By FWi staff
A GROWING list of market closures and a drop in livestock numbers means that the outlook for live auctions is bleak, the Livestock Auctioneers Association says in its 1997 annual report.
Total turnover at live auctions last year fell 15%, to £1652 million, due to reduced throughputs and lower prices.
So far this year, three markets have closed. The latest, which shut yesterday, was Banbury – once the largest livestock market in Europe. Canterbury and Kidderminster have also closed this year.
Three livestock markets closed in England and Wales in 1997. They were Beccles and Wickham in East Anglia and Sturminster Newton in Dorset.
The report says other markets relocated and predicts that this trend could continue if property values remain at current high levels.
The number of prime cattle sold through marts at slaughter sales rose by 1.6%, while total cattle slaughterings went up 7.6% during 1997.
But prime sheep marketings cropped 8.8%, with store and breeding throughput down 1.3%. Clean pig sales dropped 8.2%.
In England, Scotland and Wales, 47.5% of all clean cattle were sold through markets during the year.