18 April 1997

Expect less for heavy cattle

EXPECT a big discount if the cattle you are selling are too heavy for intervention or the major buyers.

Auctioneer John Uffold at Ludlow, Shropshire – where more than 1000 finished cattle were sold on Monday – says cattle which look as if they will weigh more than 360kg deadweight are worth about 4p-5p/kg less than the lighter ones.

And those which will be above 400kg deadweight, are sometimes back towards 90p/kg, he says.

Bullocks averaged 96.8p/kg at Ludlow on Monday, down about 4p/kg on the previous sale.

"Buyers bought a lot last week, following a big intervention allocation, so there was less pressure to source cattle on Monday," says Mr Uffold.

Jim Watson at Banbury, Oxon, says last week saw "countrywide panic", following the intervention decision.

"Traders, used to heavy scale-backs, applied for a lot more than they were expecting to get," he says. "They werent expecting a 60% acceptance."

At Highbridge, Somerset, auctioneer Maurice Wall has also seen a 4p/kg discount on beasts outside the intervention specification.

There is, however, some market for those between 620kg and 700kg liveweight, he says. "It is above that weight when that trade really collapses."

Nationwide, steer prices dropped over 5p/kg to 95.41p/kg on Monday.