DAIRY FARMERS would be strong players on the northern market if suitable properties were available said John Lewis of Cheshire-based agent Wright Manley. “I think a good unit would be very saleable. We”ve got the buyers who are committed to dairying.”

Probably the only sizeable unit to sell in Cheshire this year was the Co-op”s 1062-acre Checkley Estate near Crewe, which was put on the market for 4.2m in September following the Co-op”s decision to withdraw from dairy farming.

Strutt & Parker”s Charlie Kann-reuther said after strong interest in the farm”s two dairy set-ups, much of it from commercial dairymen in the UK and Ireland, a sale had been agreed to a local farmer wanting to expanding his dairy business.

Mr Kannreuther said people were still prepared to invest in dairying despite the poor milk price. “They are in it for the long term and want to provide a long-term business for their children.”

In Lancs, Richard Turner of Richard Turner & Son said a dairy farmer had been the underbidder on Whinney Hill Farm at Halton. The 266-care former milk unit was bought for 930,000 by the Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre.