Prime beef cattle prices have rallied again with increased demand, a shortage of supplies, and more mouths to feed on home turf.

With the summer holidays well and truly over for all, the schools back, and the darker nights, livestock markets north and south of the Border have seen improved prices for all types of cattle.

Deadweight values are also up with R4L steers in Scotland cashing in at £5 per deadweight kg and heifers of the same grade at 1.5p short of that. Furthermore, the All steer and All heifer prices in Scotland are not that far behind at 495.8p and 495.2p respectively.

Young bulls are also on the up, averaging 475.7p or 478.9p for R3s but for those that don't meet the 'spec, there's more to be gained selling south of the Border.

"There is a lot more demand and enthusiasm in the beef trade again," said Scott Ferrie, senior auctioneer at Darlington Auction Mart.

"The schools are back and there are a lot more people in the country now needing to be fed. But, there are not the same numbers of finished cattle about when you think a lot of farmers sold their cattle when the price was going down and these cattle are no longer there."

He added that Aberdeenshire finisher, Euan Fettes, Braes of Enzies, topped the bull trade at Darlington with a 733kg Charolais that sold for 324p per live kg and sold six of various bulls breeds to average 284p or £2205.

The same home also topped the heifers with a 30-month-old 881kg British Blue heifer which realised £2449, with a 31-month-old Limousin heifer making £2357, and steers of the same age to £2317. Mr Fettes sold six clean cattle to average 286p per kg £2268 per head.

"Well-fed cattle are selling at a premium and we're getting more farmers coming down to Darlington because they know they will get a good price for cattle with the extra weight and age. The best end of our heifers are regularly selling for 350-360p per live kg," he said.

Handyweight cattle are also on the up in Scotland, with Caledonian Marts' Stirling market seeing heifers in the 500-600kg range average 322p per kg at their latest sale having sold to 340p twice from Easter Ochtermuthill.