Kin­tyre farmer ex­ceeds es­ti­mates on sale of prized herd

The Oban Times - - Farming -

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

Ayr­shire Cham­pion.

The sign on Mr Mil­lar’s Bal­ly­greg­gan Farm gatepost.

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