Livestock Markets to Increase Dairy Revenues

UK - Dairy farmers have been called on to make use of their local livestock markets after the trade reported a 29 per cent growth in revenue from dairy cattle sales in England and Wales.
calendar icon 1 June 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

The substantial increase in revenues was driven by a sharp rise in the price animals were fetching at market, the Livestock Auctioneers Association reported.

Chris Dodds, Executive Secretary of the LAA, said the figures represented a huge success for the industry, adding that dairy farmers should “ignore livestock markets at their peril.”

“There are many reasons farmers should be using the markets to sell their stock, not least the higher prices they are getting compared with sales to abattoirs. Perhaps a more fundamental reason is the existence of the markets themselves.

“Markets are the only vehicle through which a fair price can be set. We’ve seen what’s happened in some sectors of agriculture where prices are controlled by the supermarkets. The sectors that are doing well are the ones that sell at auction,” he said.

“The advantage of the market for producers is that it is transparent, competitive bidding. At the end of the day if they don’t like the price, they can take their animals home. A real benefit for farmers is that they can have the confidence that they will be paid promptly, which they don’t get elsewhere,” he said.

Revenue from sales of dairy cattle at auction in England and Wales rose from £51.2 million in 2010 to £66.2 million in 2011, an increase of more than 29 per cent.

The average price for a dairy animal in England in 2011 was £1,310, compared with £1,011 in 2010.

Mr Dodds said: “The number of dairy cattle sold in England and Wales in 2011 remained level at 50,877 on the previous year. The increase in revenue came from the higher prices these animals were able to fetch at auction.”

Cull cow sales in England and Wales rose from £102.9m in 2010 to £142m in 2011, an increase of 38 per cent. The number of animals sold rose by 13 per cent, from 170,491 to 192,735.

The increase in the dairy and cull cow revenues reflected an overall increase in live sales of 17.5 per cent, driven by both higher prices and a higher volume of animals sold.

Total sales for England and Wales for 2011 were £1.81 billion, against a total of £1.54 billion in 2010. Turnover in England was £1.48 billion, representing a 17.9 per cent increase on 2010, and turnover in Wales was £330 million, a 16 per cent increase on 2010’s figure.

The highest rise in turnover was for cattle which in 2011 in England and Wales was £1.02 billion, compared with £0.86 billion the previous year, representing an increase of 18.3 per cent. Turnover from sheep sales was £775.4m in 2011, a 16.7 per cent rise on the previous year’s figure of £664.4m. Pig sales at auction rose by five per cent, with an increase from £13.8 million to £14.5 million.

The total number of cattle sold in England and Wales for 2011 was 1.68 million, an increase of 15.7 per cent on 2010. Just over 10 million sheep were sold, compared with 9.7 million in 2010, an increase of 3.7 per cent. The number of pigs sold increased by 9.4 per cent from 159,000 to 170,000.

The highest percentage category increase of turnover recorded was in cull cows, with England seeing a 38.6 per cent increase year on year from £90.3 million to £125 million, and Wales increasing by 33.6 per cent, from £12.6 million to £16.8 million.

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