Demand is Strong for B&W Genetics: By Jeremy Hunt

HEFTY INVESTMENTS in the cream of the UK’s Holstein genetics once again proved the strength of commitment among breeders to exploit type and production as the bedrock of commercial milk production.

While rank and file milk producers may baulk at the prices paid for summer-born calves at last week’s prestigious sale from the Weeton, Smiddiehill, Mikali and Indianhead herds, the depth of the trade sent a strong message of optimism beyond the confines of the pedigree world.

Auctioneer Norton and Brooksbank’s Tom Brooksbank said: “This was a very animated trade, with buyers from as far north as Lanarkshire. In particular, we saw a strong trade for embryos with 62 averaging 440 and achieving up to 850gns.”

John and Doreen Loftus topped the day at 8500gns with Weeton Lancelot Oralie. This June-born heifer calf from the famous Laurie Sheik family is maternal sister to Weeton Lee Pre Oralie, who made 11,000gns at this summer’s Wolfa sale. Lancelot Oralie, whose dam is sister to leading sires Leduc and Outside, joins the Ribblepark herd of David Graveston, Bolton-by-Bowland, Lancs.

Best for the Smiddiehill herd was the Braedale Freeman daughter of the 76,000gns Field of Dreams Formation Erle. This June-born calf has attracted contract interest from several breeding companies and made 8000gns to Northern Ireland buyers T Johnston (Sperrin) and J H Johnson (Bankvile).

Bob Schauf of the US-based Indianhead herd, whose genetics have played a big part in the development of David and Pam Coombes” Mikali herd, sold Indianhead Eland Ballerina at 3800gns to Terry and Shayne Cox’s Holmead herd in Dorset.

At 3700gns Michael and Joanna Wade of Bideford, Devon, secured Weeton Astro Anna – an Oseeana Astronomical daughter out of the 7000gns Almondene Storm Anna – for their Loford herd.

Averages: Weeton – 74 served and maiden heifers £1649. Smiddiehill – 16 maiden heifers £2151. Mikali – five maiden heifers £1365. Indianhead – five maiden heifers £3045.