Top price of £75.50 for lambs at Skipton

An increased entry of the cream of the region’s early store lambs, just three shy of 3,000 head, were on offer at the opening seasonal show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart last week.

The fixture had 37 successful buyers from all parts of the country – from Devon up to the Scottish Borders, North Wales, the Fylde Coast across to the Vale of York and beyond.

While the overall average selling price of £62.91 a head was down £2.77 on last year’s corresponding fixture, which was itself exceptional with an overall average up £12 a head on the 2010 sale, 441 more lambs were sold this year, among them 833 Suffolk-cross, which averaged £63.72.

“We were delighted with the trade, bearing in mind that weather conditions this year have not proved ideal for cropping ground to provide aftermath grazing for store lambs. The attendance was also boosted by the unfortunate cancellation of the Great Yorkshire Show,” explained Craven Cattle Marts general manager and auctioneer Jeremy Eaton.

Livestock sales manager and auctioneer Ted Ogden noted: “A good show included lambs for short, medium and long-term keep. Smart Texel and Beltex types sold for around £65 to a high of £75.50 a head, while stronger lambs were in the mid-£60s. Medium-sized lambs were generally £58 to £62, with nice keeping lambs selling in the mid to late £50s. Several pens of Mule lambs found a ready ringside and sold to average £52 per head.”

The title-winning pen of 40 or more store lambs, a well-matched submission of 50 Suffolk-cross, was shown by Dales sheep farmer Michael Parker, of Winterburn Hall Farm, Winterburn, who was repeating his championship success at the corresponding 2009 fixture. His 2012 victors achieved the day’s joint top price of £75.50 a head when joining F Errington and Son, of Penrith.

Mr Parker presented a consignment of 270 Suffolk-cross, with other pens selling well at £66.50 and £65 a head.

Top price honours were shared by the second prize pen of 42 Texel-cross-Beltex lambs from father and son farmers Richard and Robert Greenwood, of West Marton. They also found a new home in Cumbria with F Tomlinson, of Wigton.

Third prize was awarded to a pen of 43 Beltex-cross lambs from Annabelle Sugden, of Laycock, Keighley. They sold at £73 each to Stephen Maskill, of Hebden Bridge.

A total of 1,777 Texel-x store lambs averaged £62.73, 30 Charollais-x £70.20, 155 Mule Wethers £52.02 and 12 Lonk Wethers £56.88.

In addition, 179 breeding ewes found a ready market, with particular interest in 110 commercial Mule shearlings, which sold to an overall average of £128.29 each and to a high of £142 per head for a pen from C and N Shearing, of Littledale, Lancaster. T C Crick, of Hawes, also sold four Mule shearling pens at £130 a head, along with Texel-cross shearling pens at £123, £122 and £120.