Call in at a busy livestock market and youll get a good idea
of the mood in the farming community. And St Asaph,
Clwyd, was certainly busy last Thursday…
In the cattle section, steers and heifers averaged 82.4p and 82.6p/kg, respectively. Top price was 101.5p/kg. As elsewhere, however, the offering was mixed, partly a result of farmers rushing to beat the 30-month age ceiling on selling stock into the food chain.
This was a day when more than 5000 hoggets were on offer – more than double the entry this time last year, with the backlog not sold in the autumn and early winter now arriving. But prices, averaging £28.65, were less than half the level of 12 months before. "We worked twice as hard for the same money," says market manager Stephen Morris.
Looking on, pensively…when farmers arent keeping a close eye on the livestock trade, one of their chief occupations at markets recently has been discussing last weekends Countryside March in central London.
On your bike…Arthur Roberts (left) is a well-known face around the mart, cycling from the auction to the office with the sales sheets. Not bad for someone well over 80-years-old.
Above: The pens may be full of sheep at the moment….but store cattle selling season will soon be under way – St Asaphs first big sale is on Mar 18, when about 600 animals will be up for grabs.
Left: Auctioneer John Brereton takes bids for the sheep. Hoggets sold from 56.41p to 90.86p/kg. If you were looking for cull ewes, meanwhile, you could have got them at anything between £2 and £45 apiece.
If you want a good view, you need a good vantage point!
Boxing clever…catching up on the local news and trying to anticipate where prices will go now.