Aireburn herd crowned Craven Dairy Auction Christmas champions A cracker of a newly calven heifer from husband and wife Dales dairy farmers Brian and Judith Moorhouse, who run the Aireburn pedigree Holstein herd at Hesper Farm, Bell Busk, was crowned supreme champion at the annual Christmas Craven Dairy Auction at Skipton Auction Mart. (Mon, Dec 4)

Returning in fine form after also winning the championship at the previous dairy show, the Moorhouses lifted the title once more after show judge Martyn Jennings, of Cowling, nominated their first prize heifer, Aireburn Commander Dewdrop, as the overall victor and recipient of the Craven Cattle Marts Perpetual Trophy.

The 12 days calved 30-litre heifer, by the Genus sire, Larcroft Commander, out of the EX94 4E cow, Aireburn Ferrari Dewdrop, raced away to second top price in show of £2,200 when joining William Oldfield, of Gisburn.

The festive Craven Dairy Auction produced a high note when another Larcroft Commander daughter, the second prize newly calven heifer from David, Claire and Suzy Lawson’s Newbirks pedigree herd at Mill Farm, Arthington, went on to achieve £2,350, top price of year for a new calver, when knocked down to  Stephen and Rachel Coates in Baildon. She was 30 days calved out of Newbirks Commander Jazz 1723 and came to market giving 35 litres.

The first prize newly calven cow, a second calver from Thomas and Libby Simpson, of Red House Farm, Ripon, was tapped out by the judge as reserve champion. By the World Wide Sires’ dairy bull, Wyman, the 15 days calved 48-litre cow was bagged by Richard Sutcliffe of Queensbury, for £2, 050, with another second calver from the same home selling for £1,780 to Brian Blezard, of Ribchester.

Mr Blezard also paid £2,150 for a second Moorhouse family 26 days calved 30-litre heifer boasting 11 generations of VG or EX behind her, while multiple past champion Robert Crisp, of Calton, also did well with the first entry in the ring, a 28-litre newly calven heifer claimed by Alf and Andrew Townsend, of Southfield, Burnley, at £1,950.

The Silmoor herd of Silsden Moor’s Edward Fort was responsible for third prize newly 26-litre calven heifer sired by Crackholm Fever, which was again claimed by Mr Oldfield at £1,920.

Mr Fort also stepped up with the second prize newly calven cow, again sold to Mr Sutcliffe for £1.720, while the third in class from the Swires family in Stainburn made £1,800 when joining dairy farming brothers Malcolm and Stephen Abbott in Dacre.

In a standalone show for in-calf heifers, the Ravensgate pedigree herd of Peter Baul at Watergate Farm, Bishop Thornton, won for the second year running, again picking up the Frank Wade Perpetual Trophy with Ravensgate Shottle Honesty 169, by the legendary Picston Shottle. Herself due on December 17 to the Genus sire, Grazie, the mother-to-be made £1,320 when joining Cheshire buyer David Hancock.

The 26-strong turnout saw pedigree newly calven heifers sell to a solid overall average of £1,750 per head and their commercial counterparts £1,456, with newly calven cows averaging £1,675 and in-calf heifers £1,185.

At the same day’s weekly rearing calf sale, the 63 youngsters on parade also met a healthy trade, especially for British Blue-cross bull calves, which sold to an overall average of £393 per head and a top of £450 for an entry from Alan Middleton, of JP&KE Hartley in Bolton Abbey.

Best of the rest
On another busy Monday, a reduced entry of 28 under 30-month prime cattle sold to a top gross price of £1,443, or 244.5p/kg, for a 590kg Limousin heifer from the Stockdale family in Burnsall, claimed by Kendalls Farm Butchers, of Pateley Bridge and Harrogate.

Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop in Lancaster bought the three leading per kilo entries, all Limousin-cross heifers from the Critchley family in Hutton, which peaked at 262.5p/kg, with a gross top of £1,424.

Cull cows, 37 in number, sold to an overall average of £599.76 per head, or 93.56p/kg, while a mature Limousin bull from Ian Parkinson, of Barden, made £1,031, or 111.5p/kg.
A huge turnout of 4,081 prime sheep included 3,877 lambs exhibiting quality across all breeds and, with plenty of meat about, buyers responded well to produce an overall selling average of £81.11 per head, or 185.5p/kg.

Numerous pens sold into three figures and above 250p/kg, with Mike Allen, of Whitby, heading the gross prices with a £122 per head Beltex pen and Paul Simpson, of Bolton-by-Bowland, the per kilo prices at 276.9p, again with a Beltex pen. The breed average of 234.53p/kg for all Beltex sold was tremendous.

Of the 204 cast sheep penned for sale, cull ewes averaged £58.52 and cast rams £60 per head.