The concentrations of trichloroacetic acid (tca)-soluble copper and caeruloplasmin were determined in 345 serum samples taken from cattle in March 1998 by eight Scottish Agricultural College veterinary disease surveillance centres serving areas with soils ranging from being ‘high’ in molybdenum (Thurso) to ‘low’ (Perth and St Boswells). The mean concentrations varied significantly between the centres, with Thurso having the lowest values for both variables. There were strong linear regressions (r>0·8) between caeruloplasmin and tca-soluble copper for each centre but no significant differences in slope or intercept between the areas with the highest and lowest soil molybdenum, and the pooled regression accounted for 88 per cent of the variation. The distribution of the ratios of caeruloplasmin to tca-soluble copper, unlike those of the individual variables, was not normal, and 70 per cent of the values fell within 10 per cent of the mean ratio of 20·3 mg/μmol and close to the 22 mg/μmol copper expected in pure caeruloplasmin. Low ratios were generally associated with low tca-soluble copper. Ratios above 24 were found in 8 per cent of the samples and were probably attributable to acute-phase reactions and the non-specificity of the assay for caeruloplasmin.