Scottish prime beef values have hit record levels, with the deadweight averages in excess of 420p per kg for a second consecutive week.

Latest figures show that for the week ended April 16, the All Scottish steer average cashed in at 420.8p, up 6.3p per kg on the previous seven days, with heifers at 423.4p, a rise of 6.4p. Such is the demand for beef, that the processors matched values for this past week again too, with some achieving prices of up to 435p per kg, according to those in the know.

It's not just the best of Scottish steers and heifers that are in the money though. Young bulls and cast cows have also risen sharply, with the former just 10p per deadweight kg behind those of R4L steers and cows now averaging 300.0p per kg.

Those hitting the R4L specification in Scotland are also selling for 10-20p per kg more than those of the same grade south of the Border, with Scottish steers, heifers, young bulls and cows, making 424.7p, 425.2p, 415.2p and 328.4p, respectively.

This compares to the same graded cattle in England and Wales, at 407.1p, 408.2p, 401.5p and 318.0p per deadweight kg.

"There is plenty of demand for beef cattle and with no waiting list at any of the abattoirs and a shortage of cattle in the chain, the appetite is there for the trade to continue," John Angus, head of livestock at Aberdeen and Northern Marts told The Scottish Farmer.

"Cattle looked dear for the finishers at the beginning of the year, but the fat trade has risen more than the store, and has paid off for those who invested."

Mr Angus added that prime cattle are now £240-£300 per head more than this time last year, with cull cows having risen in excess of £200.

Unsurprisingly, stores are also well up, with steer and heifer values at Aberdeen and Northern Marts' Caithness Livestock Centre on Monday rising 40.1p and 39.1p per live kg respectively, to level at a phenomenal 261.8p and 251.9p, respectively.

Trade has been well up at the co-operative's Thainstone mart too, with prices seeing a £150-£200 per head rise on the year. The last sale saw bullocks and heifers cash in at 258.9p and 251.5p, respectively.

"The store trade has been pretty good all year, but the fat trade has been up more and that's what has given the finishers the confidence to keep going as they are now seeing a return on their investment. But, it is the live auction that has kept overall values up," he stressed.

With both the store and the fat trade soaring, Mr Angus also expects the forth coming breeding cattle sales to enjoy a similar slice of the cake.

"Last year bulling heifers and those with calves at foot were a big trade with many averaging in excess of £2500 and £2000, respectively, and I would expect them to sell for more than that this year. They have to be, but a lot will also depend on the weather and how much grass is available as it is in pretty short supply at present up here due to the cold winds."

John Roberts, director and auctioneer at United Auctions' Stirling Agricultural Centre has also seen a buoyant trade for store cattle all year with values 30-35p per kg up on the same time in 2020.

He is also confident the trade will continue when the food service market opens up.

"We have seen a consistently strong trade for beef cattle throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, people will want to eat out when the restrictions are eased, but consumers are also now more confident cooking at home and can produce cheaper meals in their own house," said Mr Roberts.