All eyes on Skipton store lamb seasonal opener
The big opening seasonal store lamb show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart produced a record entry of 4,087 for the annual fixture, a huge increase on last year’s 2,231-strong turnout.
As ever, the sale drew nationwide interest, with all eyes firmly fixed on the opening trade, which saw lambs sell to an across-the-board average of £56.73 per head, compared to the previous year’s £68.18.
Craven Cattle Marts’ livestock sales manager Ted Ogden explained
afterwards: “Although there is plenty of grass about, the pressure on prime
prices was always going to be the balancing effect on trade and, on reflection,
an average of nearly £57 will more than likely prove a workable point for both
buyers and sellers alike. “
There were 30 successful buyers on the day, with a few
others leaving empty handed, clearly illustrating early season demand for store
show class for 40 or more store lambs produced a reversal in fortunes for the
principals when Robert Greenwood, of Marton Scar Farm, West Marton, reserve
champion in both 2012 and 2013, secured championship honours at the latest
renewal, while Michael Parker, of Winterburn Hall Farm, Winterburn, champion
for the past two years, had to settle for the reserve championship this year.
Tony England, of Tiverton in Devon, again made the long trip
up country to judge the show classes and was spot on with his first choice when
Mr Greenwood’s victors, a mix of Charollais and Texel-cross-Beltex lambs, topped the sale at
£72 per head. They fell to Stephen Maskill, a butcher in Hebden Bridge and
regular buyer at Skipton.
Mr Greenwood, who consigned over 200 lambs, also sold
further pens at £68, £63.50 and £61.50 each
Parker’s 50-strong Suffolk-cross pen sold at £63.50 each, top price in class.
They were part of his annual consignment of 300 lambs, all Suffolk-cross, with
other pens sold at £61.50, £60.50 twice and £60.
The third prize pen of 56 Beltex-cross lambs from Bolton
Abbey’s Chris and Tom Heseltine made £65 per head, though class prices peaked a
shade higher at £65.50 each for an eye-catching pen from TF Steer, of
Charollais lambs sold to a high of £58.50
each for a pen from Austwick’s James and Deborah Ogden, while Richard and Val
Brown, of Kirkby Malham, topped the Mule prices with a £48 per head pen.
Hampshire pens sold to a high of £50.50 per head, these from John Craig, of
Individual breed averages were: Texel £56.59,
Suffolk £59.27, Beltex £60.76, Charollais £57.06, Mule £43.15 and
Show classes were
sponsored by animal ID firm Top Tags, based near Kelso. Attention now turns to
Skipton’s second major store lamb show and
sale scheduled for Wednesday, July 23, with another strong entry of between
6,000 and 7,000 lambs anticipated.
Also on the
agenda is the annual show for Down-cross lambs, with the Robert Morphet
Memorial Trophy again to be awarded for the best pen of 50 Suffolk-cross lambs.
A special sale of early breeding ewes is also scheduled.