30 May 1997

Mart numbers down by two

AT 265, there were two fewer livestock markets in England and Wales at the end of 1996 than at the beginning.

So says the recently-released 1996 annual report of the Livestock Auctioneers Associa-tion.

Falls in throughput contributed to the 9% drop in turnover to £1.9bn. But the industry overall was contracting, says the LAA, with MAFF slaughtering figures showing slaughter cattle numbers down 15% on the year before.

In the case of ewes and rams the drop in slaughter numbers was 5%. For lambs and hoggets, it was 1%.

LAA chairman David Thom-linson said the year saw farmers react quickly to changing demands, such as those for traceability and clean stock.

"The priority now is to supply traceability and farm assurance, allowing export markets to be regained," said Mr Thomlinson.

&#8226 More market talk, see page 34.