Trade Talk - Richard Haigh, Auctioneer, Selby Livestock Auction Mart Ltd
22nd September 2020
Fat cattle trade through the summer and now moving in to the back end has been and continues to be buoyant with auction mart averages well above this time last year. Comparing this week to the same week twelve months ago clean cattle are about 20p dearer and bulls around 30p which is a great uplift.
We have seen some exceptional prices for heavyweight suckler bred bulls over the past week or two with the best 240-250p/kg pushing the top prices per head well up .Heifers have been averaging in the 230’s and steers not far behind with best end sorts in both categories 250-270p/kg.
Numbers have been holding well but are not excessively high indicating that there is no great surplus about and with trade as it is there is plenty incentive to keep drawing cattle as they come ready. A much-needed spell of drier harvest weather would probably see supplies tighten as our customers battle once again with an unsettled season.
The reasons for such strong demand are difficult to determine but there must be a lack of imported, less expensive alternatives available. The government funded ‘help to eat out’ scheme certainly stimulated demand for certain cuts and it was good to see that the benefits from it filtered right down the supply chain from restaurants to meat wholesalers to our farmer cattle finishers.
Market forces will as ever determine the sustainability of the current trade, but it is good to be where we are at present and it is to be hoped that these higher levels of returns can be maintained. Current government trade deal negotiations with Europe will no doubt have some influence here.