Five out of five for McKenzies at Skipton store lamb highlight
Husband and wife sheep farmers Michael and Carol McKenzie, of Blue Scar Farm, Arncliffe, made it five championship successes in five consecutive years when again taking top honours on their annual visit to Skipton Auction Mart’s second big seasonal store lamb show and sale.
The high-flying McKenzies – Michael’s day job is flight training manager at private aviation company Multiflight, based at Leeds Bradford and Blackpool International Airports – retained the Robert Morphet Memorial Trophy for the best pen of 50 Suffolk-cross lambs.
They sold for £75 per head to John Errington, of F Errington & Son, Tirral, Penrith, who acquired all four prize-winning show pens, supplementing the victors with the second prize pen from Mac Iveson Partners, of Masham, at £79.80 per head, top price in show, the third prize winners, also from the McKenzies, at £67.80 each, and the fourth prize pen from Stuart and Stephen Lund, of Litton, at £68.20 per head.
John Errington returned home with a total of 599 sheep, while the McKenzies’ annual consignment of 235 Suffolks – their flock is run by shepherd Roger Gibson - sold at an overall average of £67.21 each, not far shy of the £68 per head achieved in 2011.
The show formed part of the fortnightly sale of store lambs and breeding sheep, attracting a total entry of 7,125, among them 6,699 store lambs, over 1,600 head higher than last year’s corresponding fixture and well up on the previous fortnightly sale.
Trade for the strongest short-keep lambs and the smartest Texel/Beltex crosses was similar to the previous sale, though medium and long-keep lambs were £2 to £3 per head cheaper. The overall store lamb average of £59.08 per head was £3.53 down on the 2011 fixture, with Suffolks averaging £66.04 each, compared to £68.15 in 2011.
Craven Cattle Marts’ Jeremy Eaton explained: “This was partly due to increased numbers, coupled with slight caution among buyers on the realisation that prime lambs this season have not quite hit peak levels due to unfavourable weather conditions.”
Other breed top prices, vendors and averages were: Texel to £74.80 from Richard Caton, Stainforth, av £58.94, Beltex to £74 from Annabel Sugden, Laycock, av £62.04, Charollais to £66.20 from Malcolm Metcalfe, Balderby Park, av £54.74, Meatlinc to £57.50 twice from Henry Rowntree, Gisburn, av £56.58, and Mule to £50.68 from Keith Verity, Middlesmoor, av £50.68.
The 426 breeding sheep forward sold to an overall average of £121.27 per head. Suffolk shearlings peaked at £165 each for a pen from Ian Brown, Clifton, and averaged £102.31, Texel shearlings sold to £135 per head from Mrs MEC Higgs, Cragg Vale, averaging £113.03, and Mule shearlings to £138 each from Michael Gillett, Mellor, at an overall average of £128.97.
Show judge was James Spensley, of Elslack, and sponsors Irish-based Laurence Pierce Wool Merchants, represented by local agent Grace Dobson, and local haulage firm, Eddie B Webster, of Cracoe.
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