Trade Talk – Alastair Brown, Bletsoes – Stratford and Thrapston Markets

22nd May 2020

What else could be thrown at the farming industry to disrupt business next? We should look at this as a positive, this time last year we had the world open for business - hotels, restaurants, fast food chains. This year we have none of those, we are relying on people eating at home as they are locked down and we are all still in business.

Luckily the livestock markets have been able to carry on, though with strict rules regarding social distancing. Breeding stock was one of the ‘non-essential’ sales to not be recognised by government, as it was not directly seen as food production. This saw some forced private sales, with lower prices than those achieved in this week’s livestock markets, just endorsing the power of live sales.

Prices in comparison to last year could have been halved, but ingenious processors and food sales companies have kept the supply up for the producers.

Looking at various trade figures, trade for finished cattle is running very similar to this time last year, with slaughtering of cattle up with less imported beef.

In the sheep sector, lambs are very similar trade at the moment. Trade can be very erratic, with various festivals taking place over the next few months.

Export of our products is still happening too, although logistics is trying the patience of many, with staff shortage issues and social distancing measures in place.

Local sales, butchers and farm shops have all prospered and hopefully people will continue to source locally and from the UK.

Hopefully, things will get back to some kind of normality soon. When restaurants and fast food chains open, I’m sure many will go out and celebrate what they have missed over the past couple of months, which should drive the prices up with demand. Let’s hope so.

Stay Safe, Sell Live and Keep Britain Farming.