Farming delegations from across the European Union were out in force in Brussels yesterday to lobby heads of state ahead of discussions due to start today on a European budget.

Around 400 leaders from EU farming organisations signed a joint statement demanding a fully supported Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) emerge from talks on the EU budget 2014/20.

The 27 European leaders failed to conclude talks on the European budget when they met last November, and negotiations restart today on the basis of the proposals tabled at that meeting.

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They looked to decrease the EU budget over the next seven years by €80 million, including a significant cut to Pillar One of the CAP, which covers direct support payments to farmers, and to Pillar Two funds, covering rural development.

If the budgetary talks are concluded this week, many important aspects pertaining to the ongoing reform of the CAP will be clarified.

Agreement this week is especially important to allow the necessary time for the Irish presidency to conclude negotiations on the future CAP and find a political agreement by the end of June, when its presidency ends.

Market round-up

Wallets Marts sold 2035 prime hoggs in Castle Douglas on Tuesday to a top of £79.50 per head and 214.9p per kg to average 154.3p (+4.9p on the week).

There were also 650 cast sheep that sold to £112 for a Texel ram and averaged £46.72 (+£5.42).

Craig Wilson sold 1250 prime hoggs in Newton Stewart yesterday to a top of £82 and 200p to average 154.2p (+8.2p).

The 237 cast sheep forward saw all classes dearer, with ewes selling to £75 for a pen of Suffolks and £55 for Blackfaces.

The Cumberland & Dumfriesshire Farmers' Mart had 25 prime cattle forward at its weekly sale in Dumfries yesterday, when bullocks sold to 229.5p per kg and averaged 217.4p, while heifers peaked at 232.5p and levelled at 215.7p.

There were 51 OTM cattle presented in the rough ring, with beef cows averaging 132.6p and dairy cows levelling at 124p. There were also 622 prime hoggs that sold to £88 and 194.4p to average 156.6p.

The 357 cast sheep forward were sharper on the week, with ewes selling to £90 for Texels and £53.50 for Blackfaces.

Following on from Tuesday's lacklustre trade for pedigree Aberdeen Angus and Beef Shorthorn bulls, pedigree Limousin bulls also struggled to find new homes at Stirling yesterday.

The top price of 8000gns was bid twice – first for one from Mr Fotheringham, Ballinloan, Dunkeld, and then for the reserve junior champion, from Redpath Farms, Kelso. The clearance rate was a disappointing 56% and the 80 bulls that were sold averaged £4455 (-£747 on the year).