SPRING LAMB PRESS - MONDAY 29TH MARCH 2021

Towers family triumph again at CCM Easter Spring lambs showcase Not only did North Craven’s Robert Towers clinch an eye-catching title-winning hat-trick at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Easter prime lambs show, but he won all four show classes with the six Spring lambs consigned by the family at the seasonal highlight.



 

Noted Charollais sheep breeder Mr Towers, who farms with his wife, Jackie, and daughter, Josie, at Greenlands Farm, Ingleton, also stood supreme Easter champion in 2018 and 2019, but was unable to defend the title last year when the annual showcase fell victim to Cobid-19.

But he bounced back with a bang as show classes returned this year when clinching the overall championship with the first prize Continental-x pair, home-bred 41kg Charollais-x lambs that went on to sell for £178 per head, or 434p/kg, to Rowland Agar Wholesale Butchers in Ilkley

They title-winning duo were among the first crop of lambs by a bought-in tup which has quickly made its mark on the 30 pedigree Charollais ewes in the Towers flock. The same sire was also responsible for the first prize single 46kg Continental-x lamb, which made the day’s top gross price of £188, or 408p/kg, when claimed by regular wholesale buyer Hartshead Meats in Mossley, Greater Manchester.

Josie Towers runs her own small flock of pedigree Suffolks and it was her charges that picked up both red rosettes in the Down-x show classes, first with a 43kg pair sold for £149 each, again to Rowland Agar Wholesale Meats, then with a single 46kg class winner that made £160 when among the Hartshead Meats purchases.

The Towers consignment comprised the family’s second draw of Spring lambs this year. Their first draw of eight the previous Monday had themselves made joint top call of £168, the others coming from well-known Charollais breeders and Skipton regulars, the Marwood family, who run the Foulrice flock in Whenby, York.

And it was the Marwoods – father and son, Charles and Stephen – who returned again this week to claim the Easter reserve championship, as they also did when the show was last staged in 2019, this time with the second prize Continental duo, pure-bred 39kg lambs among the first crop by a new tup acquired last year from the nearby Galtres flock run by Mr Marwood’s daughter Deborah Witcher. “He’s already breeding some really good muscled lambs for us,” said Mr Marwood.

The reserve champions made £168 each when also claimed by Rowland Agar Wholesale Meats. In addition, the Marwoods sent out the second prize single Continental-x lamb, a 49kg Charollais-x-Beltex, sold for £178 to Hartshead Meats, who also snapped up the day’s per kilo lamb, yet again from the Marwoods, at 440p/kg, or £185.

Back with the Suffolk-x, the other two prize-winning pens both came from York area vendors. The second prize pen of 40kg pairs from M&J Smith, of Melbourne, made £145 each when falling to John Kearns Butchers in Shipley, while the second prize 39kg single from TR Craven in Wilberfoss became yet another Rowland Agar purchase at £139.

Safe distancing show classes were judged in pens by livestock buyer Mick Etherington, from Eldwick. Dugdale Nutrition sponsored.

Spring lamb remains popular over Easter and both retail and wholesale butchers were again out in force in a bid to snap up the 107 new season lambs on parade for their customers’ Easter tables. This helped produce an excellent overall selling average just shy of 370p/kg, or £152 per head, due reward for the producers who have lambed early this time to supply the trade. 

In total, 3,000 prime and cast sheep were penned for sale, the 2,500 prime and lightweight hoggs among them also doing well when averaging top side of 300p (SQQ 307p) across the whole sale, or £133 per head.

The smart end of hoggs were a great trade, handyweights making from 365p/kg to a top of 431p/kg, or £164 per head, for 38kg entries purchased by Vivers Scotlamb, with no less than ten pens making £4 per kilo or more. 

Heavy hoggs were regularly away at £150 to £170 each, topping at £182 from Hill & Wright in Doncaster, purchased by Hartshead Meats, with 11 pens making £170 or more, another 39 pens selling from £160 to £169. On top of this an additional 59 pens made from £150 to £159. 

Nice handy weights were 330-360p/kg, with commercial lowland lambs weighing 37kg-43kg notably good to sell, the majority at 290-325p/kg. Hill-bred hoggs were back up in price, Cheviots making over 300p/kg to a top of £147. Good horned lambs also saw a rise in value, the best making top side of £130 and Gritstones wethers selling to £150. North of England Mules also did better on the week by £5 per head, or 12-15p/kg, up to a high of £136.50.

Almost 350 cast ewes sold similarly on the week, many again arriving from both Derbyshire and Lincolnshire. Heavies were able to command £145-£162, full meat mediums £120-£135, medium half meat £105-£115 and small/lean ewes £85-£100. Cull ewes averaged £106.16 per head overall and 41 cast rams £123.36.

Another hectic Monday market also saw 336 breeding sheep pass through the sales ring before an increased attendance of buyers. There was good trade throughout, with better outfits of Suffolk and Texel ewes with twins making £260 up to £280 per outfit, Linton’s Thomas Boothman twice hitting the top price mark with Texel crosses, and also making £260 per family with two other pens. 

The York-based Craven family also presented four nice pens and commanded between £265 and £275 per family on each occasion, with both JW Hardcastle, of Harrogate, and RG Johnson & Son of nearby Felliscliffe, both selling outfits to £250. Dave White, from Hebden, presented his first draw for the season, selling Mules with twins up to £240 per family. 

Next week is the Easter Monday prize show and sale for ewes with lambs at foot, with between 200 and 300 outfits anticipated.