The final lot of cattle from Robert Lambert and family of Mile House Farm, Kettlewell went under the hammer at Monday’s Craven Dairy Auction sale at Skipton Auction Mart.
A lot of 17 mid-lactation cows and heifers went under the hammer, marking the end of an ear for the Lambert family who have been in the dairy industry for more than 50 years.
Four generations of the family were present to watch the final set of dairystock go under the hammer – grandma Betty Lambert, who is still a partner in the farm at the age of 84, Robert, who is chairman of Kilnsey Show, his wife Kathy, Kilnsey Show secretary, their daughters Gina Hodgson and Jody Lambert, and grandchildren, Lauren, 13, and ten-year Ryan Hodgson.
Their entries sold to a high of £1,730 for a heifer bought by D L Leeming, of Winksley, Ripon, while the Lamberts were also responsible for the first prize cow, a second calver giving 23 litres and by a dairy bull bred locally by Brian Moorhouse in Bell Busk. It fell at £1,380 to Ian Lishman, of Castley, Otley.
Robert said low milk prices and the fact that 50 to 60-strong dairy herds were no longer viable on high farms were among the reasons he had decided to call it a day on dairy farming. However, he is retaining some of his favourite “girls” on the family’s 500-hectare hill and moor farm.
“I certainly won’t be idle. I will still be showing newly calven heifers at Skipton and have some nice black and white youngsters coming along, as well as Limousin-cross suckler calves and a 700-strong flock of Swaledale sheep,” he added.
Meanwhile, in contrast to the emotions of the Lambert family, it was a jubilant day for Mark Houseman, who won his fist Craven Dairy Auction championship with a newly calved home-bred heifer (pictured above) from his Senterprise pedigree Holstein Friesian dairy herd.
Mr Houseman, who trades as Church Farm Enterprises at Burton Top Farm, Burton Leonard, secured the title with his first prize newly calven home-bred heifer, which had calved 16 days prior to the show and was giving a seven-day average of 35 litres.
Church Farm Enterprises is currently milking 305 dairy cattle at an annual average of 10,000-plus litres per cow. All its milk goes to Payne’s Dairies in nearby Boroughbridge.
Their inaugural Skipton victor sold for £2,320, top price on show by some margin, to judge Wick Williams, of Nantwich, Cheshire, who also paid £1,910 for the reserve champion, the second prize newly calven heifer from Alan Throup, of Silsden Moor.
The third prize newly calven heifer from J Wellock, of Oakworth, sold for £1,800 to Frank Wrathall, of Gisburn, while a consignment of in-calf Dairy Shorthorn-cross-British Friesian heifers from Calderdale’s John Hitchen, of Ludendenfoot, sold to a high of £1,550 at an average of £1,370.
A second consignment of 16 to 18-month maiden heifers from Robert Metcalfe, of Brearton, Harrogate, peaked at £1,050, achieving an average of £925.
With 53 dairy cattle forward for the early June auction, newly calven heifers averaged £1,646 and newly calven cows £1,100.