By FWi staff

CATTLE prices at livestock markets eased back this week as the festive trade finishes and Christmas fairs slow down.

“We have seen a steady price lift over the past couple of months mainly due to demand,” said Duncan Sinclair of the Meat and Livestock Commission. “But this is likely to slip back in January as it normally does.”

Light steers took the biggest fall at markets in England and Wales on Monday, falling 6.13p to 87.53p/kg. Medium steers also fell dropping 4.22p to 88.84p/kg and heavy steers fell back to 87.96p/kg.

Heifers eased back with light stock falling 4.14p to 81.26p/kg. Medium heifers remained all but unchanged and heavy samples fell to 87.32p/kg.

Young bulls faired slightly better falling 1.45p overall at 86.99p/kg.

Prices have returned back to normal following the Christmas fairs, said auctioneer, Simon Draper, of Rugby market. “At our fair last week best heifers and steers made over 100p/kg and values like these distorted the overall prices,” he said.

The supermarkets have now finished their Christmas purchasing but the butchers will still be buying until the end of the week, said Mr Draper.

Buying should ease off now and will remain steady over January and February. “But in the first week of January demand should be good as abattoirs start to operate again,” he said.

Auctioneer Chris Siswick of Ponteland, Newcastle, also saw prices fall back slightly but said that demand was still good. Values there have eased for two weeks consecutively and when asked what is likely to happen in the new year he said that they are likely to ease further – “But who knows?”