Livestock markets across the UK are reporting a lift in prices when compared to a year ago with Brexit showing some instant positives for farmers.
Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association, reports that the weakening of the pound, coupled to supply and demand, is seeing firmer prices, at a time when prices are generally tailing off.
“Across all sectors, including milk, there are firm prices being reported which is highly encouraging,” he says.
Most LAA members admit that the increase is down to a bit of both the Brexit decision, where the exchange rate is helping the export market, and a boost in demand on home sales.
Dairy cattle, prime cattle, prime lambs and culls are all seeing positive movement – with farmers getting higher returns when they sell through an auction, rather than to an abattoir.
“Fat lambs have had a fair lift, averaging 212p/kg last week which is up 50p/kg on this time last year, and there’s plenty of competition out there at the moment in the livestock markets,” says Mark Woodmass from the Longtown mart.
Katie Morris from Knighton mart agrees that prices are exceptional compared to this time last year, also recording a good 50p/kg rise in fat lamb prices as strong demand from all buyers is being seen, but warns that a longer term view is difficult at this point.
David Pritchard from Harrison and Hetherington explains that although prices are buoyant at the moment the number of lambs coming through has been slower because of the weather. “The exchange rate is, of course, assisting the export trade but it’s supply and demand that ultimately sorts out the price,” he adds.
United Auctions in Scotland also echoed the price lift adding that lamb numbers were also lighter last week with less lambs coming forward due to the poor weather which of course increases price. And with Ramadam ending last Tuesday with everyone buying what they needed up to that point, the tighter numbers in the mart have boosted price as well as the lift influenced by the exchange rate too.
A dairy sale last week, at Borderway, Carlisle, saw a quality cow in the second week of her lactation selling for £1700, and top heifers going to £1450 apiece.
In the South West, Kivells saw top prices of £1620 at Holsworthy and £1550 at Exeter, with director Mark Bromell saying “fears of a collapse when the Brexit decision was made have not come to fruition. The falling £ against the euro has firmed the trade, but to be fair it was already on a rising scale.”