Another Swires family success at Craven Dairy Auction Commercial Holstein Friesian entries bagged the principal prizes in the newly calven show classes at Skipton Auction Mart’s main July Craven Dairy Auction show and sale, as trade for milkers stepped up a gear.

Father and son, Tony and James Swires, from Town End Farm, Stainburn, between Harrogate and Otley, picked up their third championship of the year with the first prize heifer, a home-bred Picston Shottle daughter three weeks calved and giving 28 litres, which sold for £1,950 to the show judge, Bishop Thornton dairy farmer Shaun Sowray.

The same vendors also presented the day’s top price entry, a pedigree heifer by the Cogent sire, Ballycairn Tiergan, which made £2,200 when falling to regular buyers Alf and Andrew Townsend, of Southfield, Burnley.

The Swires family consigned four newly calven heifers in all, which sold to an overall average of £2,020 per head. Also among them was the third prize commercial heifer,  sold for £1,980 to another regular buyer Brian Blezard, of Ribchester, plus a second pedigree entry by Myersdale Finesse, which also sold to the judge for £1.950.

The reserve championship fell to the second prize heifer from Lancashire brother and sister, Sam and Louise Wood, of Broadwood Edge Farm, Holcombe, near Bury. Calved for 17days and giving 32 litres, the overall runner-up, first into the ring, sold for £2,100, again to Mr Blezard. The Woods are third generation dairy farmers who also run the Alderwood pedigree herd. They are currently milking 130 cows.

Another commercial breeder, David Fort, of High Malsis Farm, Glusburn, was responsible for the first prize newly calven cow, a home-bred second calver by the Genus sire, Regancrest Isley, who is himself a Picston Shottle son. Twenty days calved and giving 35 litres, she became a further acquisition by Mr Sowray at £1,680.

In-calf heifers met with a flying trade, with the Roberts family, from South Crosland in Kirklees, having the pick of it with a £1,420 top call for an entry due to calve in August to their Aberdeen Angus stock bull.
With 29 dairy cattle forward, pedigree newly calven heifers averaged £1,857.50 per head and their commercial counterparts £1,615. In-calf heifers averaged £1,237.

Native calves on fire
The same day’s rearing calf sale attracted an entry of 52 head, when native youngsters proved the real eye-catchers with a top price of £385 for a month-old Aberdeen Angus bull calf from Michael Heron, of Bramhope, with another of his entries hitting £350. The Hartley family, from Bolton Abbey, headed the native heifer calf prices with another Angus at £330. The section average was £240.60 per head.

Continental-cross entries had the pick of the trade as usual, averaging £332 each and selling to a top of £440 for a Limousin-cross bull calf from Paul Leadbetter, of Cross Roads, Keighley, with Airton’s Paul and Janet Bolland heading the Blue-cross bull calf prices at £410,

While black and whites may have appeared cheaper on the week when averaging £75 per head overall, a good number of entries between 14 and 21-days-old sold up to £95, with a month-old Friesian bull calf, again from Michael Heron, topping the section at £170.

Skipton Auction Mart auctioneer Sam Bradley noted: “While calves overall were a lot younger across the board, resulting in an easier average on paper, however for what was on offer trade was certainly strong.”