Whilst we remain in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic it is great to see that farmers across Scotland continue to use the live auction market system in increasing numbers.
Farmers, processors and butchers trust our Scottish auctioneers to deliver transparent market pricing with a range of specifications to meet all requirements.
In a period where auction markets have become sterile places for transactional business only, the faith shown in our transparent marketing system has been repaid with trade reaching levels barely seen in the 21st Century.
It has also meant that auction marts have continued to play a critical part in helping keep the red meat food chain operating as we have seen demand for red meat products grow across the UK.
The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IASS) has played a key part in making sure markets could continue to operate during Covid and we also offer our thanks to Scottish Government officials in the animal health and welfare team who have supported us throughout.
It is anyone’s guess where farmgate prices may have got to if auction marts had been closed over the last 14 months, however I’d venture that retailers and processors would have been very keen to place significant downward pressure on prices during that time – after all they don’t like to compete to buy their products.
Continuing to support the auction system ensures we can help deliver the true market price for your hard work in growing and nurturing your stock and ensures buyers have a wide range of animals to purchase.
The supposed ‘growth’ of livestock marketing apps and online services has failed to dent the trust in the live ring and there seems little to gain from using these platforms to sell to the only bidder rather than the highest bidder around the ring.
It really is fantastic to be able to sell stock at the current prices and see farmers well rewarded for their efforts. It has been a tough few years in the industry and the current trade should see some much needed cash flow back into the sector.
‘Elevated prices continue’
All classes of stock continue to see elevated prices and there is currently little sign of this dropping back significantly. Even with a cold and drawn-out Spring, all markets continue to see strong demand from buyers of all classes of store stock.
Finished stock dipped this last fortnight but we anticipate it will return to where it was, with processors and butchers competing strongly for good quality animals as demand from consumers for our brilliant products grows.
IAAS and Scottish auctioneers have a strong track record of defending the farming industry and we find ourselves at another crossroads in agriculture with climate change pressures building and with little progress being made by Scottish Government officials on future farm policy.
We have been strong defenders of the livestock sector when Scottish civil servants made a pitch to significantly reduce livestock numbers and we will continue to collaborate across the sector to encourage our new Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, to embrace the farmer-led groups work and press on with the proposals, especially the early ones presented by the Suckler Beef Climate Change Programme Board.
Scotland has an ideal climate for red meat production and has a proud history in producing top quality beef and lamb. It is critical to our rural economy that livestock numbers are, at the very least, maintained over the long term.
As we look to the future of new farming policies, our auctioneers are also looking to the future. Even with Covid, auction markets seem more accessible as online access burgeons and as we look to the future when we can fully reopen the marketplace will be wider than ever.
With a wealth of experience and a track record of delivering transparent market prices and specifications for any buyer, auction markets are the place for all farmers to sell and buy livestock now and in the future.
- Donald Young is a group director at United Auctions and president of IAAS.