5 January 1996

Sales few and far between?

THE first quarter of the year, as usual, looks set to be a quiet time for dairy dispersals.

But Arthur Rowland of Kivells at Holsworthy says more dispersals this year will result from farmers selling up to take advantage of high land prices.

January to March, though, is a "notoriously quiet time", he says, adding that the prospects for dairystock prices over this period are good.

Although values nationally fell towards the end of last year, top-class stock remains in strong demand and continues to sell to a premium.

First-quality Friesians offered through markets were averaging about £825 at the end of 1995.

The new year follows a period of intense sale activity, with farmers keen to take advantage of firm quota prices.

Similarly, capital tax motives have been behind some sales in recent months.

Farmers, aware that a change of government is a possibility in the near future, may decide to make use of the concessions while they are still guaranteed, says David Lock, auctioneer at Yeovil market.

He agrees the new year will be a time of low sales combined with strong prices.

But Clive Norbury of Wright-Manley says he has more pedigree and commercial cow sales booked now than at the same time last year. "Traditionally, April to June is the busiest period," he says. "But the top end of the pedigree market will sell at any time of year." &#42