THE highest Holstein dairy price in close on a decade was seen at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest fortnightly Craven Dairy Auction on Monday for the reserve champion from Mark Smith and team in Winterburn.

The white newly calved 44kg heifer, just over a month fresh, was widely admired, the hammer eventually falling at £3,300 to regular West Yorkshire buyer Mark Goodall, of Tong, Bradford.

Kev Midgely, from Thorpe Bassett, Malton, judged the pre-sale show class for seven quality milk heifers, awarding the championship to local father and son dairy farmers, Norman and Chris Bell, who run the 90-strong Mireclose pedigree Holstein herd at the farm of the same name in Cowling.

Their home-bred Mireclose Secretariat Amanda, calved on July 5 and already at 34kg, made second top of £2,750 when heading home with Queensbury’s Richard Sutcliffe.

It was the second championship for the Bells, who resumed showing dairy cattle at their local auction mart some 12 months ago in a bid to boost the herd’s profile – and victory certainly helped the cause, “You always get good trade at Skipton for good cows,” noted Chris Bell.

It’s not the first time the Bells have hit the headlines at the North Yorkshire venue. At an online working sheepdog sale in March they paid the remarkable price of £2,600 for an unbroken Welsh-bred pup just two-weeks-old and still to be weaned.

Chris Bell said the silver grey bitch, aptly named Silver, had settled in nicely and is working well on the farm, where the family also breed pigs. They also plan to breed off Silver, herself impeccably bred. Attention now turns to Skipton’s ‘live’ working sheep dog trial tomorrow.

Back in the dairy arena, both trade and demand continued apace, a packed ringside of buyers bidding keenly for all classes of stock, with nine freshly calved heifers from seven consignors seeing six sail over the £2,500 barrier to produce an overall heifer average of £2,444. A newly calven cow from Brian and Judith Moorhouse’s Aireburn pedigree herd in Bell Busk also caught the eye at £2,650.

Another father and son team, Jack and Alan Wilson, from Green Hammerton, York, continued their ongoing herd dispersal, selling the third prize winner, a fresh 30kg-plus heifer by Cookiecutter Harper at £2,750, while their six in-calf cows averaged £1,508, including two coming with their fifth calf and four with their third.

The sale concluded with 22 Holstein Friesian and Norwegian Red Cross bulling heifers, all February and March 2021-born, from Richard and Yvonne Kershaw in Huddersfield, who are moving to all-Autumn calving. The batch headed to six new homes, with 17 selling over £1,000 and trade twice reaching £1,200 for daughters of Kvalbein and Larcrest Commend, bought respectively by Rob Johnson, of Felliscliffe, Harrogate, and Alan Outram in Bury.

With a real buzz in the dairy shippon, more entries are sought for the next Craven Dairy Auction on Monday, August 7. CCM’s dairy sales co-ordinator Sarah Liddle is on 07710 795585.