Becoming part of the bluetongue surveillance zone has paid off handsomely for Bishop Thornton farmers M Baul and Partners when they landed a debut April Craven Dairy Auction championship success on Monday.

Before the move, the Bauls, of Watergate Farm, which falls within the surveillance zone, would have been prevented from trading at Skipton as the mart is in a clear area less than 6km outside the boundary.

It now means that previously excluded stock from Nidderdale and West Yorkshire, including Calderdale and Kirklees, can again be sold at Skipton alongside clear area livestock, as the mart makes a concerted effort to boost both entry numbers and choice.

The Craven Dairy Auction champion, a freshly calved heifer is a product of the Bauls’ Ravensgate pedigree Holstein Friesian herd, being by the Genus bull Roylane Jordan, out of a home-bred cow. She sold for £1500 to Calderdale buyer Ian Dodson, Ripponden.

Mr Dodson’s other acquisitions included the first prize newly-calven cow at £1,280 from Robert Crisp, of Calton, Skipton, and a freshly calved heifer from Raymond and Robert Johnson, Harrogate, at £1900 – top price of the day.

Maiden heifers sold to a top price of £660, this entry from G R Bretherton, Preston, bought by Stephen Abbott, Harrogate.