West Yorkshire dairy farmer William Mitchell, of R & CR Mitchell, Grange Farm, Oakworth, experienced mixed emotions when sending out the champion at the early July Craven Dairy Auction at Skipton Auction Mart. (Mon, July 6).
William Mitchell is pictured second from right with his Craven Dairy Auction champion. Geoff Mellin and the reserve champion are on the left, with the duo joined by judge Fred Longster, right.
Mr Mitchell is quitting milk production after becoming a further victim following the collapse of the Dairy Farmers of Britain co-operative and sold six commercial cattle as part of the ongoing dispersal sale of his 40-strong dairy holding, with further sales to be staged as remaining stock calve.
Mr Mitchell’s title winner, a home-bred Holstein Friesian newly calven cow giving ten gallons, went on to make top price of the day at £2,140 when acquired by C & J Terry, of Fountains, Ripon.
The Mitchell family has been milking for three generations and William Mitchell has continued the work of his grandfather Frank and father Raymond before him. Like many other milk men across the country, Mr Mitchell said it was just not economical to continue in milk production.
The reserve champion came from another Oakworth farmer, Geoff Mellin, of Slippery Stones Farm, who has also been affected by the demise of the farmer-run dairy co-operative, but is hoping to remain in milk production.
His Holstein Friesian second calver, producing 35 litres and bought at Skipton last year, sold for £2,010 to PJ & H Hartley, of Bashall Eaves, Clitheroe.
Mr Mellin has been in dairying for 38 years, taking over from his late father Harry, one of the first farmers to join the former Milk Marketing Board. He still retains almost 40 milkers at home and is anxious to remain in dairy farming after finding an outlet with an alternative buyer. “We’ll see how it goes and will be taking stock of the situation over the next six months,” he said.
Skipton has become a premier northern venue for dairy dispersal events and is now regularly staging them as part of the Craven Dairy Auction fixtures, currently being held bi-monthly to meet both supply and demand.
Judge at the latest show was Fred Longster, Pateley Bridge. Newly calven cows averaged £1,508, with newly calven heifers selling to £1,840 (av £1,690), in-calf heifers to £1,520 (£1,415) and maiden heifers to £1,280 (£1,075).
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