24 March 2000

Exceptional trade at western dairy sales

TRADE at two dairy sales in the west country were described as "exceptional, given the depressed milk price" by auctioneers Greenslade Taylor Hunt who say the majority of the regions milk producers are over-quota.

A packed ringside greeted cattle offered by Phillip Counsell of Rooksbridge House, Axbridge, Somerset. The 62 head saw the choicest sorts with calves at foot reaching 840gns. Top call for a cow came for a fresh second calver by Etna Rex. She was bought for 800gns by R C Lowe, Winterbourne, Bristol who claimed a total of 20 cattle.

Other cows sold to 700gns with 20% of the trade seeing prices over £600. Buyers from as far away as Cheshire competed with local bidders to take the trade for two-year calved heifers to 560gns given for a Mandel daughter that stays in the west country with P Nicholls, Wedmore, Somerset. Nine calved heifers levelled at £518.

Short supply suspicions

Yearling heifers sold to 225gns to average £205 and the best heifer calf trade seen for some months – fired by a growing feeling among dairy farmers that young-stock could soon be in short supply – saw calves selling straight off their dams to 150gns. This level was reached three times for Fatal and Gibbon-sired calves. All were out of calved heifers.

The following day brought 147 dairy cows and followers on to the market for Tom Jeanes, Lawnmoor Farm, Curry Rivel, near Taunton. Dairy farmers travelled from Sussex and Gloucestershire to generate a good trade for this home-bred herd which was averaging 5900kg on just 800kg of concentrate per cow.

Autumn calvers made up the majority of the sale which pegged prices. But the trade was steady with a Newton Abbott dairy farmer taking 15 cows.

The top price of 560gns was given for a fourth calver by F16 Rocket. She had given 9000kg in her third lactation and was bought by Phillip Bray, Wrantage, Taunton. A December calved heifer by Etazon Ferrari made 550gns.

Buyers maintained the upturn in young-stock prices with heifer calves making to 145gns for one by Genus Pineridge out of a Enehould dam. Bulling heifers reached 250gns and yearlings sold to 200gns to level at £175.(Greenslade Taylor Hunt). &#42