12 September 1997

Store prices up in Scotland

PLENTIFUL winter feed supplies, lower cereal prices and talk of a beef shortage have pushed store cattle prices to what some describe as unrealistic levels.

Leading Aberdeenshire finisher Peter McKilligan told his NFU area meeting last week that he had not bought any store cattle so far. "I will only buy if I can see a margin and, at current prices, that is not possible," he said.

Recent weeks have seen store rates rise by 12p/kg, which added £60 to a 500kg animal. Feeding costs over 120 days might be down £18, but the finisher would still be more than £40 worse off, said Mr McKilligan.

Bankers are also urging caution. "There is some fat in the system but we are in a period of reduced incomes and the lack of harvest cash should make finishers cautious about how much they spend on stores," said Henry Graham, head of the agricultural division at Clydesdale Bank.

He was speaking at the annual "spectacular" show and sale of suckled calves at Inverurie, Aberdeen, from where many Christmas show champions come. There was a record top price of £3400 for an unhaltered second prize Charolais cross heifer from Willie Brown, New Deer, paid by show umpire Michael Alford, a farmer and butcher at Taunton, Somerset.

The champion was a Limousin cross heifer from first time exhibitor John Robertson, Pitlochry which sold for £2000 to judge John McGregor, Glenfarg.

The champion steer from the Durnos of Glenlivet made £1100 to C Bell (Tadworth) Ltd, Essex.

The 48 show steers averaged 159p/kg, up 11p on the year, and 34 heifers were at 189.7p/kg, a rise of 24.5p.n

Allan Wright

All go at the Aberdeen Spectacular, where a new record price was paid, an umpire was needed to award the top prize and the champion steer was Bonkers – its name was, that is. Here Willie McPherson parades the best baby heifer.