British Blues maintained their domination of recent years when again taking top honours at the annual spring store cattle with show potential fixture at Skipton Auction Mart last week.
Champion was the first prize 12-month-old British Blue-cross heifer from the North Craven-based Littlebank herd of show debutants Richard and Wendy Maudsley, of Rathmell, who are building a solid reputation as pedigree British Blue breeders.
They are concentrating on producing high quality stock for commercial breeders since acquiring their first bull, Greystone Navigator, 12 years ago from the Coates family in nearby Stainforth.
In fact, Navigator, himself a grandson of Herpine, one of the first female Belgian Blues to be imported to the UK, sired the Mauldsley’s home-bred bull Littlebank Ernie, still only three-years-old, who began his breeding career in fine style when his first crop of calves produced the Skipton title winner.
The star of the show, out of a half-British Blue cow, sold for £1,200 to Jeff Burrow, of Hanlith, a regular buyer at the fixture, who also paid top price in show of £1,320 for another Maudsley red rosette winner, their first prize Limousin-cross heifer.
The defending champion, Calderdale’s David Broadbent, of Green House Farm, Midgley, had to settle for reserve championship honours this year with the second prize 13-month-old home-bred British Blue-cross heifer.
She is by Owlden Brutus, a son of the of the 5,000gns Owlden Whitestar, both bred by James Ogden in Austwick, who is also due to be represented by another quality young bull, the July, 2010-born Owlden Frazzle, by the AI sire Empire D’Ochain, out of Droit Brittany, at the opening show of Skipton’s 2012 pedigree beef season, the annual British Blue highlight, on Wednesday, April 25.
Owlden Brutus also responsible for Mr Broadbent’s 2011 Skipton champion and reserve champion. His 2012 runner-up sold for £1,260 to H&E Boak, of Langton, Malton, a price equalled by Mr Broadbent’s second prize British Blue-cross bullock, which joined David and Martin Wilcock, of North Ashton, Wigan. The same buyers also paid £1,070 for the first prize Limousin-cross bullock from Alan Simpson, of Giggleswick.
All but one of the British Blue and Limousin show class prize winners made four figures. The first prize British Blue-cross bullock from John and Alison Spensley, of Thorlby, achieved £1,040 when crossing the border to join mart regulars Matt and Ben Townsend, of Laneshawbridge, who also paid £1,170 for the third prize British Blue heifer from John Fawcett, of Barden.
John and Gill Huck, of Hubberholme, sold his second prize Limousin heifer for £1,160 to Malcolm Metcalfe, of Baldersby, while the third prize British Blue bullock from Trevor Dobson at Grindleton sold for £1,110 Matthew Keel, of Thirsk
In the show class for any other breed heifers, Jonathan Townley, of Clapham, secured both the first and third prizes with two Blonde-cross that each sold for £940 to the same buyer, Colin Sandham, of Guiseley.
Strong trade for store cattle, both in the show and general fortnightly sale, saw Continental-x bullocks average £990, compared to £745 at last year’s corresponding fixture, and Continental-x heifers £891, as against £664 last year.