• Supreme championship falls to Tomschoice pedigree herd

Jim and Ian Handley’s Gunnerfleet pedigree Limousin herd in Chapel-le-Dale, near Ingleton, landed top price honours at 4,900gns (£5,145) at Skipton Auction Mart’s main breed highlight of the year –  Craven Limousin Day, the annual Spring show and sale of pedigree bulls and females. (Wed, May 11)

Established almost 30 years ago and one of the oldest foundation herds in the country, the Gunnerfleet Farm herd, supreme champion at the 2011 Skipton showcase, secured top call at the latest renewal with its second prize intermediate bull, the October, 2014-born Gunnerfleet Jumbo, an embryo son of Cloughead Umpire, bred in Keswick by George Hutton.

Gunnerfleet Jumbo from I Handley selling for 4,900gns.
Gunnerfleet Jumbo from I Handley selling for 4,900gns.

The second calf of the home-bred Gunnerfleet Ecian – her first one, Gunnerfleet Jumper sold for 6,000gns – Jumbo packed his trunk when finding a new home with cattle and sheep farmer Mick Rodney, of Leighton Grange Farm, Healugh, near Masham.

Mr Rodney keeps a number of pedigree Limousin cattle and 120 Limousin-cross and British Blue-cross suckler cows. His new acquisition, the first time he has used a Gunnerfleet, will be put to work on a late calving batch, which he aims to calve in a 12 to 15-week window.

Champion Carwin Icaros from J M and S P Cooper, selling for 4,600gns.
Champion Carwin Icaros from J M and S P Cooper, selling for 4,600gns.

The Tomschoice pedigree Limousin herd of James and Sarah Cooper, based at Hill Top Farm, Dacre, Harrogate, responsible for the 5,400gns top-selling senior bull at the 2015 Skipton Limousin showcase, shone yet again when presenting the supreme champion, the first prize senior bull and senior male and overall male champion, the three-year-old Carwin Icarus, first bought as a calf at the Carwin dispersal sale in Ireland.

By Roundhill Saturn, also bred in Ireland by the Goulding family and again purchased as a calf by the Coopers, Icarus, who is out of Carwin Fortune, has plenty of his daughters in the herd, and, with a new stock bull now in the herd, he came up for sale and will continue his work with new owners, Ian and Stuart Barritt, of Braisty Wood, Summerbridge, who went to 4,600gns, second top price in show, to secure him.

Reserve champion Lissett Jagger from J H Tennant Ltd.
Reserve champion Lissett Jagger from J H Tennant Ltd.

The reserve supreme championship fell to a 2014-born bull from Nicholas Tennant, who runs the Lissett pedigree herd with his father James at Manor House Farm, Fraisthorpe, south of Bridlington. They farm 20 pedigree Limousin and 150 Limousin-sired suckler cattle.

Lissett Jagger had first won his show class before progressing to become intermediate male champion and reserve male champion. Bought as a calf at the Bankdale dispersal sale, he is an AI son of the 30,000gns Anside Flint, bred by the Irvine family, from Drummuir, who appeared on the BBC’s recent ‘This Farming Life,’ a documentary series following the struggles and triumphs of five farming families in some of Scotland’s most remote landscapes.

Bred from the Saphir cow, Bankdale Gaga, Jagger strutted to 3,600gns when joining with CG&AJ Sutcliffe, of Wetwang, Driffield.

Show judge was John Philips, who runs the Gronw pedigree herd in Carmarthenshire, and is chairman of the British Limousin Cattle Society. He had also adjudicated at the previous day’s Northern Limousin Extravaganza.

He commented: “It was another good show of bulls and females, with some excellent modern-type bulls about showing good length and width. The champion is an excellent older bull with length and width and moved very well, while the reserve is a very well balanced bull with excellent hind quarters and very good on his plates.”

Mr Philips was quick to recognise his junior male champion, for he had chosen the same bull as pedigree bull reserve champion at the previous day’s Northern Limousin Extravaganza. The January, 2015, Swale Locust, was being shown for the second time by John Swales, who runs the Swale pedigree herd at Mount Pleasant Farm, Balk, near Thirsk.

Junior male champion Swale Locust from W E Swales and Sons Ltd.
Junior male champion Swale Locust from W E Swales and Sons Ltd.

He is by the Sultan son, Brontemoor Aceofspades, bred by the Priestley family and first purchased by the Tomschoice herd, before joining Mr Swales primarily for commercial breeding. Out of the home-bred Swale Fredrica, Locust flew to 3,500gns when joining Don Leeming, of Ramsgill in Nidderdale.

Intermediate reserve champion was the April, 2014-born bull, Procters Joker, from Procters Farm in Slaidburn, who also clinched the supreme championship at the previous day’s Northern Limousin Extravaganza.

Joker is an AI son of Claragh Farnco (by Wilodge Vantastic), bred in Northern Ireland by Paul Rainsey, out of Greenwell Amy, who was acquired by Procters Farm for 23,000gns at the Greenwell dispersal sale with bull calf at foot. She has since sold privately for 12,500gns. Joker made 3,700gns when returning to near her place of origin with Paythorne’s Keith Whitwell.

Jim and Ian Handley were also responsible for the junior male reserve champion, Gunnerfleet Lord, a January, 2015, son of another Wilodge Vantastic bull, Plumtree Fantastic, acquired by the Handleys four years ago and who has been among the top ten semen sellers for last two years.

In fact, he is currently one of the leading breed sires, having this year bred a 14,000gns Gunnerfleet champion, along with seven bulls that sold together at an overall average of £9.500. By the Haltcliffe Bill daughter, Goldies Floche, Lord landed a 3,400gns bid when joining JA&J Robinson, of Holwick, Middleton-in-Teesdale.

The Priestley family – Michael, Steven and Ruth, and their son Richard – whose Brontemoor pedigree herd was established in 1987 at Denholme, near Bradford, before they moved to their current Cracrop Farm at Kirkambeck, near Brampton in Cumbria, were again well represented at the fixture with their annual consignment of bulls.

They achieved notable success in the intermediate bull section when landing first, second and third prizes in separate classes. Their leading price at 4,000gns was the 2014-born Brontemoor Jacksonfive, an AI son of Huntershall Gladiator, bred by Stephen Nixon in Wigton, out of Brontemoor Genesis, a grand-daughter of Burndale Cyclone. The buyers were CJ Wardell & Sons, of Malton.

Also selling at 3,400gns was Brontemoor Jasper, a grandson of Wilodge Vantastic, out of the Elite Benn cow, Brontemoor Fancy. It joined DT Houseman, of Darley, Harrogate.

Again staging their annual production sale at the high profile fixture were local vendors John and Claire Mason, who run the Oddacres pedigree Limousin herd in Embsay, and were this year represented by nine bulls and two females, all but two of them by their highly regarded stock bull, Gallois, acquired in France three years ago as a nine-month-old calf.

He has since proved a top performer, producing some first rate progeny, included a record price 10,000gns weaned calf. Gallois-sired junior bulls landed a clean sweep of the prizes for the Masons in one show class, with the red rosette winner, the March, 2015, Oddacres Ludo, by the Homebyres Dixon daughter, Oddacres Glitter, selling away at 2,500gns to John Harker, of Lofthouse in Nidderdale.

The Masons returned with their third prize late 2015 junior bull Oddacres Lambert, also a Gallois son, out of Oddacres Velvet, which sold to Horton-in-Ribblesdale’s John Lambert for 2,100gns.

Now aged eight, Homebyres Dixon, a 10,500gns purchase in 2009 and an outstanding servant to the Oddacres herd over the past seven years – he is also a former NELBC stock bull and progeny prize winner and has himself produced champions and prize winners – was also offered for sale. He fully earned the honour of being the first entry into the Skipton sale ring, where he sold for 2,900gns and will continue his work in North Craven with Eldroth’s John Cowperthwaite.

Senior reserve male champion was a two-year-old bull, Coachhouse Jovial,from the Nottinghamshire-based Coach House herd of 2013 Craven Limousin Day supreme champions Barry and Gill Heald, who farm with their son Matthew at Home Farm, Grove, Retford. He returned home.

Female champion Tomschoice Champagne from J M and S P Cooper.
Female champion Tomschoice Champagne from J M and S P Cooper.

The Coopers also offered for sale a good draft of older cows from Tomschoice, one of which, the five-year-old Tomschoice Champagne, became female champion. She is by the Welsh sire Sarkley Topknot, bought for 11,000gns and a former Great Yorkshire Show champion.

Out of Tomschoice Voila, whose grand dam Tomschoice Ouch was also responsible for the Coopers’ Royal Show junior breed and interbreed champion, Tomschoice Salem, Champagne was sold in-calf to the same day’s supreme champion, Icarus, and sparkled when making 1,800gns. The buyers were T&H Kilby & Son, of Thorp Arch, Wetherby.

The first prize maiden heifer and reserve female champion came from the Redland pedigree Limousin herd of 2015 Craven Limousin Day champions, Mark and Helen Lewis, of Northlands Farm, Hunsingore, between Harrogate and York.

Their two-year-old Redland Jessica was by the same sire as last year’s title winner, their French-bred senior stock bull, Eldorado. Out of Redland Cleopatra and with plenty of her own daughters in the Redland herd, Jessica also made 1,800gns when selling to M Crabtree, of Kettlesing, Harrogate.

An increased entry of 88 head was forward for sale to an extremely busy ringside, with a clearance rate of 86% for bulls and 93% clearance of females. Many local and northern premium suckled calf producers were represented at the ringside, alongside a smattering of dairy producers looking to add value to calf sales.

Averages:  9 Senior Bulls to 4,600gns (av £2,508), 21 Intermediate Bulls to 4,900gns (av £3,062), 13 Junior Bulls to 3,500gns (av £2,254), Maiden Heifers to 1,800gns (av £1,481), Cows In- calf to 1,800gns (av £1,771), Cows with Calves to 2,750gns (av £2,555).

Show sponsor was the Skipton branch of NFU Mutual, based at the auction mart. Full results and prices are at www.ccmaictions.com

All photos by Adrian Legge Photography