Organic herd hits 2,200gns at Exeter

Fresh milk was in huge demand at the dispersal of the Gent family’s organic herd of 475 Friesian and crossbred cattle at Exeter Livestock Centre on Monday (15 October).

Cattle were noted to be in excellent condition and attracted a large crowd of buyers from across the south-west and up to Herefordshire, Shropshire and across to Wales and Ireland.

See also: Why a National Trust dairy tenant moved to ‘holistic’ farming

The Mosshayne herd of the Gents, Westclyst, Exeter, was founded by Derek Gent in 1972 and went organic in 1999.

Herd facts

  • 7,195kg of milk, 4% fat, 3.3% protein
  • Somatic cell count 155,000/ml
  • Service sires have been Deangate Quaich, Catlane Caleb, Skyhigh Patrol, GS Malik, GS Wallis, Janda and Gopollen
  • Milked in a herringbone parlour
  • Two nine-week calving blocks operated (1 February and 1 August)

Trade

Fresh autumn calvers were keenly sought after, averaging £1,441, compared with their spring-calving counterparts that levelled at £844. In total 472 sold averaging £915 a life.

Prices peaked at 2,200gns for a Friesian second calver by ABS Theory having calved in August. She sold to Longden Farms, Shropshire, who bought 46 lots on the day, also paying 2,150gns for another second calver.

The pick of the Swedish Red second calvers sold at 1,950gns, 1,900gns, 1,850gns twice, 1,800gn twice and 1,750gns.

Fleckvieh-cross second calvers hit 1,900gns twice, 1,850gns and 1,750gns, while Brown Swiss third calvers hit 1,900gns and 1,680gns.

Averages: 130 autumn calved cows and heifers, £1,441; 122 spring calving cows and heifers, £844; 59 spring calving in-calf heifers, £945; 51 bulling heifers, £842; 52 spring-born calves, £428; 54 baby heifers, £289; 3 pedigree Angus bulls, £1,435 (Kivells)