2020-11-24 facebooktwitterrss

British Blue Calf Retains Championship at Skipton Christmas Showcase

Skipton Auction Mart’s 2020 Christmas show season began as usual with the annual rearing calf highlight, when Alan Middleton, who trades under the family partnership of JP&KE Hartley at Lane House Farm, Beamsley, again stood supreme champion. (Mon, Nov 23)

The Hartleys retained the title with another of their home-bred British Blue-x youngsters, this year with a five-week-old heifer calf picked out in the safe distancing pen-judged show classes by Great Smeaton Young Farmers Club member, Tom Barley, from Northallerton, who went on to purchase his chosen victor for £390.

2020 Skipton Christmas rearing calf champion

Alan Middleton, left, with the Hartley family’s 2020 Skipton Christmas rearing calf champion, joined by judge and buyer Tom Barley.

The title winner is by the family’s main stock bull, Greystone Money, acquired for top call of 4,600gns at Skipton’s annual ‘Blue Wednesday’ showcase in May last year. By the £20,000 Almeley Ginola, Money was bred locally by North Craven brothers, Alan and Graham Coates, who run the Greystone herd in Stainforth, and is proving his worth now standing with the Hartleys.
They have picked up multiple rearing calf championships and prizes at their local auction mart, where they regularly buy both pedigree and commercial cattle. The Hartleys continue to run a now totally flying commercial dairy herd comprising around 100 head, with some 75% going to the Blue bull, the remainder to the Aberdeen-Angus. In fact, one of their Angus bull calves won its show class before topping the section at £380. 
The reserve championship fell to the first prize Blue-x bull calf from Skipton regulars and again multiple past champions, the Sowray brothers - Shaun, Peter and Paul - who run their Holstein Friesian dairy herd at Bowes Green Farm, Bishop Thornton. The overall runner-up sold for £410, with the Sowrays also responsible for the £360 top price Limousin-x bull calf.
The festive fixture attracted a solid entry of 76 head, comprising 44 bull and 34 heifer calves, which sold to a sale high of £470 for a Blue-cross bull calf from Embsay’s Michael Wallbank, purchased by Chris Green, from Halifax.
New vendors, Gargrave husband and wife, David and Karen Shuttleworth, made an immediate impact when presenting the £410 top price Blue-x heifer calf, also chipping in with the second top call £420 Blue-x bull calf, a five-week-old, along with the first prize and top price native heifer calf, a £300 Angus. In fact, Angus youngsters met a serious trade, with new purchasers for all classes. Angus bull calves averaged £312, another from John Walmsley, of Ripley, catching the eye at £340.  

The 23 Blue-x heifer calves on parade, a good number under three-weeks-old, sold well to average £295 overall, with Blue-x bull calves averaging £363.
Threshfield’s Angus Dean sold a nice run of Simmental-x calves, his bulls averaging £320 and heifers £296. Quality was evident among the Blonde bull calves, which again sold well to a top of £390 for a four-week-old from N&R Sutcliffe, of Todmorden.


Black and whites also sold well above expectations, with £60-£80 the norm for younger 26 to 30-day-old calves and £110-£130 for nice rearing sorts around four-weeks-old. A brace of 43-day-old British Friesian calves, one a red rosette winner, from G Pickersgill & Son, of Guiseley, sold strongly at £235 and £190.
Weekly Monday primestock sales were also well supported. First up were prime cattle, when trade was very strong across all weights for an improved turnout of 33 under 30-month clean cattle, with an increasing number of handy weights in the entry.
James Robertshaw, of Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton, made the most of the larger entry to secure six in total to mature for the forthcoming Christmas trade. Among his purchases were two notable 555kg and 560kg Limousin-x steers from North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Masongill, at 274.5p/kg (£1,537) and 273.5p/kg (£1,518). Robertshaw’s also claimed the leading priced per kilo heifer, another Limousin-x from the Critchley family in Hutton at 269.5p/kg (£1,536).
Skipton-based Keelham Farm Shop took home five cattle, figuring among the top gross price purchasers when paying £1,565 (267.5p/kg) for a high quality 585kg LImousin-x heifer from Sheila Mason in Keasden.
Overall top call at £1,596 (259.5p/kg) fell to a 615kg Limousin-steer from Threshfield brothers, Charles and Richard Kitching, one of multiple purchases by Bradford-based Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers, with two also falling to the mart-based Barker’s Yorkshire Butchers.
Over 4,000 prime sheep were penned for sale, with a much larger turnout of 3,663 lambs, up around 1,000 on the week, meeting a tremendous trade across the board when levelling at a heady 222.3p/kg (SQQ of 228p/kg) and an overall average of £97.46 per head.
Handyweight lambs took the best lift, with plenty 10p to 15p per kilo up on the week, while heavies were around 5p per kilo up, with both North of England Mule lambs and horned wethers 5p-10p per kilo dearer.
Doing best again were Beltex and three-quarters Texel lambs, which found a very strong enquiry, 83 pens, or 456 head, selling from 250p/kg to a top of 342p/kg, while, per head, there were some great runs of lambs, 25 pens achieving sales of £120/£130 up to a day’s per head high of £135 from the Towler family in Grindleton. Beltex lambs, 520 head in total, themselves averaged 262p/kg, or £108.06 per head.
Mule wethers were the best trade of the season to date, averaging 206p/kg, or £91.22 per head, and topping at 214p/kg, or £96.50, for a pen of 39 weighing 45kg from Ellis Brothers, of Addingham Moorside. Horned and wether lambs followed suit, averaging 192p/kg, with a top of 207.1p/kg from Silsden’s Jack Berry.
A total of 414 cast sheep were dearer on the whole, cull ewes averaging £74.59 and rams £96.25. The former sold to £130.50 twice for Suffolk pens from a solid run consigned by R Spencer & Son, from Rotherham, while Mules peaked at £102.50 from West Marton’s David Calvert. White-faced tups sold very well with a top call of £159.50 for a Texel from Tony Squires, of Sutton-in-Craven.

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