THE DECADE began with a shocking price slump, as the artificial mechanisms and huge demands of the war years began to recede.

In 1920, barley sold for 110 shillings per quarter, oats at 65s, potatoes at £10 a ton, hay at £13 a ton and fat cattle at 120s per live cwt – in 1921, barley was back to 45s a quarter, oats to 23s, potatoes at 60s per ton, hay at £5 a ton, and the same standard of fat cattle at 70 to 80 shillings per live cwt.

A married ploughman's wage in 1920, in Lanarkshire and Renfrew, was a whopping 61 shillings a week, but in Caithness, a much less generous 41 shillings.

The 1921 Perth Bull Sales saw an Aberdeen-Angus bull sell for 3000gns, matching the record set in Aberdeen the previous year.

However, the year average over the 2091 cattle sold was £65 6s 9d – a painful 25% down on 1920s' average of £87 5s 3d.

By the end of the decade, the A-A was more numerous, as it was much in demand by butchers, but the average across the record 1642 bulls sold in 1929 was down further at just £38 13s 1d. That said, a record 3100gns was paid in 1929 for Baron Bruce (pictured), off Harviestoun.

Shorthorn cattle also saw a big drop in their average for 1921, which retreated to £102 19s 8d, although commentators noted that this was simply a return to a 'saner and sounder' trade after several years of unprecedented boom, which had seen cattle averaging over £200 a head.

By 1929, however, the breed average was down to £69 14s 10d, and the total number sold severely reduced too.

Clydesdale horses also felt the financial pain, as their average collapsed by 50% between 1920 and 1921.

A market that had recently offered prices over £300 for a good mare abruptly dropped to a range between £120 and £140.

Ten years later, the average Clydesdale trade at home was stubbornly stuck in double figures, with £60 the price of a good horse. Overseas was a different story, however, as buyers in the Commonwealth were willing to pay an average of £200, particularly the Australians.

At the 1921 Lanark Blackface sales, the highest price was £400 paid for the leading Crossflatt shearling. At best, a leading flock might average around £90, but the rank-and-file could expect no better that £15.

At the 1929 Lanark sale, there was remarkably little change, all in all. Then, there was a top price of £450, paid by Holton, for a Weston sheep, the highest price for any ram of any breed in Scotland that year.

The closest competition was a Cheviot ram, which fetched £400, and that was folllowed by a Border Leicester, which was valued at £310.