4 December 1998

Holstein aces ready to sell while theyre ahead

By Louise Rose

DAIRY farmers Mr and Mrs Michael James have achieved their ambition of becoming the highest yielding NMR Holstein herd producers in the country and now are quitting farming.

Their unit Allerford and Hazelhurst Farms, near Taunton, Somerset, now are on the market, with a herd dispersal sale scheduled for March next year. The recorded herd average milk yield this year is 12,681 litres.

"I am ready to achieve other things now, it is likely my new goals will lie outside agriculture," says 40-year-old Michael James.

"Ideally, I would like to sell on a lock, stock and barrel basis," he says. "The cows and milk quota could be bought privately by separate negotiation."

The Jameses are milking about 110 cows and nearly 1.2m litres of milk quota are available.

Including about 200 acres the dairy unit benefits from a new dairy and parlour – built two years ago – for which, with the other fixtures and fittings, selling agent FPDSavills is asking another £70,000 above the guide price.

But as a whole the farm – with two farmhouses – is guided at between £1.2-£1.4m. It is also lotted into eight. The land includes 70 acres eligible for arable area aid payments and is used for grass and maize production. It is guided at £2500/acre and a secondary three-bedroom farmhouse with 10 acres is for sale separately – offers about £250,000.

"There is a gap in the market for top quality farms," says David Cross, FPDSavills, "Marketing so late in the year is not really an issue with a farm of this calibre."

In the south west the firm is reporting an almost bare cupboard, with sale prices reflecting a 10% discount on spring values.

"An interesting feature of the market is one or two purchases taking place under the old Reinvestment Relief rules, where the money had been lodged in a company and has to be invested within a sharp time limit," said Rupert Montefiore from the Salisbury office.