Hexham & Northern Marts held their Special Spring Prize Show and Sale of store cattle and suckled calves on March 6 and 7, seeing excellent entries for both events.
The new two-day format was made possible due to a substantial amount of sponsorship from a number of local businesses, the main sponsors of the show being Armstrong & Watson Accountants & Financial Advisors, with John Warren ABP Ltd, Yorkshire Bank, Cox Agri, Scott Mitchell & Associates Vets & Natural Stockcare.
An encouraging range of 28 spring-born calves were brought out for show and put before judge Jonathan Watson, of Bowsden Moor, Berwick.
Mr Watson worked his way swiftly through the preliminary breed classes before being faced with his six outstanding first prize-winning calves, all vying to take home the Overall Championship.
With a very high standard of calves lined up, the judge gave every animal its due before deciding the first prize should go to a British Blue cross-bred bullock from regular Hexham show ring Stalwart Micky Lee, of Harwood Shield, assisted by his two-man show team, Michael Chalmers and Roger Nixon.
The 11-month-old black-and-white bullock had looked sharp in the earlier classes and clearly caught the judge’s eye when stood alongside the other class leaders.
The animal had an excellent top line, width and the shape for which the Blue sire has become renowned, making it more than deserving of the John Davison Millenium Trophy.
With the two Limousin cross-bred prize-winners in his mind, it was the heifer from Martyn Archer, and led by Malcolm Telfer, that took the Reserve Champion Rosette.
A smart nine-month-old red heifer with bags of breeding potential, it had been expertly brought out for show and presented to perfection to stand alongside the Champion.
The final award of the evening was for the best presented calf, which went to a jet black British Blue cross bred steer from Hexham regulars, father and son Nicky and Ian Robinson, of Bog Hall, Capheaton.
Having stood second to the Champion in the earlier breed class, this huge bullock, at just over 10 months, was easily one of the heaviest calves shown on the night.
Following a successful evening show, the auctioneers offered a catalogue of 967 store cattle and suckled calves, being one of the foremost sales of overwintered suckled calves seen anywhere in the country in the month of March.
As always, the sale started with the older, forward type store cattle and yet again these sold to a sharp trade, attracting increasing numbers of one-time breeder/finishers to sell their cattle in the Hexham store ring.
Back to the store ring for a second week were the Scott Family, of Low Leam, West Woodburn, who again sold a nice run of heavy Blonde cross bullocks at 15-20 months, which peaked at £1,680 and averaged £1,562, all but one of which sold to a regular Yorkshire-based purchaser.
Bishop Auckland-based Walker Bros, of Satley Farm, also returned to the centre to top at £1,580 and average £1,426 for another great run of forward steers while Rothbury brothers Derek and Vin Milburn, of Holling Hill, brought forward another run of 27 well-done cattle to top at £1,510 for steers and £1,340 for heifers, many of these bought as hill bred calves from the centre in the past.
Ken Bell, of West Throphill hit £1,460 with a big black Limmy bullock and John Wilkinson, of West Side, Staindrop, likewise went home happy, his run peaking at £1,440 for a weighty Blonde cross steer.
Despite some high prices for such short-keep cattle, the day belonged to the younger, yearling sorts – suckler bred calves, many of which were top quality ¾ and 7/8 beef bred types for which the centre is renowned.
Leading the charge for the cattle in the 11-12 month age bracket was a Lim x bullock from John Smith-Jackson, High Town, which hit home at £1,330, taken over the border to Broxburn by Messrs Dandie.
Several top quality runs of these types sold exceptionally well, including the annual consignments from Messrs Lee, of Morley Hill, who sold 44 cattle to figure highly in the averages.
Messrs Lee, of Agars Hill, also enjoyed a buoyant trade as did Messrs Ward, of Rogerley Hall, Weardale, and Messrs Rutter, of Burradon Mains, Coquetdale.