The south west is now leading the way for dairy cattle prices. Since foot-and-mouth stronger prices in the north and Wales has seen a flood of dairy cattle migrating out of the west. Now the roles are reversed with west country farmers being forced to travel north and east to source replacements.
Greenslade Taylor Hunt who conduct the weekly dairy sales at Taunton Livestock Centre report an average weekly entry of 52 milkers in the last month from various regular vendors achieving record prices and averages. Non-pedigree non recorded heifers have sold to £1600 and £1560 with non recorded second calvers at £1580.
Last Saturday the calved pedigree and non-pedigree heifers (22) averaged a record £1136 a head. At a recent dispersal sale 283 non recorded cows averaged over £1000. Auctioneer Derek Biss recited various reasons for this. He reckons there is now a severe shortage of replacement dairy stock in the south west. After F&M thousands of cattle went north and TB is wiping out hundreds of dairy cattle every week in the south.
Last year we were conducting two sales a week and large numbers went to Wales and the North. We now have only one sale every two weeks and it is evident most of the cattle are staying here. Out of 438 dairy head that went under the hammer at Geoff Cox’s sale in Devon two weeks ago only eight bullers travelled out of the south west despite potential purchasers travelling from Cheshire, Staffordshire and several from South Wales.
One south Wales farmer that went home empty handed commented that he could go to Cheshire and buy the same cows for £150 – £200 less.
With milk buyers in the south now fighting it out again for supplies of milk the resulting price rise of 2ppl this week makes things look rosy for those committed to getting out down here this autumn. We are now seeing west country farmers around the ring that we have not seen since F&M and animals bred in the west staying in the West.
The problem is we need more cattle to satisfy the incredible demand!