27 June 1997

Cohort money swells demand

FARMERS spending cohort compensation are boosting demand for dairy stock.

Together with the seasonal rise in milk prices, this has kept average values for good-quality cows at, or over, £800 in markets.

Reports are also coming of buoyant trade at farm dispersals. Henry Simon, auctioneer with R B Taylor and Sons, saw buyers from 12 counties at last weeks dispersal of the Edenlacy herd of Holstein Friesians in Hampshire. The event saw 51 lots top the 1000gns-mark.

Farmers are demanding stock with good genetic merit. "Looking for something generally better than what they have already got," says Mr Simon.

"Cohort money" is now a feature, he says. "And when the trade lifts, you either have to follow it, or go home empty handed."

Gwyn Williams of Frank R Marshall says, with a six- or seven-week time lag between valuation and payment, cohort money is now beginning to boost demand.

"Milk prices are also higher seasonally – although they are still looking a bit sick compared to last year," he says.

Mr Williams was involved in a Cheshire dispersal last Friday, at which prices topped at £1150. The overall average for the 400 head – which included more than 200 young stock and 40 fifth-calvers or older – was £530.

In Somerset, auctioneer Derek Biss of Greenslade Hunt says, with the summer lull in sales, prices are buoyant on the back of the tight supplies. Demand has been brisk as farmers sell and replace older cows, anticipating a fall in the OTMS compensation.

But the cull hasnt yet had much affect, says Mr Biss. "Progress with it is very slow and some people have geared themselves up for it by breeding their own replacements."