The Livestock Auctioneers' Association Limited (LAA)

Trade Talk – Tom Brooksbank, Norton & Brooksbank Livestock Auctioneers and Valuers

4th September 2020

Strong trade for dairy cattle despite serious gloom for many producers

I do not recall a time when there was such diversity in the price of milk, with some farmers being paid around 31ppl and others little more than half that, for exactly the same product. “Why are dairy cattle so dear” people ask, and the answer is probably the old reason of supply and demand.

But there is a very good trade for cull cows and continental-x calves, and the old enemy of TB continues to extract towards 50,000 animals annually throughout UK. A shortage in Europe prompts ARLA to be league leaders in the milk buying table, which benefits their many customers here in UK.

We are in the midst of a very busy time and have just held a great sale to disperse the Joylan & Heavenly herds in Lancashire on a TB4 farm. The best breeders’ animals sold up to 9500 guineas, but the bedrock of the sale was a feverish trade for sound commercial type cows, full of milk.

Montbeliarde X animals were in tremendous demand with two making over 3,000 guineas.  Cross breeding is more popular than ever and that first cross produces impressive highbred vigour. The trick is to know what to breed those first crosses to next time.

In March 2018 I wrote an article suggesting that the only way to overcome TB was to develop a vaccine for cattle, as the public are highly sensitive to the prospect of culling wildlife, and it is very good news to see that investment is being put into developing a vaccine by 2025.

Strangely perhaps there has probably never been a better time to sell dairy cattle than right now.