Champion offering at debut show

Stephen Pepper, left, checks out his Skipton prime lamb carcase champion, joined by wife Tracy, and judges Matthew Inskip and Ian Weatherhead.
Stephen Pepper, left, checks out his Skipton prime lamb carcase champion, joined by wife Tracy, and judges Matthew Inskip and Ian Weatherhead.
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One of the most eagerly anticipated events at Skipton Auction Mart’s Christmas primestock shows and sales this year was the inaugural lamb carcase competition, which attracted a 43-strong entry and created keen interest among both regular prime lamb vendors and butcher buyers, producing an overall average price of £104.50 per lamb.

Red Rose butcher George Cropper, whose shop is in Accrington Market, made a total of six acquisitions, among them the champion pure-bred Beltex carcase from Stephen Pepper, of Oxenhope, which had a 43kg live weight, a dead weight of 24.8kg, MLC grading of E3H and killing out percentage of 57.6 per cent. It sold for the top price of £272, or a dead weight of £10.97 per kg.

Prime lamb supreme champions Martin and Val Brown, of Newton-le-Willows, also made their mark with the second prize and reserve champion 40kg Beltex-cross E3L 57.7 per cent, carcase, which sold for the second top price of £160, or a dead weight of £6.93/kg, to Anthony Swales, of Knavesmire Butchers in York.

The Browns also chipped in with the highest killing out weight of 61.9 per cent for their second prize 41kg Beltex-cross E3L carcase, which was purchased for £128 by Watson Livestock, of Hellifield.

Mr Cropper also paid £102, £113 and £118 respectively for the first and second prize under-35kg and second prize 35-40kg Continental carcases, all Beltex-cross, from the Caton family in Stainforth.

He also bought the third prize 35-40kg Beltex-cross carcase from Robert Garth, Bentham, for £126, plus the third prize 41-44kg Beltex carcase from David Asquith, of Otley, for £112.

“It was an exceptional inaugural show and the carcases were a real credit to all exhibitors,” said Mr Cropper,

Knavesmire Butchers was another multiple buyer, including all three prize-winning carcases in the heavy Continental class – the first prize Beltex from John and Judy Garnett, of Draughton at £105, the runner-up, a Texel, from R&M Ireland, of Whalley at £115, and the third prize winner, another Texel, from Les Grange, of Follifoot, at £108.

A further acquisition at £99 was the first prize under-35kg Beltex carcase from Michael Hall, of Airton.

Skipton-based Stanforth Butchers, whose CCM Quality Foods arm at Skipton Auction Mart sponsored the show, bought a total of six prize winners, among them the three principals in the 41-44kg Swaledale class at £78, £69 and £77 respectively.

Stanforth’s also acquired Mr Nelson’s heavy hill Swaledale second prize winner at £77, the first prize 41-44kg hill carcase, a Masham from Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses, at £86, and the third prize heavy native breed Suffolk from Geoff Lawn, of Skipton, for £90.

Granville Fairburn, of Apperley Bridge, presented the first prize heavy hill Mule carcase, which sold for £77 to James Middleton, of The Old Hall Inn at Threshfield – it will now feature on their menu – while the third in class, a Mule from JW Stockdale, of Burnsall, made £74 when joining Alan Parnaby, of Barnoldswick.

The first prize heavy hill carcase winner from Gavin Howarth, of Skipton, a Hampshire Down-cross, was unsold on the day.

Pateley Bridge butcher Ian Weatherhead, assisted by apprentice butcher Matthew Inskip, judged the carcase competition, which also carried special breed prizes from the Northern Beltex and Northern Area Texel Clubs.