After a lean period by their own high standards, father-and-son commercial Holstein Friesian dairy farmers Malcolm and Robert Swires, of Haverah Park, Beckwithshaw, Harrogate, bounced back with a championship and reserve championship double at the main August Craven Dairy Auction at Skipton Auction Mart. (Mon, Aug 22)
Robert Swires, second from left, exhibitor of the main August Craven Dairy Auction champion and reserve champion, is congratulated by Keith Colley, of sponsors BOCM Pauls.
On the right is judge Peter Waring.
Their first title win since May was their 18th championship success in recent years, which remains an all-time record at the North Yorkshire venue.
The overall victor was the Swires’ first prize cow, a home-bred second calver giving 40 litres by Myersdale Sportsman, yet another quality acquisition from Geoff Spence, of Northallerton. Swires-bought Spence sires have been responsible for many of their Skipton champions and prize winners over the years.
Their latest star also bagged top price honours at £2,140 when joining Wick Williams, of Nantwich. The Cheshire buyer, a fixture at the Skipton ringside, also paid £2,040 for the second prize newly calven heifer from Tony Swires, of Stainburn, Otley, and £1,430 for third prize newly calven cow from J Wellock, Oakworth.
Malcolm and Robert Swires’ reserve champion was the first prize newly calven heifer, another home-bred. Giving 28 litres, she sold at £2,020 to Stephen and Malcolm Abbott, of Dacre, Harrogate.
From a ten-strong consignment, two further Swires newly calven heifers also sold well – one at £2,000 to Tom Green, Wigan, along with the third prize winner at £1,830 to Stephen Liddle at Huby, Otley.
The second prize cow from Jennings Farmers at Fountains, Ripon, was knocked down for £1,320 to G R Parkin, Selby.
There was strong trade for a total of 17 maiden heifers from three vendors, which averaged £764. The first prize winner from Andrew Ayrton, Eastby, sold at £910 to Shaun Hickey, Colne, with the same exhibitor also responsible for top price in class at £1,300. The buyer was Edward Fort, Silsden.
Stephen Coates, Baildon, sold a 14-month-old maiden heifer for £950 to Gordon Beresford, Halton West, while Geoff Booth, Lothersdale, sold a yearling heifer at £780 and a nine-week-old heifer calf at £450 to Brian Hall, Gargrave.
Best of the in-calf heifers came from H A Simpson, Easingwold, the first prize winner selling for £1,660 to a buyer from Lincolnshire, Terry Hanson.
An additional highlight was the second annual show for dairy bulls, which attracted a seven-strong entry, all but one of which found new homes.
The champion was a March, 2009-born red and white Holstein bull, Aireburn Hercules Red, shown by Alan Midgley, of Dean House Farm, Luddenden, Halifax, which also become the top-priced bull when joining Chris Harrison at Elsack for 1,460gns (£1,533).
Bred by Craven Dairy Auction regular Brian Moorhouse, of Bell Busk, and a product of Bill Nadin’s noted Derbyshire-based Sterndale pedigree Holstein herd, the title winner was acquired by Mr Midgley 16 months ago and has been used to good effect on his mixed Holstein, Ayrshire and Shorthorn dairy herd. It currently stands at 50-strong, with all milk sold locally.
Reserve champion was a 15-month-old home-bred pedigree Brown Swiss bull, Lunar Diego Titan, from breed enthusiasts David and Pauline Brown, of Longside Farm, Ramsgill. They have been breeding Brown Swiss dairy cattle for the past 12 years, having originally bred from black and whites.
Mr Brown, who is chairman of Nidderdale Show, explained: “We are fully Brown Swiss. They milk as well as any black and whites - we are now averaging 7,500 litres on a grass-fed system.
“In addition, Brown Swiss are very fertile. The older they get the better they look and the more milk they give. For us, milk fever is a thing of the past – our vet’s bill has come down by a third. The breed is definitely growing in popularity.” The runner-up was sold locally for 600gns (£630) to David Pennock, Bolton Abbey.
With 68 dairy cattle forward, 40 in-milk, newly calven heifers averaged £1,665, newly calven cows £1,528 and in-calf heifers £1,350. Holstein Friesian stock bulls averaged £1,370.
Craven Dairy Auction judge was Peter Waring, who runs a 140-strong pedigree Holstein Friesian dairy herd at Field House Farm, Cherry Burton, Beverley, while animal feed manufacturer BOCM Pauls again sponsored.
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