Dairy restocking deals come hard

By Jeremy Hunt

DAIRY cattle values in some regions are following the traditional mid-summer pattern and have eased by around 200 in recent weeks, but striking deals for restocking has not been easy.

Although some auctioneers are successfully completing deals for herds to be delivered in the winter, others say vendors are less willing to commit themselves to an August price with an open-ended delivery date – possibly into the New Year or later.

Some dairy farmers have decided not to bring cows back into buildings this winter and will restock at grass next spring.

But Martin Dare of Somerset auctioneers Greenslade Taylor Hunt, says there are plenty of south-west milk producers who want to be back in business soon.

As in all regions, in-calf heifers are the most sought after and selling from 700-1000, but prices are expected to firm soon.

Clive Norbury, of auctioneers Wright-Manley in Cheshire, is moving around 100 head of dairy cattle a week from the firms sale register.

“I cant explain the seasonal drop. The UK isnt awash with milk and the anticipated demand for restocking should be keeping the trade up.

“Top end heifers have been 1000-1200, but I think prices will firm again as we move into autumn,” he adds.

But dairy cattle prices in Scotland have remained steady. Edward Brown of Carlisles Harrison and Hetherington, which has a register of 20,000 head, has already finalised several whole herd deals sold on a forward contract basis between Scottish farmers.

“There are some tremendous UK cattle about and theres certainly a willingness in Scotland to sign a contract for December/January delivery at a fixed price.”

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