By FWi staff

A BIGGER-than-expected entry of large turkeys at Chelford Markets first sale of festive fowl held averages back to within 1p/lb of last years trade.

With consignments of up to 50 live birds coming from regular vendors based in Shropshire, Cheshire and Lancashire, numbers totalled over 300 birds for the first of three seasonal auctions.

Small turkeys (under 14lb liveweight) were popular, averaging 85.2p/lb; mediums (15-20lb) 76p/lb; and heavier sorts (21-30lb) 58.4p/lb.

Catering birds – those over 30lb – made 69p/lb, reports auctioneer Frank R Marshall & Co.

“We were disappointed not to get the premium that free-range birds deserve – particularly for a small show of Norfolk Bronze which made 72p/lb – but buyers selling fresh birds to the public are competing against frozen supplies,” comments auctioneer Roy Waller.

Despite claims that geese are proving a popular hit this year, entries were suffering from a slow start to the season with birds making 34p-70p/lb.

That is markedly down on last year when averages reached 1/lb, compared with just 55p/lb on the opening day, he adds.

Ducks and cobs were popular despite a small show, levelling at 62p/lb and 95p/lb, respectively.

The last sale before Christmas will be held next week (20 December) and auctioneers hope that turkey prices remain firm.