9 May 1997

Two-tier trade in dairy cows

MIXED is the best way to describe this springs dairy cow trade.

Auctioneers are reporting a two-tier market, with the best still sought after, but little interest in older, poorer quality sorts.

"Good cows are still making £1000-plus, but older, non-recorded, animals are nearer the £500-mark," says Derek Biss of Greenslade Hunt.

Keeping a lid on prices is the large number of dispersals, he reckons, with many sales timed to "beat the general election".

According to John Thornton of Kivells, the cohort cull is doing little to boost demand. "Even when the cull speeds up, many farmers will then have replacement heifers in the pipeline.

"Farmers with a flying herd may, however, go out looking for dairystock."

The 67p/kg compensation available under the over-30-month scheme is, however, putting a bottom in the market, says Mr Thornton.