20 August 2001
Pre-virus prices as markets re-start

By James Garner

CATTLE prices appeared to pick up where they left off at Britains first live auction since the beginning of the foot-and-mouth crisis six months ago.

The sale, at Orkney Auction Market on Monday (20 August), prompted a good turn-out of livestock, with 361 cattle passing under the hammer.

Prices for good-quality steers on a blue card with one Beef Special Premium payment claim left levelled at 117.8p/kg, with a top bid of 136.3p.

Steers with no BSP claims averaged 102.4p/kg, with a top price of 116.8p.

With no movement off the island for six months, the sale was a tremendous boost to cattle farmers, who would normally shift stores at this time of year.

Most stock were from Orkney, with a few from the other Northern Isles.

Auctioneer Jim Linklater said: “There has been a good grass-growing season in Orkney, so theres no desperation to sell cattle.”

But he added: “If the trade carries on like this, then perhaps a few more will look to sell.”

Sales of livestock in Scotland will start elsewhere in Scotland except the counties of Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders from 1 September.

Markets in disease-free counties of England and Wales could re-open this autumn, said the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Government officials and vets will decide whether to re-open cattle markets in time for autumn movements of livestock, said a DEFRA spokesman.

The markets most likely to re-open first are in west Wales, East Anglia, and southern England, which have been official designated provisionally disease-free.

But it is unlikely that the markets will be allowed to deal with sheep, which are considered at much greater risk of spreading the disease.

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