IT turned into a ‘Ladies Day’ coup at Skipton Auction Mart’s opening July Craven Dairy Auction when newly-calven heifers bred by women farmers landed the principal honours, accompanied by fervent trade which indicated further welcome signs of an end to the dairy sector depression.

Champion was the first prize heifer from the Brontemoor pedigree herd of Sammy Sudgen, from Dobfield Farm, Laycock, near Keighley, who was stepping up on her reserve championship success at Skipton’s May opener.

Brontemoor Bossman Magic had calved 20 days prior to the show and giving 30 litres, she went on to achieve the day’s top price, a solid £2,220, when joining Edward Fort on Silsden Moor.

Another West Yorkshire dairy farmer Sally Wellock, who runs her Harehills pedigree herd at West House Farm, Oldfield, Oakworth, presented the second prize heifer and reserve champion.

Nine days-calved and giving 30 litres, she, too, sold well when knocked down for £1,900 to John Howard, of Heslaker, on the outskirts of Skipton.

Mrs Wellock also made £1,700 with a second newly-calven pedigree heifer bought by BH Wilson and Sons, of Green Hammerton.

Tony Swires, of Stainburn, Otley, was responsible for the third prize newly-calven heifer, a commercial entry which made £1,750 on joining co-judges, brothers Shaun and Peter Sowray, from Bishop Thornton. The same vendor also sold a second heifer at £1,600 to Fred Longster in Fellbeck.

Other newly calven entries to catch the eye were pedigree entries from RW and M Walker, of East Morton, and Peter Baul, of Bishop Thornton, which respectively made £1,650, again to the Sowrays, and £1,600 to Ken Throup on Silsden Moor.

Of the 34-strong turnout, pedigree newly calven heifers averaged £1,616.29 per head and their commercial counterparts £1,349.

In-calf heifer trade was again led by Brian and Susan Barningham, who trade as Isaac Oliver and Partners in Darley and sold a brace of pedigree entries due August to £1,300 (av £1,130). Two home-bred bulling heifers from David and Jill Pennock in Bolton Abbey sold to £680 (av £580).