15 September 1995

Store cattle trade halts

its tumble

By Tim Relf

SEPTEMBER has marked an end to the tumbling store cattle trade, with values rising to 114.5p/kg in the week ending Sept 9.

After June and July, when prices were around 6p/kg (5%) higher than at the same time last year, extra marketings during August, prompted by a lack of keep, contributed to the decline in values. But recent rain and a firmer finished trade have helped reverse the situation.

"Trade has picked up a great deal," says auctioneer Trevor Rowland at Chippenham, who last Friday saw Continental steers in the 400kg-plus weight category average 117p/kg. "People have finished harvesting and are looking for cattle," he says.

And the increased activity has come earlier than last year, points out Mr Rowland.

"People who are selling – especially those short of grass – want to shift them before they lose condition. And buyers would rather acquire them now, rather than in slightly worse condition in a months time."

The improvement in trade has been particularly noticeable among the heavier cattle, he says.

The strong fat trade (steers averaged almost 127p/kg at Chippenham last Friday) has helped shore up demand for larger stores.

Auctioneer John Hughes at Lancaster agrees that the turnaround in prices has resulted from the firmer finished cattle trade.

After finding stores in the 350kg to 450kg weight range to be a slow trade during August, he now says beasts of all sizes are meeting a brisk demand. Numbers, he predicts, will now gradually build up.

Meanwhile at Chippenham, Mr Rowland suggests that a lot more cattle will be marketed as a result of the better trade. But prices, especially at the upper end of the weight range, will hold up.