Aireburn heifer bags another Skipton dairy title Brian and Judith Moorhouse’s Aireburn pedigree herd at Hesper Farm, Bell Busk, sent out yet another champion at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest Craven Dairy Auction show and sale. (Mon, May 22)

Top honours fell to their first prize fully home-bred newly calven heifer, Aireburn Endo Stephanie, by their former and well-utilised stock bull, Endo, out of Aireburn Panter Stephanie. From a family stretching back many generations, the victor, giving 28 litres, sold for £1,750 to Shaun Sowray, of Bishop Thornton, one of three acquisitions on the day by the Sowray brothers, who are familiar faces in the Skipton rearing calf arena.

The frontrunner was one of two entries from the Aireburn herd that had both calved 15 days prior to the fixture. The second, a 40-litre cow, Aireburn Avalon Delia, by Alta Genetics’ Alta Avalon, was also awarded the class red rosette by show judge Colin Whitelock, from Gargrave, before falling for £1,520, again to the Sowrays.

Overall reserve champion was the second prize newly calven cow from the Ravensgate pedigree herd of Peter Baul, another multiple past Craven Dairy Auction champion who trades as M Baul & Partners at Watergate Farm, Bishop Thornton.

His Ravensgate Bossman Heather 340, by the renowned Genus sire, Bassingthorpe Bossman out of Ravensgate Doberman Heath, came to market 12 days calved and giving 28 litres. She sold for £1,500 to the Critchley family in Hutton, near Preston, who also headed the prices in both the prime cattle and Spring lamb sales staged the same day.

Mr Baul also had a hand in the day’s top price performer, as he bred the newly calven heifer, Ravensgate Tabber Sparkle 828, consigned by Samantha Sugden, who runs the Brontemoor pedigree herd at Dobfield Farm, Laycock, near Keighley.

She bought Sparkle last July at Skipton as a red rosette-winning maiden heifer and she had calved just ten days before the sale to the Genus sire, Topcroft Pesky Trix. Giving 27 litres, the heifer was hard fought over, before becoming a third acquisition by the Sowray family, at £1,820.

The third prize newly calven heifer from Mark Smith, of Winterburn, sold for £1,520 to the Goodall dairy farming family in Tong, Bradford. Newly calven heifers averaged £1,580 per head overall.

David and Pauline Brown, from Ramsgill, made a clean sweep of the prizes in the in-calf show class with the last of their Brown Swiss heifers due to a Lincoln Red bull. The trio realised either side of £1,000, with a high of £1,020.

A brace of maiden heifers from Colne’s R&E Pollard averaged £625 (top price £650) with both joining Duncan Holme in Bolton Abbey. 

Rearing calf trade exceptional
The same day’s turnout of 73 rearing calves again met with exceptional trade, as Fred Houseman, of Church Farm Enterprises in Burton Leonard, once more claimed top price of £450 with a British Blue-cross heifer calf. Continental heifer buyers were out in force, producing an outstanding Blue heifer class average of £392 per head.

Blue-cross bulls were not quite as strong, peaking at £405 for an entry from the Sowray family in Bishop Thornton and averaging £360.56 per head overall.

Limousin heifer calves also outstripped their male counterparts, with respective averages of £376 and £362.50, and top prices of £400 in both sections with a heifer calf from Paul and Janet Bolland, of Airton, and a bull calf from G Pickergill & Sons, of Hawksworth. The overall Continental-cross average was £370.87 per head.

Native entries were also in ready demand, with young three to four-week-old Angus heifer calves from Michael Heron, of Bramhope, selling to £290, while Gavin Herd, from Hebden, made £310 with his Angus bull calf. The overall native average was £190.12.

Black and white bull calves, with an average age of 39 days, also met a flying trade, topping at £290 for a cracker from Michael Heron again, and producing an overall average of £147.13 per head.

Stirks from Bolton Abbey’s Graham Hayton also sold well, with his four-month-old Limousin bull and heifer entries making £480 and £470 respectively.

“With enviable trade such as this, more calves are wanted for our weekly Monday sales,” noted auctioneer Sam Bradley.