Subscribe and save

Farmers Weekly from £129
Saving £36
In print AND tablet

SUBSCRIBE NOW

sub_ad_img

Archive Article: 1996/02/16

16 February 1996

EWES WITH LAMBS: Demand increased again at Gloucester on Monday. Four-year-old ewes with two-week-old lambs sold to £52/life (£125/couple) with others selling in the £45 to £50/life range. Cull ewe trade also improved with ewes topping at £73 and rams at £75. Lightweights averaged £37; heavyweights £51; and rams £51. (Gloucester Market Auctioneers)

FINISHED PIGS: Monday at Lichfield saw porkers sell to a top of 115p/kg to average 106.1p/kg. Cutters reached 115p/kg to level 106.3p/kg. And baconers reached 106.5p/kg to average 102.2p/kg. (Wintertons)

SHEEP QUOTA: Exeter-based auctioneers Rendells report the following trading averages for 1996 quota: GBL sale £20.33; GBL leasing £4.94; LFA sale £30; LFA leasing £12.17.

DAIRY: Calved cows sold from £520 to £1160 to average £917.50 at Kendal on Monday. And calved heifers changed hands between £680 and £960, levelling £824. Rearing calves, meanwhile, averaged £125. (Kendal and District Auction Mart)

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 1996/02/16

16 February 1996

Prices topped at £225 for a one-month-old Donnandale Skychief daughter at Crewes monthly sale of youngstock last Thursday. But trade overall for the 112 head forward was slightly back on the previous sale. The 100 dairy cattle on offer – about one-quarter of which were pedigree – saw an improved demand. Bids reached 1020gns for calved heifers and £515 for bulling heifers. Arden Farms, Buntingford, Herts, entered 28 lots, comprising the entire December to March milking portion of their commercial, milk recorded herd. This consignment averaged £620. (Wright-Manley)

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 1996/02/16

16 February 1996

Occupied by his family since 1956, Roger Woodcock recently purchased Haughton Park House Farm, Bothamsall, near Retford, Notts, from his former landlord, British Coal. From the 800-acre unit, Mr Woodcock runs a 200-cow dairy herd, 200 finishing cattle, a 470-ewe flock and about 350 acres of arable crops. Advised by Tim Shuldham, of agents Shuldham Calverley, Mr Woodcock took advantage of the Agricultural Mortgage Corporations 0.5% discount on its variable and fixed interest rates and the reduced standard setting up fee of 0.5%.

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 1996/02/16

16 February 1996

Locals buy up

AVERAGING nearly £3000/acre some blocks of arable land recently sold at auction to four different local farmers.

Near Lichfield, the land at Weeford, Staffs included 155.75 acres of grade 2 and 3 arable land also capable of growing pototoes and parsnips.

The four lots, sold by auctioneers James &Lister Lea, achieved from £2736/acre to £3275/acre.

and Tony Ridgway of auctioneers James & Lister Lea says "Land in this area of Staffordshire has traditionally commanded higher prices, mainly due to the scarcity factor."

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 1996/02/16

16 February 1996

DAIRY dispersals will be plentiful during 1996 as producers continue to leave the industry, says Tom Brooksbank.

"We handled 74 sales in 1995, which is more than ever before. Almost one-third of these were dispersals, highlighting the steady drift from the industry. And the proportion looks set to be similar this year."

It also will be a "year of quality", with some fine offerings of stock, he predicts. But for every one person looking to leave, there is another who wants to increase his herd size and "turn on the tap". Buyers are becoming more demanding in their requirements.

This partly reflects the drive towards higher yields, says Mr Brooksbank. "Lots of herds that used to average 6000 litres are now nearer the 7500-mark. Only a few years ago, herd averages of 10,000 litres were unheard of; now some are reaching 11,000 litres and heading higher."

Higher outputs have resulted from improvements in feeding, management and breeding. "And we are seeing the benefits of using high-production bloodlines from the US, Canada and the rest of Europe.

With the upward march in yields showing no sign of abating, the interest in top-quality pedigree stock has also increased, says Mr Brooksbank.

"The top end of this market is far more stable than the commercial trade, which might fluctuate £200/head per week, depending on the weather and the quota situation."

In August last year, for example, in the "teeth of the drought", Norton and Brooksbank sold nearly 90 pedigree females to average over £1700. And the days top bid was 10,000gns. But for stock to make five-figure prices, its crudentials have to be truly outstanding, he adds.

"Stock sales will form an important part of the income of pedigree producers, in addition to the returns from milk. It has, therefore, to be looked upon as a medium-to-long-term investment."

And it can be an excellent investment, too. At one sale in 1990, Mr Brooksbank recalls, four cows each made between 10,000gns and 17,000gns.

"From a collective investment of about 56,000gns, these cows have since produced total returns of about £200,000 from sales of stock, and all but one are still alive. Returns from milk have been an additional income."

The top price cow sold by Norton and Brooksbank last year, at 17,000gns, was Crichel Inspira-tion Pamela 13th. She was sold last summer at Wimborne, Dorset as a second-calver on behalf of T R Harding. There were four five-figure prices that day.

As to whether this price will be beaten at any of the 44 sales already booked for 1996, Mr Brooksbank has an open mind. "Everyone loves a dispersal and two of the countrys top herds are being dispersed this year: the Crudwell herd in April; and the Avondale herd in June.

"Either of these could produce a big price. But you never know whats coming and exactly what something passing under the hammer might make. Thats one of the beauties of the job." &#42

We sold cows to 17,000gns last year, says Tom Brooksbank.

The question now is will this be topped in 1996?

    Read more on:
  • News

Archive Article: 1996/02/16

16 February 1996

Technology may be moving into the sheep shed at last. But predicting market prospects and the weather still requires the skills of a clairvoyant.

Marry these two extremes and you are left with an unstable and exposed industry dealing in an increasingly competitive world market. Few want to invest in new techniques if the advantages cant be exploited. That is common business sense.

When technology is viewed in this light, it is possible to sympathise with shepherds who prefer to stick with management tips learnt over generations, rather than risk their necks and farms in an unforgiving marketplace.

But if sheep producers step outside the industry, they will get a different view of their future. Poultry and pork have increasing shelf space in the supermarket. Like it or not, it is meat buyers and consumers who will dictate the future of the sheep sector.

The latest indications are that a majority of sheep meat sales will eventually move into a niche market available to the customer at a premium over white meats.

This will complement public demand for the right to roam in areas where farmers are increasingly identified as custodians of the "environment". Public spending will be justified in urban minds and the UKs unique stratified sheep industry maintained.

That scenario suits the upland and hill shepherd, but his lowland counterpart will need to lean heavily on technology transfer to survive and meet market demands in an era when European breeding flock numbers are stagnant at best.

So UK producers need to milk the benefits of modern shepherding. It has been proven time and again that high index stock swells margins; investment in research pays off; and training youngsters cements the industrys future.

Why it is taking so long for more of the industry to reach for these tools and experience their benefits is unclear.

But no crystal ball is needed to see that once a majority is convinced of the new technology a genuine feeling of confidence will return to an industry which has so much to offer.

    Read more on:
  • News
blog comments powered by Disqus