Red Rose sheep farmer Robert Towers, of Camp House Farm, Farleton, near Lancaster, had a field day at Skipton Auction Mart, on Monday, when exhibiting both the champion and reserve champions at the headline Easter prime lambs show, along with the first prize pen of pairs at the opening show of ewes with lambs at foot (March 26).
Mr Towers won the overall prime lambs title with his first prize single 45kg Beltex-cross-Charollais lamb, which went on to sell for a price-topping £160, or £3.55 per kilo, to Alan Beecroft, of Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop in Lancaster Leisure Park, the principal buyer of prize-winning Easter lambs, among them every single red rosette winner.
The same vendor then saw his red rosette-winning pair of same way bred 41kg lambs awarded the reserve championship, these selling for £155 per head, or 378.6p/kg, the top price by weight, again to Countrystyle Meats.
Mr Towers was also responsible for both second prize winners in the two Continental-cross show classes, his 48kg single selling for £155, the 50kg pairs at £150 each, yet again to Countrystyle Meats.
All the Camp House lambs were home-bred by a Beltex ram acquired as a second prize winner at Skipton’s main pedigree breed show and sale two years earlier. The tup itself was bred by Paul Tippett’s Hackney flock in Shifnal, Shropshire.
Earlier the same day, Mr Towers, who the previous week at Skipton brought forward the first Spring lambs of the new season, was also a multiple prize winner at the opening ewes with lambs showcase, again all with lambs by the same ram.
He finished first and third in the pairs show class with Charollais ewes with Beltex single lambs at foot. The victors sold at £178 per outfit to Tom Walmsley, of D&A Livestock in Haverah Park, Harrogate.
Mr Towers, who was accompanied by his 24-year-old daughter Josie, who works full time for Wynnstay, though helps out regularly on the farm, was also runner-up in the pen of 5s show class, again with same way bred outfits with twin lambs.
In addition, Mr Towers sold Charolais shearlings with twin lambs to £220 and shearlings with single lambs to £190.
Mark Evans Easter Suffolk supremo
Back with the prime lambs, retail and wholesale butcher buyers were once again out in force at the ringside as they competed to source new season ‘springers’ for the Easter trade.
Steeton Suffolk stalwart Mark Evans, of Tower Gate Farm, was again in fine form, winning both first prizes in the single and pairs show classes, with ram lamb entries all by the same home-bred ram, his first crop. The 50kg single sold for £150, the 55kg pairs at £157 per head, with Mr Evans selling to a by-weight top of £3 per head.
This trio again fell to Countrystyle Meats, who will prepare all their prize-winning prime lambs for the forthcoming Easter trade.
Another regular showman, Tom Walmsley, of D&A Livestock in Haverah Park, Harrogate, produced two third prize winners – a 36kg Texel-cross single claimed at £115 by Andrew Atkinson, of Felliscliffe, buying for R. Agar Wholesale Butchers, and a 44kg Suffolk-cross single sold for £137 to the show judge, Mick Etherington, of Eldwick, on behalf of J Penny & Son.
AN Bolland, of Bolton Abbey, was responsible for the second prize 46kg Suffolk-cross single lamb, which made £133, with the second prize 38kg Down-cross pairs from ID&JC Briggs, of Guiseley, each making £113. Both these were also bought by Mr Atkinson, for West Scottish Lamb and R. Agar.
A total of 55 Spring lambs sold to an overall average of £131.14 per head, or 305.45p/kg, with Texels averaging £121 per head, or 320.4p/kg, Charollais £139, or 325.4p/kg, Suffolk £132.25, or 294p/kg and Down-cross £121.17, or 277.7p/kg.
Thomas Boothman ewes with lambs five-timer
Returning to the ewes with lambs breeding sheep showcase, there were yet more successes for Thomas Boothman, of Linton Hall Farm, Linton, who once again shone with his annual consignment of home-bred Texel females and Beltex-cross lambs at foot, all again by Beltex rams acquired from Skipton breeder Chris Windle.
For an unprecedented fifth year in succession, Mr Boothman won the pen of 5s show class with Texel 2 shear ewes with twin lambs at foot, these selling at £225 per outfit, top price in class, to AJ Philip of York.
He also finished third in the same class with Texel shearlings, again with Beltex twin lambs, and was runner-up in the pairs show class with 2 shear Texels with single lambs. Mr Boothman also sold Texel shearlings with twin lambs to £230 and Texel ewes with singles to £165.
Show judge was George Bell, of Kirby Lonsdale. Outside the show classes, James and Deborah Ogden, of Austwick, also caught the eye when selling their consignment of Mules to a top of £200 per outfit for ewes with twin lambs.
Also penned for sale were 3,163 old season lambs, which sold to an overall average of £105.64 per head, or 242.22p/kg, while 430 cast ewes and rams saw the former average £74.45 each, the latter £94.12.