£400 boost to suckler breeding cattle prices at Bentham

A flying trade for suckler breeding cattle lifted prices by almost £400 a head at this week’s November Cattle Fair at Bentham Auction Mart near Lancaster where bidding reached £1,850 for a pure-bred in-calf Blonde heifer.

The 78 in-calf heifers – predominantly Limousin and British Blue crosses – averaged £1,250 compared with last year’s level of £870. Auctioneer Russell Steer described the trade as “absolutely tremendous” on a day that demonstrated continued confidence among suckled calf producers.

“The strong cull cow trade is certainly helping buyers fund their herd replacements. With the best cast cows making nearly £1,200 – and plenty at around £1,000 – these cattle aren’t costing a lot to replace,” said Mr Steer.

The top call came for a pure-bred Blonde heifer from well known Yorkshire Dales stock breeder John Bradley from Litton. In-calf to the Blonde, she made £1850 to Mr Berry, Keighley, west Yorkshire. Another Blonde heifer from the same home made £1720.

Regular vendor Mrs Brenda Jones from nearby Malham once again produced a top quality batch of in-calf Belgian Blue x Friesian in-calf heifers to the satisfaction of her long-standing buyers.

“With finished cattle prices forecast to stay strong well into next year – and the effect it has had on the demand for stores and suckled calves this autumn – every sector of the beef job is very buoyant,” said Russell Steer.

Averages: 78 in-calf sucklers £1250. (Richard Turner and Son).