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New Weight Bands To Improve Auction Pricing

22 December 2011
EBLEX

UK - New weight bands for reporting prime cattle prices sold through auction markets will come into force on 1 January 2012, to make the bands more reflective of the marketplace and enhance current auction market price reporting.

The recalculation of the weight bands, agreed in consultation with the Livestock Auctioneers Association for England and Wales and the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers for Scotland, reflects the fact that cattle weights have increased markedly over the past 30 years.

The average weight of steer carcases has increased by 26 per cent, with heifers increasing by more than 30 per cent. The increase for young bull carcases has been most marked at 40 per cent over the same period.

These higher finishing weights have led to few cattle being reported from GB auction markets in the lightweight category. EBLEX analysis of 2011 data shows that of the 250,000 head of prime cattle reported in the first three quarters of 2011, only three per cent were reported as lightweight, with nearly 80 per cent being reported in the heavy category.

The lower limit of the lightweight bands will remain unchanged, ensuring overall averages for steers, heifers and young bulls are unaffected. This will make it possible to make accurate comparisons with historic prices and analyse longer term trends.

“The new reporting weights for 2012 will enhance EBLEX’s market reports and provide a true reflection of what’s happening in the sale ring,” said Jonathan Eckley, EBLEX south east regional manager.

“The improved distribution of cattle within the new weight bands will enable producers make better use of our auction reports when making marketing decisions.”

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