28 March 1997

Auction your better culls

FARMERS continue to make more money selling their better cull cows through an auction, rather than putting them on the slaughter scheme.

The best well-fleshed cows are topping the 80p/kg-mark on the open market, compared with the across-the-board compensation rate of 69p/kg. And, with an imminent revaluation in the green £, that is to be reduced by a couple of pence.

Auctioneer David Brettell at Market Drayton, Shropshire, is advising farmers to sell their better cows through the auction. They are making well over 80p/kg. Even some of the middle-quality animals are topping 70p/kg, he adds.

"But older animals, full of bag and belly, and without much flesh are better on the scheme."

Meanwhile at Frome, Somer-set, auctioneer David Lock has noticed a few cows being sold through the ring in preference to the scheme, even if they make less money. "The farmer gets paid quicker from the auctioneer than from the Intervention Board," says Mr Lock.

"Farmers are, however, delaying selling culls if they think they may be identified as cohorts, because they will then be worth more based on replacement value, than if they are sold now."

Prices averaged 72p/kg at Frome last week; the average cull passing through the ring typically weighing 550-600kg.

It was a similar story at Chippenham, Wilts, where auctioneer Peter Kingwill reports an average value of 72.5p/kg, or £435 a head.

Numbers are not over-plentiful now, he says, with culling rates high last autumn.