By Jeremy Hunt

STOCK will return to the sale ring later this year.

It will be just cattle at first that will be allowed through store and breeding sale rings, hopefully from mid-February.

It is a welcome move by the government and has been greeted with some relief throughout the industry.


Provisional Sale Dates  
British Limousin Cattle Societys spring show and sale 1 March & 3 May, Carlisle 
Blond dAquitaine Breeders Society 8 March & 8 May, Carlisle 
British Charolais Cattle Society Sale 15 March & 10 May, Carlisle 
British Simmental Cattle Society show and sale 26 April, Borderway Mart 
Holstein-Friesian Black-and-White sale May, Borderway Mart 
Galloway and Whitebred Shorthorn sales May 3, Carlisle 
Belgian Blue and Aberdeen-Angus 17 & 22, Borderway Mart 

The ban on live sales has meant a feverish private livestock marketing exercise by breeders, breed societies and auctioneers during recent months.

There were fears that, once the green light was given for live sales in England and Wales, the backlog of beef bulls would force auctioneers to impose sale entry restrictions to overcome the volume of animals.

However, this doesnt seem to be the case.

British Charolais Cattle Society chief executive David Benson says most of his members have sold some bulls privately, which has relieved pressure on sale entries for 2002.

“However, the 20-day rule is still going to affect trading.

“We would urge breeders to be strict about the quality of bulls they enter for sales.

“Then bulls will hopefully be sold in the ring.

“Vendors will not return home with unsold stock which would, under the present rules, cause the 20-day rule to impinge on the farms other livestock movements.”

Meanwhile, it is likely that dairy herds wanting to sell by auction in 2002 would prefer to do so on the back of some high profile wins in the showring this summer.

As yet, no sales have been fixed, but Chris Norton, of leading Glos-based dairy cattle auctioneers Norton and Brooksbank, expects prices to be very good.

“Dairy farmers who have re-stocked privately with the bulk of the herd can then go out and buy a few special cows, say high genetic-merit cows or perhaps some with show potential.”