Livestock market turnover nears £1.6bn as throughput soars

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Livestock market turnover neared £1.6 billion in 2019, with numbers sold rising across nearly all categories and an increase in buyers returning to the ring. 

Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) data showed sheep trade was particularly strong, with almost 10 million animals sold in markets across England and Wales.

Auctioneers saw increases of 46,670 store and breeding stock, up to 2,837,888, and 183,446 prime sheep above 2018 figures (4,970,234 total).

There was an increase of 11,132 cull ewes, up to 1,861,774.

Managing director at Hobbs Parker Auctioneers, Elwyn Davies, who is based at Ashford Livestock Market, said: “We saw an impressive annual throughput of 225,000 head of sheep in 2019, marginally up on the previous two years.

“This included more than 140,000 head in the second half of the year, from more than 400 vendors, from nine different counties.

Cattle sold through livestock markets in England and Wales stood at 1,022,765, more than 5,000 up on 2018 numbers.

A further 210,443 calves also went through the live sales ring, an increase of 32,053 on 2018.

Prime cattle saw a significant increase, up 15,317 on the year.

Charlie Coleman of Frome Livestock Auctioneers said: “In terms of throughput, we have seen trade back to the numbers of two or three years ago, selling to the same or even showing an improvement.

“Abattoirs do not want cattle every week. Markets, however, are showing a fair trade every week, because they are meeting a demand, and that is creating a selling opportunity.”


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