11 April 1997

Battle for outstanding calf: 24,000gns paid

By Jeremy Hunt

A NEW UK record average for Holstein Friesian cattle was achieved in Lancashire last week when a huge crowd competed feverishly for some of the countrys top genetics.

The 1500 people present pushed prices to 24,000gns for a seven-month-old calf and levelled 80 head at £5796. In doing so,the sale beat the existing record average of £5053 paid for 66 lots at the Crudwell herd dispersal in April last year.

The Spring Selection sale, organised by the Holstein Friesian Society, saw a glittering array of outstanding cattle – many of them young calves – gathered together from leading UK herds.

Hosted by Alan Swale at St Michaels, Preston – home of his Joylan herd – the event also broke new ground in its selling format, with five auction companies sharing the selling.

And it was Tom Brooksbank who found himself on the rostrum when Cogents Sept 1996-bred calf Cogent Mica Bonnie was led into the ring to take centre stage on the green-dyed wood shavings.

Out of the worlds most successful cow family, tracing back to the foundation cow Pen-Col Mark Bonnet, this was the first daughter of CMV Mica to be offered in the UK.

She had a Pedigree Index of 1143 and PIN +£118 and combines Mica x Mascot x Aerostar through her dam 12,604kg Locust-Hill Bonita.

A tough battle for ownership left John Pickford and John Hunter to fight it out, but the latter won paying 24,000gns for this outstanding prospect for his Watergate herd at Bicester.

The Shrewsbury-based Golden Calf Companys decision to sell the only UK daughter of the "living legend" cow Stookley Elm-Park Blackrose also looked a firm bet to attract the big spenders.

This Nov 1995-bred heifer, Indianhead Golden Rose, is a striking daughter of Kinglea Leader whose three full sisters have sold for $59,000 and five half-sisters have netted $159,000.

She has a Pedigree Index of 866 and PIN +£68 and was bought by Nick Kirby of Inimex Genetics on behalf of an undisclosed internationally-based breeding syndicate.

Another gem from the Golden Calf Company, High Society Regancrest Dellia, is a granddaughter of Snow-N-Denises Dellia, one of the worlds great breeding cows whose progeny sales total over $1,000,000.

This calf, by Wa-Del RC Matt and out of a Prelude x Dellia dam, is the only UK descendant of Dellia. A catalogue-waving David Eagle, Essex was determined not to lose her and paid 18,000gns.

Sale host Alan Swale received 14,000gns for Joylan Celcius Gloriette, a 16-month-old heifer out of a German import by Aerostar. Buyer was Bearstead Estate, Banbury.

Mr Swale reinvested 10,000gns minutes later, buying Shropshire breeders Richard and Ginny Mayalls Pimhill Delegate Joy, the successful 1992-bred show cow.

Another 14,000gns call came for Ball Bellwood Ebony, an Oct 1996-bred heifer from C Mullally, Co Meath, offered with a bull calf contract to Genus. Bred out ofa heavy milking Mascot dam, she heads for Powys with E P Davies.

More unique breeding was offered by Dorsets Tom Harding. His Crichel Nick Koral, the 10,727kg second calver, is the only member of this renowned American family to be sold in the UK. She made 11,000gns to Simon Clarke of the Scotschhills herd.

The final five-figure bid came from Cogent when they paid 10,000gns for Moet Bellwood Deb E. This yearling heifer, out of one of the USAs highest index Mascot cows, is reckoned by vendors Genus to rank in the top 0.5% of the UK black-and-white herd.

The Spring Selection sale guaranteed its place in the history books.