Christmas Prime Cattle Show & Sale

1st December 2022

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Darlington Farmers Auction Mart held their Christmas Cattle Prime Stock show and sale on Wednesday 30th November and Thursday 1st December 2022. Forward were 175 Cattle, 2580 Sheep and 7 Pigs.

64 Prime Bulls sold to 305ppk or £2560
30 Prime Steers sold to 365ppk or £2719
81 Prime Heifers sold to 540ppk or £3510
1 Charity Lamb raised £2680
2017 Prime Lambs sold to 333ppk or £152
562 Cast Ewes & Rams sold to £214
7 Prime Pigs sold to 140ppk or £106

A truly wonderful event for the Darlington Mart community with what proved to be a terrific showcase for the thriving beef industry; before we go any further, we must thank all those who attended and also offer a very special thanks to our expert judges on Wednesday evening Anthony Kitson and Chris Bell of the renowned Kitson’s Butchers based in Northallerton, Stockton and also Five Houses Farm Shop, Crathorne; the two expert gentlemen carried out their duties impeccably and efficiently throughout.

The sponsors of the show classes, to whom we are most grateful, were Dot’s Café, Crowberry Wood, Trevor Burns Fencing Contractors, P B Agri, Martin Bell Car Sales, Simpson Fuels, DAF Timber Ltd, Vickers & Barrass, AgriSource, ForFarmers and Northern Metal Recycling. The 2023 cattle show thanks to these most generous companies offered over £1200 in cash prizes to be won.

The annual Christmas Fayre is fast becoming an integral part of this flagship event and a fabulous crowd gathered within the shopping hall, when we add to this to the brilliant festive menu in Dot’s Café and a most excellent carol service held by R.A.B.I and the Stanhope Silver Band it really was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Show of Cattle (Wednesday) – A fabulous show of quality cattle culminated in an emotional victory for long standing Darlington customers Jim and Heather Marks of Gilly Flatts Farm, Bishopton. The highly coveted award of DFAM Christmas Champion went to a sublime 650kg homebred British Blue crossed heifer; the sensational sort bred and brought out by the Marks’s and shown by long serving herd hand Chris Strom carries all the attributes the modern butcher desires. The winning heifer also picked up an award which is very familiar to the Gilly Flatts trophy cabinet as the Bishopton based herd retained the Ben Craggs Memorial Trophy which is awarded each year to the Best Homebred animal. Taking the Reserve Champion rosette was the pick of an outstanding pen travelled across the Pennines from Alan Barnett of Brinns Farm, Shap; the Cumbrian crusader for the second year running fell just one spot short of the top prize, great consistency from Alan, perhaps 2023 will be the golden year for the chap from Shap? This superb British Blue crossed steer weighing 745kg was fed to absolute perfection with a tremendous loin and hind quarter, no doubting a colossal amount of meat will be yielded from him this Christmas. All exhibitors deserve huge credit, no doubting that this day belonged to Jim and Heather Marks but we must also say well done to Alan Barnett for again going oh so close; congratulations to the Renton Family of High Highlaws, Morpeth who arrived with a stunning pen of beast and left with a host of rosettes, the final mention then should without doubt go to young Aaron Armstrong who placed himself today right in the mix with these vastly experienced and extraordinarily good cattle showing specialists, perhaps the very competent young man is also one to watch next year?

Sale of Show Cattle (Thursday) – Wow, the high-quality show certainly demanded a monumental trade, sincere thanks must go to all the butchers and wholesalers who bid freely throughout. The dozen steers within the show averaged 320 pence per kilo and £2088 whilst the unbelievable heifer trade saw the 17 forward to show average 361 pence per kilo and £2212. Naturally our champion heifer led the way, she sold for a fabulous 540 pence per kilo and £3510 to great DFAM supporters H Taylor & Sons Butchers who boast excellent shops here in Darlington plus in eight other locations across the region. Top priced steer was the prize winning 745kg cracker from Alan Barnett which sold for 365 pence per kilo and £2719 to our judge of Kitson’s Butchers and Five Houses Farm Shop; a host of our prize-winning heifers followed the flyer set by these top two and soon after went on to sell regularly in the 350-380ppk and rounded off a fabulous couple of days.

Show Results & Prices – Clean Cattle

Overall Champion Beast & Champion Heifer
J L Marks, Gilly Flatts sold to H Taylor & Sons, Darlington for 540ppk (£3510)

Best Opposite Sex to the Champion and Champion Steer
A Barnett, Brinns Farm sold to Kitsons Butchers for 365ppk (£2719)

Ben Craggs Memorial Trophy
J L Marks, Gilly Flatts sold to H Taylor & Sons for 540ppk (£3510)

Limousin or Blonde Steer (unhaltered) 600kg and above
1st A Barnett, Brinns Farm sold to Kitsons Butchers for 340ppk (£2414)
2nd Renton Highlaws, Morpeth sold to Worsley Wholesale for 310ppk (£2139)
3rd T N Callender, Ox Eye Farm sold to Worsley Wholesale for 302ppk (£1842)

Other Breed Steer (unhaltered) under 600kg
1st J L Marks, Gilly Flatts sold to Worsley Wholesale for 333ppk (£1981)
2nd E W Grieves, Oakdene Farm sold to J A Jewitt for 286ppk (£1630)

Other Breed Steer (unhaltered) 600kg and above
1st A Barnett, Brinns Farm sold to Kitsons Butchers for 365ppk (£2719)
2nd A Barnett, Brinns Farm sold to Kitsons Butchers for 317ppk (£2187)
3rd J L Marks, Gilly Flatts sold to J A Jewitt for 321ppk (£2086)

Limousin or Blonde Heifer (unhaltered) under 550kg
1st Renton Highlaws, Morpeth sold to Thompson Wholesale Meats for 375ppk (£2043)

Limousin or Blonde Heifer (unhaltered) 550kg and above
1st A Barnett, Brinns Farm sold to Kitsons Butchers for 354ppk (£2265)
2nd Renton Highlaws, Morpeth sold to J Penny & Sons for 349ppk (£2128)
3rd A Barnett, Brinns Farm sold to J Penny & Sons for 355ppk (£2307)

Other Breed Heifer (unhaltered) under 550kg
1st Renton Highlaws sold to H Taylor & Sons for 372ppk (£1897)

Other Breed Heifer (unhaltered) 550kg and above
1st A Barnett, Brinns Farm sold to Kitsons Butchers for 380ppk (£2242)
2nd Aaron Armstrong, Coxhoe sold to Thompson Wholesale Meats for 354ppk (£2194)
3rd Renton, Highlaws, Morpeth sold to Kitsons Butchers for 360ppk (£2268)

Haltered Steer Any Breed or Weight (not previously shown)
1st A G Laws, Village Farm sold to J Penny & Sons for 331ppk (£2217)

Haltered Heifer Any Breed or Weight (not previously shown)
1st J L Marks, Gilly Flatts sold to H Taylor & Sons for 540ppk (£3510)
2nd Renton Highlaws, Morpeth sold to Thompson Wholesale Meats for 344ppk (£2218)

Show Bulls – Thanks go to Darlington stalwart Willis Piper of Pipers Quality Butchers, Houghton-le-Spring for his expert opinion acting as our bull judge this year. A fine show of high-quality bulls assembled with seriously strong competition; therefore, huge congratulations must go to all our rosette winning vendors. The Renton Family of High Highlaws, Morpeth are in quite some form of late and it was they who produced our Champion bull with a fabulous homebred Limousin, close behind J K Gregory, Porch House Farm, Hett Village impressed with a handy weighted British Blonde bull just ahead of a stunning Limousin cross from L R Welsh & Co, Green Lane Farm, Spennymoor. Arguably the finest Friesian feeder around these parts Messrs R Hall & Son, Kilton Hall, Brotton picked up two of the three rosettes in the class including the red one, sandwiched in between the classy Kilton Hall consignment were more of our most regular black and white connoisseurs J K & C E Farming, Piercebridge.

Continental Bull (any weight)
1st Renton Highlaws, Morpeth sold to J A Jewitt, Spennymoor for 300ppk (£2145)
2nd J K Gregory, Porch House Farm sold to J A Jewitt, Spennymoor for 295ppk (£1687)
3rd L R Welsh & Co, Green Lane Farm sold to J A Jewitt, Spennymoor for 301ppk (£1956)

Holstein / Friesian Bull (any weight)
1st R Hall & Son, Kilton Hall sold to C Siswick, Barrasford for 230ppk (£1623)
2nd J K & C E Farming, Blue House Farm sold to Bowland Foods, Preston for 233ppk (£1505)
3rd R Hall & Son, Kilton Hall sold to C Siswick, Barrasford for 226ppk (£1525)

Prime Bulls (64) – Bull trade firmer by some margin; little doubt the excellent show of bulls helped the statistics but nonetheless a very impressive average was achieved this week of 260ppk and £1820. Slightly missing the cut off for show bulls made no difference to a pair of belting British Blonde bulls from P Weightman & Son, Hallfield Farm as they surpassed even our Champion when selling for 304 and 305 pence per kilo respectively, over one third of the bulls this week sold beyond 280 pence per kilo which included six in the very exclusive 300 pence club. The top twenty-five sold over £2000, the top two excelled themselves as one of the aforementioned Weightman Blonde’s reached £2528 but best of all a wonderful 892kg Limousin from A C Simpson & Son, Witton-le-Wear sold for £2560. Best of the black and whites came from the show, with just seven pure dairy bred bulls forward they averaged up at an impressive £1436.

P Weightman & Sons, Easington sold 3 to average 300ppk and £2366
L R Welsh & Co, Spennymoor sold 2 to average 292ppk and £1931
J B Luck & Son, Bowes sold 3 to average 287ppk and £2106
F & J S Gargett, Barnard Castle sold 3 to average 285ppk and £2039
A C Simpson & Son, Witton-le-Wear sold 3 to average 283ppk and £2379

Bulls Leading PPK – 305 304 291 P Weightman & Sons. 301 285 L R Welsh & Co. 301 300 J K & C E Farming. 300 Renton Highlaws. 298 284 281 J B Luck & Son. 295 J K Gregory. 291 284 282 F & J S Gargett. 290 287 274 A C Simpson & Son. 290 J & K Woodward. 286 L S Staley. 285 J R Knox & Son. 284 E Wilson. 283 N White. 279 G K, K N & G J Hird. 276 270 D Richardson & Co.

Bulls Leading Gross – £2560 £2323 £2256 A C Simpson & Son. £2528 £2343 £2226 P Weightman & Sons. £2281 £2268 £2211 £2150 £2090 D Richardson & Co. £2265 £2125 J & K Woodward. £2195 F & J S Gargett. £2182 L S Staley. £2145 Renton Highlaws. £2142 £2101 J B Luck & Son. £2111 J R Knox & Son. £2099 N White.

Clean Cattle (111) – The good ship clean beef continues to move at a fast rate of knots, show cattle or not, these are a simply wonderful trade; the all-inclusive averages today see heifers at 301ppk with steers close behind at 287ppk and the whole shebang levelling up at £1768. Obviously, the rosette winners top the leader boards but some stunning returns for the commercial producers, P & N Tattersall of York sold both heifers and steers to 340ppk whilst local sellers J H & M & N W Brown had a shapely heifer reach 345ppk. Once again, the live ring this week continued to be as popular with the deadweight disciples as a rainbow armband is with the Qatar authorities, commercial bullocks and heifers from the Scott’s of Low Leam sold beyond £2000 as did heifers from regular sellers J V & J A Hodgson, Summerhouse.

A Barnett, Shap sold 3 to average 341ppk and £2440
P & N Tattersall, York sold 2 to average 337ppk and £1776
J L Marks, Bishopton sold 2 to average 326ppk and £2033
Renton Highlaws, Morpeth sold 2 to average 313ppk and £2103
T N Callender, Stockton sold 2 to average 313ppk and £1902

J L Marks, Bishopton sold 2 to average 440ppk and £2819
A Barnett, Shap sold 4 to average 360ppk and £2208
Renton Highlaws, Morpeth sold 6 to average 359ppk and £2122
Aaron Armstrong, Coxhoe sold 3 to average 330ppk and £2131
B Walker, Dalton-on-Tees sold 2 to average 330ppk and £2002
W J Scott, West Woodburn sold 4 to average 328ppk and £1942
R Hirst, Neasham sold 5 to average 324ppk and £1781
J H & M & N W Browm, Darlington sold 10 to average 316ppk and £1717
J V & J A Hodgson, Summerhouse sold 10 to average 313ppk and £1886

Steers – Top prices ppk 365 340 317 A Barnett. 340 334 P&N Tattersall. 333 321 JL Marks. 331 AG Laws. 325 302 TN Callender. 320 315 280 238 WJ Scott Ltd. 318 JK&CE Farming. 318 310 Renton Highlaws. 299 296 JH&M&NW Brown. 286 280 EW Grieves. 270 230 RW&R Henry. 264 M Ord. 249 238 236 JM Smith.

Heifers – Top prices ppk 540 338 JL Marks. 380 355 354×2 A Barnett. 375 372 360×2 349 344 Renton Highlaws. 354 341 WA Armstrong. 345 340 337 336 325 320 313 JH&M&NW Brown. 341 333 P&N Tattersall. 339 336 335 329 327 325 JV&JA Hodgson. 335 327 B Walker. 335 333 330 316 R Hirst. 335 334 324 322 WJ Scott Ltd. 330 W Swinbank & Sons.

Steers Leading Gross – £2719 £2414 £2187 A Barnett. £2217 A G Laws. £2139 £2067 Renton Highlaws Ltd. £2086 £1981 J L Marks. £2009 £1896 £1820 W J Scott Ltd. £1987 J K & C E Farming. £1968 R W & R Henry. £1963 £1842 T N Callender. £1919 J M Smith. £1798 £1753 P & N Tattersall. £1792 E W Grieves.

Heifers Leading Gross – £3510 £2129 J L Marks. £2307 £2265 £2242 £2017 A Barnett. £2268 £2218 £2178 £2128 £2043 £1897 Renton Highlaws Ltd. £2194 £2114 £2085 Aaron Armstrong. £2023 £2007 £1972 £1921 £1915 £1875 £1847 £1812 J V & J A Hodgson. £2022 £1973 £1929 £1847 W J Scott Ltd. £2010 £1994 B Walker. £1996 W Swinbank & Sons. £1992 £1887 J H & M & N W Brown. £1892 £1828 R Hirst. £1842 C W Gray.


Charitable Donation – The generosity of the DFAM community never ceases to amaze, today a superb Beltex lamb was kindly donated by Michael and Jamie Gilhespy of Low House, Ponteland with proceeds going to the Angel Trust Charity based here in Darlington and also in Bishop Auckland. Many thanks to our generous buyers who stepped up and ensured a fabulous amount of money headed to this most worthy cause. A collection was also held on the day and we would also like to sincerely thank all those who donated.

Prime Lambs (2017) – Trade very similar and certainly maintaining last weeks price lift, as always weighed straight this week the average throughout was 259 pence per kilo. As the Askwith’s of Crook prepare to defend their Christmas title next week they found themselves in good form today as they twice topped the sale at 333 pence per kilo, both occasions with 42kg Beltex lambs; an army of vendors, some of whom will have aspirations of Christmas show glory themselves sat close by in the Crook crusaders slipstream. The top gross value race proved to be a blanket finish as the Askwith’s, T H Richardson & Son and W A Wardman Ltd all sold within £2 of the top, it was however two regular sellers who dead heated in the lead at £152 when G Thompson & Sons, Softley Farm and A C Simpson & Son, McNeil Farm were locked together at £152.

Donations for the Angels Trust
£500×2 £180 Shann. £500 Jewitt. £500 A Atkinson. £500 Worsley.

Lambs – Top prices ppk 333×2 326 294 290 285 278 Askwiths. 325 307×2 273 J&A Moralee. 310 JJ Horn. 309 307 W&M Knaggs & Son. 301 298 296 282 G Thompson & Sons. 300 J Waters. 297 282 272 WA Wardman Ltd. 296 272 TH Richardson & Son. 292 278 PJ&MP Gilhespy. 290 288 PM&FM Hill. 290 RA&BA Ridley & Son Ltd. 287 F&JS Gargett. 282 SM Donaldson. 281 AWSM Farms. 280 M&A Gaskin. 280 W Tindale. 280 J Pallister & Sons. 280 W Denham.

Lead Grossing Lambs £152 £141.50 £136.50 £130 G Thompson & Sons. £152 £146 £139 £138 £135 AC Simpson & Son. £151.50 WA Wardman Ltd. £151 £137 TH Richardson & Son. £150×2 £147 £145×2 £140×3 Askwiths. £147 £140 Cole Hill Farm Ltd. £141 S Thompson & son. £140 J Pallister & Sons. £138 CM&TF Seymour. £138 W Kirk & Sons. £138 J&F Hartley. £134 £132 £130×2 J&A Moralee. £133.50 M&A Gaskin. £132 FD Hall. £131 EW Grieves. £131 C Binks & Son. £130.50 FB Davison & Son.

Cast Ewes & Rams (562) – More weight forward and trade markedly dearer, the ewes averaged £92 and the tups a blistering £136 today. Often more mentioned for their heifer feeding exploits it was a top place in the ewes today for J V & J A Hodgson, The Grange when they led the way with a top Texel at £214, both Richard Bailes, Cole Hill and W & M Knaggs & Son, East Newbiggin also joined the £200 club. Mule trade enjoyed perhaps the biggest lift, the best this week a pen of five from J R Wilson & Son at £130 with A C Simpson & Son in hot pursuit at £129.

Cast Ewes & Rams- £214 £182 £170 £150 x2 £140 £134 £130 £124 £123 JV&JA Hodgson. £200 £184 £150 £142 Cole Hill Farm LTD. £200 £187 £180 £166 W&M Knaggs & Son. £192 £168 £164 PM&FM Hill. £190 £150 £132 PJ&MP Gilhespy. £184 £166 £150 £149 £142 WA Wardman LTD. £162 £152 £129 AC Simpson & Son. £150 F Ward. £150 £130 £128 J&F Hartley & Sons. £150 £149 D&HM Hodgson. £144 EW Grieves. £142 R Hall & Son. £140 F Johnson. £134 William Tindale. £130 JR Wilson & Son. £128 F Hare. £128 A Wilson. £126 M&A Gaskin. £126 £124 £123 WL Robinson & Partners. £126 Gerard Te-Lintelo

Prime Pigs (7) – Nothing says Christmas Show time in Darlington like a hot Taylor’s pork pie, surely it is outrageous then that we do not even hold classes for our porky pals. I will start the campaign for their inclusion in 2023 with immediate effect. Trade still going along nicely.

Pigs – Top prices ppk 140×2 120 J Mitchell & Son.

Lead Grossing Pigs £106×2 £92 J Mitchell & Son.