The Livestock Auctioneers' Association Limited (LAA)

The backend sales are in full swing

17th September 2012

The backend sales are in full swing.

As we move quickly into the backend sales season markets throughout the country are at their busiest. In addition to the weekly sales of prime and store stock most markets are now conducting their annual breeding sheep sales, which will be followed immediately by their breeding cattle sales.

Whilst visiting some of our member marts I have noticed that “the younger farmer” is very much more in attendance. It is good to have the next generation getting involved, and playing a part in the future of our businesses. It is an important part of producing a product, seeing it through to the point of sale, and where can you get a better feel for what the market wants than at your local auction mart, where feedback is immediate and comparisons with other livestock can be made.

With prime lamb prices adjusting to the usual seasonal ups and downs it is pleasing to note that trade is still better than we experienced at the same time last year, which is more than most of us could have expected when forecasting trade earlier in the season. Undoubtedly the poor weather conditions have had an effect on supply, but the big questions is “can we expect larger numbers forward for the remainder of this year’s season”, I personally doubt that we now have a balloon of lambs to still come forward.

Prime cattle and cull cows continue to trade at satisfactory levels with more numbers needed in the live ring to supply the growing demand. Several markets are achieving overall averages well in excess of 200p/kilo for prime steers and heifers, with prime young bulls also reaching averages over 200p/kilo. Cull cows continue to be a valuable commodity with demand consistently outstripping supply. Sales of continental cross cows are regularly achieving an overall average price of between 140p/kilo and 155p/kilo and topping at well over 200p/kilo. Good quality meated black and white cull cows are selling at between 150p/kilo and 170p/kilo. Even the smaller plainer types are in demand with prices between 70p/kilo and 100p/kilo.

It is promising that the milk buyers have finally agreed to sit around the table and talk some sense. Dairy cattle have seen a slight increase in values over the last two weeks and I am confident that as the promised milk price increases develop we will see their values harden further.

The LAA welcomes the Farmers Guardians latest initiative “The Mart’s The Heart”, which we hope may better inform the industry about the services that livestock markets, throughout GB, provide, whilst at the same time offering farmers the opportunity to tell us what they would like to see changed, or done better. There is little doubt that livestock markets are still at the centre of the hub for many communities, long may this continue.

Breeding sheep sales have started strongly with demand being good for all ages. Early sales of shearlings and ewe lambs have seen prices nearly reaching last year’s fast rates, with some of the largest sales in the north of England about to take place, there is confidence that a good trade will prevail.