On Thursday 17 June, Craig Wilson Ltd sold 220 store cattle at Ayr Mart. The sale saw a mix of cattle from both the suckler and dairy sectors.

The average price paid for 116 steers was £2.29/kg or £1,009/head. This is below the typical average in Scotland, which has been closer to £2.45/kg in recent weeks, but Ayr Mart would handle the largest proportion of dairy-bred livestock in Scotland, which will affect the trade.

The 88 heifers averaged £2.26/kg or £1,039/head and the 16 pure Friesian steers averaged £2.04/kg or £958/head.

The top price of the day for females was £1,470 for a Limousin heifer off Auchentibbert, Sandhead.

The highest price per kilo was £2.82/kg for a pen of Limousins off Auchneight, Drummore.

Steers sold to £1,430 for an Aberdeen Angus off Littleton or £3.145/kg for Limousins off Broadshean. Friesian steers topped at £1,100 from Creechan Parks and Lochnaw Home Farm.

Ayr auctioneer Willie Hamilton said: “Overall, there were a lot of cattle still coming straight from sheds which have never been outside which were harder to sell.

“Having said that, trade is still strong, with the bigger cattle up £100 to £150 per head this year than last.

“Anything over 500kg is easier to sell this year than in 2020.”

Good silage

“Last year, the demand was for lighter grazing cattle which have not risen as much. The cattle this spring have looked well, which could be down to the good silage which was made last year in the area,” Willie said.

“Our buyers are pretty steady here and come from Aberdeen down to Carlisle. The cattle come mainly from the west coast from Glasgow down to Wigtown, with the odd few from further north.

“We operate out of two marts – one in Ayr and the other further south in Newton Stewart.

“This is a big stock area in the southwest where we can grow a lot of grass. The west coast area is wet and I would say that is one reason why our typical cow is not so big as those on the east.

“Our smaller cull cows will go for just over £1,000, while the big heavy northeast suckler cow could be closer to £1,500.

“As summer wears on, we will continue to sell a lot of cattle out of the dairy herds until the back end when the beef store cattle come on to the market. It is mainly Belgian Blue, Angus, Simmental and Limousin which are the most popular bulls for dairy cows.

“Many folk are saying the lots of cows are going off, but there are as many people keeping cows or putting numbers up too.”

Six Limousin heifers 23 to 27 months old weighing 560kg sold for £1,350/head..

These two Simmental cross steers weighing 357kg aged 10 and 14 months sold for £850/head.

Seven Limousin steers weighing 525kg aged 17-21 months sold for £1,125/head.

Four Limousin heifers weighing 450kg aged 18-24 months sold for £1,035/head.

Simmental steer aged 25 months weighing 540kg sold for £1,190/head.

Simmental cross heifer weighing 360kg aged 18 months sold for £810/head.