Trade Talk by Simon Jones

19th July 2016

This year has so far seen the usual mix of successes and challenges and here at Morgan Evans we have relished both. The Gaerwen market continues to highlight the obvious need for the 'livestock auction system' to play a vital role in setting the pricing mechanism for the industry.

Traditionally at this time of year we find that the trade for store cattle can be swayed by other seasonal pressures, when customers can be busy with silage and shearing. There was also a slow and disappointing start to the trade during the February and March Spring Sales for those selling wintered cattle. However, I am happy to report that the trade for store cattle has maintained a recent upturn, and these figures are now up by over £100 per head.

Our weekly store cattle numbers started strongly in February with numbers up by 12% on the previous year, but the horrendous weather in March resulted in a decrease by as much as 55%. Happily, we can report a reverse to this trend during May and June, with store cattle numbers now reaching last year's figures.

The lamb trade has been buoyant from our Easter sale up to the middle of June, from a peak average of 286ppk. The comparable annual average for April was 238.9p up 6.9p on last year, while May finished with an overall increase of 13.1p at 212.7p.

June was also stronger until the third week, which was equal at 178p. This blip has resulted in fewer numbers and strengthened demand back to the 190s, resulting in the comparable lamb trade being up on last year.

Cull ewes have met a steady trade throughout, with good numbers forward and this will give our customers confidence at the autumn sheep sales. We predict prices to be up on last year.

It has been easy to sell during the first half of 2016, but certain factors are having a negative effect. Namely, the additional post movement TB testing, the stand on multiple movements between holdings and the six day rule. We will continue to test some of these rules, whilst working towards a robust and healthy auction system.

As local auctioneers we value our customers' support. We are always happy to talk to them, and we are well placed to provide a wealth of advice as to market trends. We look forward to working towards a prosperous second half of the year for all concerned.

Simon Jones
Morgan Evans & Co Ltd, Gaerwen