2015-10-07   facebooktwitterrss

Bluefaced Leicesters Lead the Way at Skipton

Bluefaced Leicester rams were once again the top performers on price at Skipton Auction Mart’s multi-breed sheep showcase, the annual fixture for pedigree and pure-bred rams and females. (Fri, Oct 3)

The day’s leading price of 2,000gns, equalling the top Bluefaced Leicester call at the 2014 highlight, fell to the third prize ram lamb from the North Craven-based Smearsett pedigree flock of WA&A Booth, from Old Hall Farm, Feizor.

Robin Booth with his top price 2,000gns Bluefaced Leicester shearling ram

Robin Booth with his top price 2,000gns Bluefaced Leicester shearling ram

Got with V33 Lunesdale, bred by Gordon Rawsthorne in Nether Kellett, Carnforth, this sire served the Booth family well, being responsible for their first-ever Skipton NEMSA Mule gimmer lamb champions back in 2003. They have since won many NEMSA titles at the North Yorkshire venue.

Out of a home-bred ewe by Z4 Hundith, from Cumbrian breeder Jack Lawson, of Mealsgate, Cockermouth, that went back to the old pink tag Ravenscar ewe, the top price performer joined well-known local breeders Ashley and Rachael Caton, who run the Otterburn Lodge pedigree flock between Gargrave and Long Preston. They, too, have landed multiple Skipton NEMSA championships, among them both show classes at this year’s September opener.

After a successful season showing some tremendous Mule gimmer lambs, including the title-winning pen of ten at last month’s second big NEMSA sale at Skipton, Patrick and Janet Walker, and their son Thomas, of Fold Farm, Appletreewick, followed up with the second top price 1,600gns BFL, a 3-shear ram by the Booth family’s C1 Shafthill. Acquired as a ram lamb and having since performed well for the Walkers, he will go to work in pastures new with Cowling’s Andrew Ogden.

Next best on price at 1,200gns was the champion Bluefaced Leicester sheep from Ellis Bros, of Addingham Moorside, a shearling ram by their own D1 Bull & Cave tup, acquired last year for 8,000gns from breeder Mark Nelson, of Clapham. Out of a home-bred ewe, the title winner sold locally to JW Stockdale & Son, of Burnsall.

Entries from John and Claire Mason’s Oddacres flock in Embsay once again proved in demand at the fixture, with a brace of shearling rams leading the pen at 1,100gns each. One of them, the second prize ram sired by E4 Low Tipalt, bred in Cumbria by Ron and Fran Wilson, sold to JR Umpleby, of Kirkby Malzeard. The second, by a ram from Weardale’s Ian Potts, joined Joe and Trevor Stoney in Pateley Bridge.

The Masons were also responsible for the first and second prize BFL females, both out of daughters of their own Z7 Smearsett. The red rosette winner, by a Marriforth ram, sold for 200gns, while the runner-up, again by a Low Tipalt ram, made 150gns. Both fell to the same buyer, NE Turner, of East Torrington in Lincolnshire.

Reserve BFL champion was the first prize ram lamb from Will Wildman’s Micklaw flock in Kirkby Malham, being by F2 Butterfields, bred just down the road in Malham by Skipton NEMSA branch chairman Neil Heseltine. It sold for 200gns to show judge Jeff Throup, of Silsden.

Bluefaced Leicester averages were: Aged Rams £403, Shearling Rams £392, Lamb Rams £297, Shearling Ewes £157 and Ewe Lambs £183.

On what is traditionally one of the busiest sheep days of the year at Skipton, an increased turnout of 1,373 head of sheep filled the pens to maximum capacity and four sales rings were in use, with breeds covering the main sales for Bluefaced Leicesters, Suffolks, Hampshire Downs, Blue Texels and Zwartbles, together with second sales for Texels, Charollais, Beltex and other breeds.

In the accredited Texel ring, top price achiever at 1,150gns was a shearling ram from local breeder David Towell’s all-conquering Moor Top flock at Upper Leys Farm on Glusburn Moor.

Last month, Mr Towell achieved supreme championship and top price coups at the Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders Association’s annual Skipton highlight with sons of his own Wigglesworth Spellbound and the same sire was also responsible for his latest price-leading performer, out of a dam sired by his own Moor Top Mustang. The buyer was Robert Bradbury, of Berwick upon Tweed. The Moor Top flock achieved other notable highs with shearling rams at 950gns, 850gns three times and 700gns, producing a 20-head average of £653.

Champion in the Texel section was the first prize lamb ram from John and Alison North’s Loxley flock in Giggleswick, By an Irish-bred Tamnamoney ram that last year won several interbreed championships for the Norths, the victor sold to P Smith, of Helmsley, for 400gns.

Reserve champion was the first prize shearling ram from Steve Richardson, who runs the Stonebridge pedigree flock with his wife Sherry, and their son Adam, at Mount Pleasant Farm, Great Houghton, near Barnsley – they were also reserve supreme champions at last month’s Skipton Texel highlight.

Their latest offering, by an Aubrey and Sue Andrews’ Miserden tup, was bought last year as a ram lamb from Wendy Napier’s Niaroo flock in Leicestershire. He sold for 800gns when returning to South Yorkshire with JG Pears, of Penistone. The Richardsons sold a second ram for 680gns, with Procters Farm in Slaidburn also to the fore when selling another shearling ram for 780gns.

With a full Texel sale ring clearance of 87%, there was solid trade for shearling rams throughout, with females meeting a near total clearance, though ram lamb purchasers were more selective. Selling averages were: Aged Rams £394, Shearling Rams £402, Lamb Rams £217, Shearling Ewes £231 and Aged Ewes £276.

The Suffolk section attracted a strong entry of 503 rams and over 80% found new homes. Both the shearling and ram lamb show classes were well supported, with local breeder Mark Evans, of Tower Gate Farm, Steeton, emerging as champion with his first prize ram lamb, by a Strathisla tup, out a home-bred ewe also by a Strathisla. The victor sold for 580gns to Norfolk breeder Gareth Daniels.

Standing reserve champion was the first prize shearling ram from Bolton Abbey’s Stephen Bolland, which made 360gns when joining W Stapleton & Son in Hellifield.

Other notable breeders were John Key, of Stocksbridge, Sheffield, who had some strong prices with his run of shearlings to 520gns, while Ben Hardcastle, of Pateley Bridge, had another pen of strong tup lambs, which topped at 500gns. Shearling Rams averaged £317 and Ram Lambs £251.

In the non MV Continental commercial sheep ring, every type of tup was up for grabs, with some strong annual runs again on offer from regular vendors, among them Geoff and Anne Robinson, of Pannal, John Stephenson, of Bordley, Thomas and James Whiteford, of Tercrosset, Brampton, OEM Jones & EM Roberts, of Camarthen, and Paul Slater, of Macclesfield.

These consignments helped drive trade forward, with good prices achieved throughout. Leading the way at 1,150gns was a ram from the Whiteford family, which joined Skipton regulars Geoff and Margaret Booth in Lothersdale, backed up by a strong average from the Whitefords, who sold 55 rams at an overall average of £694.72 per head.

A total of 503 rams were forward, with another high clearance rate of 82%. Strong and quality shearlings sold well, though ram lambs proved hard to sell. Averages: Texel Shearling Rams £400, Texel Ram Lambs £179, Beltex Shearling Rams £391 and Beltex Ram Lambs £178.

Back in the MV commercial sheep section, Skipton’s Chris Windle achieved joint price at 920gns for his Beltex shearling ram that was reserve champion in its show class. By a Derbyshire-bred Dooley Sub tup, out of a home-bred ewe, it fell to M Barnes, of Fence, Burnley. Mr Windle also sold further rams at 480gns and 420gns.

The other joint top 920gns achiever was a Beltex-cross-Texel ram from Irish breeders B&W McAllister, of Ballymena, which was bought by RW Cornthwaite, of Accrington. The same vendors also sold further rams at 550gns and 500gns.

The champion Beltex was a shearling ram from Anne Story’s Borderesk flock at Hobbiesburn Farm, Longtown, Carlisle. By her own Borderesk Touché, aged ram champion at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show, the title winner returned home. Beltex Shearling Rams averaged £348 and Texel Shearling Rams £308.

David Alexander’s annual pilgrimage from Galston in Ayrshire proved fruitful, when 31 out of his consignment of 36 Blue Texels found new homes. His aged ewes sold to 600gns, shearling ewes to 500gns and ewe lambs to 340gns.

Ivanhoe Livestock, from Bedale, also achieved virtual clearance of their Blue Texels, which peaked at 500gns for a shearling ewe bought by John Stephenson of Bordley. All in all, there was a 90% clearance, with 55 out of 60 Blue Texels changing hands. Shearling Ewes averaged £443 and Ewe Lambs £366.

Championship honours in the Charollais show classes fell for the third year running to a home-bred shearling ram from Deborah Whitcher, who runs the Galtres pedigree flock at Skewsby, near York.

The title winner is a son of Netherton Caspian, bred by William McClaren in Scotland, and acquired four years ago, since when he has constantly bred good commercial tups. Out a home-bred ewe by the Welsh ram, Englis Cymro, the victor sold for 480gns to D Bowler, of Halifax. Deborah also produced the top price 500gns shearling ram, which joined Thimbley Farms in Northallerton.

Her parents, Charles and Valerie Marwood, who run the Foulrice pedigree flock in Whenby, York, were responsible for the first prize ram lamb and reserve section champion. The son of Dalby Mountaloe, acquired three years ago from Leicestershire breeder Charles Sercombe, led the class prices at 380gns. The Marwoods also sold a second ram lamb at 360gns, along with shearlings at 480gns and 460gns.

Robert Towers, of Farleton, Lancaster, was responsible for the second prize ram lamb and third prize shearling ram, with his charges also figuring among the leading prices when selling for 460gns, 380gns and 320gns twice. Aged Rams averaged £333, Shearling Rams £355 and Ram Lambs £285.

The Zwartble show class was won by Matthew Beckwith, of Holme House Farm, Gargrave, who started his Sharphaw pedigree flock in 2005 when he was given a sheep as a Christmas present. His shearling gimmer, Sharphaw Becky, by the Scottish-bred ram, Hellstanes Wizard, sold for top price in class of 220gns to Tony Spensley, Matthew’s next door neighbour in Gargrave.

Show judges were: Suffolk - Tony Shepherd, Eshton, Texel - James and David Towler, Grindleton, Bluefaced Leicester - Jeff Throup, Silsden, Beltex – David Findlay, Coverham, Charollais and Zwartble – Margaret Watkinson, Sessay.

Sponsors were British Wool, JG Animal Feeds, JACS Trade & DIY Warehouse, Armstrong Watson Accountants & Financial Advisers, Carrs Billington and Top Tags Animal ID.

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