Mule Maestros Strike Again at Skipton NEMSA Opener
Ashley and Rachel Caton again dominated the opening annual ewe lamb show and sale for members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) at Skipton Auction Mart. (Tues, Sept 11)
The Caton family, right, with their Skipton NEMSA champion pen of ten gimmer lambs, joined by sponsors Chris Pearson, left, and Stuart Strike.
The Catons, of Otterburn Lodge Farm, Otterburn, submitted the champion pen of ten Mule gimmer lambs for a record breaking seventh time, along with the reserve champion pen of 20s.
Their victorious 2012 ten-strong pen – half by home-bred ram lambs, the other half by senior stock tups – sold for £200 per head to co-judge, east coast sheep farmer Mike Allen, of Staithes, who also paid £295 per head, top call in class and of the entire day, for the fifth prize pen of tens from John and Claire Mason, of Oddacres Farm, Embsay
The Catons’ second prize pen of 20s had similar breeding, though a quarter of them were lambs from the first crop of last year’s prized new Bluefaced Leicester ram purchase, D2 Middleton Hall, bred by David Watson in Kirkby Lonsdale.
They joined Claire Morris, of Barnard Castle, who also bought the Catons’ 2011 champion 20’s pen, for £165 per head. With their first draw of 180 gimmer lambs, the Catons also sold the fourth prize pen of 20s for £150 each to G&E Haynes & Son, of Winslow in Buckinghamshire.
The title-winning 20’s pen was shown by another renowned Mule-breeding family, North Craven’s WA & A Booth, of Feizor. Shown by Robin Booth, they made £260 per head, top price in class, when joining Derbyshire buyers WS Hudson & Son, of Ilam, Ashbourne.
The Booths’ consignment of 140 gimmer lambs also produced five other pens sold at between £142 and £190 per head.
Once again, the annual highlight offered a quality selection of 7,000-plus lambs, over 1,200 up on last year - for both tupping and running. While the overall average selling price of £109.11 per head was £11.40 down on 2011, trade at last year’s fixture was phenomenal – the best since NEMSA first began staging its annual sales at Skipton almost 30 years ago.
Craven Cattle Marts livestock sales manager Ted Ogden noted: “The increased show of lambs at this major sale sold to a very sensible trade. The best lambs found a ready market, with some top pens slightly up on the year, some slightly down, the main consensus being that they were generally within £5 either way of last year’s prices.
“Lambs in the middle to lower end of vendors’ runs were cheaper on the year, due in part to the fact that some lambs would be a touch smaller given the inclement weather during the late summer months.”
Skipton branch NEMSA chairman Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses, who had earlier sold his sixth prize pen of tens for £200 each to B&M Watkinson, of Sessay, Thirsk, said: “The opening fixture proved very successful, with a packed ringside and a nice show of stock all the way through.”
There were Craven Cattle Marts prizes for the highest flock averages for 100 or more lambs, awarded to WA&A Booth, 138 lambs at an overall selling average of £165.83 per head, JK Wilson, 130 lambs, av £127.08, and AV Caton 176 lambs, av £126.66, and for the highest flock average under 100 lambs to I&M Lancaster, Wiswell, 20 lambs, av £136, SA Fawcett, Barden, 40 lambs, av £130.75, and JC Walker & Son, Dunsop Bridge, 75 lambs, av £122.53
Show results, per head prices and buyers: Pens of 10 – 1 AV Caton, Otterburn, £200 to MB Allen, Staithes, 2 KM&L Throup, Draughton, £180 to SD Bennett, Silsden, FA Caton, Weston, £164 to JW Hall, Darnbrook, 4 Ellis Bros, Addingham Moorside, £190 to B&M Watkinson, Sessay, 5 AJ Mason, Embsay, £295 to MB Allen, 6 JK Wilson, Blubberhouses, £200 to B&M Watkinson.
Pens of 20 – 1 WA&A Booth, Feizor, £260 to WS Hudson & Son, Ilam, 2 AV Caton, £165 to C Morris, Barnard Castle, 3 FA Caton, £126 to JP Barnes, Sawley, 4 AJ Mason, £150 to G&E Haynes & Son, Winslow, 5 Ellis Bros, £142 to J&E Greenhalgh, Bashall Eaves, 6 SA Fawcett, Barden, £132 to TR Thwaite & Son, Horton in Craven.
Title winners in both show classes received Ciba Geigy perpetual trophies, with the champion pen of tens, judged by Mike Allen and Richard Haynes, of Winslow, also picking up the Chester Kneller Memorial Trophy.
Judges in the 20’s class were Alan Redpath, of Lowesby, and Michael Barker, of Halton, with the show sponsored by Chris Pearson, of Pearson Farm Supplies, West Marton, and regional agricultural accountants The Barker Partnership, represented by director Stuart Strike.
The second annual NEMSA gimmer lamb show and sale takes place on Tuesday, September 25, when the Catons will again be defending their 2011 20’s class championship and the Draughton-based Throup family the 10’s title.
In effect, the big NEMSA sales replicate a pedigree society fixture, where all lambs presented for sale are guaranteed to be from the correct parentage. This is either a Bluefaced Leicester ram crossed with a Swaledale ewe or a Blue-Faced Leicester ram crossed with a Northumberland-type Blackface ewe. Only horned breeds qualify to be North of England Mule lambs and the two Skipton sales are solely for NEMSA members. This clearly demonstrates to buyers, notably those from the south of the country, that they can rest safe in the knowledge that all stock on offer is of the correct parentage.
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