By Farmers Weekly staff

STRONG store cattle prices are leaving little margin for finishers, but demand remains strong, report auctioneers.

Values are up between 40-70 a head on last year at many centres, but several venues are suggesting more stock could be sold.

At Ashford, Kent, steers sold to 475 for a Simmental X on a blue card (with one beef subsidy claim to go) and heifers to 300 for a 17-month old-Charolais.

At Exeters venue particularly, interest was being shown in cow-and-calf entries, particularly if the cow was running with a male calf.

The days top entry was 440, the price pinned by a firm trade for prime cattle.

Simmentals and Blonde steers continue to find appeal, with entries at Ludlow averaging 108p/kg, Charolais not far behind, and Belgian Blues at 102p/kg.

All steers, regardless of size, shape and claim, averaged 106p/kg, report auctioneers.

Heifers are also in demand again, with Belgian Blue and Blonde breeding averaging 92-94p/kg. 235