SNP MEP Alyn Smith has welcomed the advice that recommends an end to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) testing regime introduced in the wake of the BSE crisis.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommendation to the UK Government follows a European Commission proposal to allow some member states, including the UK, to decide to stop testing cattle.

The FSA says the regime is no longer necessary as other safeguards, including the removal of the specified risk material at slaughter and banning protein in cattle feed, should protect consumers.

Loading article content

Nonetheless, testing will continue on animals that die for reasons other than being killed for human consumption.

Robert Gladstone, lead partner of land agent Smiths Gore's Dumfries office, reckons that extension of the right-to-buy legislation currently under consideration by the Land Reform Review Group is very unsettling for landlords.

Mr Gladstone made the comment in his firm's analysis of farm rents for the 12 months to April 2012. These showed rents had risen by an inflation-busting average of 12.5%.

The Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers' Mart sold 4327 store lambs and feeding ewes at its weekly sale in Longtown on Tuesday.

Top prices and averages for store lambs: Suffolks to £60 and averaged £51.03; Texels £70 and £48.85; Greyfaces £55 and £44.46; Hill Cheviots £50 and £39.93; Blackfaces £54 and £36.43; Swaledales £40 and £21.27.

Wallets Marts had 120 prime lambs entered at its annual Christmas show and sale.

The championship was awarded to a pen of Texels from Douganhill Farms that scaled 47kg each and went on to sell for £130 per head or 277p per kg. The reserve pen was shown by Gelston Castle and were also Texels that went on to fetch £98 or 208.4p. In the commercial section that were not shown, 2444 lambs averaged 152.1p.

The firm also had 281 cast sheep forward that were topped by a Texel ewe at £105 and averaged £40.97 overall.

Craig Wilson Ltd 40 prime heifers at Ayr on Tuesday to a top of 239p per kg and an average of 212p, while 14 prime bullocks peaked at 241p and levelled at 215.5p. Four young bulls averaged 164.2p.

In the rough ring, 106 beef cows averaged 128.1p and 134 dairy cows levelled at 106.3p. Nine bulls averaged 146.4p.

A small show of seven dairy cattle sold to £2100 for a Holstein Friesian heifer and averaged £1902.85p.

The firm went on to sell 699 prime lambs in Newton Stewart yesterday to a top of £78 and 174.3p to average 145p.

There were also 187 cast sheep forward that saw ewes sell to £75 for Texels and £50.50 for Blackfaces.