The Livestock Auctioneers' Association Limited (LAA)

Trade Talk - Dafydd Davies, Sheepdog Auctioneer and Trainee Livestock Auctioneer, Farmers Marts (R G Jones) Ltd, Dolgellau

6th May 2022

With the spring of 2022 well under way, the start of 2022 has brought with it many challenges and opportunities. With fertiliser prices reaching a record high, and concentrated feed nearing and exceeding the £300/t mark in some regions, it has forced many farming businesses to re-think and re-structure their business planning and managing.

Nevertheless, store cattle trade has remained strong on the previous year. Demand for strong, short-term cattle has been high and attracted a strong trade during early spring. Younger cattle and weanlings have been a bit more careful as the long term forecast for the farming industry remains uncertain. Nevertheless, good quality continental and native bred store cattle ranging between 12-17m old has seen a pleasant trade at our Dolgellau market and reaching a fine trade and selling well on a PPk basis. Welsh Black store cattle in particular have been selling well over the spring with strong 22-24m steers reaching in excess of £1400 for organic and commercial cattle, with younger, yearling WB steers selling up to 264ppk.

Prime lambs forecast is also a bit challenging to determine. Although prices and trade has not been as strong for new season lamb compared to the same time in 2021, there is a balance and even trade for new season lambs reported in many markets across the country. It will be interesting to see if more farming businesses will opt to selling more lambs as stores as cost of concentrated feed rises or if more businesses will move towards lower cost, forage-based finishing methods.

Our timed internet auctions of working sheepdogs have also proven a success over the year, with our recent February auction attracting a record entry of 220 working sheepdogs. Well-bred and well-trained sheepdogs continue to sell well and reaching a strong average where the sheepdog pups have seen a slight dip in prices. The online auction platform proves its worth and working well for both vendors and buyers.