May prices for Utah cattle were at their highest level since the spring of 1979, officials say.

The Utah Agricultural Statistics Service said cows averaged $48.90 per hundredweight, up 90 cents over April and $5.60 over a year ago. In April 1979, the high price was $53.90, $5.00 more than last month's.Steer and heifer prices, at $72.20 per hundredweight, increased $1.50 over April and $5.40 over the May 1987.

Prices for hay also improved. Alfalfa hay averaged $74.00 per ton, the same as April but $15.00 a ton over a year ago, while other hay averaged $57.00 a ton at mid-May, up $11.00 from 1987.

Barley, sheep, lambs and milk prices were down slightly from May 1987, the service said.