Another 10p per deadweight kg jump in the value of prime cattle this week has helped bolster sales in all sectors of the market, with store and breeding values following suit.

Over the past three weeks, some abattoirs have increased cattle prices by 30p per dwkg, which adds £114 per head to a 380kg carcase.

However, while prime values have increased across the board for the week ending May 23, they are in effect back in line with where they were early April, when UK quarantine restrictions had been in place for two weeks.

In Scotland, steers improved 8.7p to level at 350.7p per dwkg with heifers at 353.3p, rising 7.7p on the week. With more fast food outlets opening for delivery and takeaway supporting manufacturing beef sales, young bull and cow prices also improved significantly by 11.3p and 8.0p, to average 343.6p and 260.5p respectively.

This week’s prices are a further 10p per kg more too – taking average values to more than 360p per deadweight kg, with some receiving 375p – which in turn has bolstered store and breeding cattle sales.

“Our store cattle sales have been working away pretty well all season, but they jumped 10-12p per live kg on the year at Thainstone, last week,” John Angus, auctioneer and head of livestock at Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ told The Scottish Farmer.

“Farmers on both sides have been really supportive of the auction mart here so we’ve had good numbers of store and breeding cattle forward selling to a range of buyers in the sale ring and on line. We can accommodate 58 buyers in the ring at Thainstone but we also have an overspill or gallery where the canteen was, which has a live screen where people can bid from until there is space in the sale ring.

“We also keep in touch with the haulage companies and let them know what has been selling, when they’re not permitted in the market.”

Mr Angus added that the first breeding cattle sale at the mart in April, saw 50 units sell on line outwith those sold either over the ‘phone or to bidders in the ring. Since then, the co-operative had sold just shy of 600 beef heifers with calves at foot to average in excess of £2500, up £100 plus on the year.

“We’ve had four breeding cattle sales and they’ve all been good, with a strong demand for replacement stock when the trade for cull cows has been firm. Farmers can’t afford any passengers these days so cull cows are being sold and replacement heifers bought. We’ve sold a lot of stock into Caithness and down into Perthshire.”

While Simmental cross heifers and Limousin crosses have sold well at Thainstone, Limousin and British Blue cross females have been in demand through Caledonian Marts’ and United Auctions’ markets in Stirling.

On Monday, prices peaked at £6000 at Caledonian Marts’ sale for a British Blue cross heifer with calf at foot from Wester Thomaston, with others selling to £5200 and £5000 from Pitcairn.

“We had as good a sale as we’ve ever had with enquiries for cattle from as far north as Aberdeenshire and south of the Border, and overall averages up £300 on the year,” said Caledonian Marts’ managing director, John Kyle.

“The heifers with calves from Wester Thomaston and Pitcairn both averaged £3700 for 12 outfits each, with bidders looking for quality heifers and good calves with show potential for next year.”

He added that store cattle values had also improved with most up £30 per head on the week, as a result of reduced numbers and this week’s increase in the prime cattle values.

Bulling heifers have also been in demand, with Harrison and Hetherington’s sale at Kirkby Stephen witnessing a top price of £1800 and further 49 lots selling for £1200-£1800. A third of the 495 entry aged between eight and 14months of age sold for more than £1100.