‘Morrisons effect’ is running through the livestock markets

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MARKETS are reporting a ‘Morrisons effect’ following the supermarket’s inauguration of a premium for beef sired by native breeds – and a double premium if the breed is Beef Shorthorn.

Sheep were also in the market headlines this week, with the big Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association ram sale at Kirkby Stephen.

As this page went to press, halfway through the second day, auctioneers Harrison & Hetherington were reporting prices of up to £24,000 and better expected.

Kirkby Stephen usually lays down a marker which Hawes, the other big centre of Swaledale expertise, will hope to top the following week.

The price of top Swaledale breeding stock is a barometer of confidence because Swaledale ewes are crossed with Blueface Leicesters to make the breeding Mules which hill farms sell to the producers who supply the butcher.

Morrisons and their abattoir, Woodhead Bros of Colne, sponsored the first native-breed beef stores sale at Skipton to follow the Morrisons announcement.

It drew 126 entries and keen demand at the ringside.

A run of eight Shorthorn cattle from T & A J Swinbank, of Brafferton, topped out at £1,050 each for 17-month-old bullocks, while nine Shorthorn bullocks, aged 18-20 months, from Geoff Riby of Driffield, peaked at £1,055 to average £916.

At the younger end, Jim Caygill, of Rylstone, sold a pen of six-month-old Luing bullock calves at £575 each. However, Continental crosses were still getting better prices across the range on the same day.

At the pedigree breeding cattle fixture at Skipton the same day, October 12, Jamie and Sarah Cooper of Hill Top Farm, Dacre, produced the prize bull of the day, Tomschoice Finite, a Limousin who joined RP Holt, of Rossendale, for 2,600gns. Beef Shorthorn bulls sold to a top of 6,500gns in Stirling on October 17, at the breed society’s official autumn sale, and seven bulls averaged £4,125, while females achieved a record average of £2,601 for 91 sold.

Gerald Turton, Upsall, Thirsk, got the top price for Cougar of Upsall, a two-year-old son of Bilsdale Anson, sold to W J Green, Fochabers, Morayshire.

Breed society secretary Frank Milnes said trade had been pepped by the new premium from Morrisons.

Overdale Farms, Wykeham, Scarborough, owned by Alex Smith and managed by Michael Cleasby, was a finalist in the Morrisons Beef Shorthorn Suckler Herd of the Year Award 2011, presented at Stirling.

At the Charolais Society’s event of the year, at Stirling on Wednesday, 18-month Yorkshire-bred bull Brampton Fugitive, from father and daughter Billy and Sarah Turner, Skelton on Ure, secured the reserve intermediate championship and went on to sell for 14,000gns to Alistair Brooke, Newton Stewart.

But top price, and a new world breed auction record, was 70,000gns for Barnsford Ferny, from Tom and Sheena Gatherer of Inchinnan, near Glasgow, which was sold to Charlie Boden of Mellor, Cheshire.

n The Arla Foods Milk Partnership has named Chris Stockdale of Carr House Farm, Pickering, winner of its 2011 award for best on-farm welfare.