Trade Talk by Tim Webster

6th May 2016

Market Manager & Head of Cattle - Melton Mowbray Market

With the April sunshine the store cattle have been out in abundance. We have held a couple of catalogue sales, combined with the British Bazadaise Cattle Society sale, seeing 6-700 head weekly. Prices have been strong with several animals fetching in excess of £1,000, while the fat prices continue to be under pressure though still in excess of deadweight outlets, with this week's average equivalent of £313.12p. The new TB regulations have caused some uncertainty and are slightly depressing the prices for cattle from the Edge area for four year parish buyers. The advice would be to not hold on to animals that are ready as they will only get penalised in the deadweight system and while there is no direct penalty in liveweight and you will receive fair value for what you present, the price per kilo may be dampened. The chatter in any case is that the price may now have bottomed with forecast shortages in Ireland.

In the sheep section prices have recovered well since the winter and numbers are up on last year. However, it was disappointing over Easter to see all the major supermarkets with New Zealand or Australian lamb on the shelves. Cull ewes (or perhaps prime mutton) continue to perform well with prices rising as far as £135. The ewe and lamb season has started strongly with North Country mules with pairs up to £220. Goats remain in high demand with all offered being fiercely competed for.

Our site redevelopment starts in earnest next week with the fat cattle relocated to the stores in preparation for the demolition of the existing shed and a state of the art cattle facility being built in its place. We are grateful for the funding received for this, recognising the role of livestock markets in the rural and [in our case] urban economy. We remain committed to serving our customers and highlighting the public good we and other markets provide in generating fair and transparent prices which the rest of the industry relies on (at no cost to them) to do their business.