It must have seemed like a case of déjà vu for ringside onlookers at Skipton Auction Mart when yesterday’s February Craven Dairy Auction produced exactly the same brother-and-sister finalists as the previous month.
Yet again, it was a home-bred newly calven Holstein Friesian heifer from the Harrogate-based Swires family that collected championship honours, leaving the Simpson clan from Ripon to settle for the reserve championship once more.
Father-and-son farmers Malcolm and Robert Swires – their Whinhill commercial herd is based at Haverah Park, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate – were landing their second Craven Dairy Auction title in consecutive months and their fifth in total.
Their February victor is by Miresdale Sportsman, standing with 2008 UK Dairy Farmer of the Year Geoff Spence, of Brompton, Northallerton. Giving 25 litres, the classy first calver sold for £2420, top price in show, to Martin Jennings, of Lane End Farm, Cowling.
Husband-and-wife dairy farmers Thomas and Elizabeth Simpson – Libby is Robert’s sister – of Red House Farm, Ripon, saw their Holstein Friesian second calver chosen as the first prize newly-calven cow, before being awarded the runners-up berth. By Firth Joker and giving 42 litres, it sold for £2320 to Geoff Booth, Lothersdale.
For good measure, the Swires also had the second prize newly calven heifer, a £2020 acquisition by show judge Dennis Clowes, Macclesfield, who also purchased the third prize newly calven heifer from Harry Raw, Eastburn, for £2000.
CCM Dairy Farmer of the Year Robin Jennings, of South Stainley, Harrogate, saw his second prize newly calven cow knocked down for £2150 to regular Cheshire buyer Wick Williams, who also paid £2180 for the third in class, again from Thomas and Elizabeth Simpson.
Best of the in-calf heifers came from Marsden Farms, Oakworth, a £1380 acquisition by David Shuttleworth, Gargrave. TB Moorhouse & Son, Dacre, Harrogate, sold several maiden heifers to a top price of £600, with three December-born Friesian heifer calves from Richard Bowker, Earby, peaking at £370 (av £362).
There were 72 dairy cattle forward, with newly calven heifers averaging £1709 and newly calven cows £1472.