Ewe trade stood firm, maintaining recent high levels, with plenty of strong ewes selling at £100-plus at Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly sale of 2,674 prime sheep.

Leading price of the day at £130.50 each fell to a pen of 11 Beltex-cross ewes from Martin and Val Brown Newton-le-Willows, Bedale.

As expected, the hogg trade was down a touch, while export weights of 37kg to 42kg were fewer in number and sold to a similar trade on the week. However, 35-38kg Mule and Swaledale hoggs found a ready market due to a shortage to fill ethnic orders.

Craven Cattle Marts’ farmstock sales manager and auctioneer Ted Ogden commented: “Vendors should note that hoggs can currently make as much, if not more per head, at 40-42kg than at 44-45kg.

“Additionally, in current market conditions, there appears to be no benefit to incurring additional feed costs and marketing Suffolk and Continental hoggs at this medium weight range of 44-45kg.”

The overall average for prime hoggs was £83.54 per head or 195.6p/kg, with cull ewes averaging £78.62 and cast rams £76.98.

In the prime cattle section, steers under under-30 months sold to 181.5p/kg, or £1,062 for a British Blue-x from JJ Beckwith & Sons, Gargrave, while heifers averaged 171.84p/kg, selling to a high of 183.5p/kg, or £973, for another British Blue from Geoff Eccles, Worsthorne.

The overall selling average in the 30-48-month age range was 135.89p/kg, headed at £1,237, 155.5p/kg, for a black and white heifer from CM & EM Gratton, Ripley.

Cull cows averaged 126.70p/kg, or £813 per head, peaking at £1,116, 155.5p/kg for a Blonde from Joe Drinkall, Chorley.