28 February 1997


PIG prices have rallied further, following swine fever outbreaks on the Continent. The overall average spot price at Monday markets was 83p/kg, up over 3p on the week before. Concerns over short-term EU supplies spread as the Netherlands adopted a 50,000-head slaughter programme. Belgium, meanwhile, is killing 12,000 head as a precautionary measure. The EU has approved buying-in measures potentially covering up to 800,000 animals in Holland and up to 145,000 in Germany. A brief seasonal tightening of supplies and demand increases following retail promotions may have also helped prices, says the Meat and Livestock Commission.

MILK quota sale values varied widely early this week. Craven Cattle Marts auction at Skipton, N Yorks, saw prices range from 60p to 64.5p/litre for 3.77% and 4.21% butterfat quota, respectively. Meanwhile, J J Morriss auction in Cardigan, Dyfed, saw 3.83% butterfat quota make 60.5p/litre, with 3.98% at 64.5p/litre and samples over 4.0% butterfat changing hands at 67.5p/litre.

BEWARE of getting your hoggets too big – they will come to less money than smaller ones, is the advice from auctioneers McCart-neys at Ludlow, Shropshire. Standard and medium-weights averaged 150.3p/kg and 147.6p/kg, respectively, at Ludlow on Monday. Heavy hoggets were at 122.5p/kg.

INCLUDED in the Mar 13 collective auction of grasskeep at Rugby will be two parcels of arable land on an 18-month farm business tenancy. Last years grass auction saw good-quality keep make £300/ha (£122/acre). But that was before the BSE crisis broke, point out the auctioneers, Howkins and Harrison.

CULL ewes topped the £100-mark for the first time at Gloucester on Monday. It was a day when heavy ewes averaged £65 and lightweights levelled at £38.56. With the retention period starting to bite, numbers are tight, says auctioneer Chris Voyce. And ewes with lambs are strongly sought after, as people reinvest the return from culls. The mart saw the best making between £40 and £50 a life this week.

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