By FWi staff

CATTLE prices soared at markets this week, with averages rising as much as 12.29p/kg in Scotland.

But auctioneers warn that these values do not reflect commercial cattle – its the Christmas fairs that have boosted prices.

At markets in England and Wales on Tuesday, steers rose 2.70p to average 86.45p/kg while heifers climbed 2.43p at 84.02p/kg. Light bulls made the most ground, rising 5.03p and the total average for young bulls climbed 4.56p to 90.48p/kg.

In Scotland steers soared, rising 13.05p to 104.77p/kg, and heifers performed nearly as well climbing 11.51p at 99.29p/kg. The biggest movers were light heifers, which climbed 17.64p to 88.22p/kg. Young bulls failed to produce such dramatic gains, but still managed an encouraging 8.21p climb to 92.84p/kg.

There are Christmas shows all over Scotland this week, said a spokeswoman from Castle Douglas market, Kirkcudbrightshire. “At these shows it is just the butchers buying, and they always pay the dearer prices.”

The fair at Castle Douglas on Tuesday saw values rise as much as 15.2p/kg, with the top bullock achieving 180p/kg. Despite the fair, prices have been inching up over the past few weeks as we enter the Christmas period and have climbed 2-3p/kg, she said.

This was echoed by a spokesman at Skipton market, North Yorkshire. The show cattle are now out, he said. “and the better cattle will get more money.”

But the prices seen this week are unrealistic, said Geoffrey Dolling from Taunton market, Somerset. “The fairs have bumped the prices up,” he said.

At Taunton there was no fair this week, and prices remained unchanged. There the steers made 79.20p/kg and heifers averaged 75.50p/kg. No finished cattle were marketed.

The higher prices are a reflection of the quality that is coming forward, said Mr Dolling. But he does believe that prices have marginally improved towards the Christmas period, although not greatly. “All the cattle that are required for Christmas will have been bought by now, and prices are likely to bump along at current values. Theres no sign of an upturn yet.”

Markets prices, updated hourly