27 October 1995

Good prices for cull cows

CULL cow prices continue strong, with averages topping the 85p/kg-mark in the week ending Oct 23.

At the same time, reports from markets as to numbers vary.

Uttoxeters Stephen Egerton says numbers have stabilized at about the 300 head level.

"This is the time of year when many people go through their herds looking to cull," he says. "But we havent seen the big influx we have in previous years."

Plain cows are accounting for about half the entry at Uttoxeter. Were it not for this, says Mr Egerton, last weeks overall average price would certainly have been above its level of 84.3p/kg.

Relatively high

Similarly at Frome, numbers have stayed relatively high, leaving auctioneer David Lock surprised at the continued strength of the trade.

Pressures to cull because of tight fodder supplies have eased as heavy crops of silage with better than expected dry matter contents have been taken, says Mr Lock. But there is still a strong awareness of the need to sell high cell count cows.

The strong beef trade will now help keep prices firm, he predicts.

At Cardigan, however, marketings have fallen dramatically. On Monday, numbers were down 50% on the previous week.

"There may not be quite the pressure to cull for quota reasons that there was," says auctioneer, Roddey James.

"The late grazing season may be helping, too."

Prices may now "creep upwards" from their current level of about 81p/kg, he suggests.