A pure-bred British Blue cow from Richard Maudsley’s Littlebank herd at Rathmell and a pen of five Beltex-cross ewes from Anthony Thompson, of Foulridge, were respective champions at the Christmas shows of cull cows and cast sheep at Skipton Auction Mart.
Mr Maudsley stepped up on his reserve championship success at the previous year’s fixture with his 2007-born title winner, bred in Pendle by Mark and Elaine Hartley, of Roughlee. She was acquired at one-year-old and has produced some quality calves, among them a bull sold at Skipton to Jimmy Baines, of Trawden, and a further bull calf also due to be sold as a two-year-old this year.
On a day when a good show of fed cattle met sharp trade, the 845kg cull cow victor also proved the top performer on price when selling for 193.5p/kg, or £1,635, to livestock agent John Bowling, of Wigan, buying on behalf of wholesale butchers Muchmeats, of Witney in Oxfordshire.
The reserve cull cow championship fell to the first prize beef-cross animal, a 15-year-old British Blue, out of a Limousin cow, from Jeff Pickles, of Far Greystones, Chapel-le-Dale. Bought in-calf from George Mason at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, the productive 760kg runner-up – she has produced a dozen calves – sold for £1,243, or 163.5p/kg, to show judge Robert Medcalf, of Halifax-based meat wholesalers J&E Medcalf & Sons.
The first prize dairy-bred cast cow from Geoff Pickersgill, of Hawksworth, also achieved top price in class at 135.5p/kg, or £968, when joining Dawn Foods in Carnaby, Bridlington.
Cull cows sold to an overall average of £823.91 per head, or 116.79p/kg, with continuing demand for lean, well finished cows.
In the cull ewes show, judged by Rossendale’s Bobby Booth, Mr Thompson’s home-bred three-quarters Beltex lowland class winners proved the pick of the 482-strong entry on both quality and price when selling for the day’s top call of £145 per head to Richard Caton, of Stainforth.
The second prize lowland ewes from Ken Gamble, of Easingwold, fell for £127.50 each to Lancashire Direct Halal Meats, of Blackburn, who the previous week had acquired the prime lamb supreme champions at Skipton’s high profile Christmas show.
The third prize pen from 2011 cull ewe champions James Garth & Son, of Keasden, sold for £115.50 each to Yorkshire Halal Meats, who bought a total of six prize-winning pens for their supermarket in Alice Street, Keighley.
Their other acquisitions were the top price pen of Mules from Jeremy Taylor, of Broughton, at £64.50 per head, the second prize pen of other hill-bred Cheviots from Jonathan Caygil, of Rylstone, at £64.50 per head, the second prize Mule pen from John Carlisle, of Cracoe, at £54.50 each, the first prize pen of Swaledales from Angus Dean, of Threshfield, at £43.50 apiece, and the second prize pen of Swaledales from Bordley’s Roy Nelson for £39.50 per head.
Mr Dean also presented the first prize pen of Mules, which joined J&E Medcalf & Sons at £61.50 per head, while Mr Caygill chipped in further with the first prize pen of Cheviots, which achieved top price in class at £77.50 each when selling to Worldwide Foods, of Manchester. The third prize pen of Swaledales from RobTennant, of Conistone with Kilnsey, sold for £32.50 per head to Andrew Atkinson Livestock, of Felliscliffe.
The overall cull ewe selling average was £46.52 per head. Cast sheep continue to recover in price and get dearer week-on-week, with good demand for lean meated types. Show classes were sponsored by livestock ear tags and agricultural products firm Fearing International.