NFU Scotland is urging members of the public to clean up after their dogs when walking on agricultural land.

Parasites found in some dog faeces can result in the abortions of cattle and death in sheep.

With the lambing and calving season under way, the message to members of the public is to remember to 'scoop the poop' from dogs they are talking for a walk over farmland.

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There is evidence of the links between two specific diseases in livestock, Neosporosis and Sarcocytosis, and the presence on grazing land of faeces from infected dogs.

Neosporosis is thought to be responsible for the highest percentage of all cattle abortions reported in the UK.

Neospora eggs are produced by infected dogs and excreted in their faeces.

Cattle will then become infected if they eat feed such as grass, or drink water contaminated with the eggs.

Sarcocytosis is also caused by parasites, which can use dogs as intermediate hosts, and similarly the eggs are produced and excreted in faeces.

The disease can pass on from ewe to lamb during pregnancy.

There is currently no licensed vaccine or drugs available for these diseases.

l According to the new president of Saava (Scottish Agricultural Arbiters & Valuers Association), James Dick: "One of the major conundrums at the moment is the legislation surrounding compulsory purchase.

"At the moment, the existing legislation aims to leave farmers and landowners who are subject to a compulsory purchase order 'no worse off.'

"Anecdotal evidence from Saava members shows that in all too many cases farmers are, in fact, left significantly worse off. This is something that I believe needs to change."

Mr Dick added: "We also have the unsatisfactory situation that allows water companies to only have very limited liability for the damage that is caused when a sewer or water pipe bursts.

"This can have a significant effect on a business. Given that the farmer has done nothing wrong, he or she can often be left with a considerable bill for the mess. We need to address this."

Market round-up

The Cumberland and Dumfriesshire Farmers Mart sold 6123 prime hoggs in Longtown on Thursday to a top of £120 per head and 275p per kg to average 213.6p (+12p on the week).

There were also 3920 cast sheep forward when heavy ewes sold to £146 for Texels and averaged £83.02 (+£5.76), while light ewes peaked at £78 for Cheviots and levelled at £53.61 (+£2.24).

Rams sold to £158 for a Texel and averaged £83.94 (+66p).