SPRING lambs are now springing forward in much greater numbers at Skipton Auction Mart and the 442-strong turnout at the latest weekly Monday sale was a huge increase on the previous week’s 154 head, the latest offering figuring among another solid turnout of 2,170 prime sheep.

The new season’s lambs also met a sharp trade, notably those nicely fleshed weighing 38-42kg, and even though early numbers were well up many more could readily have been sold. The overall selling average of £117.05 per head, or 278p/kg (SQQ of 280p up to 45kg), showed a major increase on the previous Monday’s 255p/kg.

Neil Tattersall, from Ellerton, south-east of York, clinched the day’s leading per head call of £138 (353.8p/kg) with a pen of five 39kg Texel, the top price performers claimed for the second week in succession by Red Rose retail butcher George Cropper Jnr for his Sanderson’s Butchers in Baxenden.

Per kilo prices peaked at 355p (£128) for a pair of 36kg Texel from Gargrave’s Andrew Brown, these falling to regular wholesale buyer Hartshead Meat Co in Mossley, Greater Manchester, whose purchases also included £137 lambs from the Hutchinson family, travelling across again from Faceby in Hambleton. Steeton’s Mark Evans was another eye-catcher when selling four Suffolk pens from £133 to £137.

Trade for the 1,161 old season lambs was also much sharper on the week for all classes, producing an overall average of £98.84 per head, or 211.4p/kg, compared to the previous Monday’s £92.30, or 186.4p/kg.

Bill Livesey, from Preston, had a great run of heavy Texel hoggs topping at £130 per head twice, one pen falling to Kendalls Farm Butchers in Pateley Bridge and Harrogate, the other to Joe Bosworth, again buying for A&D Meats in Rossendale.

Gisburn’s Jimmy Baines topped the by-weight prices with a single Texel at 255p/kg (£120) sold to R Agar Wholesale Butchers in Ilkley. The entry also included 104 mature hoggs, which themselves averaged £80.48, or 167.4p/kg.

The 453 feeding ewes through the ring also produced a good trade throughout, the heaviest Suffolks selling to £109.50 and all heavies making £100-plus at an average of £95. The heaviest Texels made £110-plus, up to £129.50, with the overall cull ewe trade averaging £80.40, up on the previous week’s £75.13. Top call of £145.50 fell to a single Beltex from the Heseltine family in Bolton Abbey.

Cast rams averaged £108.80, with Texel entries selling to £131.50 and themselves averaging £116 each. Goat trade also stepped up a gear, with a top price of £82.50 and an overall average of £79 for the 16 on offer.

In the prime cattle ring, 20 of the 41 head were under 30-month butchers’ types and while clean cattle trade was a little quieter weekly buyer Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton was again to the fore at the quality end when accounting for both the leading priced steer and heifer.

The latter, a 595kg Limousin from the Critchley family in Hutton, was top overall at £1,389 (233.5p/kg), with the steer, a 580kg Limousin consigned by North Craven’s Francis and Andrew Smith, of Masongill, taking top call by weight of 237.5p/kg (£1,378). As usual James Robertshaw bought Keelham’s cattle, also taking home two for his own Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton.

Sanderson’s Butchers’ George Cropper Jnr was again in action when claiming the leading price per kilo heifers, a brace of 540kg and 560kg Limousins, both from Threshfield brothers Charles and Richard Kitching, at 247.5p/kg (£1,337) and 245.5p/kg (£1,375).

There were still plenty of feeding cow orders around the ring, though with less cast cattle with finish available, trade for the 20 cull cows on offer was similar to the previous Monday at an overall selling average was £679.14, or 107.67p/kg.

The odd heavy dairy was able to achieve 115p/kg, while the surplus of lean cows met a very good trade at 90p/kg-plus, those plain cows with an extra rub of meat selling to 110p/kg.

In the rearing calf sales ring, the entry of 49 comprised mainly younger calves, which maintained trade seen in recent weeks. British Blue bull calves again did best on price, the 13 forward averaging £305 and selling to a day’s joint high of £400 for a youngster from regular vendor Chris Watson, of Horton-in-Craven.

With plenty of dairy sorts on offer, Blue heifer calves also sold well, averaging £220 and peaking at to £255 for one from Ian Collins, of Dewsbury. The other £400 joint high fell to a Limousin bull calf from Ian Parkinson, of Barden.

While black and white calves were short of requirements they averaged £84, topping at £100 for a bull from Andrew Ayrton, of Eastby, who also headed the native calf prices with a £285 Aberdeen-Angus bull.

While attracting only a handful of entries, the second fortnightly dairy sale since their return to the ring attracted the usual good company of buyers and produced a solid trade under current conditions.

Brian and Judith Moorhouse, of the Aireburn herd in Bell Busk, successfully sold three newly calven heifers, one at a sale-topping £1,820, another at £1,800, both claimed by ringside regular Brian Blezard, of Ribchester.

The section averaged £1,650, with a single newly calven cow from Sally Wellock’s Harehills herd in Oldfield making £1,300 to Kirkby Malham’s Ian Wellock. The next dairy sale is on Monday, May 25.