By FW staff

DAIRY STOCK prices have moved up with limited numbers on offer.

Auctioneer Terry Hamlin puts the increase at £100/head compared with last autumn. And the average price at Exeter, Devon, last Friday – with the better heifers making £700 to £800 – was the highest for about six months, he says.

“There were more people around the dairy ring than we have seen for several months. People are chasing milk to fill quota.”

Limited numbers are available and this could continue into the spring, with fewer dairy dispersals likely than last year, says Mr Hamlin.

David Millard, auctioneer at Frome, Somerset, thinks there are fewer dispersals in the pipeline.

“Many of the farmers who were going to give up have already done so; and those that are staying in will probably expand.”

The effect is to put the better-quality heifers at £700 to £800 in the weekly sale, says Mr Millard.

The best cows can still make £550 to £600. “But if a cow has got a high cell count, there is no sale for that at all.”

Supplies are lower than usual, agrees Barry Colton at Hallworthy, Cornwall. And prices have risen about £100 for the best heifers over the last four weeks, he says.

“Anyone who sees themselves still milking in 10 years time needs more cows.”