2017-08-30   facebooktwitterrss

Gimmer Shearlings Out in Force at Skipton

The ‘young ladies’ of the sheep world had their day at Skipton Auction Mart when a much increased entry on the year of 5,599 gimmer shearlings were turned out for the big opening annual show and sale. (Tues, Aug 22)

One of the largest fixtures of its kind in the North of England and the traditional pipeopener to the mart’s s 2017 breeding sheep season.

The Hall family’s top price £235 per head Mule gimmer shearlings.

The Hall family’s top price £235 per head Mule gimmer shearlings.

Mule sheep in particular, which are keynote to the annual highlight, were unaffected in terms of selling price by the far larger turnout in general and met a good trade throughout the sale, notably the quality end.

Show entries sold around the £180-£220 mark, up to a day’s high of £235 per head for the third prize pen from local vendors, brothers Will, James and Tommy Hall, of Darnbrook Farm, Darnbrook. They fell to Alan Lodge, of Malham Moor.

Other good runs of strong Mules made £150-£180, nice sorts £130-£145 and commercial types £120-125. An overall selling average of £135.57 for Mule shearlings, though £2.91 down on 2016, was still deemed a very good return on the year.

Most of the increase in the entry came from Continental and Suffolk gimmer shearlings and here again the stronger end found a decent following at the ringside, though a fair proportion of these were commercial types and the overall selling average of £123 per head reflected the quality on offer.

As a result, the sale average for all breeds was down £11.08 on the year to stand at £130.11, though pertinent is the fact that an extra 1,663 head were sold on the year, a 42% rise in numbers.

The annual highlight featured three show classes for pens of ten, with the winner’s red rosette in the Mule section falling to the Ribble Valley’s James Towler, of Steelands Farm, Grindleton, with gimmer lambs he bought the previous year at Skipton.

“I buy in 150 to 200 gimmers each year to lamb, then return them to the sales ring as shearlings, also retaining around 60 head as replacements in our own flock. Hoggs go to our Beltex tup and older sheep to our Texel,” explained second generation sheep farmer Mr Towler.

The flock was established by his parents, William and Valerie Towler, and currently runs to 700 head, with a 50:50 split between Mules and Texel-cross-Beltex. It was the first time Mr Towler had won the Mule show class at the fixture and his victorious pen received the Edgar Boothman Memorial Trophy, again presented by his nephew Thomas Boothman, of Linton. They went on to sell for £200 per head, with the family selling further pens at £190 and £180.

For the second year running, the Continental show class was won by near pure-bred Texels from Lambert and Joy Coverdale and their son, also Lambert, from Crimple Meadow Farm, Beckwithsaw, Harrogate. All were home-bred to a ram from David Towell’s Moor Top flock at Upper Leys Farm, Glusburn Moor. The Coverdale family’s Texel flock currently stands at around 200-strong and their latest red rosette winners sold for £170 each, joint top price in class.

The show class for Masham gimmer shearlings fell to long-established breeders and Masham Sheep Breeders Association stalwarts, WD Douthwaite & Partners – Chris, his brother Alan, and the former’s son James – from High Snape Farm, Kirkby Overblow, between Harrogate and Wetherby.

“We have had Mashams for as long as I can remember and currently have around 100 at home. We keep some 600 Swaledale and Dalesbred hill sheep, along with 400 Mules and Mashams, plus followers,” explained Chris.

He said his daughter Amanda was the Masham showgirl in the family, winning prizes with them at this year’s Great Yorkshire and Gargrave Shows – and hoping for more success at others. The family are also arable farmers, while James Douthwaite runs his own farm contracting business. Their pen, sired by both home-bred and bought-in tups, sold for joint top price in class of £140 per head.

Back in the Mule show class, the second prize pen came from 2016 winners John and Beth Greenhalgh, and their daughter Anne, from Rugglesmere Farm, Bashall Eaves, Clitheroe, selling away at £200 each. They sold further pens at £190 and £182 three times.

Norfolk breeders Henry Harvey & Son, of Waxham Hall, Waxham, again made the long trip north with their annual consignment of 368 Texels and Mules, finishing runners-up in the Continental show class and seeing these sell at £155 each.

Robert Towers, of Farleton, Lancaster, sold his third prize Continental pen for £170 per head, while the top price-achieving Halls were also responsible for the second prize £140 per head Masham shearlings pen – they won the class last year. Tony Binns, of Clint, Harrogate, was again a prize winner with his Mashams when finishing third and selling his pen at £135 each.

Individual breed averages were: Mule £135.57 (-£2.91 on year), Masham £137.56 (+£11.09), Texel £123.88 (-£31.56), Suffolk £114.47 (-£23.64), Cheviot £114.80 (-£23.14), Beltex £118.21 (-£24.29), Charollais £131.06, Zwartable £120.

Show judges were Paul Bolland, of Airton, Hubberholme’s James Huck and Richard Crabtree, of Clifton, Otley. Main sponsors were Skipton NFU, represented by Claire Radley and Sarah Hargreaves.

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Related Links
link Buyers to Flock to Skipton NEMSA Highlights
link Record Early Ram Sale
link Border Disease Certification for Rams Launched
link The Crofting Perspective on the Ewe Hogg Scheme