Trade Talk - August 2019

31st August 2019

Chris Armstrong – Hexham & Northern Marts

The first six months of 2019 have been more conducive to livestock production than the same period in 2018, our customers reporting largely trouble-free spring calving and lambing seasons. 

Prime and early store lamb trades have been in-line with last year’s values, despite a backdrop of increasing uncertainty due to Brexit, an apparent rise in popularity of a plant-based diet and a worrying undercurrent in the mainstream media of ‘farmer bashing’. 

The recent spike in lamb trade, due to the festival of Eid, further highlights the importance of the Islamic market to our sheep industry, and the need to market specific animals at the right time to meet specific requirements.

Early sales of breeding sheep have been encouraging. Approaching the autumn sales, we are confident that we can secure satisfactory returns for vendors and value for money for purchasers, with sales of: 

  • 12,000 North of England Mule & North of England Blackface ewe lambs;
  • 6,500 North of England Mule, Blackface, Suffolk & Continental cross gimmer shearlings;
  • 4,000 North of England Mule, Blackface, Swaledale, Cheviot & Other breeding ewes; 
  • 2,800 Breeding rams including; Bluefaced Leicester’s, Texel’s, Suffolk’s, Beltex, Blackface, Swaledale, Cheviots & Others at six sales throughout September and October. 

We have over 400 Texel and 200 Bluefaced Leicester rams at the annual Kelso Ram Sales, and have a new ring of Texel rams at the NSA Main Ram Sale, Builth Wells (23.09.19). 

Despite almost weekly suckler herd dispersals and the national herd falling rapidly, the catalogue at our recent beef bred store cattle anniversary sale held firm – matching the 2018 entry. The real triumph was the trade, over fifty buyers assembled initially, with numbers swelling and values rising as the day went on.

We can be in no doubt that our industry is facing challenging times, but the resilience of British livestock farmers, alongside the quality of stock produced, will ensure there is a future for generations to come.