This autumn’s largest offering of dairy cattle from one herd went under the hammer in Cheshire this week when Derek Beresford and his daughter Joanne dispersed their Starcross Holsteins. The organically managed herd put 520 head in front of buyers over two days and saw prices rise to 5200gns and level 281 cows and in-milk heifers at £1600.

Brought about by the sale of the Beresford’s Stockery Park Farm at Holmes Chapel, the dispersal opened with 297 head of milking cattle and around 70 of this year’s heifer calves.

Ringsiders who had done their homework will have known that the herd had an average of 9200kg, due largely to the highest standards of management and cow welfare maintained by Joanne. The herd had been fed a total TMR diet – without maize but incorporating home-grown produce and a high clover inclusion in the silage.

Taking home several of the sale’s most fancied lots were North Wales dairy farmers G E Jones and Co who run the Clywedog herd at Wrexham. Among them was the day’s top priced animal at 5200gns Starcross Lee Wendy VG86 who calved her second in May after a heifer lactation of 7013kg. By Lee and out of an 11,600kg six-lactation dam by Juniper Park, she was AI’d last month to Shottle.

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Picture- taking the top bid – Starcross Lee Wendy VG86

The much-admired Starcross Jordan Guard Ex91, an August third calver with an impressive second note of 12,566kg, was expected to be among the day’s most expensive lots – and she was. This powerful young cow heads for Aberdeenshire with Ogilvie Smith at 4400gns. She earned £2369 during her last term through the parlour and had taken the reserve Holstein championship at Cheshire County Show this summer.

Having been moved by reports in the press about the trauma suffered by British soldiers injured in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr Beresford approached the Household Cavalry with the offer of donating the proceeds of one of the best cows in the sale to the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund.

The cow selected to help injured British soldiers returning from duty was Starcross Jordan Galante VG87. This January-calved heifer by Roylane Jordan out of a Stair JB Fron dam, traces back to French genetics that had been successfully imported into the herd. She had given just over 6000kg of milk since calving and was AI’d to Dolman in June. Bidders were generous for this worthy cause and the hammer fell at 4400gns. The heifer heads for Carlisle with buyers J A Martin.

Another good Jordan daughter stayed in Cheshire with Messrs Robinson, Nantwich at 4000gns. Starcross Jordan Peewit calved in March and was in-calf for January to Shottle. She’s out of a Merr Marathon dam with a best of 12,321kg.

The Clywedog herd added Starcross Dynasty Melody to their list at 3100gns.This Kelstein Dynasty fresh second calver gave 9456kg as a heifer. Also claimed for the north Wales herd were two smart daughters of Jordan and Outside.  Starcross Jordan Doris VG86, an August second calver, is out of a Cousteau dam and realised 2800gns. Matching the bid was Starcross Outside Ebony, a third lactation cow that gave 9000kg as a heifer and topped 11,600kg with her second.

Another from the Peewit family – Starcross Shottle Peewit VG85 – went to Haverfordwest dairy farmer N A Jones at 2850gns. She’s out of a milky Juniper Park dam with four of her six lactations at well over 10,000kg.

Commenting after the sale, auctioneer Clive Norbury said “fresh milk” attracted the strongest trade. “The time of year certainly influenced buyers’ choices and in line with that the demand for youngstock was a little easier than we’ve been seeing of late.”

But Shropshire buyer J Lovegrove-Fielden was among the keenest youngstock buyers and paid 2200gns for the in-calf heifer Starcross Milkstar Melody 2nd on the second day of the sale. By Deslacs Milkstar and out of a Rudolph dam with three of its four lactations over 10,000kg, this heifer was AI’d in April to Overside Dictator.

Averages: 281 cows and milking heifers £1600 – including 72 heifer calves at £595; 48 in-calf heifers £1566 and 20 recently served heifers £1126; 85 maiden heifers £930. Total 434 head £1443. (Wright Manley).