Bob Jones Prytherch & Co Marts Ltd. - Trade Talk

19th January 2016

West Cumbria is similar to West Wales in the mixed livestock husbandry practiced in the area. Farmers in western areas of The Country have historically had the opportunity of adjusting their farming husbandry very quickly to follow trends in trading with a degree of chopping and changing possible to maximise returns.

Meticulously compiled Market Reports, providing written feedback to Buyers and Sellers with regard to top and average trade were of primary importance in promoting the old Cockermouth Livestock Market when I practiced there in 1993. Farmers found this information invaluable in making decisions as to whether certain classes of livestock should be expanded within the relevant holdings and what livestock enterprise should be constricted. Auctioneers in charge of the various sections were responsible for providing a written summary of the day's trading backed up by a detailed analysis of top trade and averages for varying weight classes and breeds of Livestock marketed. As a young sheep Auctioneer I recall late evenings in the market office considering whether certain export quality pens should be relocated to the home trade average calculation to ensure the best quotation in the weekly market report.

I also recall a particularly poor trade on fat pigs on a Monday morning at Cockermouth. The highly respected Auctioneer Mr Edward Barwise summed up the trade in a single sentence within the market report; It read:- 'The old saying goes that Pigs are either Muck or Money. We appear to be in the Muck stage'.

Livestock trading in all classes is currently generally subdued in comparison to this time last year. Trade in Store Cattle, Barren Cows, Prime Cattle, Pigs and Sheep are all affected by a lack of export demand for red meat as a result of the fiscal effect of a strong sterling. The reducing Milk price is reflected in the Dairy ring with reduced returns for fresh calved animals and Dairy Youngstock. The calf section seems to buck the trend at present; but for how long?

With no Livestock sector flourishing; the question arises therefore in which direction do mixed Livestock Farmers in the western areas of the Country turn to maximise returns? The answer surely lies in detailed cost analysis to ensure the husbandry practiced on the holding is the most efficient and most profitable.

Supply and demand generally determines trade. Livestock Markets will remain as the price setting mechanism for all classes of Livestock as long as the consistency of supply to those markets is maintained. Whatever you conclude is your most profitable livestock husbandry we as Livestock Auctioneers are here to market your animals to best advantage.

John Eirian Davies MRICS. BJP(Marts) Ltd.