2016-11-09   facebooktwitterrss

Countdown to Christmas Primestock Showcase Begins

The countdown is on to one of the biggest days of the year at Skipton Auction Mart, the 2016 Christmas prime shows highlight, plus support events, on Sunday, November 27.

The high profile annual showcase remains the climax of the mart’s primestock year, attracting the cream of the region’s prime cattle and lambs from leading farmers. Potential vendors should note that entries close on Monday, November 14.

2015 judging

2015 Judging
photo: Adrian Legge Photography

Top quality beef and lamb will again be in great demand by both family-run traditional retail butchers and meat wholesalers, who compete fiercely at the ringside to secure some of the best meat that money can buy for their customers’ Christmas tables.

There are 13 butchers’ prime cattle classes this year, four more than 2015, for young bulls, British Blue, native-breeds and any other breed heifers and steers. The nine halter-led classes, including one for young handlers up to the age of 25, again feature categories specially designed to encourage farmers to bring forward more lightweight animals, which have enhanced appeal to retail butchers.

These are supplemented by four classes for pen-judged un-haltered steers and heifers, which have doubled in number this year to further cater for the many commercial beef producers who support Skipton’s weekly prime cattle sale, but are not able to halter train animals. Prime cattle judges are Lincolnshire farmers and wholesale butchers Miranda and Richard Brown.

There are again ten butchers’ lambs show classes for pens of three covering all the region’s popular sheep breeds – Continental-cross, both trimmed and untrimmed, Suffolk-cross, Mule, Masham, Swaledale Dalesbred and any other horned, hill or native breed. David Palmer, of Scarborough, will judge the hill lambs and Martin Brown, of Dovecote Barn, Leyburn, will adjudicate in the lowland section.

Martin, a renowned breeder of Beltex lambs and familiar face at Skipton, has been showing butchers lambs for over 20 years, winning multiple championships along the way.

At last year’s Skipton Christmas primestock highlight, Martin, his wife Val, and daughter Hannah, claimed a supreme and reserve championship coup in the ‘live’ prime lamb show, while at the same time also presenting the supreme and reserve champion Beltex lamb carcases. It was the first time such a high profile double had been achieved at the North Yorkshire venue.

The Browns have dominated the butchers’ lambs show classes at the Great Yorkshire Show for many years, standing champion and reserve five times, while Martin was crowned supreme champion with a Beltex lamb at this year’s Countryside Live in Harrogate. Daughter Hannah also stepped forward with the champion single lamb.

Martin, who accepted an invitation to judge live prime lambs at this year’s event, said: “I will be looking for good quality, well presented and evenly matched lambs with plenty of meat.” He will again be showing lamb carcases.

Male and female champions will be chosen in the cattle classes and lowland and hill champions in the sheep classes. From these, overall supreme champions will emerge in each section. Many other special prizes for both regular vendors and buyers are also up for grabs.

The popularity of the annual event is clearly illustrated by the fact that last year’s prime cattle champion sold for an exhilarating £3,648, or £5.70p/kg, while the 2015 prime lamb title winners, having first attracted bids from six different butchers, eventually fell for a heady £500 each.

2015 judging

2015 judging
photo: Adrian Legge Photography

A standalone lamb carcase competition, again sponsored by Stanforths Butchers/CCM Quality Foods, continues to gain in popularity year on year and the five by-weight classes for Continental, Swaledale, Dalesbred and other native and hill breeds will be judged by Michael Winchester, livestock buyer at Woodhead Bros Butchers in Colne.

He will choose a supreme champion – last year’s Beltex title winner sold for all-time record high price of £850 – and reserve champion. Cash prizes from several sheep breed societies will also be awarded.

All entries will then go under the hammer, again presenting an ideal opportunity for butchers, hotels, restaurants and pubs to purchase award-winning carcases for display and sale in the run up to Christmas.

Also on the agenda is the annual show for prime pigs in pens of three, when a champion trio will emerge. Last year’s title winners sold for 229p/kg, or £220 per head.

Butchers and farm shops attending the annual highlight will again be offered the opportunity to enter the eighth annual Great Northern Pork Pie Competition, judged by an expert team of pork pie aficionados, in which the main classes are for traditional pork and stand pies, and speciality cold eating pies, with further classes for sausage rolls and Scotch eggs. Bakers who make products on their own premises are also eligible to enter.

There are special prizes for the best pies from Yorkshire and Lancashire, again intended to promote friendly cross-border rivalry, though a Red Rose pie maker has yet to become champion pie maker!

Farmhouse Fare in Skipton won the title for the fifth time in 2015, receiving the Moule Media Trophy, though have indicated they will not be entering this year. The competition is again sponsored by Keighley spice merchants TW Laycock and Sons and the 2016 champion will also receive a £100 voucher to be redeemed against a live weight purchase at this year’s Christmas primestock show.

There are also show classes for rich fruit cakes, Victoria sandwich cake, home-made chutney and – new this year – sloe gin. Farmers’ wives and others have the chance to shine here.

The annual show and sale of fodder hay features three classes for old meadow hay and seed hay bales, along with haylage.

As in past years, there will again be a major charity element to the day, with auctions of pork pies, other home-made produce and hay bales taking place in the main ring towards the end of the afternoon.

Many thousands of pounds have been raised over the years, primarily in aid of Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope, who will again be a beneficiary, along with The Addington Fund, a registered farming charity.

Known as Craven Lingfield Show Day and continuing to be styled on London’s famous former Smithfield Christmas Fatstock Show, the event regularly attracts a four-figure attendance and also provides a valuable opportunity for butchers and wholesalers to meet and network with farmer producers in person. Members of the public are also welcome to attend, with full catering and licensed bar facilities available throughout the day.

This year’s mainline sponsor is the NFU’s Skipton branch. Also sponsoring are Farmers Guardian, JACS, JG Animal Health, Armstrong Watson, Jameson, British Wool Marketing Board, Massey Ferguson, Barclays, McClarrons, Windle Beech Winthrop, Midgley Motor Cars, Top Tags Animal ID, Yorkshire Bank and Carrs Billington.


STOCK ARRIVAL- 9.00am JUDGING - 11.00am

PIE ARRIVAL - from 11.00am JUDGING - from 12.30pm

CAKES & PRODUCE - from 11.00am JUDGING - 12.00noon

FODDER ARRIVAL - 12.00 noon JUDGING - 1.30pm


Pigs - 12.30pm (Lingfield Ring)

Carcase – 12.45pm (Viewing 11am till 12.40pm)

Hill Bred & Lowland Lambs - 1.30pm (Main Ring)

Followed by Sale of Hay

Cattle – 3.00pm (Lingfield Ring)

Presentation & Charity Auction - 4.00pm onwards in the Exhibition Hall


ccm auctions

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link Welsh and Irish Lead at Skipton Sheepdog Sale
link Lawson Jazz Heifer Hits the High Notes at Skipton
link Skipton Swaledale Rams Achieve 95% Clearance