Buyers wasted no time in setting the trend at the first 2006 mid-month dairy sale at Beeston Castle, Cheshire, where a strong demand saw all but one of the 115 head on offer find a home.

Dairy farmers from as far away as Bedfordshire and South Wales competed with local bidders and it was Nuneaton-based E W Blood & Sons who paid the day’s top price of 1180.

The bid came for a second calver by B-Y-U Mandel Bombay giving 53kg a day after a November calving.

She was from the day’s largest individual consignment of 34 head from Mark and Sue Weaver’s herd at Burleydam, Shropshire.

The Weavers are ceasing milk production from their Wilkesley Farm and achieved the day’s four highest bids. Messrs Blood also took a third calver by Toldo from the same consignment at 1070.

And the Weavers’ top-priced calved heifer by Whittier Farms Kenrick made 1090 to North Yorks buyer Geoff Bean, who also took the highest priced in-calf cow when he gave 1060 for another Toldo daughter.

First-calf heifers from L Brigham & Sons, Norwich, and Alan Outram, Lanc, realised 1050.

Buyers were D Gray, Leighton Buzzard, and R Shaw, Tarporley, Cheshire, respectively.

Wrexham dairy farmers N M Roberts and Partners and J P Jackson, Stoke-on-Trent, both sold freshly calved heifers at 1030.

Leading the in-calf heifer section at 940 was one from the Weavers’ herd while a pair of freshly calved Dairy Shorthorns (second calvers) made 800 apiece to mid-Wales milk producers Messrs Evans, Lampeter.

Averages: 108 cows and calved heifers 795 and six in-calf heifers 776.

(Wright Manley)