Trade Talk from Philip Dale, Norwich Livestock Market – Pleased to be trading again and adapting to the new normal.

5th June 2020

Norwich Livestock Market re-opened on 16th May, after temporary closure at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown. We are lucky to have a loyal client base who stuck with us, and the first market back saw an entry of 246 store and breeding cattle, 9 prime cattle and 39 calves, plus 962 sheep, which was a pleasing entry.

The trade on this day was very good across all sectors; calves are in short supply and very dear, store cattle we all know about, and whilst some farmers were worried about dropping and going, after the sale most seemed pleased with the prices obtained. While not so true for our latest market on 30th May, they were however astounded at some of the prices reached for their cattle! The sheep section was also flying, with lamb prices to £121 and hoggets to £109. 962 sheep is a good entry for us.

Our latest market on Saturday 30th May saw a similar entry of store cattle and calves, extra prime cattle and 500 sheep. Sheep numbers in this part of the world do tail off now until the lambs come forward.

The store cattle trade went up a notch for an entry of better-quality cattle, selling to £1170 for a 20-month-old Simmental heifer. Calves were similar and sheep in line with the national trend, which could be pointing downwards at present.

Supply and demand rule every marketplace and, at the moment, in the store cattle ring the latter is winning, helped by strong retail demand for beef and the current uplift in clean cattle prices.

One note of caution could be the current weather and grass shortage, severe in some parts of the country, which could impact on prices in the future.