P1000306 web.JPGBy Jeremy Hunt

 

Almost 500 head of dairystock went under the hammer at three herd dispersals last week ranging from Carlisle in the north to Wiltshire in the south.

 

While top prices stayed close to the levels we’ve become used to, there’s a hint that some buyers faced with pastures still needing to “green-up” are being a tad cautious.

 

Auctioneers Gwilym Richards were on the rostrum to sell 140 Holsteins for Stephen and Sarah Horton at Devizes, Wiltshire, where bidding reached 2,050gns for the most sought after entry in their Easton herd.

 

Easton herd

 

Although well-bred, the non-recorded status of the herd may have tempered some buyers, but there was plenty of competition for the best. The 121 milking cows and heifers averaged £1,221 with 26 maiden heifers levelling at £843.

 

Commanding most interest was the heifer Easton Homestead Belle, a Bomaz Homestead daughter, that was springing to calve next month with her second. Buyers at 2,050gns were T Legge and Son, Bromyard, Herefordshire. Another by the same sire that had been calved two months made 2,000gns to W Bennett and Son, Newent, Gloucestershire.

 

Some of the autumn calving heifers looked very good value and sold to a best of 1,350gns for a Magor Bolivia Allen daughter. Topping the maiden heifers at 1,380gns was one by Durham Ross. Heifer calves sold to 480gns.

Riggfoot Holsteins

The Simpson family from Kirklinton, Carlisle put their Riggfoot Holstein herd on the market at Borderway Mart where bidding peaked at 2,250gns.

The herd, with an average yield of 8,500kg, provided a broad mix of fashionable sires – including Bolton, Westminster, Moet Melody and Outside – and it was a Bolton-sired second calver that led the trade. She stays locally with M G and S Harper, Dearham, west Cumbria.

Local bidders Messrs Miller from Heads Nook gave 2,150gns for a second calver, followed by two other bids over 2,000gns. The 110 milking cows and heifers averaged £1,218.

Fenns Wood Farm dispersal

Shropshire-based auctioneer David Giles of Halls undertook the dispersal of Richard Wynne’s 186-strong dairy herd dispersal at Fenns Wood Farm, Whitchurch where a top price of £2,700 was paid for a freshly calved heifer.

“The dairy trade remains very strong for good quality cows – pedigree or commercial – and the prices seen at this sale confirm that with the 184 head averaging £1,560. There were plenty of keen bidders for fresh and in-calf heifers and we sold 44 to level at £2,090,” said Mr Giles.

Mr Wynne’s herd included some senior cows over 10 years old – a clear indication to buyers of younger cattle that there was ample proven longevity. The top priced heifer was by Bolton and had calved in February. She was giving 45kg on the day and stays in the county with buyer M Stokes, Weston.

“We had nine in-calf heifers averaging £1,922 and 38 second calvers levelling at £1,870 – so there’s plenty of confidence among dairy farmers looking for this type of strong, commercial milker,” added Mr Giles.

Averages: Easton Herd: 121 milking cows and heifers; £1,221 (Gwilym Richards); Riggfoot Holsteins; 110 milking cows and heifers, £1,218 (Harrison and Hetherington); Fenns Wood Farm dispersal, nine in-calf heifers, £1,922 (Halls).