OPTIMISM in the lamb business was reflected at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual show and sale of gimmer shearlings – one of the largest fixtures of its kind in the North of England.
The sale of young ewes last Tuesday attracted 5,000 entries – over 1,700 up on the previous year – and achieved an overall average of £146.41 per head, a rise of £11.83 on 2010.
Mule shearlings were notably strong, with the 3,272 entry averaging £155.97 each, up £18.73 on 2010. NEMSA-tagged consignments sold to a high of £218 each – for the second-prize pen from the Littondale sheep farming family headed by James Hall of Darnbrook. They were bought by Craven Cattle Marts’ chairman Anthony Hewetson, Bank Newton.
The Halls, who run some 2,000 Mule, Swaledale and Blue Faced Leicester sheep on their 3,000-acre holding were also responsible for the champion pen of Mule shearlings, which won the Edgar Boothman Memorial Trophy. It is a familiar piece of silverware to the Halls, who also lifted the trophy in 2008 and 2009. Their 2011 victors sold for £212 per head to Angus Dean, Threshfield.
The gimmer shearlings fixture followed a sale of 4,628 prime sheep the previous day and 11,696 store lambs were catalogued for sale on Wednesday, in the busiest week of the year to date at Skipton.
East coast sheep farmer Mike Allen, of Borrowby Grange, Staithes, presented the first prize pen of Masham gimmer shearlings, sold at £155 per head to Michael and David Wilson, Beckwithshaw, who also bought the 2010 champions.
David is chairman of Masham Sheepbreeders’ Association. Masham shearlings averaged £133.59, up £10.77 on 2010.
First prize in the Continentals class fell to a pen of pure-bred Texels from Tim Jackson of Goosnargh, Preston. They headed the prices at £195 apiece when joining William Warren, Cleckheaton. Texel shearlings averaged £128.20.
* The August Craven Dairy Auction, on Monday, included the second annual show for dairy bulls.
Champion was a March 2009-born red and white Holstein bull shown by Alan Midgley of Dean House Farm, Luddenden, Halifax, which headed the prices when joining Chris Harrison at Elsack for 1,460gns (£1,533).
Reserve champion was a 15-month-old home-bred pedigree Brown Swiss bull from breed enthusiasts David and Pauline Brown of Longside Farm, Ramsgill. Mr Brown is chairman of Nidderdale Show and his runner-up sold for 600gns (£630) to David Pennock, Bolton Abbey.
* Kirkby Stephen saw 3,102 sheep through its weekly sale, on Tuesday night, consisting of 2092 Prime Lambs, 763 Cast Ewes/Rams and 247 Store Lambs.
Trade topped at 205.10p/kg for a pen of Beltex-X lambs. Overall average was 5p/kg up on the week and 22p/kg up on the corresponding week last year. Light lambs under 36kg were very dear with pens of Cont-X lambs often fetching 190-200p/kg and pens of horned lambs regularly achieving 175-180 p/kg.
Many more store lambs could have been sold.
PLENTY IN STORE AT BAKEWELL
BAKEWELL Market, serving South Yorkshire as well as Derbyshire, reported exceptional prices for store cattle. Auctioneers Bagshaws said: “We have seen the occasional animal making over £1,000 recently and last week there was a steer at £1,215. This week, steers sold to £1,200 and heifers £1,295 with no fewer than 26 store cattle topping the £1,000 mark.”
He added that prices for OTM (Over Thirty Months) cattle reflected demand for all grades of beef, at 125-145p a kilo.