Dairy cattle were in good demand at UK auction marts, as farmers looked to rebuild stocks on farm.
While beef prices have continued to disappoint, dairy cattle prices have been returning good money for sellers.
Glyn Lucas, auctioneer at Harrison and Hetherington, said at last week’s pedigree sale where there had been good demand for all categories and it had been the same at their last monthly commercial sale.
“Again, all categories were in very strong demand,” he said.
He said while it was hard to pin down the exact reason for price rises, he said marts were starting to see a little bit of the impact from a move away from dairy bulls during the 2016 downturn.
“It has left a shortage of replacement stock,” he said.
“Last year saw drought and fodder shortages. Quite a number of animals were culled through the winter and people sold cattle.
“People are wanting to build up stock numbers now.”
Mr Lucas added there was quite a positive mood around the marts, although there were concerns about the discrepancies in milk prices between those at the top of the milk league and those at the bottom.
Derek Biss, Sedgemoor market, said trade was normally buoyant at this time of year, with prices up slightly on last year, although they had not reached the levels seen three or four years ago. But buyers were looking for animals they could get instant returns on.
“That is why, if people are going to invest, they want to pay that little bit more for fresh milk,” he said, adding it was a harder trade for November and December calvers unless they were particularly good.
He added many buyers were buying on finance, which has been an increasing trend in the industry over the last few years, which explained why many farmers wanted instant payback.