30 August 2002

Proven herd attracts a large crowd

By Jeremy Hunt

DAIRY farmers may be under pressure, but West Country producers still invested in one of the regions most successful herds when the Dinnaton Holsteins staged a production sale and saw 78 head level at £1027.

Derek and Jeremy Dennis welcomed a big crowd to Fardel Manor Farm at Ivybridge, Devon, and presented a wealth of proven cow families in a catalogue, comprising the entire crop of summer calvers ranging from first to third lactation cows and heifers.

And it was a dry cow that had already caught the eye of discerning breeders on her outing to Totnes Show that put a ceiling in the trade at 2400gns.

Dinnaton Matt Storm Dreamer, classified as VG 85, was soon to be back in action after a heifer note of 9003kg at 4.61% fat and 3.25% protein. By Maughlin Storm and out of a 10,907kg dam by Wa-Del RC Matt, she combines type and index boasting a PLI +£58 and a PIN of +£67. She is in-calf to Regancrest Emory Derry and was bought by an unnamed bidder, but remains in the south-west.

The same buyer invested another 2000gns in Dinnaton Cind Gelp Justine, a June calved heifer by Gelpro and out of a 9300kg Highlight Mr Mark Cinder dam. This heifer had a PIN of +£31 and a PLI of +£33. She was giving 42kg on the day.

The sale, marking the retirement of one of the herds partners, represented 15 years of commitment to North American breeding by the Dennis family. The herd has progressed to achieve an average PLI in the breeds top 4%.

There were 31 deals over 1000gns. Calved heifers were the highlight of the sale with 13 of the 19 lots breaking the four-figure barrier.

This was not a trade dependent on buyers needing immediate returns on their investment. In-calf heifers sold well and saw Dinnaton Cind Best Grey lead this section at 1200gns. By Merit Bestow and out of a 12,000kg dam by Highlight Mr Mark Cinder, she had a PIN of +£42 and a PLI of +£45.

A young bull by Dixie-Lee Aaron sold for 1350gns. Dinnaton Boris, bred out of a 11,233kg dam by Jolt and Dinnaton BTC Prelude Babette (that has given 54t milk to date) as a second dam, was bought by an undisclosed herd in Cornwall.

Averages: 43 cows £988; 19 calved heifers £1159; 14 in-calf heifers £981; and two bulls £918. Total 78 head £1027 (Greenslade Taylor Hunt). &#42