20p/kg drop in lamb prices at Ashford

Ashford market saw a disappointing trade with a 20p/kg drop in one week, which was a bitter blow for many. Prices however are 30p above the same week last year with the increase just about covering the extra feed and other costs.

Several buyers remarked that overall quality was less than expected, with best well shaped well fleshed sheep gaining 10-15p per kg over the plainer sorts. The bulk of better lambs were shown by Tom Masters, G H Dean & Co and I Henshaw.

Topping the sale at £68, 152.22p/kg was I Henshaw for his 45kg lamb. Not far behind was G H Dean and Co at £54 150p/kg for a 36kg lamb.

Ewes were in plentiful with demand similar. Top ewes selling to a top of £59.80 for strong Suffolks from Lydden Court and £58.20 from Dan Mackleden while the pick of the Romneys sold to £44.80 from G R & A J Weller.

Medium weight fleshed ewes were sold in the £38-£45 bracket and plain ewes again all £25-£32 for anything healthy. Cull rams again a fair shot to £47 per head.


On the cattle front numbers were relatively short with any decent cattle fought over quite enthusiastically – particularly heavyweight sorts. Four Limousin steers from J E Batchelor averaged 167.5p/kg and £1122 and 4 heifers 158.5p and £880. Similar lightweight cattle ranged from 150-160p.

The bulk of the entry were 2nd quality suckled cattle, dairy bred cattle or decent cattle lacking finish and these ranged from 140-180p and our 1st consignment of proper grass cattle saw Langrish Farmers offering 25 month suckled Simmental heifers making to 143.5p  (£746) and Charolais to 142.5p (£705).

Plain cattle were again a fine demand – out and out Holstein steers with weight consistently sold from 120-129p and grossed to £939 from Burden Bros.

Bulls increased in numbers and some decent examples were on offer – a  14 mth British Blue from J Bardsley 169.5p (£932), the same from J & K Webb to 163.5p. Purebred 15 month Simmentals from R Price & Sons to 159.5p (£1004), purebred South Devons from C Hayes to 158.5p (£841) and a heavyweight Charolais from G Foulger 159.5p (£1132)

Over thirty month animals saw a record number of cattle consigned from all points of the compass and from as far as Buckinghamshire. Best cows made acceptable money – a 2001 Charolais to 124.5p per kg (£821), another 1999 model 119.5p (£854), Limousins to 127.5p (£803) and a 2001 Simmental 127.5p (£949) from M L Williams.

In the dairy section some very fit Friesians were sold – 109.5p (£912) for a 2000 cow from D Cornforth and a load of thick cows from PHR Farms to 113.5p (£923

Grazing cows were fought over with very lean 2002 Sussex from 80-88p. The biggest increase in numbers however were the influx of steers and uncalved heifers with 39 penned – strong Charolais heifers from A D Bentley from 129-137.5p (£967), Friesian steers to 119.5p from R L Goodman & Son, Simmental Cross heifers to 129.5p from Old England Farm, thick Hereford heifers to 113.5p and Jersey steers to 94.5p and Angus heifers 115.5p (£866).

Store cattle saw a useful entry for this time of year with several vendors opting to cash in on a strong demand rather than finish cattle themselves and at values seen yesterday hedging ones bets seemed a sensible decision.

Forward cattle included a run of well grown 9-10 month suckled Simmental steers from J Prior & Son which made to £635 per head and heifers £495, a pair of superb 15-16 month suckled Limousin steers from C W Jones at £750 and smaller sorts £665 and 9-10 moth Sussex steers from A W & G W Day to £520.

Growing cattle were also well sold, a smart 5 month Limousin steer from Grigg Farms £405, 13 mth Sussex heifers £395 from J R Hawkridge, 12-13 mths suckled Limousin steers from R G & S Hayden £552 and 13 month British Blue x Friesian steers to £418 per head from A Pickford.

Breeding females sold between £720-£870. Top call a 1999 Blue cow with young but good shaped heifers calf. Good calves were the theme for the day with another Blue cow and Blonde bull calf tipping £800. 3 In calf (autumn) cows made to £580.

Rearing calves  ranged from £82 to 182 bar one Friesian bull at £40. Young Simmental Cross heifers from J W Boyd and Sons £82 to 98; their Simmental bull £98; G C Kirby’s Simmental heifer £140 at 3 weeks; K E Vicary’s Limousin heifers to £102 and bulls £146 while Stephen Furnival’s stronger Limousins made £182 for a bull and £150 for a heifer.