NBA - beef farmers being told to hold their stock back should consider auction marts

6th May 2014

The National Beef Association (NBA) and the Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA) have joined forces to encourage farmers to consider auction marts if they are being told by their usual abattoir that they cannot take their finished cattle.

Chris Dodds, Executive Secretary, LAA, said: "Some of the big abattoirs are claiming to be full and asking farmers to hold back their finished cattle. Our message to them is to try their local auction mart. We're open for business and have plenty of room to sell prime beef animals and help farmers get a fair price."

Holding finished cattle back, even by just a month, can have significant cost and cash flow implications for beef producers who have to continue to feed and manage them.

Chris Mallon, National Director, NBA, added: "I've heard of people being told in April that they have to wait until late May or even June before bringing their cattle to the abattoir. That's crazy. The auction mart offers a better option for beef producers right now, but they should also use marts in the future.

"For store cattle there's no realistic alternative to the auction mart if you want to get a good price. But I would encourage beef producers to consider auction marts for finished cattle too - especially if they are being told to hold their cattle back.

"Not only will they save on the cost of feeding and looking after cattle for an extra month or so, but they will also get the true market price for their livestock.

"For the thirty seconds that your cattle are in the ring, the auctioneer is working solely for you. All they want to do is get you the best price possible for your livestock. That's how they earn their wages. You simply don't get that when you're dealing with a procurement manager at an abattoir. Their priority is getting the price down as low as possible."

The NBA also believes auction marts are the best way farmers can support the British beef industry and secure its future.

"There's a lot of talk about supporting British farmers and beef producers," continued Chris Mallon, "but the best way to do this is through the auction marts. They offer a good service to farmers, paying promptly and supporting their customers."