Paper penalty for heifer men
FARMERS continue to lose money selling heifers without paperwork.
Many of those now being traded as store animals were born before July 1996, when passports became compulsory.
And in the absence of a passport, buyers want cattle birth record documents (CBRDs), so the animals age isnt determined by dentition.
"Mouthing cattle is a nonsense," says auctioneer Michael Evans at Hereford.
While it can be difficult to get CBRDs for animals which have moved off the farm of origin, it makes sense wherever possible, says Mr Evans. It can make up to £70 difference to a beasts price.
Without a CBRD, the buyer faces the extra burden and workload of having to check the heifers teeth. Plus, control is lost over the timing of marketing, says Mr Evans.
About 350 animals were penned at Herefords summer show and sale last week, most of which were between 22- and 26-months-old. About 100 were heifers.
Auctioneer Tom Lofts at Guildford, Surrey, agrees more farmers are getting the message. "Heifers with CBRDs are making a premium which far outweighs the cost.
"The buyer then knows exactly where he stands for his fattening programme."
For heifers which are sold in the autumn sales between 18- and 24-months-old, CBRDs will be an "absolute must", he says.