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LAA dairy cull prices

Buoyant dairy cull prices are expected to hold firm.

Livestock auction markets are helping producers to realise strong prices. Dairy producers are commanding record prices for their cull cows through livestock auction markets-providing them with a vital source of income as costs of production continue to soar and milk prices fall.

And there’s more good news because auctioneers expect dairy cull prices to hold firm for at least the next six months or so.

“Dairy culls have performed well in the sale ring, with 2011 breaking all previous price records, and this has continued through the first half of 2012,” says Symonds & Sampson auctioneer Mark Northcott, from Frome-based Premier Livestock Auctions.

Top prices, for the best black-and-white cattle, exceeding £1.40/kgLW are typical on market day and because demand is set to continue to outstrip supply, the Livestock Auction Association and Mr Northcott expect prices to remain this high.

“I don’t see prices for barren cows changing a great deal during the next six months. Trade really is remarkably strong and that’s good news for dairy producers.

“The rising costs of production coupled with lower milk prices mean that cull cow sales – as well as other dairy stock – are providing a welcome and, in some cases, vital additional source of income for dairy businesses.

“And livestock auction markets, like ours, endeavour to ensure that producers get the very best price possible for their cattle.”

He says that Frome market’s fortnightly TB-restricted sales for fat cattle, barren cows, bulls and stores from herds under TB restrictions, are also drawing plenty of eager buyers. Prices for these cattle are similar to those from non-restricted herds. “These sales are proving so popular that they’re going to be more frequent as we move into the second half of 2012,” he adds.

Carmarthen-based auctioneer Huw Evans, who works at the Carmarthen Livestock Centre, says he’s also seeing impressive prices for cull cows in the sale ring. “Many cows are reaching four figures – black-and-white culls are regularly reaching more than £1,200 a head.

“And we’re seeing plenty of them at market – between between 80 and 150 a week is typical. But we do see up to 180 in one week. That said, the supply is still considered to be short – that’s why prices are so strong. And it’s also the reason why even a relative poor looking cow can still fetch more than £600 in the sale ring.”

He agrees with Mr Northcott that there’s no indication that prices will fall. “It looks as if the shortage in supply is set to continue for the foreseeable future. So producers looking to command the very best – and a fair price – for their stock really should be sending it to their local livestock auction market. There’s an abundance of buyers eager to pay a good price for quality cattle.


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