TOP QUALITY calved heifers sustained the solid New Year trade at the Western Holstein Club sale at Beeston Castle in Cheshire, where 76 head averaged 959, but “middling” sorts were cheaper.

Wright Manley auctioneer Clive Norbury said: “There has been a good number of cattle on the market since Christmas, including several dispersal sales, but our trade held up well. There is still a good demand for the best.

” But it was a bull that hit the day”s high note when Woodmarsh Liberty drew the top bid from Carlisle-based buyers Burthwaite Farms.

Consigned by Shropshire breeders Michael and Jean Gould, Liberty is by Silky Gibson and out of Cleevale Prelude Lyme 2nd. He has a Pre<00AD>dicted Transmitting Ability of +358M, +14.2F and +10.4P.

He is full brother to the 5200gns Woodmarsh Gibson Lyme 17th, who was sold at last year”s HUKI genetic sale at Lancaster. Liberty is also maternal brother to some heavy milkers including the 15,000kg Woodmarsh Rudolph Lyme 5th.

His dam has topped 15,400kg twice and his fourth dam is the 13,200kg Twin-Oakes Sexation Lana.

The day”s highest-priced heifer was the Silky Cousteau-sired Moordown Silky Bubble from Showell Farms, Nuneaton, Warks. She is out of the 11,800kg Linlake Metro Bubble with Aerostar and Astro Jet in the sire stack. She made 1400gns and was knocked down to Aubrey Greenhalgh on behalf of Northern Ireland buyer T Irvine.

There was some high production behind Saxelby Capri Blissy from Melton Mowbray vendors A R and J Stafford. This late December-calved daughter of Riglio Juror Capri is out of the six-lactation Saxelby Jackpot Blissy, who has five five-figure yields to her credit, peaking at 14,200kg. Buyers at 1320gns were J and J Alderson, Craven Arms, Shropshire.

They also accounted for the Carol Prelude Mtoto-sired Woodmarsh Mtoto Memory 16th from the Goulds at 1300gns.

Another 1300gns call secured Hyclass Shark Gloria, a calved heifer from Derbys-based Bill Nadin and Co by La-Poe Shark and out of a Duncan Progress dam.

Leading the cow trade at 1240gns was Messrs Stafford”s Saxelby Marshall Patricia. She dropped her second calf three weeks ago after a 10,315kg heifer lactation.

 Averages: 26 cows 934; 76 maiden heifers 959 (Wright Manley).