Titles retained at CCM Skipton young feeding bulls annual highlight
Defending champions from the previous year both successfully retained their titles at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Spring show and sale of young feeding bulls. (Wed, March 18)
In fact, James Huck, who farms in the Yorkshire Dales with his parents, John and Gill, at Church Farm, Hubberholme, was achieving an impressive hat-trick of annual victories in the under 10-months show class.
The family landed it this year with a home-bred nine-month old Blonde-cross, sired by a British Blue bull, Maidenlands King Kong, bred by Ulverston’s Dean Saunders, and used on a pure Blonde cow.
It sold for a breed top of £1,190 to the show judge, York area farmer and butcher Luke Swales, who was once again the principal buyer at the fixture with eight acquisitions in total, among them four further prize winners.
As in past years, all will be further improved and finished on the family’s Haverland Farm in Melbourne, before making their way into the food chain for the forthcoming Easter trade at the family-run Knavesmire Butchers in Albermarle Road, York.
Again as in 2019, the Hucks, who run a 55-strong herd of both British Blue and Limousin cattle, as well as a flock of over 1,000 Swaledale sheep, also consigned the second prize under 10-months bull, this one by another Blue sire from the Solway View herd of Scottish breeder Kevin Watret. Out of a pure Limousin, the class runner-up made £1,145 when claimed by L Aconley & Sons, of Pickering.
One more taking leading honours in the 10-12 months show class were Calderdale father and son, Brian and Rick Lund, of Walshaw Farm, Walshaw, Hebden Bridge, with a home-bred 11-month-old Limousin-cross, out of a pure Blue dam. The mart regulars saw their latest frontrunner sell for the day’s joint top young bull price of £1,220 when becoming a further purchase by the judge. A brace of Parthenais bulls from the same home each made £1,085.
Fixture regular Stephen Fawcett, who farms with wife Tracey and daughter Samantha at Fold House, Drebley, was again among the prizes, gaining exactly the same placings as they did last year when finishing runner-up in the 10-12 months and third in the under 10-months show classes, once more with Blue-cross bulls.
They sold at £1,170, the leading breed price, and £1,050, again to the adjudicator, who also went to £1,180 to claim the remaining rosette winner, the third prize 10-12 months young bull from North Craven’s Jeff Pickles, of Chapel-le-Dale.
The show formed part of Skipton’s fortnightly midweek cattle sale, which attracted another solid turnout of 940 head and was staged with special Covid-19 restrictions in place; limiting attendance to buyers and sellers only.
The 288 young feeding bulls on parade represented the biggest Spring entry to date, with nearly all under 12 months and a sense that some bulls were being sold early to clear pens for lambing time.
Trade was again strong, with the dearest small, well-bred young Continentals making top side of £900 throughout. Heavy bulls met a similar trade to the previous fortnight at £1,000 to £1,120 for U types. The other joint section top of £1,220 fell to a Limousin-cross from the Mason family at Oddacres, Embsay. Young bulls sold to an overall Continental-cross average of £969, with natives averaging £732.
With buyers out in force, a large entry of 573 bullocks and heifers produced a very good trade for short keep and smart cattle. Good grazing cattle, especially bullocks, were nicely sold too, though a plainer, younger animal would be cheaper on the fortnight.
Taking top call in both classes was Fair Place Farm in Cowling with a brace a Limousin-cross, a bullock at £1,300 and a heifer at £1,280. The Continental-cross average for store bullocks was £942 and heifers £839, with respective native averages of £876 and £652.
An increased entry of 78 feeding cows sold to a sharp trade, with an overall average of £885 per head and a top call of £1,200 for a Limousin-cross from David Bamforth, of Wainstalls, Halifax, Long Preston’s John Mellin also catching the eye with another Limousin/Blue-cross at £1,190. Plenty of stronger cows made £900 to £1,050, while a lean improving cow was easily £750 to £850. The mart says more cows are required for a packed ringside of customers.
A single pedigree Limousin breeding bull from Ulverston’s Thor Atkinson made £1.850, while also on the same day’s agenda was the March special sale of native beef and dairy-bred store cattle, which brought forward an entry of 180 head across the three sections, all finding favour ringside. Aberdeen-Angus cattle were especially good to sell, with black and white bullocks again doing well as is the norm.