Despite the huge fall in milk values since this time last year, prices and averages held up amazingly well at the Black and White sale at Carlisle, which attracted a massive crowd and buyers from no fewer than six countries including Australia.

Such was the demand for the cream of genetics from the best cow families in the world, that trade peaked at 13,000gns for a first choice of three heifer calves, and a further 20 animals sold at or above the £5000 mark.

Topping the sale was an entry from Northern Ireland breeders, Noel and Daniel Willis, Portadown. Their March-due heifers will be grand-daughters of the unbeaten Canadian ET Ex97-3E 3* show cow, Erbacres Snapple Shakira is the current World Dairy Expo and Royal Winter Fair Champion.

The Scottish Farmer: Kevin and Alison Lawrie brought out Lucke Altitude Aussie Red ET which made 9500gnsKevin and Alison Lawrie brought out Lucke Altitude Aussie Red ET which made 9500gns

The dam of the unborn heifers is the show cow Erbacres Diamond Sparkle Ex93 2E – the highest classified Shakira daughter that is due her fourth in 2024, having produced daughters at $18,000 and $10,000 in the USA. This first choice lot was knocked down in a two-way split to David Hodgson of Wormanby Holsteins, Carlisle and Aubrey Greenhaugh.

The same partnership also purchased the top priced calf, Wiltor Ashton Babe from David and Claire Jones and son Matt of the Wiltor herd, South Wales, at 12,000gns.

The family, who sold off their herd in 2019 but are back milking 100 cows boasting a herd average of 11,000kg, received this money for a seven-week-old Canadian-bred ET calf.

Ashton Babe is the first heifer to sell in Europe from the 2022 All Canadian-5yr and reserve grand champion at the Royal Winter Fair, Jacobs High Octane Babe Ex94. Her sister, Jacobs Destina Balla, was recently named intermediate champion at the Royal Winter Fair as a summer junior. Sired by Toc-Farm Ashton, the calf is also a grand-daughter of the Ex96-2E 32* LP60 show cow, Jacobs Goldwyn Britainy who was Canadian Holstein cow of the Year in 2017.

The Scottish Farmer: Wiltor Ashton Babe, an October 2023-born heifer calf shown by David and Matt Jones and Matt's fiancee, Isobel Commins, sold for 12,000gnsWiltor Ashton Babe, an October 2023-born heifer calf shown by David and Matt Jones and Matt's fiancee, Isobel Commins, sold for 12,000gns

The Jones’ Wiltor herd also received 9000gns for another descendent of the sale leader, Wiltor Legend Shakira ET, a Blondin daughter purchased by Anthony Grimshaw of the Carldanton herd, Bolton. This 10-month-old is bred from the VG87-2yr Wiltor King Doc Shakira that was second prize junior heifer in milk at the Royal Welsh, with her third dam being the Ex97-3E 3* Erbacres Snapple Shakira

In an all Irish transaction, the similarly aged Leagh Lamborghini ET, from Tim Fitzmaurice, Co Kerry, sold to John O’Connor, for the same money. Bred from two successive generations of Ex96 dams, this Farnear Delta-Lambda-sired calf is the result of flush from the Canadian show cow, Hendercroft Feber Bazooka ET Ex96-4E 4* that was grand champion at the Eastern Ontario Show in 2017. The calf’s grand-dam is Hendercroft Lheros Gumball Ex96-6E 35* which achieved the exact same in 2008.

Kevin and Alison Lawrie, Myremill, Maybole, contract rear calves from frozen embryos from Matt and Joe Engel’s Lucke herd from Illinois and brought out the Lucke Altitude Aussie Red ET, to sell for 9500gns. The nine-month-old is a direct daughter of Luck-E McGucci Afro Ex94 which boasts more than 20 Ex and 15 VG-classified daughters. Raymond and Aiden Garvey of Millfarm Holsteins Silverbridge, Newry, were the final bidders on this Farnear Altitude Red heifer.

A joint purchase between David and John Brewster of the Boclair herd from Bearsden, Glasgow, and John Greenop of the Bridgedale herd in Cumbria, saw David and Francis Wright’s Berryholme Rubicon Lustre ET, from Kendal, sell for 9000gns. This 10-month-old heifer by EDG Rubicon, is backed by six consecutive generations of Ex-classified cows, with her dam being the Ex95-2E Dulais Silver Lustre that made 40,000gns at this summer’s Welsh Sensation sale. Her third dam is the Ex95-3E SP LP100 24* brood cow, Honeypot Gold Lustre.

Berryholme genetics were also behind another 9000gns lot from Hugh and Andrew Neilson’s 300-cow Overside herd from Strathaven, when Overside Parfect Flo 2 ET, a seven-month-old heifer was knocked down to the Garvey brothers, Newry. Bred from six consecutive generations of Ex-classified cows, her dam is Berryholme Secretariat Flo 2 Ex93SP and was purchased privately as a calf.

A strong group of heifers from Graham Kirkby’s Absolute herd from Kirkham, Preston, peaked at 8000gns for Absolute Sidekick Advocaat, a 14-month-old that was champion at the Lancashire Calf Show and the second at the National Calf Show. Bred from the Ex90 SP Auchensala Adeles Doorman Ava cow, she is a grand-daughter of the great KHW Regiment Apple-Red ET Ex96-3E DOM 32* LP 100 show cow and was bought by John Metcalf and Heidi Sowerby of Crossfell Holsteins, Kirby Thore.

Matching that 8000gns bid was the sole entry from T Tomkinson and Son’s Staffordshire-based enterprise, Coxongreen Loyall Blexy ET, a four-month-old bred from the 5guys Blexy Black Raptor VG88-2yr and a grand-daughter of the 2017 All American and All Canadian Ex97 3E Rosiers Blexy Goldwyn. Sired by Comestar Loyall, she sold down to Devon with Matthew Norman.

The top price amongst a select entry of Ayrshire heifers was 6500gns paid for a choice of two from Richard Baynes’ Sea Lily family from the Marleycote herd, Northumberland. The lots, owned in partnership with Adam Smith, saw Marleycote Sea Lily 36 ET, a 16-month-old bred from the 2018 South-West Calf Show champion, Marleycote Sea Lily 29 VG86-2yr, sell to David Forsyth, Newtonhead, Kilmarnock.

Leading the Jersey entry at 5800gns was the choice of an unborn heifer from Donald and Laura Millar’s Tresure herd from Lockerbie, purchased by Messrs Murray, Wolverhampton. The heifers, which are due in March will be daughters of Homeridge T Annett which sold for $105,000 in the Amplify Sale going to Vierra Dairy in 2022 after being named Supreme Champion of the Junior Show at World Dairy Expo.

Other Leading Prices

Holstein calves – 7000gns – KJ and CS Wilson’s Warnelview Davinci Nita 8 ET, bred from Warnelview Seaver Nita 6 ET Ex95-3E to Greentower Farms, Cartland, Lanark; W and S Airey’s Newcroft Crush Quinn 2, bred from Newcroft Mogul Quin 4 VG87-2yr, to Messrs Barber, Nantwich, Cheshire. 6500gns – A and J Whittaker’s Knowlesmere Haniko Victorious ET, bred from Knowlesmere Jones Unix Victoire ET VG88-2yr, to Messrs Lawrie, Myremill, Maybole. 6000gns – D, K and T Neville’s Emerald STA Chief Rhapsody ET, bred from Emerald Lambda Rhapsody Ex92, to Messrs Doran, Ballinasloe, Roscommon, Ireland.

Holstein yearlings – 6000gns – WA and A Booth’s Feizor Sidekick M Kandie, bred from Feizor Mirand A Kandie Red SP VG88-2yr, to Messrs Innes, Drumduan, Forres, Morayshire.

Auctioneers: Harrison and Hetherington.

Averages: 94 Holstein yearling heifers, £4010.00 (-£279.21 for the same number); four Holstein heifers in milk, £3911.25 (-£377.96 for the same number); three Holstein in-calf heifers, £3500.00; 25 embryos, £819.00 (+£364 for 10 more).