Auction ring is the best place for highest premium lamb prices

5th December 2011

Livestock auction marts are beating deadweight prices for premium quality lamb, according to sheep producers and livestock auctioneers.

""Premium lambs of all breeds and weights, sold through the auction system are consistently achieving prices of between 30 and 40p/kg above the market average,"" says the Livestock Auctioneers' Association's Chris Dodds.

Wigton, Cumbria-based auctioneer David Bowman agreed that the best lambs need to be sold through the market. ""There are plenty of Beltex selling at in excess of £2.45/kgLW and killing out at about £4.90/kgDW. But if the best lambs go dead weight then the average will drop,"" he said.

Cheshire-based auctioneer Gwyn Williams, who works at Chelford's livestock auction market in Cheshire, added that, in his experience, heavier lambs always achieve higher prices and at a premium that was considerably higher than that offered by the dead-weight market.

""We're talking about top notch lambs of all breeds. At Chelford premium lambs weighing between 48kg and 50kg are selling for between 30 and 40p/kg above the market average, contrary to what some dead-weight direct buyers have been saying.""

Lancashire-based sheep producer Jason Craddock said he would always take his lambs to market, whatever their weight or grading. He sells up to 500 each year, mostly through Chelford, and says that for him it's the best and only way to truly ensure that he see the very best price possible for his stock

""That holds true for my best 'premium' lambs - as well as my other ones,"" said Mr Craddock who almost topped the market last week with lambs fetching £109.80, the average being at £105.00.

""The auctioneer and the lamb sorters at the market work with us to make sure that we see the highest possible price for all lamb weights and classes. I leave there, with a cheque, knowing that I've seen the best return for all the hard work I've put into those lambs. Why would I go anywhere else?""

Staffordshire-based sheep producers Roger and Simon Bailey agree. They, too, are passionate supporters of the livestock auction market system and say that there's no better way to sell the 500 heavy lambs they produce each year.

""Some producers have short memories and have forgotten the days of foot-and-mouth when the markets were closed and we were held to ransom by direct buyers. We had to take what we were given - those were dark days.

""Selling through the market is the best way to see a fair price for your lambs. Anyone can go to Chelford market with good lambs and have a good day. And weight doesn't matter either - any weight will sell well.

""Some direct buyers will have a cut off point for lamb weight, but the market will pay you for every kilogram. So where's the sense, the pride 'or the fun' in selling dead weight?""

For further information please contact:

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

Gwyn Williams, Chairman, Livestock Auctioneers Association
01625 861122
[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.