FARMING leaders have welcomed the appointment of Christine Tacon CBE as the inaugural, independent groceries code adjudicator.

For a four-year term, Ms Tacon – who until recently ran the Co-operative Group's farming business – will enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which oversees the relationship between the UK's 10 major retailers and their suppliers. The code covers activities including supply agreements, promotion costs, wastage, payment for shelf space and suppliers' duties with relation to consumer complaints.

The UK parliament is currently negotiating a bill, heavily endorsed by NFU Scotland and its fellow UK farming unions, which should enact the appointment this spring.

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Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Free and fair competition is the key to a healthy market and it is important that supermarkets act responsibly and treat farmers and suppliers fairly and lawfully.

"The appointment of the groceries code adjudicator should help in this regard. Supermarkets have a disproportionate influence on our supply chain and we need to ensure this isn't abused."

Lawrie and Symington Ltd sold 20 prime heifers in Lanark on Monday to a top of 235p per kg and an average of 205p (+4.8p on the week), while 14 prime, beef-bred bullocks peaked at 230p and levelled at 202.7p (-7p). Nineteen prime, B&W bullocks averaged 174p (+7.5p).

In the rough ring, 20 beef cows averaged 137p and 32 dairy cows levelled at 106p. Eleven OTM cattle averaged 151p. There were 3093 prime hoggs that sold to £96.20 per head and 235.5p per kg to average 167.3p (+6.3p).

The 933 cast sheep forward saw ewes sell to £93.50 for Texels and £51.50 for Blackfaces to average £51.32 overall (+52p).

The Cumberland and Dumfriesshire Farmers Mart had a smaller show of 1002 store hoggs and feeding ewes at their weekly sale in Longtown yesterday due to the inclement weather. This resulted in all classes meeting a sharper trade on the week. Top prices and averages for store hoggs: NCC to £63.50 and averaged £57.60; Suffolks £64.50 and £47.64; Greyfaces £60 and £43.31; Texels £53 and £37.44; Blackfaces £41 and £38.45.

Wallets Marts sold 1039 prime hoggs in Castle Douglas yesterday to a top of £82 and 200p to average 147.5p. There were 224 cast sheep that sold to £80 for a Texel ram and £75 for a Suffolk ewe to average £40 overall.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 11 prime bullocks at Ayr yesterday to a top of 223p and an average of 214.3p, while 13 prime heifers peaked at 224p and levelled at 211.6p.

In the rough ring, 48 beef cows averaged 138.9p and 115 dairy cows levelled at 110.3p. Five bulls averaged 148.1p. A much smaller show of seven dairy cattle was topped by a Holstein Friesian heifer at £2300 and averaged £1425.