A flexible system - a fair price

21st August 2012

Livestock auction markets are the best - and only - way to get a 'transparent' price for stock of all weight classes, according to UK sheep producers

Sheep producers are favouring livestock markets over selling deadweight, drawn to their flexibility, openness and transparency.

Pershore-based Mark Chapman is a keen advocate of the livestock auction system. "It’s the flexibility that suits my business," he says. "I can sell fat and thin lambs at any weight and in any group size - and I can be assured of a fair price.

He runs a 285-strong mule flock and sells around 500 Charollais cross lambs between May and August each year. "Once I get the lambs to market it's a case of 'job done' really and I can rest assured that the auctioneers and market staff will do their utmost to ensure that I realise the very best price possible for my stock."

Mark sold a group of 24 lambs in mid July at Worcester Market for an average of £93/head. "They all sold for more than £2/kgLW, so I was very pleased with that."

He says that sometimes he does leave his lambs 'unsupervised' at the market: "But I always go back to watch how they do in the sale ring - that's the end of the process really and it's also the most satisfying.

"That said, I do know producers who trust the auction market and staff enough to leave their stock there and not oversee the sale. I share their peace of mind that they will get a fair price for their stock on the day."

Richard Francis runs a 350-ewe flock at Abbotts Morton and he also sells his lambs - between 500 and 1,000 each year - through the livestock auction market due to the transparency of the system."And I wouldn’t do it any other way. It's all out in the open - you can see what's going on and you know you've got a fair price on the day. Selling deadweight just doesn't offer that. It's all behind closed doors, so to speak, and you have to take what you're given."

Again, he likes to stay at market with his stock until it's sold. "It's good to see the whole process through to the end - producing good saleable lambs is the whole aim of the business. It's the best way to get some feedback from the market so we can make breeding and rearing decisions for the following year too," he adds.

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]