A package of support for farmers and crofters to help address the impact of recent extreme and adverse weather has been announced by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

The package includes a new £250,000 fund to help offset the cost of disposing of fallen cattle and sheep. Fallen stock collections have been significantly higher than in 2016 and 2017 and a scheme, based on that previously operated through the National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo) in 2013, is to be introduced to help compensate affected producers.

The package also includes additional funds for RSABI (Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Society), a trusted provider of emotional, practical and financial support to farmers, their families and their staff whose wellbeing might be suffering as the long days and nights in harsh conditions take their toll. Longer term solutions to the feed and fodder shortages are to be tackled through a summit involving commercial feed companies and co-operatives to explore what more can be done to increase resilience and collaboration.

Mr Ewing said: "We are already doing a lot to help farmers cope with the adverse conditions.

"This includes aiding cash flow through the LFASS (Less Favoured Area Support Scheme) and BPS (Basic Payment Scheme) loan schemes, providing specialist advice through our Farm Advisory Service, and actively seeking derogation from the European Commission from the Three Crop rule."

Market round-up

Lawrie & Symington Ltd had 1202 store cattle forward in Lanark on Tuesday when heifers sold to 264p per kg and averaged 211.6p (-14.8p on the fortnight), while beef-bred bullocks peaked at 304p and levelled at 229.5p (-10.7p). Dairy-bred bullocks sold to 210p and averaged 159.6p (-19.4p).

Harrison & Hetherington Ltd sold 172 store heifers in Lockerbie on Tuesday to a top of 321.9p and an average of 226.9p (-5.9p), while 191 store bullocks peaked at 286.1p and levelled at 242p (+5.9p). Nine store bulls sold to 208p and averaged 158.4p (no comparison).

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 12 prime heifers at Ayr on Tuesday to a top of 254p and an average of 230p.

In the rough ring 25 beef cows sold to 187.4p and averaged 140.7p, while 108 dairy cows peaked at 159.3p and levelled at 118.1p. Eight clean OTM cattle sold to 218.9p and averaged 162.6p.

Ten dairy cattle sold to £1780 for a Holstein Friesian heifer and averaged £1389.

Wallets Marts sold 237 prime hoggs in Castle Douglas on Tuesday to a top of £125 per head and 255.1p per kg to average £86.87 and 203.3p (-42.8p on the week).

The firm also sold 76 heavy cast ewes to average £73.18, while 93 light/export-type ewes levelled at £50.13.