Trade Talk - Oliver Hiles, Bagshaws, Bakewell Market

15th February 2021

One of the effects of the pandemic has been to sharpen the demand for beef here in the UK. It also appears to have benefitted the independent suppliers and local butchers as customers choose to source their food closer to home and not make unnecessary journeys.

The live auction has, in turn benefitted from this trend and the transparent competition has reacted quickly to the improved demand.

This has not only increased prices, but demonstrated that given such circumstances cattle have achieved remarkable returns despite having not conformed to the ideal specification. We are, as always very grateful for the independent abattoirs who support the live market week in, week out sending their representatives to secure even loads of cattle to meet their requirements.

As a consequence, factors that had previously had a detrimental effect on the value, such as excessive carcase weights or number of moves, have been overlooked by many purchasers, and as a result all finished cattle have achieved their true value.

The knock-on effect of this has been a steady return to the live ring by vendors who we have not seen for some time. They are most welcome.

With prime cattle making such prices, this has driven the store trade with confidence high despite straw and feed prices. The biggest short keep, yarding cattle are easier to sell at present as you would expect but what gives us the most pleasure is the confidence farmers have in purchasing younger cattle and suckled calves. At our most recent suckled calf sale in January the averages up £72 on 2020 prices and we sincerely hope that this can be maintained as we approach the spring grazing season.