Trade Talk - Meg Elliott, Bagshaws, Leek Market
10th August 2020
I am sure everybody would agree that the trade for milkers has certainly surpassed all expectations over the last few months, despite the best efforts of COVID 19 to undermine the milk price.
The onset of the pandemic saw numerous buyers who supplied the catering industry slash milk payments to farmers with others dictating a 10% reduction in supply to their producers. Despite this the value of the dairy cow has held and indeed continued to rise with one of the driving forces in the early summer perhaps being the lack of cattle numbers forward nationally.
More recently it seems that milk buyers may now be developing a conscience or more likely just covering their backs, realising that the price for milk must improve to prevent serious ramifications on production and a potential exodus from the industry. This small nugget of optimism is no doubt one of the factors driving the trade for cows along with the provision of some grant funding from the government.
As tradition dictates the numbers forward on a weekly basis have risen in July with more herds also coming onto the market attracted by the continuing strong trade. At Leek we are seeing the very best whether it be heifers or cows surpassing the £2000 mark week on week. On Tuesday we saw heifers reach £2400 and cows £2220. I am also noticing the increasing popularity of the minority breeds and cross breeds which have always sold well with us. Pure British Friesian cows in the last month have regularly reached £2000 plus with a pedigree Shorthorn heifer topping the July pedigree sale at £2200.
What is worth noting is that on the 2 comparative weeks for 2019 the numbers and averages are extremely similar. So, we might like to attribute the buoyant trade to specifics at the time when in actual fact it might simply boil down to good old supply and demand. Either way I am grateful that farmers are to their credit mostly optimists who love the life they lead and have a desire to drive on and expand. This in itself will bolster the trade for milkers in the future.