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Trade Should Work Both Ways

Fri 18 October 2019

It is difficult to write any article on agriculture or specifically about livestock at the present time that does not include a reference to the dreaded word 'Brexit'.

However you look at our industry it cannot exist without trade either on a private, national or international basis. The whole point about trade is that all parties want and need it and if it isn’t top of the list of priorities it should be because most if not all things depend on it. Put politics, scoring points off each other, childish behaviour by MP’s to one side and concentrate on these important issues – Europe needs to trade with us and vice versa. There, I feel better for that!

Politics to one side, “life goes on”. Obviously at this time of year breeding sales are and have been in full swing. Breeding ewes have to most people’s surprise been pretty buoyant from August up to the present time, is that on the back of an extremely dry summer/autumn last year when many producers put the brake on and played damage limitation, my personal feeling is that it is a strong reason and carries logic. Rams have also faired well with the major commercial sales reporting good clearances and sharp demand. Store lambs too have looked bright throughout, plenty of keep and aftermaths, root crops coming on stream, easy management, growth potential – why wouldn’t you!!

The beef/cattle trade! (How long have you got) 

The underlying issue……imports!!

National wholesalers and major retail outlets take a commercial decision in life, it is called 'Business' The world is a small place with production costs in various parts of Europe and further afield making imports very attractive – can you blame any company for that – not on a pure business decision, they will buy where the margins leave the most profit. Don’t be taken in by soft, tempting words – money is the issue plain and simple.

Of course there should be more to it than that, like the future of farming in Britain, future supplies of produce and when something happens in the world to stop or reduce imports where will the country be then, where will the wholesalers and retailers be and as importantly where will politics be – cheap food, the main aim of any Government regardless of political colour may be compromised.

Sustainable farming and the food process needs everyone in the chain to earn profit – 'Screw' who you like but don’t whinge when you look over your shoulder and see what he had and then find it isn’t there.

Same principles for livestock markets whether you use them or not they set not only a pricing standard through competition but other attractive and practical reasons for trading – 21st Century technology, traceability, sympathetic handling, high welfare standards and the opportunity to sell and buy exactly what you want by individual selection – why wouldn’t you?! Unless, the agenda is about not competing and being fair to all…. mmm….

Clive C Roads
Running 5 successful livestock markets, from West Midlands to Mid Wales.
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