Longster bull calf claims champion and top price honours at Skipton
North Yorkshire dairy farmer Mike Longster won his first-ever rearing calf championship at Skipton Auction Mart’s Spring show and sale. (Mon, May 20)
Mr Longster, who runs a 225-strong Holstein Friesian dairy herd at New Causeway Farm, Fellbeck, Harrogate, with his father, Fred – Mike’s wife, Caroline, is calf feeder-in-chief – clinched the title with his first prize British Blue-cross bull calf, a home-bred by the Genus sire, Glacier.
The five-week-old was tapped out as victor by show judge Robert Foster, of Tadcaster, who later backed his judgement in the sale ring when claiming his chosen champion for the day’s top call of £460.
Mr Foster remained in the same pen for his overall reserve champion, the second prize Blue-cross bull from multiple past champions, the Sowray brothers - Shaun, Peter and Paul - who run their Holstein Friesian dairy herd at Bowes Green Farm, Bishop Thornton. The seven-week-old, by another Genus bull, Jack, fell for £440, again to the judge, who took home 18 in total.
Also selling at the same money was a Simmental bull calf from Calderdale’s G Lumb, of Greetland, Halifax.
A great run of 123 show day calves were on parade, especially in the British Blue bulls section, where 14 calves made over £400 at an overall average of £391.67. Blue-cross heifers were not quite as potent, averaging £303.67 and topping at £430 for another Jack-sired youngster from the Sowrays, this claimed by brothers Malcolm and Stephen Abbott, of Dacre.
Limousin entries peaked at £340 for a bull calf from Graham Stephenson, of Kirkby Lonsdale, the sale producing an overall Continental-cross selling average of £329.
Native calves hit a high gear once again, Aberdeen-Angus bulls averaging £235 and heifers £150.44, with £290 topping the bulls for another Sowray youngster, and £240 the leading heifer price, this from James Wellock, of Eshton. The overall native average was £178.89.
Black and whites were a healthy trade, though the overall average of £58.54 was held back by a run of bobby calves. Doing best at £130 was a bull calf from the Clarke family in Hampsthwaite.