THE first fixture in Skipton Mart’s new sheep sales ring on Easter Bank Holiday Monday saw a solid turnout of 2,657 head and a very sharp trade to match.

The 19 spring lambs levelled at £134.15 per head (289.8p/kg), with 2,426 old season lambs selling to an overall average of £108.84 each (250.3p/kg), up 9p on the week.

The first sheep in the ring was a Mule wether lamb that was champion at last December’s Addingham & District Sheep Breeders’ Association’s annual charity show and sale for Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope, Keighley. It met with spirited bidding, falling for £155 to Andrew Atkinson, Felliscliffe.

Back with the spring lambs, handy weights all sold at over £3 per kilo, topping at 342p/kg for 40kg Charollais from Charles Marwood, Whenby, near York. They were bought on behalf of Roland Agar Wholesale Butchers, Ilkley.

The previous week’s Easter prime lamb champion, Robert Towers, Farleton, Lancaster, returned to achieve top price of £150 per head with Charollais-cross-Beltex lambs bought by Kendalls Farmers Butchers shops in Pateley Bridge and Harrogate.

The overall Charollais spring lambs selling average was £134.15 per head (289.9p/kg).

Hoggs from the Hutchinson family, Faceby, peaked at 334p/kg (£154), when claimed by Hartshead Meats, Mossley. Rob Bailes, Aldborough, saw his Continental-bred hoggs reach 331.8p/kg (£146) for 44kg entries bought by Vivers Scotlamb.

Heavy lowland hoggs sold well all day – one run of 33 lambs averaged 56kg and £145 per head, and another 55-strong run averaged 47kg, levelling at £140.75 each.

For Continental-cross sorts 240-275p/kg was regularly seen for first cross nice-skinned lambs. Mule lambs generally sold at 225-235p/kg, topping at £124 and £118 from Newark’s Steve Dorey.

Among 212 cast sheep, cull ewes sold to an overall average of £80.39 per head, topping at £138.50 for a Suffolk pen from PN Hugill, Hellifield. Cast rams averaged £71.50.