Trade Talk by Simon Draper

10th March 2017

As I write these ponderings I am excited at the prospect of selling 500 plus Aberdeen Angus x cattle this Friday in Thame Market. Trade so far this spring has been terrific for the 10 to 12 month steers of any breed or cross with plenty of suckled bred sorts £1000 and 250pkg looking best sold at this age and pounds dearer than their 20mth siblings which are regularly selling £1100 to £1200. The sisters however have looked better value for money, trading at £100 to £150 less. The effect of enforced weight penalties at most abattoirs is now proving to be a problem to those best continentals crosses, putting a ceiling on the price a finisher can give.

It would appear demand is out stripping supply at present, this may change in April as it appears there is some reluctance to sell cattle early, there is plenty of fodder in the barn, a little money in the bank now most producers have received their single farm payment, no wish to pay too much to the tax man, and the idea cattle are always dearer at turn out. This is a totally different set of circumstances to what was experienced in spring of 2016.

The hogget trade remains disappointing being some £10 to £15 down on this time last year and no sign as this article goes to print of immediate improvement. The few spring lambs on the market are only 25 pence per kilogramme or so dearer live and probably cheaper dead. As we get slowly nearer a Brexit deal we may see the pound weaken further which could help lift the export trade.

A lift in sheep prices will come as a great relief to our vendors of the 30,000 breeders at this year’s Shearwell Thame Summer sheep fair .

It is a hard life running a market, new rateable values have sent shock waves through auction board rooms some marts seeing colossal increases and will be scratching their heads to find cost savings to prevent having to raise their commission rates which have probably stayed the same for many years.

Simon Draper FLAA
Senior auctioneer Thame Farmers Auction Mart Ltd