Kintyre farmer exceeds estimates on sale of prized herd
A KINTYRE dairy farmer’s need to buy pints of milk is just one of the more mundane consequences of his decision to sell a prized herd of Ayrshires.
Archie Millar, 52, of Ballygreggan Farm near Drumlemble, jokingly said that it is strange learning which coloured cap milk to buy and after a lifetime on a dairy farm, founded by his grand father, he has also found himself struggling to adapt to not needing to be up at 5.30am.
RAY OF SUNSHINE
At the Pedigree Ayrshire Cattle-national Society Show and Sale at Borderway Mart Carlisle last Wednesday November 4 there was one ray of sunshine for Mr Millar when he won a rosette for the show champion, which was the mother of this year’s Kintyre Show champion.
Mr Millar averaged 1444 guineas for his herd comprising 70 cows and heifers in milk, eight in calf heifers and one bull with a couple of animals coming back to Kintyre.
Mr Millar said: ‘Anything over 1,000 guineas was a bonus for us. To get that average for older cows and in calf heifers was great.
‘I was more than delighted with the price, they travelled well despite my pre-sale concerns, and the three men employed by the market did a great job of turning them out.
‘My dad came to the sale and I think in the end he was pleased with the price. He said you will be glad you Pedigreed them because that made them eligible for this sale.’
Two weeks ago, when Mr Millar spoke about his decision to sell before the sale, he cited a combination reasons, including the then current milk price of 18 pence per litre (ppl) in Kintyre, his health and a lack of a successor.
Mr Millar said; ‘Everyone I spoke to at Carlisle told me they were getting at least 24ppl. I spoke to a Marks and Spencer direct supplier who lives right next to the motorway in England who gets 30.5ppl – we cannot compete with that in Kintyre.’
Mr Millar’s best sale price for an individual animal was 4,000 guineas to A and S Lawrie at Kinross, Fife.
DEMAND FROM OTHER AREAS
The largest number of cattle, nine and at the higher end of prices, were bought by A and R Paton of Easter Greenhill in Falkirk, a number went to Wigtonshire, Dumfriesshire, Peeblesshire and Aberdeenshire proving a demand from other areas of Scotland.
In England, the highest proportion of buyers was from Cumbria, as to be expected with the location of the sale, with one in Clitheroe and another in Huddersfield.
One even went to Askham Bryan Agricultural College in North Yorkshire.
This was the first sale to disperse the milking portion of Mr Millar’s herd with a further sale due in spring 2016.
Mr Millar said: ‘ It is a weird feeling going out and finding no cattle in the shed. After 30 years it is not something I ever thought I would experience.
BEST OF HIS GENERATION
‘ We have 212 acres of fields and I shall aim to rent them out.’
In his youth Mr Millar was a fine football player with Campbeltown Pupils , reputed to be the best of his generation, although he always found it difficult to fit in with dairying life.
Mr Millar, who owns Wee Toon Sports shop in the town, said: ‘ I am a keen Hibs supporter and now I might have some time to get out and follow my team.’
Archie Millar at this year’s Kintyre Show with the overall
The sign on Mr Millar’s Ballygreggan Farm gatepost.