5 June 1998

Three markets went in 1997

THREE livestock markets closed in England and Wales in 1997, the Livestock Auctioneers Association says in its 1997 annual report.

Total turnover for the year fell 15%, to £1652m, due to reduced throughputs and lower prices.

"The outlook does not look too bright," says the report, which came out last week as one of the countys biggest markets, Banbury, closed. Canterbury and Kidderminster have also lost their stock marts this year.

Beccles and Wickham in East Anglia and Sturminster Newton in Dorset closed their doors during 1997. The report says others relocated and it predicts this trend could continue if property values remain at current high levels.

The number of prime cattle sold through marts at slaughter sales rose by 1.6%, while total cattle slaughterings went up 7.6% during 1997. Prime sheep marketings through the sector declined by 8.8%, with store and breeding throughput down 1.3%. Clean pig sales dropped 8.2%.

In England, Scotland and Wales, 47.5% of clean cattle were sold through markets during the year, 63.5% of sheep.