Calf Trade Comments

21st May 2015

The new calendar year has started very positively with excellent numbers of calves forward each week. We consistently have weekly numbers of 90-130 and demand from farmers and dealers remains very strong for calves of all ages, breeds and sex. Rearing farms are continually looking to source stock from us every Friday. The demand for calves, (and also for weanlings and store cattle) has not been dampened by the current depressed beef sector. In fact, demand for calves is as high as it has been for some time.

Quality continental cross calves continue to grab the headlines, with prices regularly reaching £350-£450. Last Friday, top price bull calf was £472 for a Char and top price heifer calf was £392 for a BB. Incredibly, Continental bulls averaged £342 and Continental heifers averaged £305. Native breeds continue to command strong interest, with sired bull calves regularly making £220-£320. Dairy bull calves are also in demand. Last week, best B & W bulls sold to £228 and averaged over £80 overall.

The auction system has operated for hundreds of years and is the only marketing system where supply and demand are balanced, thus determining the true values of stock. Recently, we have witnessed competition from collection centres and direct sales. However, I would encourage people to think of their own future as well as that of farming in general. Can short term promises really translate into long term gains? The livestock market has constantly evolved, as the industry has advanced over generations and offers a unique and professional service that brings buyers together to compete for the product on offer.

Despite providing a welcome social environment to many farmers, it is commonly said that the youth of today have no time to attend markets. However, there is no need for any vendor to be in attendance at a sale if they don't wish to be. Markets ensure that stock is properly marketed to achieve its full potential, regardless of whether the vendor is in attendance. The level of commission charged for this service remains very low and is a miniscule price to pay to have the true market value for your stock determined professionally. One of our auctioneers is always on hand to help with any queries.

I would encourage everyone to think further ahead and to support their local auction centres. I struggle to imagine how a healthy agricultural sector would prosper in the future without this truly unique and fantastic way of selling livestock.

J Wynne Davies MRICS
Auctioneer at J Bradburne Price & Co, Mold