20 September 1996

Autumn store fall forecast

LOWER prices for finished cattle will pull down store prices at the autumn suckler sales by up to 20%, according to leading auctioneers.

John Martin, Livestock Auctioneers Association secretary, said he expected steer prices to fetch 100-110p/kg liveweight for steers plus the value of the CIDs.

Top heifers will also sell reasonably, but Mr Martin was concerned about the market for second quality heifers. "It is possible that some suckler herd owners will retain some of their calves if they can and finish them themselves. But many farms do not have the facilities to over-winter additional stock."

Although ADAS claims prices will gradually recover by the spring, Mr Martin said additional HLCA aid would help boost trading.

Scott Davidson, suckler auctioneer for Wooler County Auctions, Northumbria, was more optimstic, expecting suckler calf trade to again exceed fat cattle trade. But Mr Davidson doubted whether bids of 140p/kg for Charolais steers obtained last year would be repeated. He anticipated that steers presented with green CIDs would fetch 115p/kg, while prices for cattle with one subsidy would be 110p/kg.

Wooler sells 3500 Charolais and 2500 multi-breed calves at its major autumn suckler calf sales in early October. Mr Davidson said he wanted to see more money going to finishers to help them stave off the low prices caused by the BSE crisis.