Christmas primestock sales see trade lift further

Christmas primestock sales injected much needed cheer into livestock farming communities around the country this week producing remarkable headline prices for butchers’ animals.

Live markets are busy selling lambs to a fast trade, with Great British averages at 185-189p/kg for the last three weeks in November.

Throughputs are 10% up on the year at the marts, while deadweight figures show smaller entries on the year.

Liveweight prime cattle prices have seen a strong and desperately needed rise in recent weeks, while deadweight values inch higher.

Heifers averaging more than 210p/kg are commonplace again at the beef marts. Last week’s national live entry averaged 205p/kg, buoyed by phenomenal Christmas offerings.

See also: Prime cattle still £100+ adrift of last year


December trading kicked off in style at Skipton last week (1 December), with an entry of 410 show cattle that topped with a 535kg British Blue heifer from John Stephenson, Bordley, North Yorkshire, which made 550p/kg (£2,943).

This championship beast caught the eye of judge Phil Gregory of D Gregory and Sons, Bacup, Lancashire.

Ian, Mary and Richard Lancaster, Cold Coats Farm, Clitheroe, saw three 39kg Beltex-cross lambs make £160 a head when selling to George Cropper junior, Sanderson Butchers, Baxenden, Lancashire.

Elsewhere, Suffolks averaged £91 (197p/kg), Beltex made £144 (335p/kg), Mules averaged £84 (180.5p/kg), Mashams levelled at £81 (181.6p/kg) and Swaledales averaged £75 (176p/kg).

Cheviots averaged £76 (177.5p/kg) and Scottish Blackface averaged £88 (198.2p/kg).


The famous Winslow Christmas prime stock show saw prime lambs sell to £260 (605p/kg) last week (25 November).

This was for a pen of 43kg Beltex lambs from MESR, AEJ and FJ Claridge, which was bought by Parrot Brothers, Aylesbury.

In reserve was Claire Morris with a pen of 37.5kg Beltex lambs which made 600p/kg (£225), which caught the eye of judge Mohammed Akram, Pak Mecca Meats. 

The overall cattle champion was a Limousin heifer from AJ Geary, which sold to Chris Bunstance for £4,202 (618p/kg).

Elsewhere, prime Suffolk lambs sold to £94 a head, a Limousin steer made £1,272 (240p/kg) and Limousin heifers sold to £1,395 a head (218p/kg). 


Lancaster’s Christmas prime lamb show was won by a pen of Dutch Texels from GR and A Foy, Conder Green, that went on to sell for £130 a head (317p/kg) to M Alam, Blackburn.

The horned lamb championship was won by WM Pye, Ashton with Stodday, with 45kg Scottish Blackface lambs selling to £90.

The numbers

How much higher Great British liveweight lamb throughputs are on the year, at 80,047 head last week (30 November)

Last week’s prime lamb SQQ for Great Britain

How much prime heifers have lifted in the live ring since mid-October, now averaging 205p/kg