Calf round-up: prices stronger, registrations stable

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Auction trade

Prices for rearing calves of all types in England and Wales have been performing reasonably well over the last few months compared to last year, particularly for continental and native beef breeds.

This follows an uplift in prices in around April-May, with demand for calves reportedly robust. While prices are currently stronger than last year, generally they appear to be in-line with their respective five-year averages. 

Despite reported strong demand, AHDB data suggests that auction mart throughputs of all types so far in 2020 (Jan - end of August) in England and Wales are actually lower than they were last year, perhaps explaining some of the price uplift. However, the majority of the overall fall in throughputs has been due to fewer dairy males coming through, which aligns with a fall in registrations of dairy males. This trend is set to continue.

Registrations

The latest data from BCMS shows that registrations of calves during the first six months of 2020 have been largely similar to the same period in 2019 (+1%). A rise in the number of registrations of beef calves - and to a lesser extent, dairy heifers - outweighing a lower number of dairy bull calves registered. This reflects in part the increasing usage of sexed dairy and beef semen among dairy producers.

Hannah Clarke

Analyst - Livestock

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