Mortimer Fund when bought by The Hartshead Meat Co in Mossley, Greater Manchester, while James and Jennifer Garth, of Keasden, donated their last lamb of the season, this one selling to Vivers for £88 in aid of Sue Ryder Manorlands, Oxenhope.
Back in this week’s show classes, local husband and wife, John and Claire Wright, of Legrams Laithe Farm, Airton, presented the first and second prize Suffolk-cross pens, the 55kkg red rosette winners selling for £114 per head to Worsley Wholesale Butchers in Dewsbury, the 50kg runners-up at £110 to Farmers Fresh, of Wrexham.
The first prize pen of ten horned lambs, 43kg Swaledale from W Mason & Son in Appletreewick, sold for £89.50 to Scotbeef in Bridge of Allan, while the red rosette-winning pen of other hill-bred lambs, 44kg Lonks from Addingham’s Jimmy Greenwood, made £96.50 when joining regular buyer Andrew Atkinson in Felliscliffe, Harrogate.
Returning to the top end, Joanne Andrews again caught the eye with more high priced pens, her run of 29 lambs averaging 330.59p/kg, or £139.76 each, while Walter Parkinson, of Garstang, also had pens at £132 and £127, or 366p/kg and 353p/kg. Jeff Burrows’ trailer full of lambs averaged over £131 each.
Thomas Hartley, from Pendle, also chipped in with a £146, or 347.6p/kg pen, and Bolton-by-Bowland’s Paul Simpson saw his good run of 93 lambs average 315.2p/kg, or £119.63 each, topping at 334.3p/kg, with nine 35kg Beltex selling for £117. Per head, Grindleton’s James Towler also sold a £150 pen to Vivers.
Heavy lambs were in great demand all day, the overweight 52kg-plus category averaging £118.39, with the top price heavies, 59kg Texels from the Hutchinson family in Faceby, making £139 when also claimed by Countrystyle Meats. The same vendors sold 60kg Texels at £136 to Lancashire Direct Halal Meat Suppliers in Blackburn, plus a 72kg pen at £135 to Joe Bosworth, as usual buying for A&D Meats in Rossendale.
The Hutchinson family’s consignment of 72 lambs included eight pens over £130 and an overall average of £131.47, while Jeff Burrow was again on the mark with a 54kg Beltex pen knocked down at  £138 to Knavesmire Butchers in York, with Joanne Andrews once more doing well with 53kg lambs sold for  £132 to Hartshead Meat Co.
Commercial lowland export weights found a price range of 235p-265p/kg, with Texel lambs in the 36-45kg range averaging 249p/kg, against a Texel breed average of 241p/kg.
Hill-bred sheep again stepped up a gear, North of England Mules peaking at £117 each from Peter Houseman, of Padside, claimed by Swaledale Foods in Skipton, and selling to a per kilo top of  229.8p/kg from the Hewetsons in Bank Newton to Scotbeef. Mashams peaked at 222.5p/kg, or £103, for a pen from Lincolnshire prime show judge Steve Dorey, with the overall average for both Mules and Mashams hitting 219.7p/kg.
Horned lambs sold to 226p/kg twice, 225p/kg and 221p/kg for Lonks from AM&E Hartley in Pendle, Mr Dorey also making 225p/kg, while Cheviots topped at 250p/kg from K&M Berry, of Skipton.
Also penned for sale were 320 cast sheep. A mixed show of cull ewes lacked quality heavy types, topping at £134.50 for a Texel pen from Thomas Charnley, of Laneshawbridge, others making £120-£130, though the next grade was a shade easier on the week. Mules were a good trade, the best sorts making £90-£103, with the best horned ewes in the £60s/£70s, topping at £82.50 from ML Kayley, of Halton West.  Cull ewes averaged £68.26 overall and cast rams £73.91.