The Livestock Auctioneers' Association Limited (LAA)

Trade Talk – Matthew Nicholls BSc (Hons) MRICS MNAVA Auctioneer for Talgarth, Hereford and Builth Livestock Markets

28th February 2022

Prime hogget trade continues to remain buoyant especially on those medium weights up to 44kg which is thankfully driven by the export trade. The SQQ still remains marginally in front of the same period last year, however it doesn’t quite feel as sharp which is largely due to the fact that we started from a higher base with a very strong trade leading up to and around Christmas.

The heavy weights are seeing the biggest resistance, which could be put down to the time of year and lack of demand from the home trade and specifically the catering sector. Inflation, increased production costs and interest rate rises are bound to have an impact also, but let’s hope as we proceed towards Spring that demand from the restaurant and catering trade grows.

Going forward we have every confidence in the meat sector as a whole, with foolish government policy pushing towards rewilding and afforestation, food shortages in this country will eventually become a reality. The mainstream media only have to mention the words “food shortage” and the supermarket shelves are empty within 12 hours, which we evidently saw at the start of the Covid pandemic. It clearly illustrated how vulnerable we are to imports.

With an ever-increasing population within the UK, increased costs of production with fuel and fertiliser prices at their highest on record, continued and heightened global unrest, it has never been more important to increase food production and self-sufficiency in this country. Food prices will continue to rise and government policy should be encouraging farmers to increase production and not leave the plough in the shed. It is time for those leading this country to wake up and smell the coffee!