Trade Talk by Will Probert

24th November 2016

Prime lambs sell to £95.80 despite the traditional “October low” over the past week, seeing a similar trend to previous years, although prices have been on average £12/ head up on year. Entries of prime lambs have increased week in week out, with entries doubling if not tripling compared to similar years. Many farmers have been encouraged by the strong export trade, which saw finished lambs from July to September this year selling to unexpected averages of 180 – 190PPK. Although generally unheard of this time of year, this is attributed in the main to the decreased strength of the pound on the back of Brexit. Overall so far, a much kinder year to the finished lamb sector, a relatively dry autumn also aiding farmer’s ability to graze stock out and finish of grass.

Store cattle have met resistance due to the capping of finished cattle prices. However strong demand and inflated prices have been met for those store cattle which are expected to meet the tight specifications demanded by the retailer. Store cattle entries have been very consistent throughout the year as we’re now moving peak autumn selling period, with many stronger sorts of feeding/ shedding cattle coming forward and finding new homes from the east of England to the border counties.

Finished cattle have seen a constant and strong demand throughout the past few months, with well fleshed, butcher type heifers having the best trade week in week out. Again, buyers demand has been for those fat cattle in line with retailer specification, with overweight and over fat cattle seeing greatest penalties. Cull cows have showed a very good trade throughout the summer and autumn, with cast cows selling to 160ppk/ £1400. The demand for well meated cast cows is constant from buyers, largely influenced by a growing demand for mincing meat.

Going forward we wait in anticipation for the unknown effects of Brexit.