Bordley Stephensons clinch supreme championship hat-trick at CCM Skipton Christmas prime cattle highlight
Father and son Yorkshire Dales beef farmers, John and John Stephenson, secured a spectacular hat-trick when crowned supreme champions for the third consecutive year, also picking up the reserve supreme championship for good measure, at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Christmas prime cattle show and sale. (Monday, November 30)
The Stephensons, of Bordley Green Farm, Bordley, notched up a notable 2020 double with a brace of Limousin and British Blue-sired heifers, both emerging from the under 580kg Continental-cross show class.
Their 490kg first prize winner, female and supreme champion is among the first crop of calves by the family’s Limousin stock bull, acquired two years ago, known at home as ‘Billy’ and making an immediate impact on the herd.
Also recipient of a special prize for the best home-bred beast, the victor went on to make the day’s top call of £5 per kilo, or £2,450, when claimed at a keen ringside by Red Rose retail butcher David Green, of K&J Green Butchers in Heskin, Chorley, now with a second recently opened shop in nearby Standish.
Fourth generation butcher Mr Green bought three cattle in total for the festive trade at both shops. The other two purchases both came from another top-quality pen consigned by the Critchley family, from Hutton, near Preston, and from whom K&J Green take prime cattle on a regular basis, including the Skipton un-haltered Christmas champion two years previously. This year’s acquisitions were a Blue-cross heifer at 319.5p/kg, or £1,757, and a third prize-winning Limousin-cross heifer at 283.5p/kg, or £1,672.
The Stephensons claimed the reserve championship with their second prize 510kg Blue-cross heifer, like their 2018 and 2019 title winners both by the prolific stock bull, Tanat Harlequin, acquired nine years ago from North Wales and still leaving a strong stamp on the herd. The overall runner-up sold for 434.5p/kg, or £2,216, to weekly buyer James Robertshaw for his Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton, above Bradford.
It was one of five Christmas trade acquisitions for Robertshaw’s. The others were a further Limousin-cross heifer for the top-notch Stephenson pen at 272.5p/kg, or £1,499, a Limousin-cross steer from the Smith family in Masongill at 317.5p/kg, or £1,794, a Blue-cross heifer from Elslack’s Jim and Christine Scrivin at 252.5p/kg, or £1,553, and a Limousin-cross heifer from Simon Bennett, of Silsden Moor, at 246.5p/kg, or £1,232.
The Stephensons made a clean sweep of the prizes in the under 580kg heifer show class, their third prize winner, another well-bred Harlequin daughter, selling at 354.5p/kg, or £1,879, to Kitson & Sons Butchers, who took home three in total for the Christmas trade at its north-east butchers shops and flagship Five Houses Farm Shop & Kitchen in Craythorne, Yarm.
The other two were both among the prizes, including a red rosette-winning home-bred 615kg British Blue heifer consigned by John Mellin, of Higher Burnt Hill Farm, Black Lane Ends, on the Craven-Pendle border, at 295.5p/kg, or £1,817. It was bought out of Skipton’s Craven Champions Day highlight last February from Norfolk breeder Henry Harvey.
The third Kitson & Sons acquisition was a second prize Charolais-cross heifer from North Craven show regular Sheila Mason’s Keasden Head herd at 324.5p/kg, or £1,898. It also attracted overseas interest on the phone.
Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers in Bradford made multiple acquisitions. Their prize-winning haul included:
• The first prize heavyweight Continental-cross steer and reserve male champion, a 625kg Limousin-sired entry from North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Lodge Farm, Masongill, for 289.5p/kg, or £1,809.
• A rosette-winning brace from the Critchley pen, the second prize 620kg Limousin-cross steer at 268.5p/kg, or £1,664, and the first prize native, a 595kg Aberdeen-Angus steer at 261.5p/kg, or £1,556.
• The second prize overweight bullock, a 720kg Blue-cross from John Mellin, of Black Lane Ends, at 267.5p/kg, or £1,926. It was bought out of Skipton as a calf when standing with his mother and went on to win the ‘baby bullock’ show class at last year’s Countryside Live in Harrogate.
• The second prize 580kg Blue-cross steer from Derbyshire father and daughter, Michael and Ellie Wynne, of Matlock, for 269.5p/kg, or £1,562
Standing male champion was the first prize under 580kg Continental-cross steer, a 480kg Limousin shown by 19-year-old Rose Foster, of Hesketh, Preston. Commercially-bred and purchased out of Skipton in March, the bullock, which also picked up a special prize for the best CCM-bought beast, made 269.5p/kg, or £1,294.
Regular Red Rose buyer Phil Gregory took home three for his family-run DA Gregory & Sons Butchers shop in Bacup, among them a Limousin-cross heifer again from the F&A Smith pen at 341.5p/kg, or £1.980. Both the mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers and Knavesmire Butchers in York also purchased cattle on the day.
A total of 38 under 30-month clean cattle were entered for the festive primestock highlight, which had been changed to a Monday from its traditional high profile Sunday slot due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Mainline sponsor was the mart-based NFU Mutual, with show cattle judged in pens to maintain safe distancing by retail butcher adjudicator George Cropper Jnr, who runs Sanderson’s Butchers in Baxenden
It proved to be a huge success, primarily due to a buoyant retail trade, producing an overall sale average of 292p/kg.