SCOTLAND”S LIVESTOCK markets handled 3.6m head of cattle, sheep and pigs last year, worth 390m in total.

The figures, released by the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland, showed the value of trade grew by more than 15m on the year. Primestock figures for 2004 showed 163,000 cattle, 1.9m sheep and 5000 pigs went under the hammer in Scottish marts. Overall, throughput figures were largely unchanged with 320,000 store cattle and 1.2m store sheep sold in marts.

BETTER RETURNS

Robin Anderson, president of the IAAS, said the figures showed the auction system was thriving. “When there is uncertainty about stock values, markets set the price. This means vendors can be assured of a proper return.” The increase in the value of trade had been helped by stronger primestock values in 2004, particularly for prime cattle, he said. “Again, it”s due to the strength of the auction sector. The abattoirs have had to come out and compete for stock in the marts.”

upbeat

Mr Anderson said Scottish auctioneers were upbeat about the figures, and saw them as a sign of recovery in the business.

 “More farmers are coming back to the auction marts. They”re a tried and trusted method.” He estimated the liveweight sector was responsible for about 70% of all prime sheep marketed in Scotland, and between 30-40% of the cattle.