14 July 1995

Store markets two-tier trade

STORE cattle values are falling as the dry weather continues and forage supplies tighten in many areas.

Prices fell almost 5p/kg in the week ending July 5 to average 116.6p/kg. And a two-tier trade is evident, with strong, well-forward animals selling well and smaller sorts extremely difficult to shift.

Young stock is hard to cash unless it is the "absolute cream", says auctioneer Richard Wood at Ashford. "Trade has been coming down for a few weeks and looks like it will continue to do so unless we get some rain," he says.

Nationally, the decline follows a brief upturn last month, when values, having been almost continuously below those of 1994, rose above corresponding year-earlier levels. In the week ending June 28 prices stood at 121.1p/kg – 12 months earlier 117.7p/kg was seen.

At Selby auctioneer Roger Screeton says of the forage situation: "It has not quite reached a critical state but it soon could do. Farmers are becoming increasingly concerned about supplies and thinning out numbers."

And similarly at Hereford auctioneer David Probert has seen higher entries. The forage situation is not yet problematic, says Mr Probert, but people may be selling some stock as a safety measure. "This could have a downward effect on prices."

Slightly more upbeat is Paul Gentry at Newark, who says: "As more people finish harvest and begin thinking about their autumn requirements stores could then go dearer."

But caution is voiced by Richard Wood: "Forage supplies could be short this winter and prices of compound feed could increase. We may well be facing an autumn of cheap store cattle," he concludes. &#42


Store cattle prices (p/kg) June 1995

Weight (kg)SteersHeifers

200-299137.5110.9

300-399126.5111.7

400+121.0111.3

All weights123.8111.5