CCM Skipton’s Christmas Craven Dairy Auction proved a cracker, producing one of the strongest selections shown at the auction mart in recent times, milk heifers in particular. (Mon, Nov 27).

From a vast number of vendors who vied for top honours, show judge Kevin Midgley, Thorpe Bassett, Malton, had the very hard task of splitting up the prize winners - and it was certainly a close call as the large crowd of onlookers each chose their own favourites.

In the end, it was a white heifer with a phenomenal udder, carrying its milk high and wide in the rear, that he tapped out as his overall champion, which culminated in HS Petch & Sons, Great Ayton, Middlesbrough, winning their first CCM dairy championship, having knocked on the door many times as reserve champions and having themselves bred a champion earlier this year which was sold on at Skipton by Townhead Farm Products, Grassington.

Giving 30kg and having calved on October 18, Aytonian Annie 557 was from a previously sold heifer and then backed by a further two generations of EX cows with over 10,000kg lactations. The title winner made the day’s top price of £3,000 when selling to the judge.

The Northern Farmer: Christmas Craven Dairy Auction show principals, joined by the judge and sponsors’ representatives

A Splendid Lucid Red-sired heifer that calved on November 14 was placed second in the heifer in milk class and followed on to be reserve champion in the hands of South Yorkshire father and son team, Robert and Matthew Webster, Stocksbridge, who were making a welcome return to CCM. She went on to make £2,600 when selling to regular buyer Mark Goodall, Tong, Bradford.

With the large crowd, trade was more buoyant than in recent weeks and a further five milk heifers exceeded £2,000, with 12 different buyers selecting from the 35 head on offer. Other top sellers of note included £2,450 for a Bomaz Fynn daughter from the Huby-based Stapleton's Lindonmoor Pianna family, selling to John Howard, Gargrave.

At the same price was Dalesbrad Outlay Suzy, a 30kg heifer from Silsden Moor’s Allan, Susan and Richard Throup, who also hadn’t sold milk heifers for some time, their charge heading just down the road to Beamsley with local dairy farmers Alan and Emily Middleton. Close behind at £2,420 were Peter, Carolyn and Rob Corner, East Harlsey, Northallerton, with their 36kg Harlsey Villanova Cyllene 3, going to Sowray Brothers, Bishop Thornton, champions at the same day’s Christmas rearing calf show.

It was also the end of an era when Sally Wellock and family, Oakworth, sold the last four black and whites from their Harehills herd and it ended on a high when not only did they take first and second place in the in-calf heifer class with Denovo Outlay daughters, but also topped the in-calf trade at £1,680 with their third heifer. The same price was achieved by one of three in-calf heifers consigned by Jack and Alan Wilson, Green Hammerton.

The sale concluded with a run of nine bulling heifers, led by the first prize winner at £950, again from Sally Wellock and heading to Felliscliffe with Rob Johnson, while a consistent string of eight bullers from Pete Baul, Bishop Thornton, found new homes with three purchasers and topped at £920 for Ravensgate Sizzler Sparkle 365, bred from a twice 11,000kg plus dam and also selling to Rob Johnson.

Averages: 2 cows in milk £1680, 16 heifers in milk £2031, 6 in-calf heifers £1595, 9 maiden heifers £843. The festive highlight was sponsored by Massey Feeds, NMR, Skipton NFU and Mulberry Farming. The final Craven Dairy Auction of 2023 is on Monday, December 11.