Prime lambs were first to enter the competition fold, as Skipton Auction Mart staged its opening show of 2009 yesterday – a day which kick-started the New Year in good style, with sheep prices well up on the final sale of last year.
John and Judy Garnett, of Lane End Farm, Draughton, clinched the inaugural title of 2009 with a pen of five 47kg Beltex x Texel prime lambs, which made a show-topping £88/head when knocked down to Calderdale purchaser Gerald Medcalfe, Halifax.
For good measure, the Garnetts also exhibited the second prize pen of 40kg prime lambs, acquired at £75 each by Andrew Atkinson, Harrogate, with the third prize 40kg pen from Thwaite Bros, Airton, making £76 apiece to Nick Dalby, Harrogate.
In a show class for Mules, Ian Mellin, Airton, had the first and second prize pens, both acquired at £64.50 and £67.50 a head respectively by Paul Watson, Hellifield.
With more than 2100 prime lambs and ewes forward, a top price of 204p/kg was achieved by a pen of Texel lambs from Jack Clay, Draughton. The overall average selling price of 161.3p/kg bettered the final sheep sale average in December by over 30p/kg.
Jeremy Eaton, general manager at Skipton Auction Mart, explained: “Prime stock started the year at exceptional prices, partly due to short supply and the value of sterling against the euro for meat exporters.”
At the opening Craven Dairy Auction on the same day, Mark Falshaw, Gargrave, sent out the two highest priced entries, a brace of second calver cows that each made £1700.
A fourth calver from Robert Crisp, Calton, sold for £1640, with the best of the newly calven heifers from G P and C Fleetwood, Mirfield, making £1600.