LIVESTOCK sold through Scotland’s auction marts fetched £482.m last year,
official figures show.
Statistics compiled by the
Institute of Auctioneers and
Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) reveal that almost 2.7 million head of livestock were sold by auctioneering firms in 2019.
Total sale numbers were up by just over 112,000 on the previous year, recognising the vital role marts and their professionals play in achieving fair value for farmers.
While physical totals have risen compared with 2018, the average prices achieved dropped by 8.1 per cent, reflecting the fall in general commodity prices as well as the uncertainty for marketing surrounding Brexit.
There is no doubt the auction system has been challenged, especially in the prime sheep sector, by supermarket suppliers who would rather avoid competition and seek price control through direct sourcing.
IAAS, the trade body which represents all auction mart companies operating in Scotland, is the only organisation which gathers the statistics, based on members’ submissions
They show that the number of store stock sold through rings was down by 0.82 per cent at just under 1.2m.
Those animals achieved values totalling £314.1m, a fall of about 5.9 per cent on the previous 12 months.
Levels of stock sold for slaughter by marts rose by 8.7 per cent to 1.5 million, reflecting the desire from farms to achieve a fair and transparent price for their finished stock which can be achieved only by using the live ring.
Their values were almost
unchanged on the year at £168.4m.
Publication of the figures highlights the transparency of the auction mart system in realising fair and competitive real-time pricing with guaranteed payment, a message championed by IAAS.
Scott Donaldson, IAAS president and managing director of Harrison & Hetherington, said: “Scotland’s auction marts and auctioneers are working harder than ever to achieve the best possible prices for farmers at a time when they have never needed that more.
“And they’re doing that in the face of significant challenges facing the wider rural
“There are some positive trends in the numbers but they also reflect the financial reality of some of the issues faced, with the trade for beef producers particularly challenging.
“The picture for lamb trade was more positive in 2019 but everyone’s watching anxiously to see how Brexit may affect that because we can ill-afford any slump.
“The worth of animals sold is a powerful reminder of the economic importance of our marts.
“The increase in the number of animals going through our rings highlights the value farmers place on the system.
“It has never been more
important for the entire supply chain to embrace the auction system to keep trade vibrant and successful, highlighting the superb standards of Scotch-
assured red meat.”
Neil Wilson, IAAS executive director, said: “Marts are vital to securing the strongest possible future for our communities and continually evolving to ensure they remain the most competitive place to buy and sell, delivering