Livestock auctions mark ‘significant rise’ in turnover with jump to £2.2 billion

The popularity of live auctions continues to grow, with last year’s turnover reaching over £2.2 billion.

The latest figures released by the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) show an increase in livestock live auctions.

The latest figures released by the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) show an increase in most sale categories sold in 2023 compared to 2022.

Overall turnover across England and Wales reached well over £2.2 billion, up on nearly £115 million for the year.

Store and breeding cattle, dairy cattle, calves, prime sheep and cull ewes all saw increased numbers sold through the live ring, with prime cattle and cull cows remaining largely similar to the previous year.

A spokesperson for LAA said that this outcome demonstrates the “significant rise” in values being achieved at the live auction market.

Key increase in value of stock

LAA development officer Zanna Dennis added: “A key pull-out from the latest figures is the increase in the value of stock, with a rise in every category bar cull ewes.

“With the strong cull ewe trade seen again this year, we can even allay any longer-term concerns there too.

“What has also been equally significant, is despite the national herd and flock decreasing, we are actually seeing more through the live ring.”

Defra livestock population figures across the UK state that as of 1st June 2023, the total number of cattle and calves had decreased by 0.8% on the year, while the breeding herd decreased by 1.9%.

The total number of sheep and lambs fell by 4.1%, while lambs, accounting for almost half of all sheep, saw a decrease of 6.1% on the year.

Conversely, the livestock markets saw an increase in prime sheep and cull ewe throughput figures in England and Wales, as well as store and breeding cattle.

Dairy and calf figures remained fairly static, with a slight increase in calf numbers over 2022 numbers.

Ms Dennis added: “We expected store and breeding sheep to drop with the dry summer, resulting in lamb percentages being down, therefore we did not see those new lambs.

“Likewise, there were less suckler herds nationally, and the cull cow numbers were not there. This was obviously all beyond our control, but plays into why those categories were slightly reduced on the year.”

Rocketed value 

While numbers overall have remained consistent and encouraging across most categories, despite industry challenges across the year, the true story has been in the prices achieved.

The value of store and breeding sheep rocketed in 2023, with a 12% increase in store sheep in England and 10% rise in value year on year for breeding sheep in Wales.

Store cattle prices rose 8% in England and 10% on the year in Wales, while prime cattle saw an 11% upturn in England, equating to an extra £177 per head.

Dairy cattle prices followed a similar trend, up 13% in England and 7% in Wales, or an extra £176 or £84 respectively.

Ms Dennis said: “The trade for prime sheep and cull ewes has been exceptional, as has that for store cattle, and we have seen that in the numbers and stock forward in the live ring.

“When we see the numbers in the market, and the value being so high, and on the increase, it demonstrates the strength of using the live sales ring, against other systems.

“While demand and supply will always be the main driver for livestock values, it is clear that these numbers demonstrate that the live auction ring is the farmers’ choice for a fair price.”

Read more livestock news.

© Farmers Guide 2024. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use Privacy Policy

Website Design by Unity Online

We have moved!

We’ve now moved to our new office in Stowmarket. If you wish to contact us please use our new address:

Unit 3-4 Boudicca Road, Suffolk Central Business Park, Stowmarket, IP14 1WF

Thank you,

The Farmers Guide Team