Selection sale proves B&W faith still lives on
By Jeremy Hunt
THE "great and the good" of British Holstein breeding packed the ringside at Carlisle last week for the Spring Selection sale where the £3181 average for 87 lots demonstrated breeders commitment to the future.
While big names with funds not dependent on a monthly milk cheque accounted for some of the most sought after genetics, there was no shortage of farmer-breeders keen to secure a stake in some of the worlds the most fashionable and productive cow families.
There were five auctioneering firms sharing rostrum duties – and it took five hours to sell 82 lots. Protracted descriptions of each lot even threatened to dampen the atmosphere at times. One call to the rostrum of "get on with it" from a frustrated bidder earned the support of the crowd.
This was the first sale under the newly-created Holstein United Kingdom and Ireland society and the top price of 11,000gns came early on in the day. It saw Alan Bristow, get his teeth into the serious trade for Cogents 13-month heifer Cogent Gibbon Idolatress.
By far the most sought after heifer in the sale, she is out of the Mascot-sired French champion cow Idole, has an estimated PIN of +£134 and is fifth generation VG/Ex over 10,000kg. Idolatress is the number five calf in the UK on profit index (PIN) and combines a mouth-watering blend of Gibbon x Mascot x Southwind x Tradition.
Skyhigh Holsteins of Carlisle and Jim and Robert Burrow who run the Stardale herd near Preston benefited from the stiff competition for their May 1998-born heifer Skyhigh Mandel Caye. Out of a 9700kg Luke dam and with the 15,000kg Windemere Mark Caye Ex 94 as granddam, she made 8500gns to brothers Ian and Willard Watson of Derry Dorragh Farms, Co Londonderry.
And they were in again to give 7000gns for Hugh Neilsons Overside Lee Amanda, a November-bred calf from their herd at Strathaven. Shes the first to be sold from her dam Overside Jed Amanda. Her granddam is the $40,000, 17,800kg cow Clovermist Amanda, a Chief Mark daughter.
Another 7000gns call came from Stirlingshire farmer and vet Bill Hamilton to take Peter Padfields Hayleys Fred Melinda – from the renowned Margot family – for his Hawkland herd. This 11-month heifer is by top USA sire Margene Blackstar Fred – not available in the UK – and out of Dirigo Pondoak Melinda.
Alan Bristow bought 10 lots – among them Ultimate Mattie, a January 1998-bred heifer from the famous Eastview Mattie and Pen-Col "Ds" family offered by Cogent. Mr Bristow secured the heifer for 6000gns.
Spiby Partners had made the long journey from Sussex to present Olympian Gibbon Zita, a September 1998-born calf out of the only Mascot daughter to be bred from the outstanding USA cow Conant-Acres-HS Zita. She was a big hit with the crowd and made 6000gns to Robert Horton for his Hinton herd in Wiltshire.
Mr Bristow paid another 6000gns for Alan Swales Joylan Gibbon Uschi, a year-old heifer out of the top winning German-bred show heifer Joylan Uschi whose family is behind the bull Rasparry Thor.
Lancashire breeder David Tomlinson signed a joint cheque for 5800gns with Derry Dorragh Farms for a half-share in his brother Peters Bilsrowan Gibbon Louna, a seven-month-old heifer combing two national French champions. Her dam, the Dannix sired Bilsrowan Louna, is now on contract to Avoncroft.
Lively bidding was maintained to the end and produced two 5400gns deals. Cardigan, Dyfed breeder W J P Wilson took the 10-month heifer Field of Dreams Rudolph Oprah from the Field of Dreams syndicate based in Shropshire. And Robin Loxham, Lancaster made the sales final bid of 5400gns for John Hunters Watergate Terry B Della, a summer-born maiden heifer with the 18,000kg Altagen Mascot Della as maternal graddam and a PIN of +£117.
Auctioneers: Harrison and Hetherington, R A Noble and Co, Norton and Brooksbank, Taaffe Auctions and Wright-Manley.
Heritage dispersal sees ET-bred heifer top list
SHOREMAR Marvella, an ET-bred calved heifer by Marci Marvelous, headed the sale list at 4000gns when Somerset dairy farmer Michael James dispersed his Heritage herd.
Over recent years the Taunton-based herd has become renowned for its high production. The 1997/98 herd average was 13,258kg from 51 cows and the 33 heifers achieved 11,791kg – the highest on NMR records. Last years combined fat and protein average was 906kg.
The older portion of the herd was sold privately but last weeks offering saw the younger entry up for grabs at the Sale Centre, Penrith, and achieve an overall average of £642 for 87 lots.
The imported Marvella, bred by Shore Holsteins, was bought by an undisclosed Scottish bidder. She is out of a Southwind dam and had recorded 53kg of milk.
A 1800gns call from A C Austin, Dumfries, secured the other imported heifer Shoremar Lephina, a Robthom Integrity daughter out of a 13,400kg Aerostar dam. She was giving 51kg a day after 103 days.
Northern Ireland bidders were in action throughout the sale and claimed several lots. Prominent was Coleraine-based breeder W I Watson who paid 1550gns for Heritage Formation Louise. Her dam, by Blackstar, is full sister to the $82,000 Gillette Mermaid.
The Landen herd, owned by Lancashire dairy farmer A England, invested 1400gns in Shoremar Ruby Rae, a January calved Rudolph heifer with Hanoverhill TT Roxette as third dam.
Also heading for Northern Ireland was Heritage Grand Becky, a 14-month-old Gillbrook Grand daughter taken by S and M A Pinkerton, Co Antrim.
Averages: three calved heifers (including a bull calf) £3335; 21 served heifers £675; 28 recently served and maiden heifers £661; 34 calves (under one year) £381. (Norton and Brooksbank)
Michael and Amanda James with the 4000gns sale-topping heifer.
1220gns peak in Devon for big HF fixture
ONE of the largest sales of Holstein Friesians to be held this year offered almost 370 cattle in Devon where prices reached 1220gns and saw 183 cows average £644.
Despite the scale of the dispersal of Peter and Janice Gibbons Seadown herd at Seaton, Sidmouth, there were 10 four-figure bids with some buyers travelling from the Midlands.
It was the fourth calver Rolle Starbuck Sophy 5th, sold in-calf to Cogent Balfour, that led the trade at 1220gns and was claimed by John Dawe, Crediton.
The Dinnaton prefix, one of the West Countrys most prominent, was carried by a heavy milking third calver by Donarini Chairman Valid. Dinnaton Valid Total Eclipse 64th gave 11,200 litres in her last lactation worth £1817. She realised 1150gns to Portledge Estate, Bideford.
And the same buyers were active in the lively demand for in-calf heifers paying the top price of 880gns for a daughter of Comestar Leader due next month. Empty heifers and yearlings reached 420gns eight times for daughters of Hanoverhill Raider, Cleitus, Boulet Charles and Astre Starbuck.
Averages: 183 cows £644; 38 in-calf heifers £697; 47 served heifers £568; 29 empty heifers £398; 66 yearlings and calves £318. (Greenslade Taylor Hunt)