It must have seemed like a case of déjà vu for ringside onlookers at Skipton Auction Mart when the February Craven Dairy Auction (Mon, Feb 23) produced exactly the same brother-and-sister finalists as the previous month.
Robert Swires with his Craven Dairy Auction February champion
Yet again, it was a home-bred newly calven Holstein Friesian heifer from the Harrogate-based Swires family that collected championship honours, leaving the Simpson clan from Ripon to settle for the reserve championship once more.
Father-and-son farmers Malcolm and Robert Swires - their Whinhill commercial herd is based at Haverah Park, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate - were landing their second Craven Dairy Auction title in consecutive months and their fifth in total.
Their February victor is by Miresdale Sportsman, standing with 2007 UK Dairy Farmer of the Year Geoff Spence, of Brompton, Northallerton. Giving 25 litres, the classy first calver sold for £2,420, top price in show, to Martin Jennings, of Lane End Farm, Cowling.
Husband-and-wife dairy farmers Thomas and Elizabeth Simpson – Libby is Robert’s sister - of Red House Farm, Ripon, saw their Holstein Friesian second calver chosen as the first prize newly-calven cow, before being awarded the runners-up berth. By Firth Joker and giving 42 litres, it sold for £2,320 to Geoff Booth, Lothersdale.
For good measure, the Swires also had the second prize newly calven heifer, a £2,020 acquisition by show judge Dennis Clowes, Macclesfield, who also purchased the third prize newly calven heifer from Harry Raw, Eastburn, for £2,000.
CCM Dairy Farmer of the Year Robin Jennings, of South Stainley, Harrogate, saw his second prize newly calven cow knocked down for £2,150 to regular Cheshire buyer Wick Williams, who also paid £2,180 for the third in class, again from Thomas and Elizabeth Simpson.
Best of the in-calf heifers came from Marsden Farms, Oakworth, a £1,380 acquisition by David Shuttleworth, Gargrave. TB Moorhouse & Son, Dacre, Harrogate, sold several maiden heifers to a top price of £600, with three December-born Friesian heifer calves from Richard Bowker, Earby, peaking at £370 (av £362).
There were 72 dairy cattle forward, with newly calven heifers averaging £1,709 and newly calven cows £1,472.
The popular monthly fixture was again supported by regular sponsors BOCM Pauls and Farmers & Mercantile Insurance, boosted by a £300 donation from the newly formed Skipton Business Over Breakfast (BoB) Club.
The club meets fortnightly, allowing members - predominantly smaller entrepreneurs - to promote their businesses and help each other pass referrals. Chairman Matthew Mason, of Masons Printers, Skipton, said:
“A lot of farmers are expanding by launching secondary agricultural or tourism-related businesses and we would welcome them – along with others – as guests in the first instance.” Skipton BoB Club co-ordinator Michael Frankland can be contacted on 07828 574715.
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