Derek Biss' auctioneer's comment

IT was a pleasure to be here at Sedgemoor Auction Centre to not only witness improved prices for all types of livestock, but also to witness the feelgood factor among the farmers.

This was encapsulated in one instance when a 16-year-old farmer’s son from Newbury attempted and succeeded in buying some suckler cows at our monthly collective sale, enhancing his small herd by supporting Ched Leigh’s dispersal sale where 48 in calf cows averaged £1,246 a piece.

There is hope when young lads are once again looking to get into the industry.

Elsewhere in the market, my morning visit to the bacon butty van led to my fortnightly conversation with a pig vendor who could afford to add an egg to his butty now that pig prices are that much better!

In the dairy section we saw over 70 head forward at a time when cattle are short.

Alan Witcombe, one of our regular vendors, sold a super ‘Baxter’ ‘Poynings’ heifer at a record price for him of £2,380.

With large numbers forward time does not permit me to exercise around the other sections, but the general chat was one of exceptional prices for stores with one dealer telling me the Holstein steers are £300 dearer than they were 12 months ago, and I did see one 24-month-old Holstein steer which would blow over in the wind make £1,050!

Before we get carried away, though, we must reflect on where the prices were back pre-BSE in 1995.

Prices haven’t really risen in real terms by that much when you take into account inflation and the acceleration of input prices over the past 20 years of doom and gloom.

In real terms, cattle are making what they should and, in fact, they should probably be worth more.

Contact Derek on derek.biss@gth.net or 01278-410251.

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