Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing highlighted the untapped potential of "often undervalued" women in farming, following a meeting yesterday of the Women in Agriculture Taskforce.

Mr Ewing said: “I have been clear since taking on the rural economy portfolio that there is an untapped potential within our rural economy - namely the often invisible and undervalued women already working in this sector. Recognising and developing their skills and talent will ensure the future sustainability and resilience of the Scottish agricultural industry.

“Since the beginning of the Women in Agriculture Taskforce, we have identified several areas where more needs to be done to ensure that women enjoy the same opportunities as men in the rural economy. Currently many women living and working in agriculture are in supporting roles, and are all too frequently restricted in accessing the same training and resources as the rest of the industry. The Taskforce’s research shows that removing barriers confronting women, will significantly increase the size and skill of our workforce and allow the industry to better innovate and flourish.

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 15 prime heifers at Ayr on Tuesday to a top of £1475 for a Limousin heifer and 240p/kg to average £1243.64 or 220p.

In the rough ring 27 beef cows sold to £1300 and averaged 123p/kg, while 79 dairy cows peaked at £880 and 113p to level at 97p. Four bulls sold to £1380 and 130p/kg to average 112.5p, while 5 Clean, OTM cattle peaked at £870 and 144.5p/kg to level at 132.5p.

Five dairy cattle were forward for the March Pedigree Holstein Friesian show and sale when the champion sold for 3400gns, while the 7 commercial Holstein Friesian heifers sold to £1800.

Wallets Marts Ltd sold 941 prime hoggs in Castle Douglas on Tuesday to a top of £107 per head and 259p/kg for Beltex to average 192p (+20p on the week). The 339 Blackface hoggs forward sold to £84.50 and 211.7p/kg.

Cast sheep were also a sharper trade on the week with heavy ewes selling to £90.50 for Bluefaced Leicesters, while light/export-type ewes peaked at £ 56.50 for Blackfaces.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd had a smaller show of 665 prime hoggs forward at their weekly sale in Newton Stewart yesterday. Top prices on the day were £90 per head for Texels and 219p/kg for a pen of 15 Cheviots with the overall average levelling at 188p (+13p on the week). The 270 Blackface hoggets averaged 188.3p/kg and peaked at 208.1p and £87.50.

Cast sheep were also sharper on the week with 91 heavy ewes selling to £98 for Texels and averaging £73.55, while 137 light/export-type ewes peaked at £61 for Blackfaces and levelled at £44.82