Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has quashed a rumour circulating among Scottish livestock keepers that it was set to change its farm assurance standards in line with the Red Tractor scheme south of the border.

On 1st June Red Tractor farm assurance will make a huge change to their standards that will prevent their assured farmers from using a significant number of antibiotics without laboratory diagnostic work to justify them.

A spokesperson for QMS said it had no plans to introduce such changes, but that it already includes the responsible and appropriate use of antibiotics in conjunction with a vet, in its quality assurance standards. She went on to add: "Use of antibiotics will be one of the areas covered in our next review of the standards".

Penny Middleton, NFU Scotland Animal Health and Welfare Policy Manager said: "It is NFUS advise that critically important antibiotics should only be used as a last resort, but must still be available in order to promote high animal welfare.

"We raised some concerns with Red Tractor over the new standards which requires sensitivity testing to be carried out before using critically important antibiotics. Whilst it is important that they are only used as a last resort we had concerns that delays in treatment, awaiting test results, could have a detrimental impact on the welfare of animals.

"We have had assurances from Red Tractor that if a vet believes a certain crucially important antibiotic is the correct course of treatment they will be able to commence treatment, running the lab test concurrently."

Market round-up

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold 8 prime heifers in Dumfries on Wednesday to a top of 230p per kg and an average of 210p, while 7 prime bullocks peaked at 214p and levelled at 207p.

In the rough ring 30 beef cows sold to 159p and averaged 128p, while 43 dairy cows peaked at 145p and levelled at 121.2p.

The firm also sold 304 prime hoggs to a top of £146 per head and 270p per kg to average 243.2p (no change on the week), while 59 prime lambs peaked at £146.50 and 327p to level at 311.2p (+4.8p).

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 889 prime hoggs in Newton Stewart on Wednesday to a top of £147 and 295.7p to average 233.1p (-17.2p), while 65 prime lambs peaked at £153 and 302.2p to level at 276.4p (-19.3p).

There were also 70 heavy cast ewes that sold to £125 for Blueface Leicesters and averaged £85.47, while 66 light/export-type ewes peaked at £70 for Blackfaces and levelled at £51.60.