Suckled calves sold by video

19 October 2001

Suckled calves sold by video

A PACKED ringside saw the first of this autumns video auctions of suckled calves at Hallworthy Market in Cornwall by auctioneer KVN Stockdale.

Good steers on green cards made £300-400, but heifers were harder to sell in the £100-200 range. Poorer sorts made less money. Auctioneer Peter Dennis noted that despite a cautious start prices were "just a shade under last years".

"It went better than we feared but its still no substitute for a market with the cattle there in front of buyers."

Originally advertised as a digital auction which would have depended on still photographs, a late decision was made to film the stock "to give a more realistic view of the cattle".

Assembling video footage and catalogue for the 388 cattle on offer took two people a fortnight, four days long than budgeted. Even so, commission fees will remain the same, said the auctioneer.

Among the buyers was Brian Howlett from Luckett. He agreed prices were slightly down on last year. "But we cant afford to pay as much this year. Our costs are higher and the finished cattle price is down from 170p/kg last year to just 147p this week."

He said the main difficulty with a video sale was judging how well grown cattle were unless you visited the farm beforehand.

For the next sale, the auctioneer plans to include a measuring stick in the video images, but Mr Dennis accepted that too will have limitations. "Id rather buyers visited the farms beforehand and saw the cattle with their own eyes."

Hallworthys next video venture will be 600 suckled calves for the South Western Suckled Calf Association on Oct 24. &#42

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