Auctioneers were in top gear and buyers close behind when 407 Holsteins went under the hammer – selling at one a minute through the ring – to produce a top price of 5000gns at the dispersal of Michael and Peter Cook’s Sherington herd near Newport Pagnell, Bucks.

There was a flying trade for all sections during the seven hours of selling, which saw most of the young milkers making over 1000gns and no shortage of takers for yearling heifers at 600-700gns apiece.

But it was the Vanessa family from Italy that generated most interest.

Descending from Aquila Cleitus Vanessa Ex, this line came to the Sherington herd via an embryo bought by Michael Cook from a flush that contained the noted Cogent sire, Lucente.

The 13 lots offered from this family averaged £1449 and included the top call of 5000gns for Sherington Mtoto Kappa 2nd.

This powerful heifer is a great grand-daughter of Cleitus Vanessa and was one of four from this line claimed by Tim Gue of Huddleston Farmers, Essex.

Mr Gue gave 2000gns for another Mtoto-sired milking heifer from the Vanessa dynasty.

Sherington Mtoto Vanessa – AI’d to Canyon Breeze – had been calved six months and was still giving 40kg a day.

Anthony Wills has been one of the major players on the scene in recent months and was at the ringside again at Newport Pagnell to take a wagonload back to his family’s Pawton Dairy at Wade-bridge, Cornwall.

His 60 purchases for the family’s 1000-cow Willsbro herd – which has a daily production target of 40,000 litres – included many of the best cows on offer.

Among them was Sherington Arch Cilla 30th taken at 2000gns.

She had given 9900kg as a heifer and as a second calver was nudging 44kg a day from a February calving.

She was one of several much fancied lots by Shanael Storm Archie – a bull bred by Mike Miller and family from their noted Amanda line.

Mr Wills was keen to take home a member of the Vanessa family and gave 2000gns for Sherington Jackson Cappaccino – a freshly served half-sister to the 5000gns top-priced heifer and sired by Weeton Jackson.

Averages: 229 cows and calved heifers £1082; 64 served heifers £959 and 49 maiden heifers £613 (Norton and Brooksbank).

jh@jeremyhuntassociates.com