Feed fears confounded as cattle prices ‘hold up well’ in autumn
Trade for store cattle and breeding stock held up well over autumn according to one of the country’s largest farmer-owned auction businesses – confounding the prophets of doom anticipating a collapse in prices due to shortages of fodder and straw following the long, dry summer.
In an assessment of the season to date, Aberdeen & Northern Marts (ANM) said that despite a slip in prices in the early cattle store sales, a returning confidence and the availability of more winter feed than expected – although at a cost – had resulted in prices rising at the later sales.
“Demand for cattle has been better than expected and there are still some good cattle around for the discerning buyer,” said the company’s head of livestock, John Angus.
“The sharp increase in feed costs is a concern – however the good run of weather in the late autumn has assisted farmers with the later housing of livestock and the fodder challenges going into the winter. The price of straw has eased since harvest time and is expected to hold at these current levels through the winter.”
But he admitted that although finishing cattle had done well over the back-end, it looked like the normal pre-christmas surge in prime cattle prices wasn’t going to happen – with cattle coming to market earlier and a waiting list of two to three weeks at abattoirs for producers to get their cattle slaughtered.
The company said that store lamb prices had also bounced back as the year progressed – but fears of a no-deal Brexit, which could affect the lamb export trade to mainland Europe, had seen gimmer prices back by £10-£15 a head.