Primestock special sales well received at CCM Skipton Special primestock sales to cater for both vendors and buyers were staged between Christmas and the New Year at Skipton Auction Mart, on Thursday, December 28. A small, but select offering of prime cattle saw eight of the 13 under 30-month entries fall to the year’s principal buyer, Keelham Farm Shop, as co-owner James Robertshaw returned to re-stock the meat fridges for his two award-winning shops in Skipton and Thornton.

Among Keelham’s shopping basket was the top price per kilo Limousin-cross heifer from James Drake, of Denholme, which weighed in at 540kg and made 249.5p/kg, or £1,360, and, from the same vendor, this time with a Limousin-cross steer, the day’s leading gross price of £1,437, or 244.5p/kg. Other buyers were Skipton-based Stanforths Butchers and Halifax meat wholesalers J&E Medcalf.
A solid turnout of 2,639 prime sheep saw the 2,389 lambs among them meet a great trade when selling to an across-the-board average of £81.68 per head, or 195.9p/kg, with the 36-45kg weight bracket doing even better when averaging 200.8p’kg.
Fast trade for smart sorts produced a long list of pens selling at 250p/kg or more. Kath Saffrey, of Halton West, topped the per kilo prices with Beltex lambs at 282p and 272p, while a great run of Beltex from Henry Atkinson, of Felliscliffe, sold to a day’s gross high of £120 twice. In total, 61 lamb pens sold for three figures.
Commercial lowland lambs also found a strong trade, with heavy sorts especially finding favour either side of £2 per kilo, and handy weights a touch more. Hill-bred entries were forward in large numbers, with 500 Mule and Masham lambs selling to an overall average of £79.15 per head, or 176p/kg. The hill section produced highs of £98 and 194p/kg for Mule pens from, respectively, Jeff Throup, of Silsden Moor, and Hellifield’s Gerald Beresford.
Also penned for sale were 250 cast sheep, a quality entry that produced trade to match, with cull ewes averaging £82 per head. Linton’s Thomas Boothman, Tom Walmsley, of Haverah Park, and Ian Marsden, of Hoylandswaine, produced either Texel or Suffolk pens that all sold into the £120s. Cast rams averaged £78.25.

Store cattle finale produces improved trade
The previous Wednesday was the final fortnightly store cattle sale of the year, with an entry of 162 head including 28 young feeding bulls and 126 bullocks and heifers.
Bulls were a mainly younger, smaller selection, but spirited bidding from the ringside ensured a fast selling trade and prices equally in line or better than of late. Four Limousin-cross from J&K Harker, of Lofthouse in Nidderdale, all sold into four figures, peaking at £1,110. The section produced a Continental-cross average of £879.11.
Store bullocks were a nice selection of mainly stronger cattle, which was reflected in the average of £1,058 per head for all entries sold. N&S Pinder were the standout performers here when heading the section with a £1,260 British Blue-cross, along with the top price £1,200 Limousin-cross and the top price pen of three Blonde-cross bullocks, which each made £1,150.
Store heifers were more varied in quality, though strong types and smart ones also sold really well to a joint high of £1,150 for a brace of Blue-cross from J Hoggarth, with the top price pen of four Limousin-cross heifers from E&AM Simpson, of Pateley Bridge, each making £1,045. The Continental-cross average was £915.94.
A small number of breeding cattle and beef feeding cows were also on offer, the former mainly older and mid-tern cows, which sold to a top of £750 for an in-calf Aberdeen-Angus, while the latter averaged £983.11 per head, with a high of £1,160 for a Blonde from K Lister & Son, of Kettlewell.

New Year highlights
Craven Cattle Marts’ livestock sales manager Ted Ogden noted: “Overall it was a great end to the year and pleasing to sign off with a good trade.” He thanked all vendors and buyers for their support during 2017 and said he looked forward to welcoming everyone back in 2018.
The year began on Wednesday, January 3, with the Great New Year cattle sale and an anticipated entry of 1,100 head, including annual consignments of strong feeding cattle and smart yearling cattle.
The first show day of 2018 is this coming Monday, January 8, a triple-header featuring shows and sales for rearing calves, prime cattle and prime lambs. The first Craven Dairy Auction show and sale is scheduled for Monday, January 15.