There was good demand for the pick of the region’s grass-fed Spring lambs and hoggs by regular buyers, including quality retail butchers seeking prime cuts for their customers’ Easter tables, at the April show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart.
The top end of the Charollais and Continental-bred entries sold well, with show prices peaking at £136 per head for the champion pair, two 43kg Beltex-cross-Charolais gimmer lambs from Robert Towers, of Farleton, Lancaster. They fell to Rossendale’s Bobby Booth.
Mr Towers, who trades as J D and V Towers and was also champion at the corresponding show in 2010, presented three other prize-winning pens of Spring lambs at the latest renewal, including the second prize Continental pairs, sold for £116 each to Kendall’s Farm Butchers for its shops in Pateley Bridge and Harrogate.
Mr Towers was also responsible for the first and second prize Continental Beltex-cross singles. The red rosette winner joined Saltaire butcher Richard Binns for £108 per head, the runners-up performing better at £116 each when also joining Kendall’s Farm Butchers.
Steeton’s Mark Evans lifted the title in the Spring lamb singles class with a 47kg Suffolk-cross-Texel lamb ram, which became another Kendall’s acquisition at £125. The same exhibitor also presented the second prize single, another buy for Bobby Booth at £108.
In addition, Mr Evans’ Suffolk-sired Spring lambs picked up two rosettes in the Down-cross pairs class, his first prize winners another Kendall’s buy at £125 each, the runners-up a second acquisition for butcher Richard Binns at £126 a head.
However, it was the third prize duo from P Butler, of Colne, that achieved top price in class of £130 per head when adding to Kendall’s tally, further supplemented at £104 each by the third prize Continental pairs from Stephen Hodgson, of Patrick Brompton.
Bobby Booth was in action again when paying £108 for the third prize Continental single from IR Lampkin, of Silsden. Spring lambs sold an overall average of £96.37 per head, or 222.84p/kg.
There was a notable championship and reserve championship double in the prime hoggs show for 2011 victor, North Yorkshire sheep farmer Andrew Phillips, of RL & AR Phillips, Burton Leonard, with two quality pens of five Beltex-cross lambs.
The 54kg title winners sold for £111 per head to Halifax wholesale butchers J&E Medcalf & Sons, buying on behalf of Far Bardsey Farm Shop in Barkisland, Halifax, though it was the second prize 49kg pen and reserve champions that headed the show prices at £112.50 apiece when falling to Andrew Atkinson, of Kettlesing, on behalf of Lancashire wholesaler Hartshead Meats, of Ashton-Under-Lyne.
Hartshead Meats also acquired the third prize pen of Continentals from Geoff Blezzard, of Ribchester, at £102.50 per head
Stephen Dorey, a regular vendor from Norton Disney, Lincoln, achieved a one-two in the Down-cross class, his first prize pen of five also finding their way to Booby Booth at £90.20 per head, while the runners-up sold for £89.50 each to Keelham Farm Shop at Thornton, Bradford.
Skipton regular Jim Baines, of Trawden, added another two red rosettes to his ever-growing tally with the first pen of ten Mules, a £85.50 per head buy by Andrew Atkinson, and the first prize ten-strong Swaledale pen, sold for £84 each to Yorkshire Halal Meat Supplies for its supermarket in Alice Street, Keighley.
Andrew Atkinson, who had earlier paid £95 per head from the second prize Down-cross Continental Spring lamb single from Anthony Bolland, of Bolton Abbey, secured further prime hogg pens, including the second prize Mules, again from Stephen Dorey, at £87 a head. Mr Dorey also had the third in class, which fell to Paul Watson, of Hellifield, at £83 each.
Mr Booth was in action yet again when paying £89 per head for the first prize pen of Cheviots from Littleborough’s John Lord, while the second and third prize pens from Joe Drinkall, Anglezarke, both became further acquisitions at £89 and £79.50 per head respectively by Yorkshire Halal Meat Supplies.
Back with the Swaledales, the second prize pen from Brian Church, Asquith, made £79 each when joining Michael Lomax, of Milnthorpe, the third prize pen from Neil and Stephen Taylor, of Sheffield, selling at £80.50 apiece to Dunbia Foods in Preston.
Prime hoggs sold to an overall average of £84.49 per head, or 192.36p/kg.
In the prime cattle show classes, Pendle father and son beef farmers Matt and Ben Townsend, of Laneshawbridge, secured another championship success with their first prize 465kg British Blue-cross heifer, which made £1,123, or 241.5p/kg, when joining Bowland Foods, Preston, buying on behalf of a regular Red Rose retail butcher customer.
The Townsends also presented the highest gross price animal, the first prize British Blue-cross 560kg steer, which made 244.5p/kg, or £1,369, when bought by Saltaire butcher Richard Binns.
Reserve champion was a 445kg Limousin-cross heifer from Jim Baines, of Trawden, that made 241.5p/kg, or £1,075, when joining J&E Medcalf & Sons, on behalf of butcher Charlie Clough for his shop in Queensbury.
The Medcalfs also purchased the first prize young bull from Brian Lund, of Walshaw, Hebden Bridge, a home-bred Limousin- cross that made 218.5p/kg, or £1,213.
Jim Baines was also responsible for the second prize 545kg Limousin-cross steer, knocked down at £1,251, or 229.5p/kg, to Keelham Farm Shop.
Brian Lund, fresh from his championship-winning success in Skipton’s annual young feeding bulls show the previous week, secured another title In a special show for cull cows with his five-year-old British Blue-cross cow, a daughter of Greystone Status, that headed both the per head and by weight prices at £1,248, or 167.5p/kg.
Reserve champion was a black and white dairy cow from J Roberts, of Huddersfield, that made £1,106. Cull cows prices maintained exceptional levels of late when selling at an overall average of just over £906 per head, or 138.65p/kg.
Four experts who regularly buy prime cattle and lambs at Skipton for their butcher customers acted as judges at the Easter highlight. Adjudicating in the show cattle classes were Harry Wood, of Bowland Foods, Preston, and Robert Medcalf, of J&E Medalfe & Sons, Halifax, with Nick Dalby, Hartwith, and James Dewhirst, of Skipton, officiating in the prime lamb section.