Top bloodlines attract buyers for Valentines
BAD weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of Dairy Shorthorn breeders gathered at Newton in Bowland, Lancs, last week for the dispersal of brothers Gary and John Whalleys Valentine herd.
The herds lack of milk records and non-EBL status could have adversely influenced its appeal to buyers.
But the wealth of top Shorthorn bloodlines on offer, combined with the fact that the Valentine herd had never had a case of BSE, was enough to draw enthusiasts from as far away as Scotland and Devon.
Established in 1989, this herd drew enthusiastic bidding, taking prices above 1000gns on six occasions. Top price was 2400gns, just 400gns short of the then breed record paid three years ago by the Whalley brothers for Maxton Lady Hermione 53rd.
The top call confirmed the vendors many astute purchases of females in the past. It came from Leyburn, North Yorkshire breeder M W Wilkes for Groby Tulip 2nd, a daughter of Twells Moss Trooper 4th bought at the Groby herd sale last September for 1300gns.
Bred from the milky Lenborough Tulip family, Tulip 2nd was due to calve her first in July to Glanhirwen Fanfare. Heading for the same home at 400gns was the 12-week-old, red-and-white heifer calf, Valentine Legends Hermione, by Jubilant Legend and out of the 2800gns Maxton cow.
Fellow Lancastrian Shorthorn breeders * Fryer and Sons, Pilling, Preston accounted several lots and M Hill, Chorley, Lancs gave 1350gns for Hintonbank Blaze Lavender.
Looking a good investment this roan 1989-bred cow is by Pickland Blaze, the Holstein sire that has been successfully used in the breed improvement programmes of many Shorthorn herds.
Mr Hill, whose strengthening commitment to the breed includes seeking the reinstatement of classes for Shorthorns at the Royal Lancashire Show, also gave 630gns for the eight-month-old daughter of Lavender. This heifer is sired by a home-bred son of the Ayrshire bull Blackadder Milk Machine.
Seven lots headed north to the Shorthorn stronghold of Penrith with A Laughton who has established a new herd and Andrew Goaman made his trip from Devon worthwhile by adding seven lots to his herd at Beaworthy.
Well-bred calves were on the shopping list of fellow Devonshire breeders D J and L M Brown, Bideford, who twice paid 630gns. And J Howard, Skipton, North Yorks secured 12 head confirming the continued demand for modern Shorthorn cattle, many with valuable infusions of "improved" red genetics.
Averages: 16 cows in-calf £744; 40 cows in-milk £733; two heifers in-calf £1680; two heifers in-milk £871; 37 maiden heifers £423; and two bulls £766. (Harrison and Hetherington incorporating John D Thornborrow) *
By Jeremy Hunt
John Whalley among his Dairy Shorthorn herd before the sale.