The first sale to disperse part of the renowned herd of Deveronside Holsteins from the Mair family at Kinnermit, Turriff, takes place later this month.
The sale, on Wednesday, November 22, at Harrison and Hetherington’s Borderway Mart in Carlisle, will offer 150 of the most recently calved cows from the family’s 347 pedigree Holstein herd. The 830-acre unit has been home to the Deveronside prefix since 1942, when Stuart Mair established the herd at Kinnermit.
It is now run by Barclay and Lucy Mair, in partnership with Barclay’s father, Kenny and wife Muriel.
Barclay and Lucy’s family, Kenny jun, Judy, Sally and Archie, have all been integrally involved with the business.
“My grandfather, Stuart Mair, moved to Kinnermit when my father, Kenny, was a year old and the family have been dairying here ever since,” said Barclay.
Averaging 11,110 litres, at 3.94% butterfat and 3.26% protein, the herd includes 37 classified EX cows, 124 VG and 109 GP cows, with the high yielders being milked three times through a herringbone parlour.
The family’s decision for a change in farming policy is due to the closure of Muller’s Aberdeen milk plant and the company’s enforcement of a “crippling” haulage charge of 1.75p litre to all non-aligned producers in the north-east to have their milk taken south for processing.
The Mair family has calculated that this additional charge costs their farm business around £65,000 annually.
“We are very sad to have to arrive at this decision to sell the Holsteins, however, we want to pass on a sustainable business to the fourth generation – something which is not going to be achieved by continuing to milk cows in this region for the foreseeable future, if ever,” said Barclay.
His wife Lucy said: “We have a lot of great memories and have had very fond times with our beloved herd, but with reinvestment almost impossible at present, we need to think to the future.”
Close attention and detail to breed the best possible, all-round, females has been key to the Mair family’s business over the years, with a number of excellent cow families being sold at this month’s sale.
The oldest family in the herd, which dates back to the establishment in the 1970s, is the Barbara family.
The family has proved very successful for the Mairs over the last 75 years.
Other key families include Roxy, which was established through the 8,000gn purchase of Logan Valiant Roxy, a 5,800gn cow from the Canadian Alice family and the 5,800gn purchase for a Lulu female in 1996.
The family have also imported Canadian bloodlines with 3,000 dollars being paid for the establishment of the Kinnermit Alpina family.
Barclay said other exceptionally strong families in the herd included the Helga family – one line produing three generations of Excellent and 100 tonne cows.
In fact a total of 64 animals descend from FoxleyFarm Helga 26 EX90(4), which produced 120 tonnes across eight lactations.
And it’s not just the females that have been closely analysed by the Mairs.
Many bulls have been used over the years with the most recent stock being served with bulls such as Mogul, Numero Uno and a selection of top-end sexed bulls.
Picston Shottle has had a big influence on the herd in recent years, with around 40% of females having bloodlines linking back to the bull.
In the past few years local shows have been very successfully attended by the family.
One cow which has made her mark in the last couple of years is Deveronside Manoman Maralyn (VG89).
She stood Turriff Show champion in 2016 and 2017, and reserve champion of champions in 2016 when Her Majesty the Queen was present.
Maralyn will be forward for the sale later this month and is in-calf to Secret Ariat having yielded 37,300kgsof milk so far, mid-way through her third lactation.
The Mairs intend to sell another batch of early lactation cows in January 2018, followed by an entire young stock dispersal in the middle of spring or early summer.
The catalogue for the sale will be ready to view on the Harrison and Hetherington website two weeks prior to the sale with visitors and inquires most welcome by the Mair family.