24 April 1998

Anyone interested in this

springs dairy trade was

keeping a close eye on one

Suffolk farm last week,

which hosted the UKs

biggest ever one-day

dispersal…

A sign of the times… the venue was Elm Farm, Wickham Skeith – and on offer was the 500-head Mendlesham herd of British Friesians. The auction was for Messrs V I Fenning and Sons.

Working hard behind the scenes was Norman Walker who got the stock in tip-top condition and ready for sale, a job that took five days.

Doing business on the hoof – well, on the bonnet, to be precise… auctioneer Tom Brooksbank (centre) shared rostrum duties with Chris Norton. Animals were going through the ring at a rate of 77 an hour so, after a 10am start, selling was completed by just before 5pm.

Making sure the animals were in the right place at the right time once selling got under way was no mean feat, either. So its smiles all round for a job well done – (left to right) Philip Fenning, Andrew Botwright, Geoff Tyler, Adrian Alexander and Steve Fenning. Geoff was certainly well-known to many people at the event, having worked on the farm since 1961.

Looking on with interest, 11-year-old twins Oliver and Edward Eccles, grandsons of Ted Fenning, had a prime position ringside.

Visitors came from, among other places, Cumbria, Lancashire, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Dorset. Driving obviously builds up an appetite…

On offer were 200 cows and heifers in the milking herd, most in their first-, second- or third-lactation. There were also 150 in-calf heifers, due from sale day onwards and a similar number of younger heifers and calves. The highest price was 2500gns, paid for Holmland Ruby 316th, a daughter of once Royal Show champion Holmland Ruby 42nd.

Mendlesham dispersal


Averages: £/head

Cows and calved heifers

(including calves) 536

Served heifers 366

Maiden heifers/calves 256