Trade Talk - Bryn Davies, J Bradburne Price & Co, Llanrwst Mart

20th November 2020

With the exception of the 2001 Foot and Mouth Outbreak, 2020 has been one of the strangest years I have experienced in over 30 years of auctioneering. The market has been voided of sellers for the vast duration and this has led to a strange atmosphere.

Despite this, the prime lamb trade has been fantastic, with best export lambs making £100 plus during the Autumn. Welsh lambs peaked around £70 a head in November. Prime lambs have generally been approximately £15 a head better each week, compared with 2019.

It has been pleasing to see both old and new vendors returning to take advantage of the trade, with our numbers up 25% on the year and 50% up on two years ago.

The ‘drop & go‘ policy, implemented because of COVID-19, would appear to suit some vendors. As auctioneers, we have embraced the concept of sellers leaving reserves on stock, or alternatively selling stock “on condition” and phoning vendors to check they are happy with the prices. Whilst they are still in the pens, it is possible for the price offered to be refused and the lambs taken home. Once they are in the abattoir, there is nothing that can be done if the price is unacceptable!!

Given time and efficiency pressures farmers increasingly face, this is a service which could be here to stay. We will continue to offer our customers the best possible service to suit their requirements.

Thanks must be given to all sellers, buyers, staff and hauliers for the way they have adapted to these rules changes to ensure markets have remained open for business

On Tuesday (10 Nov), we had an entry of 1654 prime lambs forward, 20% more compared to the same week last year. The sale averaged 198ppk, compared to 184ppk in 2019.

Trade has slightly eased due to the lockdown in England, and export markets seeing less demand due to further outbreaks of COVID-19. This is a similar pattern to April, at the onset of the first lockdown. Trade bounced then, and hopefully this will be the case again this time around.