Prime beef cattle values have taken another substantial hike north for an unprecedented fourth consecutive week and are now fast approaching the magical £4 per deadweight kg mark – a price last seen in 2013.

Most of the main slaughterhouses upped their game by another 10p per kg this week for steers and heifers, which means some have increased base prices by a massive 40p per kg over the past four weeks putting an additional £152 onto the value of a 380kg carcase.

Add to that growing demand for beef with the opening up of the retail market here in the UK and in Europe, coupled with reduced numbers of finished cattle in this country and in Ireland, and beef prices have increased across the board, and are likely to continue to rise.

As it is, several abattoirs are now giving the same amount for steers and young bulls, with average values in Scotland having jumped by more than 11.0p per deadweight kg for both, while heifers are up 9.1p and cows 5.5p – and that’s for prices based on the week ending May 30, so next week’s averages have to be higher.

Latest figures from AHDB, which are also a week out of date, point to steers in Scotland averaging 361.9p again for the week ending May 30, with 5.8% fewer killed compared to the previous week; heifers at 362.4p for 9.1% fewer; young bulls at 355.1p with an extra 4.0% slaughtered and cows at 266.0p with 9.4% fewer killed.

With abattoirs now having to give serious money to ensure sufficient kill, there are also reports of some continental cross cattle achieving £4 per kg when base prices of 385p per kg are being quoted by some centres.

Add a 5p per kg premium for cattle at 380kg and below, and an additional 10p per kg for a U grade, and the £4 per kg is attainable.

With the good weather continuing, demand increasing and supplies diminishing, beef producers could at long last reap the benefits, with £4 per kg plus being the norm from now on.

Some would argue, though, that to achieve any sort of return on investment, ex-farm values have to be nearer £5 per deadweight kg and probably more.