The Livestock Auctioneers' Association Limited (LAA)

Market sourced livestock

10th May 2013

With the weather finally showing signs that summer is arriving possibly the grass will grow and we can turn a corner from what has been a torrid twelve months. There is little doubt that the long hard winter and the arrival of Schmallenberg virus will both have had an impact on lamb numbers, but only time will tell how much this will be.

With the Old Season lambs nearly finished Spring lambs are short in numbers and trade is strong, with most predicting a keen demand for the foreseeable future.

Prime cattle and cull cows continue to please, with prices continuing to harden and supply struggling to satisfy the demand.

Store cattle have been a tremendous trade considering that many people have sold before the grass has grown due to a lack of winter forage and spiralling feed costs. It can only be expected that the trade will continue now that we see some fields turning green.

As auctioneers we all know the effort, time and cost that goes into the production of top quality British beef and lamb and that is why livestock markets, throughout England and Wales, thrive to offer an efficient, welfare friendly and competitive marketplace through which to achieve a realistic price.

Livestock markets don't try to offer "contract prices" that tie farmers into often uneconomical long term prices, for many reasons:

  • We believe that supply and demand will govern and create "best" prices - especially now with demand consistently outstripping supply
  • No-one has a crystal bowl that will tell us future costs on which to base a bid price - weather conditions, feed, fuel, labour Etc.
  • We only sell UK farmed animals
  • We offer a competitive price making mechanism
  • If you are not happy with the bid price (except red slaughter markets) you can take the animals home
  • We work for the seller - with our charges based on the price achieved and not on a profit margin

How and on what basis is any contract price set? I would suggest that the open market price will be the basis for any such base-line, and that has traditionally been set by livestock market average prices!

Livestock markets have been operating, as we know them today, since 1817 and no-one has yet delivered to our industry a better marketing alternative/option that provides our red meat sector with a consistently fair price and has the capacity to offer that price to everyone and not just a select few. Yes, every system will have peaks and troughs, but what our industry needs is an overall average price that is fair. I believe that our auction market system offers that.

We are continually told that demand for red meat will only get stronger as the world population rises.

One thing our member livestock markets can assure their customers of is that when we sell livestock everything can be seen before it is bought. The supply chain is as short as it can be which offers full traceability back to the farm of origin.

As a result of this the LAA, through its member markets, has initiated a Market Sourced promotion.

This promotion is in the form of posters that local butchers, and other wholesalers, can exhibit in their shop windows to tell the public that they source their red meat from their local livestock market.

To date the reaction from butchers has been very positive with many commenting that the public has welcomed the fact that their red meat products are sourced locally and that there is full traceability back to farm.

Livestock markets throughout England and Wales will continue to work with the interests of their customers, the UK farmer, at their heart.