The Livestock Auctioneers' Association Limited (LAA)

Trade Talk - Beeston Castle Auction

2nd May 2014

Jonny Dymond BSc (Hons) ALAA
Beeston Castle Auction

Calf Numbers sold in Beeston Auction are up on recent years. The favourable milk price has seen the committed Dairy farmers investing & increasing their herd sizes, hence more calves being born and sold in the auction market.

At this time of year we generally see a wonderful calf trade however some instability in the finished product seems to be holding back a few buyers. Abattoirs are placing increasing numbers of stock on their waiting lists, and sheds remain full when traditionally replacements would be sourced. Some buyers are also lambing at present but will enter the market soon.

At present we have a pleasing & consistent trade for all our calves on offer. Continental bulls are averaging £20 more than last year. Top prices, (over £400), are harder to come by with current market conditions. Heifers are a tremendous trade with plenty of farmers looking for suckler cow replacements and paying a premium price with the best regularly over £300 to a recent high of £398 for a 26day old British Blue!

Strong store & finished prices for Angus and Hereford crosses along with supermarket incentives have resulted in a 20% increase of native bred calves compared to 12 months ago. Front line information makes me wonder how long will it take to fill this niche market or has it already been filled? The best trade generally at £250 to £300. At the other end of the beef chain processors are becoming more particular about what animals they want.

Is it farm Assured? Has it a named sire with the ear tag on the passport? etc etc. I am unsure whether the housewife is actually bothered as long as it is BRITISH.

Black and White Holstein Bull Calves in Cheshire have been making good money in recent weeks with Beeston offering good numbers to bid on. The Best have regularly been £100 plus with £178 top price this week. Trade will hold good until the summer flush of calving in July when it seasonally dips. Market averages have been in £60 to £70 per head bracket. The lower and middle calves have rearer bidders competing with processing orders.

The big supermarkets seem to be looking to control every step in the supply chain, with more collection centres and contracted suppliers. They are willing to spend big to make it happen, and we are in no doubt if/when they succeed they will get every £ back with interest! We implore all farmers nationally to continue to use the Auction system which is fair, open for all and where a true trade is set! There is a buyer for everything – why not try the auction rather than “selling direct” if you have not been for a while.

Weaned calves are selling well with six month old continental crosses up to £710 at our April Collective Sale.

We believe that the calf trade will be stable throughout 2014, and perhaps even strengthen.