HEXHAM & Northern Marts held their special, March prize show and sale of store cattle and offered a catalogued entry of 574 head of top quality, suckler bred cattle from noted herd masters from across Northumberland, County Durham, Cumbria & The Scottish Borders.

Following the guidelines, as set out by The Livestock Auctioneers Association and adhering to the recommended ‘Drop & Go’ policy, the auctioneers conducted a smaller scale prize show than is usual at this time of year which was well-supported by many loyal show calf vendors and we thank them for their continued support in these difficult times.

With show cattle exhibits from Northumberland, County Durham & Peebleshire, the slimmed-down classes were presided over by regular buyers at this centre Ian & Charlotte Bowe, Northallerton. The father and daughter team were faced with some outstanding calves and worked diligently towards their line-up and championship.

Taking the John Davison Millenium Trophy and Overall Championship this year was a super sharp and stylish red Limousin cross heifer consigned by regular vendors at this centre and cattle showmen of renown, with a now proven track record across the UK show circuit, Messrs Lee, Harwoodshield, Hexhamshire. The sweet heifer at ten months of age had been sired by the Annett bred Limousin stock sire, which had also been purchased at this centre and was out of a home-bred Blue-cross-Limousin cow. As always, the Harwoodshield offering was turned out to perfection for Micky Lee by his dedicated stockmen Micheal Chalmers and Craig Ridley and, once again, their efforts proved fruitful with the Champion selling at 12 noon and quickly scaling to £1,520 with the hammer falling in favour of the judges.

Standing as a worthy Reserve Champion was the first prize steer, a big and powerful Limousin cross bullock at 11 months from similarly highly regarded producers and previous victors at this centre Messrs Rochester & Murray, Glebe Farm, Tow Law, County Durham. The bullock displayed great potential as it followed the Champion into the ring and surpassed the previous tariff by climbing to £1,640 being purchased by Frank Tomlinson, Wigton.

Prize List as follows;

Champion – Limousin cross heifer – Messrs Lee, Harwoodshield

Reserve Champion – Blue cross steer – Messrs Rochester & Murray, Glebe Farm


1st – Messrs Rochester & Murray, Glebe Farm

2nd – Messrs Lee, Harwoodshield

3rd – Messrs Harding, West End Town


1st - Messrs Lee, Harwoodshield

2nd – Messrs Lee, Morley Hill

3rd – Messrs Rochester & Murray, Glebe Farm

The auctioneers would like to thank all involved with the show; our exhibitors, judges, prize winners and purchasers and we look forward to the lifting of the lockdown so we can welcome spectators back into the market to witness the quality of cattle presented for show which is unrivalled within the county and stands amongst the best in the country.

The sale proper began, as always, with the entry of older, forward sorts and these show no signs of easing at Hexham. Trade for cattle in excess of 18 months of age peaked at £1,540 for a simply superb pure bred Limousin heifer from noted consignors Messrs Carruthers, Silloans, Otterburn, and the family enjoyed another from their commercial pure-bred herd at £1,510 to cap a great days trading at Hexham. Robin Macdonald, Low Middleton, Belford, also exceeded the fifteen hundred barrier at £1,520 for another heifer which easily compared to the class topper.

Steers in this age bracket were similarly in demand and sold at a pace all morning. Messrs Cuthbert, Wingate South, rang the bell at £1,460 for the best of their Limmy bred offering and averaged £1,381 for seven cracking, well-bred bullocks from the Morpeth-based family at 19-24 months of age.

Messrs Scott, Corneyside, brought out another hefty run of cattle by the Limousin bull and these too sold well on the day. Their best heifer cashed at £1,380 and with steers topping at £1,325, the Matfen farmers enjoyed an average of £1,244 for eight and seven sold respectively.

Philip Tomlinson, Sunniside, Consett, led the Angus cattle trade and saw his three steers at 22 months sell at a worthy £1,400, £1,400 and £1,390 returning a level average for a level trio at £1,396 per head.

The middle age bracket, those from 11 to 17 months of age, did look marginally easier on the week despite several show types at 12 months falling into this class, notably a quite fantastic Black heifer from the triumphant Lee family which courted interest from across the British Isles. This one rattled past her stablemate Champions price tag and soared to £1,750 finding her new home and, no doubt, a bright future with a delighted Welsh purchaser.

Likewise the aforementioned Messrs Rochester and Murray continued in the same vein of form on the day and their third prize heifer, a sparky red offering with bags of potential equalled and edged past her companion for the last twelve months and sold for £1,650 to the same purchaser as the Reserve Champion.

The standout consignment of cattle in this age group were by far and away the phenomenal run from Messrs Browell, Quarry House. The well-known stockmen came to town with what can only be described as a stupendous batch of Limmy cross calves at 12-13 months and the bell rang so many times you would be excused for thinking another royal wedding was taking place!

Quite simply, steers at £1,450 twice, £1,400, £1,350 and £1,300 were equalled by their sisters at £1,440 down to £1,280 returning a blistering £1,371 for 11 sold at 12 to 13 months of age – a trade which will not be replicated anywhere in the county this spring.

Over 25 per cent of the entry sold in excess of £1,200 per head, half of which were over £1,300 with 20 cattle selling beyond £1,400 which contributed to an overall sale average of exactly £1,100 with steers returning at £1,129 per head and heifers coming back at £1,063. It was however, the youngest class of cattle buoyed on by a good number of calves with show ring potential that saw the greatest lift seen so far this year.

All calves sold in the ‘ten months and younger’ age class averaged £1,071 per head and highlights were plentiful and applauded for the stockmanship so obviously employed in exhibiting cattle of such quality at this centre.

With the bulk of show calves dispensed with it was Messrs Lee, Morley Hill; long standing supporters of this sale and this centre that attained top spot on the day with their sleek, black nine month old, second prize heifer. The limousin cross lady came into the ring and there was a palpable air of anticipation with bidding pace immediately fast and furious the obvious quality of the calf came to the fore until eventually settling at £2,250 again to Mr Tomlinson, Wigton.

With this heifer amongst a cracking run of calves with Limousin, Simmental & British Blue breeding present the Lee family once again returned home happy to the hills of Whitfield from Hexham Mart with their nine steers and six heifers having averaged a mighty £1,247 per head throughout, proving just reward and best return is always attainable at this centre.

Similarly, far-travelled cattle are easily placed to advantage at Hexham as attested by the Cockburn Brothers of Kingside, Peebleshire ,who made the journey to Hexham and secured £1,390 for their best heifer and £1,140 for their only steer on the day to average an unexpected and yet most welcomed £1,111 for eight calves sold from north of the Border.

One of the youngest runs of calves and certainly one of the most sought after were the very well-bred types from Ridley & David Milburn, Wallend, Greenhead. At just eight and nine months of age, the Cumbrian cattle, once again, sold well through the Hexham ring and delighted father and son Messrs Milburn with steers peaking at £1,280 and heifers selling to £1,115 for the Brampton-based breeders of renown that averaged £1,086 for eight and six sold on the day.

Young bulls are now in demand at Hexham and the auctioneers would welcome enquiry from those with such sorts to sell. Leading this trade on the day was Benedict Bates, of Nilston Rigg Farms, with an eight month old entire Limousin calf that travelled well past his expected level to sell at £920 for the Langley-based producer.

Next week sees the culmination of the annual Young Farmers competition and entries are invited for cataloguing alongside the highly prized calves overwintered by the stockmen and women of the future.

If you have cattle to sell and wish to explore how the Hexham ring – the most established within the county which is also highly regarded across the country for the quality of cattle consigned for sale on a weekly basis – can benefit your business then please contact our team. Our auctioneers will be delighted to discuss how best we can help you achieve best return for your store cattle and would be pleased to visit your farm, by strict appointment only during lockdown, to appraise your cattle based on the levels seen at this centre.