Mart Report - Colin Smith

22nd February 2016

Another year has passed with last year's extreme cast ewe trade a distant memory. Overfat types have been harder to sell all year and when values decreased during speaning time it encouraged farmers to take advantage of plentiful grazing and hold back from selling, expecting the usual buoyant trade over the Christmas period that we are still waiting for approaching February. With no two years ever the same, fewer large scale ewe fatners are now operating and are only tempted out when supplies are plenty and the price is lower, but now they also have to compete with the killing trade keener on leaner sorts.

On the lamb front fewer numbers were forward in the New Year chiefly due to mother nature but with more inside and fed lambs being shown, and helped by sterling easing a touch a welcome bonus was gained for those that had invested in hard feed. In December not many experts would have predicted the £80-£100 hogg in the dreaded month of January but that is the nature of supply and demand. When numbers increase again into February it's hoped that prices and demand will be at least maintained.

January has started quietly with prime cattle easing, in-spec quality types still selling well but heavies and commercials meeting more resistance. Cast cows remain pre Christmas money but with tighter supplies ahead higher rates are hoped for. Meanwhile although strong stores have seen a sharp fall in line with the prime cattle, younger ages haven't decreased as much and remain in good demand.

Andrew Brown has returned to the company just in time to enjoy his favourite day of the year the main machinery sale held on Saturday 5th March. Always an upbeat event whatever the weather, a large field of vehicles and well maintained machinery mostly from larger mixed farms in the area is put forward attracting many buyers from around the U.K and Ireland. With profits from all farming sectors under pressure and as of this time of writing many farmers still not receiving s.f.p cheques, more hard work maybe needed to achieve our usual 90% + clearance rate.

As we enter the lambing period once again we can only hope for a brighter year ahead both meteorologically and financially!