Cost of selling livestock worries Robert Neill

What a difference a year makes. During the holiday period last Christmas, we spent most of the time defrosting pipes to get water to the stock.

This year we have had no such problems and have been able to move around the farmyard without any trouble. Due to the milder weather we have mucked out all of the cattle sheds and spread some farmyard manure onto some stubble fields.

Our forklift decided that it needed a holiday over New Year and on New Year’s Eve it broke down. It was a week before we were able to get it fixed and back working again. Unfortunately, the rest of the country had all gone on holiday and getting the spare parts that we needed proved difficult.

I recently managed a day off to visit the LAMMA machinery show. It is interesting to see the new machinery available but unfortunately our budget does not allow for the purchase of any new equipment at the moment.

Livestock sales are going well but unfortunately the costs involved in selling our prime cattle have reached an all-time high. We are now paying an average of £52 an animal in commission at our local livestock market. With dwindling numbers of cattle being sold through the live ring, we are concerned that these ever-increasing costs are not encouraging farmers to support their local market. Perhaps Neil Thomson, Farmers Weekly arable focus writer, who has recently joined the board of the market, will inject some fresh thinking into the business.

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