Auctions provide lifeline for restricted herds

11th November 2011

Timely introduction of TB-restricted sales relieves stocking rate pressure

Livestock auction markets are throwing an invaluable lifeline to beef and dairy herds struggling with high stocking rates, and sometimes poor cash flow, due to bovine TB restrictions. They are holding successful licensed TB-restricted sales to provide stricken herds with a vital outlet for surplus beef and dairy stock.

"The only other way to sell stock from a herd under TB restrictions prior to that was through private sale to a licensed unit - not easy and not a fair system either," says the says the Livestock Auctioneers Association's executive secretary Chris Dodds.

Chris and Richard Norman would agree. The brothers run a 500-strong herd of Jersey x Friesians. A 20-cow herd of pedigree Hereford sucklers is their secondary enterprise and it was causing something of a headache, when their unit was put under TB-restrictions in 2009. "We were unable to sell beef cattle and surplus stock and didn't have the time, the space or the resources to cope," explains Chris.

But finally, back in April, they were able to sell 60 head of stock at a local auction at Ludlow market, just 15 miles away from their Pembridge-based unit.

"This was such a relief. We were faced with either fattening and finishing them, before sending them off to the abattoir. Or shooting the calves at birth," says Chris. "Unthinkable, particularly when we're producing such top quality calves."

The brothers are extremely pleased with the strong prices they realised for their stock at market - some as high as prices seen in recent non-restricted sales.

There are plans for more TB-restricted sales in other parts of the UK later this year and in 2012 - great news for producers with restricted herds and those with a license to buy stock from them.

"Auction is the best way to sell these cattle - it's a much fairer system. Auctioneers can make sure the sale is well advertised and well attended, and that producers see a fair price for their stock. Farmers are recommended to discuss, when and where TB restricted sales will be held with their local auctioneer," adds Chris Dodds.

For further information please contact:

Chris Dodds, Executive Secretary, Livestock Auctioneers Association
01697 475 433 / 07885 731 502
[email protected]

Andrew Kendall
01394 610022
[email protected]

Notes to editors:
The Livestock Auctioneers' Association is the national organisation representing auctioneering firms which occupy and run the livestock auction markets of England and Wales. Its members handle the vast majority of all auction sales of farm livestock. The Association is also supported by representatives of the Institute of Appraisers and Auctioneers in Scotland.