Live­stock dealer

Country Smallholding - - Feature / The Deep End -

A live­stock dealer is a very use­ful con­tact for a small­holder to have. In fact, many deal­ers are small­hold­ers or small-scale farm­ers them­selves, who’ve di­ver­si­fied into the buy­ing and sell­ing side of things in or­der to make ends meet. Their reg­u­lar at­ten­dance at all of the lo­cal mar­kets means that they’re al­ways up to date with re­gards to prices and trends, and are well po­si­tioned to give you good ad­vice. If you’re new to the area then com­mis­sion­ing a live­stock dealer to source an­i­mals on your be­half may save you a cer­tain amount of em­bar­rass­ment. A dealer is also help­ful in sit­u­a­tions where an­i­mals are be­ing sold in batches larger than you re­quire, as he’s bound to be able to find one or two other peo­ple to share the pen­ful with you, or, fail­ing that, he may buy the whole lot him­self, sell you the few that you want, and then re-sell the rest (although you must be pre­pared to pay him a slightly higher price per head than what he paid for them, as he’s the one who’s tak­ing the risk).

It has been said that in or­der to make a liv­ing a dealer must ei­ther buy too cheaply or sell too dear, but in re­al­ity what he does is to make a very small mar­gin on lots and lots of trans­ac­tions. There­fore he’s un­likely to over­charge you. A live­stock dealer may also act as a haulier, which takes care of another po­ten­tial prob­lem fac­ing the be­gin­ner – how to trans­port your new pur­chases back to your hold­ing.

I reg­u­larly en­gage the ser­vices of a dealer for the pro­cure­ment of calves, for which I pay him £10 per head over the price he paid for them at mar­ket or from a farm. Given that he may have driven many miles to source them, and that he de­liv­ers the calves to my hold­ing or to a nearby col­lec­tion cen­tre, I reckon that this rep­re­sents pretty good value for money, although I do give him a fairly tight bud­get to work to.

The ma­jor down­sides to us­ing a live­stock dealer are that biose­cu­rity guide­lines may not be very closely ad­hered to, and that an­i­mals may have passed through sev­eral sets of hands in rapid suc­ces­sion be­fore they end up with you, both of which could po­ten­tially com­pro­mise health and wel­fare.

Vis­it­ing the ven­dor’s hold­ing en­ables you to as­sess health and wel­fare stan­dards.

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