This week’s dispersal of Val and John Barker’s high profile Ridgefield Holstein herd produced a remarkable average of £2220 per life and achieved a top price of 20,000gns.

The Barkers made massive investments in stock and a breath-taking model farm at Groby Lodge, Leicestershire.

But the decision to quit milk production after 10 years and concentrate breeding from a small, elite group of Holsteins brought almost 300 head onto the market.

In front of a 1000-strong crowd, a long day’s selling saw no let up in Holstein buyers’ determination to take home a slice of this fashionable collection of genetics.

Joint auctioneer Christopher Norton said:

“This was a great catalogue of cattle with some exceptional youngstock that really fired the demand.

But even the older cows sold well.

Prices for older cows reached 5000gns – such was the appeal of some of these and the conviction among buyers that they still had value,” he said.

The top price came early in the day when North Yorkshire breeder Isaac Lancaster paid 20,000gns for Cloudnine Leduc Cherish.

A former winner of the All Britain Calf Show and National Holstein Show heifer championship, she was a class winner at last year’s Royal Show and was Holstein UK Nominated All Britain second-calver.

With two lactations averaging 10,500kg, she is due in May to Pursuit September Storm and is likely to make a tilt at some of the richest prizes on this summer’s show circuit.

Another cow that could pop up in the show ring this season while she awaits the OK to travel to her new home is the ET-bred second calver Forte Red Tabatha bought for 19,000gns.

By Durham and out of the 12,200kg Eastriver Bstar Tabatha that made $41,000 in the USA, Red Tabatha was bought at the Genetic Elite sale in 2003 for 5500gns.

Her new owner is Martin O’Sullivan who runs the Desmond herd in Co Limerick.

Smiddiehill Holsteins gave 18,000gns for Ridgefield Progress Rose – All Britain Senior Heifer In-Milk 2005.

She is out of Bosdale Storm Rose and is in-calf to September Storm.

Smiddiehill Holsteins also paid 10,000gns for the maiden heifer Ridgefield September Amy who is out of the 20,000gns Sunnylodge Skychief Amy.

Heading back to Cornwall with a wagonload of 30 head to add to their 1000-cow herd were Wills Bros of Wadebridge.

Most expensive at 9000gns was a guaranteed heifer calf from an embryo by Shottle and out of Ridgefield Storm Ghost 2nd.

Averages: 134 cows and calved heifers £2989, eight served heifers £3392, 67 maiden heifers £2089 and six bulls £1134.

(Norton & Brooksbank with Wright-Manley)

jh@jeremyhuntassociates.com