IN a report to Scottish Ministers about the conduct of agricultural landlords and tenants, Scotland's Tenant Farming Commissioner (TFC), Bob McIntosh, has made several recommendations aimed at reducing the number of occasions when landlords and tenants are dissatisfied with the conduct of an agent working for them or for the other party.

The report was a requirement arising from the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 and reflected concern that inexperienced or insensitive agents may be adversely affecting the relationships between landlords and their tenants. The work involved independent surveys of landlords and tenants throughout Scotland with the aim of determining the overall level of satisfaction with the conduct of agents.

Landlords and tenants were generally satisfied by the conduct of agents working on their behalf, but less so with that of agents acting on behalf of the other party. Overall, 17 per cent of both landlords and tenants were dissatisfied with the conduct of an agent and dissatisfaction was generally linked to behaviour rather than any lack of technical or legal knowledge on the part of the agent.

The reasons for dissatisfaction included poor communication, lack of communication, aggressive and insensitive behaviour, a lack of transparency and honesty, and little regard for the importance of preserving good long-term relationships.

The TFC has made nine recommendations for action with most of them relating to the need to improve interpersonal skills through more training, assessment and feedback mechanisms. He has also recommended that the professional bodies representing the majority of agents should increase awareness of, and ease of access to, their complaints procedures and should consider whether their published standards strike the right balance between the duty to a client and a duty to wider professional standards and societal values.

Market round-up

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold six prime heifers in Dumfries on Wednesday to a top of 233p per kg and an average of 224p.

In the rough ring 15 beef cows averaged 124p and 35 dairy cows levelled at 112p.

The firm also sold 441 prime hoggs to a top of £140 per head and 281p per kg to average 243p (+4p on the week), while 34 prime lambs peaked at £148 and 314p to level at 306.4p (no comparison).

The 235 cast sheep forward saw heavy ewes average £86 and light/export-type ewes level at £63.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 519 prime hoggs in Newton Stewart on Wednesday to a top of £153 and 302.3p to average 250.3p (+11.7p), while 3 prime lambs peaked at £150 and 295.7p (n/c).

Ninety-seven heavy cast ewes averaged £90.18, while 83 light ewes levelled at £59.60.