SPRING lambs continue to spring forward in much greater numbers at Skipton Auction Mart, the 1,498 forward this Monday by far the largest turnout of the season to date. They sold to an overall average of £97.43 per head, or 236.8p/kg

The welcome return of vendor prizes at the traditional monthly opener for the highest priced pens of ten or more Continental-cross lambs saw Darwen husband and wife, David and Laura Coar, present the top price per kilo pen of ten 48kg Beltex/Texel-cross, which made 255.8p/kg when claimed by Felliscliffe’s Andrew Atkinson.

Heading the gross prices at £125 each were 11 same way bred 52kg lambs from the Hammond family in Glasshouses, purchased by James Robertshaw for his Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton, Bradford.

Spring lamb vendors were looking to sell earlier than usual due to drier weather conditions, which became obvious when looking at the weight categories, with lambs as light as 30kg presented for sale, and just over 200 lambs on offer scaling 37kg or less, giving an overall sale average by weight of 41kg. This lighter weight of lamb still sold reasonably well, so long as well fleshed, with the 32-35kg’s averaging £234.3p/kg, or £80.82 per head.

At the other end of the weight scale, heavies were a good trade, with £120 to £130 a regular price range for fed lambs suitable for retail butcher and farm shop clients.

The sale was topped at £135 by a top quality 37kg Beltex-cross lamb presented by Ellis Bros, of Addingham Moorside, which was also top price per kilo at 364.9p when selling to Stephen Swales for his family-run retail butchers shop in Albermarle Road, York,

Three other vendors achieved £130 per head – Rob Marshall, Dacre also selling to Knavesmire Butchers, John Mellin, Black Lane Ends, to Kendalls Farm Butchers in Pateley Bridge and Harrogate, and R&E Pollard, Colne to Andrew Atkinson.

Handy export weights were a decent trade, better three-quarters bred or nice skinned types making 240/260p, first-cross continentals 230/240p and several large runs of Suffolk Mules in the mix selling at 220/230p.

Prime hoggs, a reducing 315 head, averaged £71.30 per head or 171.8p/kg, with a high of £116 for a single Texel from J Barrett in Barnoldswick. The 56 mature hoggs among them themselves averaged £68.86.

Almost 400 cast sheep, rams and goats were penned for sale, the vast majority cull ewes as usual, which were a touch easier on the week, though those with good meat looked best sold. They averaged £71.13 per head, with a top of £113.50 for a Texel pen from John and Pauline Turner in Draughton. Cast rams averaged £63.50.

A tidy turnout for the first week in June of over 200 breeding sheep produced similar trade on the week, topping at £185 per outfit for Texel hoggs with single lambs from Elslack’s John Airey, with both North of England Mule ewes and twins and Mule hoggs with singles selling to £180 per outfit.