Dairy cow values “have hit peak”

By Simon Wragg

Private dairy cow sales are seeing slightly higher prices than before foot-and-mouth struck.

However, auctioneers are already warning that the market has peaked for some months to come.

Expectations that values could rally as units hit by F&M look to reinvest compensation seem unfounded.

“I understand that those units able to restock will only be allowed to do so at roughly 20% of their original capacity,” says Lancs-based auctioneer Richard Turner.

“I cannot see producers reinvesting heavily into any enterprise when the long-term margins look poor.”

Trading volume is estimated to be about 20% of pre-F&M levels, suggest auctioneers.

But Mark Elliott of Uttoxeter-based Bagshaws says activity is “moving along nicely” as restrictions are lifted.

He values sound, non-pedigree, fresh-calved heifers and young commercial cows between 700-900, with better pedigree sorts making 850-950 apiece.

July/August calving heifers can be bought for 600-700, adds Gwyn Williams, of Chelford-based auctioneer Frank R Marshall.

Although in-calf trade is “sticky”, they could be a good buy if the lack of bulling heifers on the market is any indication.

Traders believe these heifers are being held back in anticipation of stronger demand and prices once farms affected by F&M restock.

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