Lancaster, once a Mecca for Holstein sales, savoured some of its former glory last week when a star-studded entry and three tempting consignments produced 11 bids over 2000gns and a top price of 6000gns.

Reminiscent of this centre’s hey day, the market was crammed with 200 head of cattle including 20 lots from the Smiddiehill herd that were guaranteed to entice even the most hard-pressed milk producers into some springtime spending.

The Smiddiehill cattle levelled at £2500 and not surprisingly included the day’s 6000gns entry. Smiddiehill Roman Thelma couldn’t fail to impress with her stature and style. At 27-months, this freshly calved daughter of Bosside Roma Roman is out of the twice 12,000kg-plus Smiddiehill Lucente Thelma.

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With her place booked at the National Holstein Show, she heads for the Eola herd of Ian Harries in south Wales after being snapped up following some determined bidding from Mr Harries’ son Owain who had taken time off from his studies at Harper Adams to secure the heifer.

But even the lower end of Smiddiehill quality were worthy of a generous punt by those looking for a good future prospect – and it lifted the average for the herd’s 11 maiden heifers to £1305 from a best of 3300gns given for Smiddiehill Goldwyn Dellia. Bred from this renowned family, she was claimed over the phone by Scottish breeder Bryce Sloan.

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A 4000gns bid from Cameron Baty, buying for a client, secured Smiddiehill Titanic Kimo. Hailing from the great Kimo family at Painley, there has already been AI interest in this heifer from several AI companies. She calved last month and was giving 35kg.

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Among the cows the most expensive was the second calver Smiddiehill Gilbert Reward that had given 10,565kg with her first. She goes over the water to join the Roundhill herd of Hugh Finch in Co Armargh.

Carl Smith from St Michaels, near Preston once again came up with the goods and achieved the second highest bid of 3600gns. He took the heifer championship with Inspired CC Cher who is by Calbrett-I HH Champion and goes to Cumbria to join Keith Pattinson’s Ellengrove herd.

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The sale included the dispersal of Staffordshire breeder Les Day’s Dallyfarm herd. Trade reached 1650gns for a freshly calved heifer by Ocean-View Zenith. Buyer was Keith Pattinson. The seven-month-old calf Dallyfarm BG Black Peach, a Goldwyn daughter, made 1400gns to Tom Phillips, Pembrokeshire.

Averages: Smiddiehilll 20 lots £2532; Geonevric draft £24 cows/maiden heifers £668; Dallyfarm 60 lots £1025. Club sale – 30 cows and heifers £1470 and 10 served and maiden heifers £906. (Norton and Brooksbank with North West Auctions).