The Livestock Auctioneers' Association Limited (LAA)

Trade Talk with Hugh Brown, Chief Executive, Melton Mowbray Market

16th January 2021

Happy New Year to everyone and it certainly is for sheep farmers.

With the uncertainty around a Brexit deal gone, demand has taken off again, which combined with short supply as many sold early has caused prices to rocket with the SQQ approaching 270ppkg this week.  Cattle have also been in demand as shelves are restocked after Christmas, with prime prices reaching 257ppkg last week, with all weight paid for.

Brexit means the development of our own agricultural policies and as an industry we have to redouble our efforts to ensure our voice is heard.  We can no longer rely on French tractors blocking the streets and we can all see how the NFU has mobilised industry, politicians and the public to ensure that we have a statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission to protect our food standards. 

We are also indebted to our trade body, the Livestock Auctioneers Association, for having agreed procedures for livestock markets to operate through the pandemic.  We thank our staff and customers for their continued compliance with these.

There is more on our plate already this year to consider, the most pressing of which is Defra’s Animal Welfare in Transport consultation which ends this month.  We all support high welfare in transport, though the inclusion of time at market in reduced transit times could severely impact your ability to take stock to market.

We all know the importance of the transparent, fair and immediate price formed by the public auction process in markets.  This enables all farmers to trade with confidence whichever trading method they choose.  I hope 2021 is a safe and prosperous one for you all and look forward to seeing many of you enjoying a day out at market again as soon as possible.