Trade Talk - Andrew Armstrong

25th November 2015

As I write this we are at the end of our prime sale day, with 130 Prime Bulls, 105 Prime Steers & Heifers sold to an astonishing trade. The beef industry does seem to be quite buoyant at the moment with demand seen from all corners of the retail sector. Beef may be the commodity within Agriculture leading the way and instilling confidence into challenging times. With vast amounts of forage crop harvested, corn running at record breaking tonnages, straw being available at a low value, everything seems to be in favour of the Cattle fattening farmer in terms of cost assigned to feeding. With this in mind as we entry the ‘backend’ suckler calf sales and store cattle numbers come onto the market after a summer out at grass, the trade for such cattle does look to stay exuberant. Many of our yearly autumn store cattle purchasers have made contact with myself and colleagues over the last few weeks inquiring about number of store cattle to come to the market, I gauge the feeling from these enquiry’s that could the value of a ton of corn be made into £130 plus feeding in through a store beef animal, rather than sell it off the combine at approx £105. 

The autumn months are personally my favourite months in the livestock industry, I certainly look forward to auctioneering the quality suckled calves and store cattle along with all the breeding sheep of various descriptions also the larger shows of prime stock that Darlington has the privilege of selling on behalf of our vendors spread far and wide from Northumberland to North Yorkshire, Cumbria to the east coast.

I couldn’t leave this without mentioning the current prime lamb trade……. 

Just under 3000 prime lambs were auctioned through our company today, topping at £82, with a market average of 144pkg acceptable for the weeks national trade this brings the lamb on the day average value at under £62, this value seems to be the value we have to get used to for the coming autumn and early winter months, one saving grace is that within the north of the country there is plenty of grass growing as the mild days and nights are met with warm showers keeping the feed bills to a minimum. The supply of lamb at this time of year is plentiful, and the euro rate being 12% worse for the UK farmer this week year on year, this 12% in relayed back down the supply chain and stops at the farm gate, putting pressure on the net value. As we approach the 24th of September and the festival Eid-al-Adha, this may just bring a much needed short sharp lift in the lamb value.

Happy Autumn sales.