Prime lamb values of 40p-plus per live kg above last year, coupled with an abundance of grass, ensured a buoyant trade at some of the first store lamb sales, with averages up £8-£12 per head on the year.

A blistering trade at C and D Auction Marts’ sale at Longton on Tuesday saw several pens exceed £90 per head with the overall average levelling at £74.37 – up £12 on the year.

Topping the sale at £98 was a pen of Beltex from JR and CJ Ward, Whitstonehill, Lockerbie.

At Skipton Auction Mart’s opening sale, an additional 1200 were cashed with the selection of short, medium and long-term keep lambs averaging £73.54 for 4302 head – up £8.95 on the same sale last year and a rise of £12.02 on the 2018 event.

Top price amongst the pens of lambs was £95 per head paid for 40 Dutch Texel/Beltex cross lambs from Andrew Haggas, Grove Farm, Otterburn.

This was followed by £90 for 40 continentals from Michael McKenzie, Arncliffe. Winterburn’s Michael Parker sold a pen of 50 Suffolks at £87.50.

Top price overall was £109 paid for a single Texel from Ned Simpson, of Pateley Bridge.

Overall, 28 pens sold at £80-plus. Most of the good runs of first-cross lambs for medium keep sold in the £70s, while long-keep lambs were in the £60s or early £70s.

By the end of the day, Beltex lambs averaged £81.38 (+£5.73 on the year), Suffolks at £76.96 (+£12.78), Texels £73.16 (+£9.21), Mules £67.87 (+£12.71) and Charollais at £73 (+£15.07).

Averages were also up at Bentham Auction Mart’s opening store lamb sale which levelled at £71.60, up £8.31 on the 2019 event and for 894 more sold.

The 3063 lambs were topped at £92 for Beltex from DR and JE Ellison, while WS Hudson and Son, Izaak Walton, sold the lead priced Suffolks at £82.

Another of the highlights was a consignment of 400 lambs, mostly bred from hoggs which sold to £83.50, to average £74.85, for Oxfordshire farmer, RH Mole.

Best bred and strong lambs made £80-£90 with medium-term sorts £75-£78. Long keep lambs looking well, sold in the high £60s. A decent entry of Mule wedders were topped at £72.50 with smaller sorts around £60.

The opening store lamb sale at North West Auctions’ J36 centre saw three major highlights – a record entry, a record centre average and ‘Bob’ the pet lamb raising money for NHS Charities Together.

Some 1811 head sold from £42 to £115, to level at £72.98.

Texel lambs sold to £115 from Mrs L Vickers, Scarborough and Charollais to £95 from CD Slinger and LJ Eaton, Middleton.

Beltex peaked at £92 from JC and E Pedley and Sons, Sedbergh, to average £81.22.

Suffolk lambs sold to £88 from JT and A Armitstead, Selside, Cheviot Mules to £82.50 from RI Dixon, Low Newton with all Mules cashing in at £71.68.

Highlight was, though, Freddie Willison’s pet lamb ‘Bob’, from Levens, raising money for NHS Charities Together.

Bob first sold for £300 to John and Rachel Geldard and was resold to Daniel Towers at £270, Jonathan and Cath Hodgson at £210, a consortium of Bradley Thompson, Andrew Geary, Ian Atkinson and John and Hazel Thompson for £200, and at £200 to James Linsley.

With donations from Richard and Beth Ladds and Steve Capstick the total stands at £1340.