Trade Talk – Ian Atkinson, North West Auctions

15th May 2020

The recent month has certainly seen some interesting changes for livestock auctioneers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. A big thank you must go to Chris Dodds, the Executive Secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association, for his hard work to ensure that auction markets remain open.

Auction markets have recently been permitted to sell breeding stock through the ring, under the strict regulations of the ‘Drop and Go’ policy for vendors, and only registered buyers allowed to attend.

The current sheep trade has seen handy weighted hoggs weighing between 36kg and 45kg in most demand and good to sell, with heavy weight, out of specification hoggs, harder to place with the closure of many catering outlets. The hogg season is slowly coming to an end with many companies changing to spring lambs in the coming weeks. We have noticed that the spring lamb numbers are now beginning to come forward with many markets averaging between 240p/kg and 260p/kg, regularly. Lambs that are best to sell are ones weighing between 38kg and 45kg.

The kind spring weather has seen plenty of demand for breeding sheep, especially for sheep with lambs at foot. As the sales have only been permitted to go ahead over the recent weeks, many have been sold using auction markets’ ‘Farm to Farm’ services, with the trade for these remaining very similar on the year. There has been a particularly strong interest for younger breeding sheep with many hoggs with lambs at foot sales commencing this week. Hoggs are looking well considering the wet winter as they have been enjoying the kind weather over the previous weeks and suckling their lambs well.