Christmas sales bring primestock lift

Auction mart prime lamb and beef prices have lifted into December, strengthened slightly by the usual upturn in Christmas demand.

Last week saw Great British prime lamb liveweight SQQs average 180p/kg for the week, topping at 181.77p/kg early in the week.

Prices continued strengthening this week and on Tuesday had lifted to 185p/kg. Trade is at the highest point since September.

Live prime cattle trade has gained 10p/kg since mid-October, with throughputs rising each week since 3 November but still back on the year at 1,893 head. Steers were at 196p/kg and heifers at 214p/kg on last week (1 December).  

However, finishers remain waiting for any improvement in deadweight values, which for steers have dropped 13p/kg through October and November, hitting 358.9p/kg.

See also: Video: Guide to selecting lambs for slaughter and minimising losses


Frome’s Christmas fatstock society supreme champion rosette went to Archie Stamp and Percy Clatworthy for their 556kg British Blue heifer last week (28 November). White Row Farm Foods paid 410p/kg.

In reserve was E Davies with a 655kg Limousin heifer hitting 240p/kg, which sold to Brookfield Livestock.

The native-sired category went to a 564kg Angus steer from MD and KE Lanfear, Pilning, Bristol, selling to J Cayford Butchers, Frome for 255p/kg.

Prime lambs topped at £110 (234p/kg) for 47kg lambs from A Hill, Nyland, Cheddar. They sold to judge Stuart Clatworthy. In reserve were 44kg lambs from J&S Ward, Mells, Frome, selling at £98 (223p/kg).

Best lambs in the under 42kg class were Texel-cross lambs from L Gould, Cranmore, Shepton Mallet, with 39kg lambs selling to J Cayford Butchers, Frome for £79.50 (204p/kg).


Championship accolades went to GR & A Foy, Conder Green, for a pen of five 47kg Dutch Texel-cross lambs at Lancaster’s Christmas prime lamb show on Monday (3 December). They made £112, selling to Gregory Williams Butchers, Lancaster.

In reserve were 46kg lambs bred the same way from the same home, this time making £100, selling to Lakes and Dales Ltd, Bamber Bridge.

Another entry from the Foys topped Beltex trade, weighing in at 39kg and grossing £110 (282p/kg), with MJ & K Ayrton, Thurnham, also seeing 47kg Beltex lambs over the £100 mark at £101 a head, selling to Nathan Brown, Littledale.

Overall, trade hit an SQQ of 175p/kg and a market average of 170p/kg. Lambs around 41-43kg were in best demand and plenty of strong Beltex-cross lambs passed 200p/kg.


Large crowds descended on Bakewell to see Christmas prime cattle rise to 640p/kg (£3,814.40) for the champion and 410p/kg (£2,328) for the reserve champion on Monday (3 December).

A yarding of 32 cattle averaged 286p/kg, with nine lots over 300p/kg. The day’s champion was a 596kg British Blue heifer from Richard Naylor and was bought by Sheffield butcher Brian Woolley of Woolley Bros.

Reserve on the day was a 568kg heifer from Tom Gratton, Riber, sold to Rob Stafford, a quality butcher from Mickleover, Derby.

A super entry of 885 show lambs were forward, topping at 500p/kg and £226 for a pen of prize-winning continental lambs at 45.2kg from D Saxby, Litton, selling to MD Prince, Stonedge.

Also of note was a pen of 42.6kg continental lambs from GE Slater, Prestbury. These made 330p/kg (£140), also selling to MD Prince.


Quality and entry numbers were up at Hexham’s Christmas show on Tuesday (4 December) with 29 cattle shown before the sale and judged by John Mellin and Clare Cropper, Skipton.

Champion on the day was a 629kg Limousin-cross steer from Philip Robson, Middle Horsleyhope, Waskerley, which sold for 300p/kg (£1,887) to Lancashire butchers C&G Cropper, Accrington.

In reserve was a Limousin-cross heifer from Rochester and Murray, Glebe Farm, Tow Law, which sold to J Higginson, Castle Bank Butchers, for 233.5p/kg.

Prime lambs sold to £120, with a pen of five Beltex-cross lambs at 37kg (324.3p/kg) from the Beveridge family, Low West House, Tow Law. These were bought by Vivers Scotlamb, Annan.

At 235p/kg and £94 was a superb pen of Dutch Texel-cross lambs from WR Sparke and Son, Little Swinburne, which took home the reserve rosette. These sold to R Curle and Son, Bowsden.

Aside from the Christmas show, trade was reported to be “dearer on the week”.

AHDB beef and lamb figures reported heavy lambs up 5.3p/kg on the week at 167.7p/kg and heavy lambs 5p/kg dearer on the week at 154.7p/kg. This lifted the average by 9.2p/kg to 178.9p/kg, with an SQQ of 183.3p/kg.