THE NFU Scotland has welcomed the Chancellor's announcement in yesterday's Autumn Statement that the annual investment allowance is to be increased to £250,000.

A spokesman for NFUS said: "Those farmers needing to invest in their plant and machinery will welcome the 10-fold increase in the annual investment allowance, which goes up from £25,000 to £250,000.

"Although time-limited to two years, starting from January 1, 2013, this was a lobbying point for the farming unions. Given the difficult year that most Scottish farm businesses have faced, many may not be in a position to make use of this immediately, but a better 2013 may mean it will be of benefit to farm businesses the following year.

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"A similar announcement for investment in farm buildings and infrastructure would have been an equally welcome boost to the rural economy, but did not emerge.

"More cuts to the main rate of corporate tax will help an estimated 5% of farm businesses, but not the 95% who work as sole traders or partnerships."

Market round-up

The Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers' Mart had 2674 store lambs and feeding ewes forward at its weekly sale in Longtown on Tuesday when trade was £2-£3 up on the week. Top prices and averages for store lambs: Charollais to £60.50 and averaged £58.70; Cheviot Mules £60 and £56.59; Texels £65.50 and £51.40; Beltex £68 and £48.48; Greyfaces £60 and £47.02; Suffolks £57.50 and £46.58; Hill Cheviots £50.50 and £30.77; Blackfaces £50 and £28.02; Swaledales £25.50 and £22.

Craig Wilson had 69 breeding cattle forward at Ayr on Tuesday. Top prices and averages: Heifers with calves at foot to £2180 for a LimX and bull calf and averaged £1852.86 for seven; Cows and calves £1800 for a LimX with heifer calf and averaged £1131.25 for 16; Cows in-calf £1150 and £1009.58 for 24; Bulling heifers £1150 and £1089.28 for 16. A poorer show of four dairy cattle sold to £1880 for a B&W heifer and averaged £1710.

In the rough ring, 111 beef cows sold to £1740 for the reserve champion, a Charolais shown by Messrs Smith, Lawersbridge, Mauchline, and averaged 144.3p, while 175 dairy cows peaked at £1200 for a B&W from W Watson, The Muir, also Mauchline, and levelled at 106.1p.

The firm went on to hold its Christmas show and sale of prime lambs in Newton Stewart yesterday and 34 pens of three were entered. The Champion rosette went to Messrs Young, Tormitchell, for a trio of 48kg Beltex that went on to be sold for £122 per head. The reserve overall and winner of the champion Texel rosette went to John Wright, Pinmore Mains, for a pen scaling 48kg each that went on to fetch £102 per head. The 1552 prime lambs sold averaged 153p per kg (-4.2p on the week).

There were 251 cast sheep forward that met a similar trade to last week with ewes selling to £90 for Beltex and £60 for Blackfaces.