Critchleys land yet another prime cattle coup in Skipton show arena The all-conquering Critchley beef farming family from Mercer Farm, Hutton, near Preston, made it five championship wins out of six at monthly prime cattle shows staged so far this year at Skipton Auction Mart. At the other, they were reserve champions.

Richard Critchley and his three sons, Robert, John and Thomas, have made a tremendous impact in the cattle show arena at Skipton – they also had six of the 12 monthly champions last year – and sent out yet another title winner at the latest renewal with their first prize 540kg Limousin-cross steer. (Mon, June 4)
It caught the eye of the show judge, retail butcher Tim Hamlet, of Hamlets Butchers in Garstang, who later claimed his chosen champion for his family-run Church Street shop at £1,428, or 264.5p/kg, the leading steer price per kilo.
Mr Hamlet, who also acquired a second ‘beefer’ this week, has bought many previous Skipton prime cattle champions, including home county-bred Critchley frontrunners, and is also a regular purchaser of champion prime lambs at the North Yorkshire mart.
The Critchley family also claimed the same day’s reserve championship with their first prize heifer, another Limousin-cross weighing 500kg. This one also returned back across the border with another Red Rose butcher George Cropper Jnr, who runs Sandersons Butchers in Baxenden. The selling price was £1,393, or 278.5p/kg, top price by weight.
Both principals had been bought in by the Critchleys at the beginning of the year and further improved on the farm. For good measure, they also presented the second prize steer, another Limousin-cross, which sold for £1,311, or 247.5p/kg, to weekly buyer James Robertshaw, of Keelham Farm Shop, who took home six cattle in total for his two family-run shops in Skipton and Thornton.
Top of the gross values was a 610kg British Blue-cross steer from the Kitching family in Threshfield, which made £1,498, or 245.5p/kg, when claimed by Stanforths Butchers in Skipton, which also bought a second entry.
Second and third prizes in the heifer show class fell to F&B Smith, of Westhouse, with Limousin-cross entries sold at £1,258, or 259.5p/kg, and £1,309, or 249.5p/kg. The third prize steer, another Limousin-cross from Jonathan Shorrock, of Cliviger, Burnley, sold for £1,240, or 238.5p/kg.
A compact turnout of 13 under 30-month clean cattle still offered plenty of choice for the retail sector, both in type and at less than 550kg. Cattle of these weights are much preferred by the majority of retail butchers. Another butcher buyer was Farmer Copleys Farm Shop in Pontefract.
Mowing, a local road closure and pre-movement testing requirement for a key area at the start of June all combined to keep the cull cow entry down to just 19 head and this produced a flying trade, with the top end of the fleshed dairies touching 140p/kg, plus an odd plain one at 97.5p/kg and the remainder all selling strongly on price.
Heading the prices at £1,110 and 143.5p/kg were respective black and white entries from Bishop Thornton’s Peter Baul and Jeremy Taylor, of Broughton, with Herries Farm in Otterburn also chipping in with a brace of non-farm assured Aberdeen-Angus topping at £990 and 138.5p/kg. The overall cull cow selling average was £806.32 per head, or 125.27p/kg.
A very healthy trade was also seen at the same morning’s weekly rearing calf sale, when 32 youngsters were keenly contested by a full ringside of buyers.
British Blue-cross heifers had the pick of the trade, with seven making over £400 up to £435 for an entry from John Marshall, of Dacre. With a solid turnout of Continental bull calves, Martyn Jennings, of Cowling, saw all of his Blue bulls exceed £450 and top at £470 for a brace of them. The overall selling average for Continentals was £383.50 per head.
Black and white youngsters were a nice trade once again and while some young calves eased the overall average to £83.88 per head anything with a hint of flesh was well past the £100 mark. Native calves averaged £251.20, peaking at £260 for a Hereford-cross heifer from Edward Fort, of Silsden Moor, who also sold a same way bred bull calf for £255.