Trade Talk – Katie Davies, McCartneys, Knighton

16th March 2021

In this time of great uncertainty, livestock farmers are fortunately, for once, enjoying the fruits of their labour with excellent trade for both sheep and cattle.

The prime hogget trade has remained at an unprecedented high throughout the 2020/21 season. In Mid Wales many farmers sold more sheep earlier due to a combination of a buoyant trade and Brexit uncertainties.  Many have finished selling lambs 2-3 months sooner than usual.  This means current hogget numbers are limited and continues to drive the trade. I think there are still sheep to come, but a new year dominated by wet, stormy weather has meant hoggets need time to finish.

The store sheep trade has been equally as buoyant as the fat, the new year with a Brexit deal brought renewed confidence and faces to the store ring. At Knighton, the sale of store sheep is an area we are really developing and expanding. Being in an upland area, with weather that seems to become ever more unpredictable, plus expensive feed bills, selling stores is an option more farmers are returning to. It is an excellent option for all breeds and size of sheep. As I write, I have just finished selling a yard of store hoggets to average £90.43 per head, selling to £128.20 - as dear, if not dearer, than the fat! Welsh Mule wethers sold to £122 and Welsh ram lambs to £120.

The store cattle trade was equally buoyant today, sold by my partner Jenny Layton Mills, with steers averaging 238.67ppk and £1089.22 and heifers averaging 234.58ppk and £1034.57. The current increased return in the fat ring is certainly being reinvested in the store ring.

The current situation gives much needed optimism in otherwise challenging times.