Annual shows for Swaledale and Dalesbred wether lambs formed the centrepiece of Skipton Auction Mart’s fortnightly store lambs sale, which had a catalogue entry of over 13,000 head.
Richard Close, right, with his Skipton Dalesbred wether lamb victors, joined by sponsor Jonathan Guy.
The pick of the Dalesbreds came from Yorkshire Dales sheep farmer Richard Close, of Calfhalls Farm, Starbotton, whose red rosette-winning pen of 25 fell for £38 per head when finding a new home in Wharfedale with Ilkley’s Roger Naylor, of Windsover Farm, Langbar, Ilkley.
The Close family has been breeding Dalesbreds on their home ground for nigh on a century, with the flock, now comprising some 500 breeding ewes, first established by Richard’s grandfather Joe, who was a founder member of the Dalebred Sheep Breeders Association in 1929.
Richard’s son Matthew is the fourth generation of the Close family to be involved in the business and is certainly pulling his weight in more ways than one!
He and his plumber brother Ian, along with six other members of Upper Wharfedale Young Farmers Club - David Wade, Jack Davey, Edi Herd, Lewis Whitham, Jim Mason and Thomas Walker – formed the Yorkshire YFC team that won the national finals of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs’ Men’s Tug of War competition, staged the previous weekend at Malvern Showground in Worcestershire.
They were trained by tug of war legend, Bordley farmer Chris Nelson, who came out of retirement specially to equip the boys with the pulling power to land the national title. His brother Roy is a renowned Swaledale sheep breeder who is regularly among the prizes at Skipton.
Julie Metcalfe, right, with her Skipton Swaledale wether lamb victors, joined by her sister’s son John Varley, and sponsor Jonathan Guy.
Back at the show, the first prize pen of Swaledales came from two local breeders, farming sisters Julie and Caroline Metcalfe, of Town End Farm, Cowling, on what was their first-ever foray into the show arena.
The siblings, who have a flock of 400 Swaledale ewes and also breed Aberdeen Angus
suckler cows, saw their red rosette-winning pen of 25 sell for £30 per head, again to Roger Naylor.
Store lamb prices peaked at £67.50 per head for a Texel pen from John and Julie Carlisle, of Cracoe, with the same breed also responsible for the top priced gimmer lamb pens, both from James Earnshaw, of Flasby, at £86, top call of the day, and £84 per head respectively.
Jonathan Guy, of JG Animal Health, was main show sponsor, while JACS Trade & DIY Warehouse, of Skipton, again donated prizes to the highest priced pens of 50 or more lambs.
A pen of 58 Texels
from Ian Marsden, of Greenside Farms in Sheffield, did best of the Continental-cross at £59.80, while Adam Staveley, of Cowling, with 66 Suffolk-cross at £65 each, and James Harrison, of Weston, Otley, with 93 Mules at £57 per head, the other top price achievers.
The overall selling average of the 10,000+ entry was £52.90 per head, with store lambs averaging £52.20 and gimmer lambs £62.01, which was, as anticipated, easier trade than the previous fortnightly sale, reflecting the recent easing in the price of finished lamb.