Livestock markets keen to pass on animal health status to boost value of sale

The more information available when selling cattle through livestock markets the more value that can be added, according to the Livestock Auctioneers Association.

Encouraging UK farmers to enrol on schemes such as BVD free England for example, allows individual animal health information to be openly disclosed before committing to purchase, said Chris Dodds, executive secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association.

“We believe that the more animal health information we can display in the sale ring at the time of sale the better informed prospective purchasers will be when making that decision to bid, giving them greater confidence and therefore better value,” he added.

“By announcing at the point of sale in auction markets the disease status of potentially every animal demonstrates the strength of selling through livestock markets.

“This highlights the growing importance of participating in such schemes, which is very often rewarded by improved prices.”

Mr Dodds said the association will continue to promote “best practice” in the industry, which is the cornerstone to scheme participation.

He said it will help add value to both the vendor and the purchaser by helping them articulate as much information on animals as possible.

Mr Dodds reiterated that in doing so it boosts “overall confidence” in the selling method.
Identifying infection

“With a Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) animal for example it is the Persistent Infected (PI) animal in the herd that needs identifying, so that purchasers do not bring them back to farms to infect the rest of the herd,” explained Mr Dodds.

“There is already evidence of cattle selling at a premium price if they are confirmed to have been tested BVD free and there are clear economic implications of removing PI animals off farms across the industry.

Mr Dodds said the farming industry’s participation is needed in this eradication scheme for the “true benefits” to be seen.

“We need an effective database so that the correct health status information can be electronically displayed within auction market sale rings, for everyone to see.

“There is a vital role for markets to play in helping buyers and sellers recognise the value of identification of health status in cattle.

“We need to reward them by not just getting potentially improved prices but by having a healthier herd at home too, until the database is in place we are relying on manual checking,” he concluded.