Switch to spring beef bull trade?
COULD the traditional autumn sales of beef bulls increasingly give way to spring sales, as management systems change?
One man who thinks they may is Harrison & Hetheringtons pedigree auctioneer, David Thomlinson.
"It is becoming increasingly obvious that the demand for bulls is much more buoyant in the spring, and that the autumn bull sale market is becoming limited because of calving patterns," he said, speaking in the wake of the British Limousin Cattle Societys premier bull sale at Borderway Mart, Carlisle, earlier this month.
Limousin society chief executive, Iain Kerr, described the sale as realistic, given the state of the industry. Averages rose by £262 overall on the year to £3009. This more than cancelled the fall in values at last years sale, and averages for junior and intermediate bulls were well up on the year. Top price of 12,000gns went to 17-month-old Kype Orkney, from Ron Cruikshank, Strathaven.
But Mr Thomlinson said after the sale that buyers had been very selective. Of 250 bulls forward, only 119 were sold. "I am not really satisfied. We did not sell enough," he admitted, even though 11 of those sold topped 5000gns. "It was a very selective market. Buyers decided which bulls to bid for, and by how much, and if they could not get what they wanted, they did not buy. There is a more cautious notion in this whole industry now."
Mr Thomlinson puts this down to the fact that increasing numbers of beef cows are served to calve in the spring. "Breeders wont change their bulls until the spring as a result. They are reluctant to invest in a bull until its actually needed."
He also points out that cull bulls are now selling for a quarter of their former value. *