By FWi Staff

CATTLE prices took a U-turn this week as values soared at markets in England and Wales.

Medium-weight steers climbed about 6.54p at markets yesterday (Tuesday) to 86.71p/kg while heavy steers climbed 5.57p to 88.02p/kg. However, light steers failed to recover so well rising 1.82p to 75.49p/kg.

“More quality cattle have entered the market over the past couple of weeks, and they have been generally finished better,” said auctioneer Andrew Wright of Wighton market, Cumbria.

Increased demand in the run up to Christmas was one factor that Mr Wright attributed to this sudden turn around.

The top price fetched at Wighton yesterday was 104.88p/kg for a premium prime heifer. Average prime cattle were 94.71p. “Good-quality cattle are now seeing a good return,” said Mr Wright.

Trade was also firmer at Bridgnorth, Shropshire, noted Stephen Welch of Nock Deighton Agricultural. Prices there were up by between 4-5p/kg. “A combination of fewer cattle and an increase in demand has really helped prices,” said Mr Welch.

The top price at Bridgnorth was 115.00p/kg for a Limousin cross heifer.

But markets were not so buoyant everywhere. Cattle values struggled to rise 2p at Gowerton market, Swansea and prices averaged between 75-76p/kg.

“There was no great difference,” said auctioneer Martin Jenkins. “Demand was good and there was no trouble selling stock.” However, Mr Martin is confident that prices should start to improve towards Christmas and definitely in the new year.

“With many farmers not fattening indoors this winter there could well be a shortage in this part of the country. This should help to improve prices,” he said.