James Robertshaw was at his usual place at the prime cattle ringside at Skipton Auction Mart’s weekly Monday sale, claiming a total of nine of the 28 under 30-month clean cattle penned for sale, four for his own Robertshaws Farm Shop in Thornton, five for Skipton-based Keelham Farm Shop.

Robertshaws Farm Shops own acquisitions included the two leading priced animals, the first a 580kg Limousin-cross steer from Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching at £1,418, or 244.5p/kg, the second a 620kg Limousin-cross heifer from Hargreaves Farms in Walton-le-Dale, at £1,417, or 228.5p/kg.

The same vendors were also responsible for the top price per kilo steer, a 575kg Limousin-cross which became one of Keelham’s purchases at 239.5p/kg, or £1,377, while the leading gross price steer, a 645kg Limousin-cross from Bill Cowperthwaite on Malham Moor, was claimed by Kirkby Malham’s Jeff Burrow for £1,416.

A small weather-affected turnout of 12 cull cows met a sharp trade, all bar one selling from 92.5p to 110.5p/kg at an overall average just over £653 per head, or almost 100p/kg.

The previous Wednesday’s fortnightly store cattle sale attracted a solid 872 head, comprising 816 feeding cattle - 248 young bulls, 477 bullocks and heifers, 86 beef feeding cows, five beef feeding cows and 56 breeding battle.

Another high-quality entry of 2019 born feeding bulls, with a high percentage of 300-400kg cattle in the entry, was well sold. Bulls of all ages with growth potential were a good trade throughout, though the small extreme types were harder to place. JH&CM Stancliffe; of Bingley, topped the section with a brace of Limousin-cross bulls both making £1,165.

Store cattle were a robust trade, with the mart reporting that many more could have been sold to sellers’ advantage.

Strong U Grade heifers were in demand by a wide audience of buyers for further feeding or taking to the bull, with a top price of £1,520 for a top-notch Limousin from the High Field Farm Partnership in Chorley. Aberdeen-Angus heifers topped at £1,070 and bullocks at £1,225, both coming from John Cheetham, of Wath.

Good strong steers flew away to an active audience round the ring, while yearling bullocks sold just as well as previous weeks. Angus yearlings also met a cracking trade.

A large turnout of feeding cows produced sharp trade, especially for the leaner end of goods. The best end made £1100-plus, topping at £1,410 for another quality Limousin from High Field Farm, which was conducting a successful dispersal sale, their top performer at £3,700 being a five-year-old pedigree British Blue bull.

Back with the feeding cows, plenty made £850 to £1,000, the leaner end with some frame selling from £750 to £820. An overall section average of £877 was recorded.

All bar one of beef bred feeding bulls sold into four figures, averaging £1,150 and peaking at £1,400 for a British Blue from Whalley father and son, Richard and Mark Ireland.

Next week’s fortnightly Wednesday cattle fixture (Feb 19) also features the annual Craven Champions sale day, which follows the pre-sale show the previous evening.

Last weekend also saw Skipton stage its monthly Saturday collective livestock sale of stirks, weaned calves and young store cattle, which produced a very strong trade with a full ringside of buyers for the 174 head forward.

Bulls sold to £730 for a Limousin, steers peaking at £820 for a British Blue and heifers selling to £700, again for a Limousin. The next Saturday sale is on March 7, a day also featuring the first of 2020’s ever-popular Agri Trader Auctions.

More imminent is the year’s much anticipated opening sale of working sheep dogs on Friday, February 21, which has attracted another bumper pre-sale entry of 176 dogs, comprising 108 fully broken field-run entries and 68 in the unbroken. Once again there is representation across the length and breadth of the UK, with a notably strong Irish line-up.