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Back in the olden days – we are talking wayyyyy back in the olden days, back to the 13th and 14th centuries – the market prices were still just as important as they are today. It makes a lot of sense; there are a lot of cows raised in one particular part of the country, so there is a high level of supply. Simple market forces mean that when supply is high it is a buyers market, so the prices are low. Therefore, it made sense to sell your cattle in a place where there were relatively few being raised.
The only problem was that this was often far away – several hundred miles at least. What farmers would do is entrust their cattle to a young lad who would drive (in the old-fashioned sense, no lorries here) the animals to wherever they were needed, most often to the huge and bustling Smithfield meat market. They would graze upon the way, and presumably leave huge steaming piles of manure along the route.
So, farmers of today (and drivers of nice clean cars who want to keep them that way), lets all be thankful for modern technology that lets you move your livestock wherever, whenever you want. And a paper like Farmers’ Guardian to let you know the latest prices. NB