David Bowman, Hopes of Wigton Auction Mart Manager, reflects on a time of strong sales.

DESPITE the turbulent times of 2020 and this current spring, trade at Wigton and indeed across the livestock marketing sector has seen prices and returns consistently good and often surpassing vendor expectations.

The decision at Wigton to maintain sales (under strict regulation) in the Spring of 2020 ensured our farmers had viable marketing options and could continue to sell their stock.

Trade for all classes of stock went from strength to strength with prime lambs avoiding dips in returns as numbers increased and store cattle results again reinforced that live ring selling achieves maximum returns for stock.

A strong trade provided livestock producers with the confidence to “drop and go” and if one thing from Covid 19 has been achieved is that the livestock industry can depend on their livestock auctioneers to achieve best price.

The lifting of regulations and lockdown allowed for farmers to once again exhibit their stock, and with the Christmas dairy show attracting record entries at Wigton, together with record prices, the culmination was the Wigton Christmas Primestock Show where an outstanding show of cattle met an outstanding trade with the new centre record of 740p/kg and £5461 being realised for a superb heifer from regular consignor Ian and Nathan Grainger of Glasson.

This was closely followed by the champion being sold for £4006 and this also from the Grainger family.

2021 has witnessed the country being placed into lockdown again but livestock prices remain very buoyant with primestock and store stock trading at very high levels.

Middle of the month saw the eighth anniversary sales continuing the trend with prime hoggs averaging £147 and the top price of £200 for Ms Dixon Lessonhall.

Prime cattle to 258.5p/kg with heifers from and bullocks to 257.5p/kg from Ms Miller, West Farm.

The Thursday saw the largest sale of store cattle since the opening day eight years ago with new vendors and buyers witnessing an extreme trade with feeding bulls to £1455 with Charolais from Judith Hunter, Bridgemill, Bullocks to £1505 for Messrs Strong, Well House and Heifers to an outstanding £1920 for Ms Watson, Cunningarth and a whole sale average of £1156.

March 24 saw the stint and grass letting night letting of stings on Burgh, Newton Arlosh and Skinburness and Calvo marshes followed by letting of grass.

As Livestock Auctioneers we are committed at Wigton to continue working to achieve best results for your stock, let us trust that 2021 sees a return to normality of sorts to enable the fruits of a successful trading year be enjoyed.