With numbers remaining tight nationally and expected to continue as such, purchasers turned their attentions to buying quality and volume at the Wright Marshall Mid Month Dairy Cattle sale at Beeston, where 50% of the pedigree heifers in milk sold for more than £1800.

According to auctioneer Simon Lamb, commercial producers prefer to buy in replacement females at £1800 rather than breed their own at a cost of on average £1500 per head to the point of calving, meaning there is a constant demand for fresh cows and heifers.

Add to that the huge numbers of dairy cattle taken out by TB south of the Border and the fact that imported heifers are extremely costly to buy in and could become even dearer if the UK leaves Europe without a 'deal' and demand for milking females is likely to remain high for the foreseeable future.

Such was the demand for milking females, that many of those selling at four figure prices were three-quartered or light in one quarter. Overall, the sale of 124 dairy animals, which included 12 calves, witnessed no fewer than 20 milking females change hands for more than £2000, with 47 selling at in excess of £1800. Only 10 sold for less than £1000.

Furthermore, such averages were achieved from a low lead bid of £2180 paid for AD Mares' Greengrass Silver Lavender 3, from Hillock Farm, Darwen, Lancs. Calved on January 3, this Seagull-Bay Silver-sired heifer bred from the VG87 Shortwaite Logo Lavender 110, changed hands giving 31kg per day to Bonsalls Mercaston, Market Drayton, Shropshire.

Just behind, on £2100, RG and L Ryley, also from Market Drayton, bought Heathleigh Myspace Present 2, a late December calved heifer by Gillette Sgo Myspace bred from a home-bred VG dam. Consigned by LF Horton and Sons, Heath Hall FArm, Little Leigh, Northwich, she sold giving 37kg per day.

Cheshire producer, JW Gleave, Holmes Chapel, went to £2080 for H and VE Jolly's Fieldside Electric Baby 607, a Peak Mr Grey daughter, from Great Eccleston Hall Farm, Great Eccleston, Preston. She calved down early December.

Averages: 23 cows, £1618.67 (including faults and all breeds); 85 heifers, £1674.49 (including faults and& all breeds); 12 heifer calves £166.25.

Auctioneers: Wright Marshall