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Buoyant suckler beef prices are expected to hold firm

Livestock auction markets play a key role in beefing up suckler prices.


Prices are encouraging for quality cattle

Livestock auction markets are proving instrumental in helping suckler beef producers to realise prices in the store sale ring that they’ve been dreaming about for many years.

“Tremendous – that’s what the prices are. They’re the highest I’ve ever seen and they’re certainly the best they’ve been for many years,” says Bridgnorth-based auctioneer Mark Burgoyne.

He has seen several groups of cattle sold for more than £1,000 in recent weeks and he adds that it is no less than the producers deserve.

“They’re finally seeing a fair price for their efforts, thanks to the livestock auction markets. Calving suckler cows is not an easy or risk adverse enterprise.

The prices being paid in the sale ring for the resultant cattle now reflect that and it’s good to see.

“It should also help to encourage more producers back into suckler beef production – the returns are certainly there now.”

Mr Burgoyne says that prices have been creeping up the past two years, but have reached new heights in the past six months.

“The market reflects supply and demand. There’s a shortage of cattle, particularly top quality specimens and that’s reflected in the price – people are prepared to pay for quality. The market sets the price and it’s a true reflection of what these animals are worth.”

There’s more good news from Ruthin-based auctioneer Glynn Owen. He believes that these strong prices are set to stay – at least for the medium term.

“Prices will stay buoyant for the time being. Supplies are still pretty tight and should remain so through April and May. And there’s no sign of a let up in terms of buyers being prepared to pay for quality cattle.

“It’s the quality of these cattle as well as market conditions that are pushing up prices. Breeders are joining schemes and using bulls that sire top quality calves – they’re using the information that’s out there to produce the livestock that buyers are looking for.

“And this, coupled with the tight supply of such good quality cattle, is what’s attracting the high bidders to the sale ring,” he adds.

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