PRIMESTOCK PRESS - MONDAY 6TH AUGUST 2018

Double prime champions coup at Skipton for Red Rose retail butcher Frankland Farms in Rathmell clinched a prime lambs championship and reserve championship double with a brace of Beltex-cross pens at Skipton Auction Mart’s August show and sale. (Mon, Aug 6) The frontrunners were shown by Richard Frankland and his son, Jon, who run the sheep operation at Frankland Farms, whose New Hall Farm will host NSA North Sheep in June next year.



All lambs in the two five-strong pens were sired by a pair of Rathbone tups from fellow North Craven breeder Michael Davis, of Eldroth. Both the 41kg victors and the 43kg runners-up sold for £100 per head to show judge George Cropper Jnr for his Sanderson’s Butchers Shop in Baxenden.
The Red Rose retail butcher also judged the same day’s monthly prime cattle show, where he again claimed his chosen champion, a 495kg Blonde-cross heifer from the Critchley family, of Mercer Farm, Hutton, near Preston, for £1,374, or 277.5p/kg, top price per kilo.
Back with the prime lambs, the first prize 49kg Suffolk-cross pen of five from John and Claire Wright, who farm in Airton, sold for £98 per head to Swaledale Foods in Skipton, while the first prize pen of ten 47kg Mules from North of England Mule Sheep Association chairman Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses, joined Yorkshire Halal Meats for its supermarket in Alice Street, Keighley, at £84 each. Both pens made top price in class.
The show classes, which featured 34 pens in total, formed part of Skipton’s weekly sale of 2,719 prime lambs, up 27% on the week in terms of numbers, with improved and solid trade to match, as overall selling averages increased by 7p per kilo to level at 191.55p/kg, or £81.51 per head.
Trade for smart lambs was similar to previous weeks, with the best end of Beltex-crosses making 230-250p/kg, with others at 200-230p. However, it was prime and commercial lambs in the 42-48kg weight range that proved very good to sell, mainly at 185p-plus, with well fleshed Texel first crosses either side of 190p and better three-quarters bred types either side of 200p. A larger turnout of Mule wether lambs averaged 170p.
Texel pens were responsible for the day’s top gross and by-weight prices - £108 per head from Draughton’s John Turner and 253.8p/kg from Robert Fielden, of Todmorden.
The total turnout of 3,319 prime sheep also included a much larger entry of 600 cull ewes, almost a third of them hill-bred. While there were plenty of worn types among the lowland ewes, a selling average of £52 per head was seen as a solid result, with the leaner end actually dearer on the week.
Heavy ewes were short of buyers’ requirements, with the best Continentals selling into three figures, topping at £111.50 per head twice for Texel pens from Neil Hanson, of Barnoldswick, and Mick Collinson, from Clayton-le-Dale. The best Mules made from £80 to a top of £90, this also for a Collinson pen. Cast rams averaged £71.75.
Returning to the prime cattle, the Critchley beef farming family - father Richard and his three sons, Robert, John and Thomas – who trade at RT&J Critchley & Sons, continued their incredible run of success in the show arena at Skipton.
They have now won six of the seven monthly shows staged this year, missing out only in March, though picking up the reserve championship. This was on the back of sending out six of the 12 monthly champions last year
At the latest renewal, the Crtichleys were also responsible for the third prize steer, a 550kg Limousin-cross knocked down for £1,400, or 254.5p/kg, one of a brace of acquisitions by Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop in Lancaster,
Standing reserve champion was the first prize steer, a 550kg Limousin-cross from another regular vendor, Malcolm Metcalfe, of Baldersby Park. It sold for £1,388, or 252.5p/kg, to Mick Etherington, of Eldwick, buying on behalf of John Kearns Butchers in Shipley.
Top gross price was a 585kg British Blue-cross steer sold by Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching for £1,407, or 240.5p/kg, to Skipton-based Stanforths Butchers, who took home four in total, as did Keelham Farm Shop, of Skipton and Thornton. Another retail buyer of the 15 under 30-month clean cattle penned for sale was Kitson & Sons Butchers for its shops in the north-east.
A light entry of just ten cull cows saw trade a touch firmer when producing an overall selling average of £654.53 per head, or 103.81p/kg. The mart reports that while plain cattle are holding up well, those with finish remain scarce.