Know your mar­ket

Country Smallholding - - Feature / The Deep End -

Many small­hold­ers do not know the true mar­ket value of their an­i­mals, with the re­sult that new­com­ers are often over­charged. This leads to dis­ap­point­ment fur­ther down the line, when the pur­chasers them­selves have sur­plus stock to sell, and won­der why they can­not ob­tain prices any­where near what they paid for the initial breed­ing stock. The bot­tom line price for any an­i­mal is what it is worth for slaugh­ter, and value may be added to that on the ba­sis of pedi­gree in­for­ma­tion, breed­ing po­ten­tial etc. Mar­ket prices – for both live and dead­weight sales – are pub­lished weekly in the farm­ing press, and are avail­able on­line, so, whether you’re buy­ing or sell­ing, it’s worth keep­ing an eye on cur­rent trends. It’s also a good idea to visit your lo­cal live­stock mar­ket from time to time, just to get an idea of what dif­fer­ent types of an­i­mal are worth. Have a go at guess­ing the weights of a few pens of lambs and es­ti­mat­ing what price they’ll make, then see how far off the mark you were when the auc­tion­eer comes round to sell them. Do the same with breed­ing stock and with other species such as pigs and cat­tle. You may not wish to buy or sell any an­i­mals of your own through a live­stock mar­ket, but the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence you’ll gain will be in­valu­able.

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