THE Scottish Tenants Farmers Association (STFA) has hailed proposals aimed at reforming tenanted farm sector in England and Wales.

The organisation said the similarity between the measures contained in a consultation document launched by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) this week and reforms made in Scotland in recent years signal that the changes made to the Scottish tenanted sector were justified.

DEFRA's consultation includes giving tenants the right to diversify, assisting retirement and restructuring by introducing assignation rights, and bringing in major changes to simplify and widen family succession to tenancies. There are no proposals to change the productive capacity rent test, which replaced the open market rent test for England and Wales in the 1980s and is understood to have worked well since.

Commenting on the proposals, STFA Chairman Christopher Nicholson said: "Any-one familiar with all the changes to Scottish farm tenancy legislation since the first Holyrood parliament in 2003 will be struck by the similarities with these English and Welsh proposals. The few lone voices who have persisted in questioning recent changes to Scottish tenancy legislation now appear out of touch as the English and Welsh embark on similar reforms."

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 14 prime heifers at Ayr on Tuesday to a top of £1,380 per head and 235p/kg to average £1,172 or 213p, while two prime bullocks peaked at £1,378 and 172p to level at £1,278 or 169p.

In the rough ring 18 beef cows sold to £1,210 and 157p to average 130p, while 61 dairy cows peaked at £1,030 and 131p to level at 104p. Four bulls sold to £1,500 or 134p to average 116p, while six Clean, OTM cattle peaked at £1,340 and 187p to level at 143p.

C&D Auction Marts Ltd had forward 708 store hoggs and cast ewes at Longtown on Tuesday.

The store hoggs sold to a top £97 for a Texel and averaged £73.17 overall. Feeding ewes sold to £91 for a Texel with hill type ewes selling to £62 for Cheviots.

A much larger show of ewes and lambs came forward this week and the sale was topped at £86 per life for an outstanding Texel ewe with single lamb at foot.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd had large show of 1403 prime hoggs forward at their weekly sale in Newton Stewart yesterday. Top prices on the day were £111 per head or 2.58p/ kg for Beltex with the overall average levelling at 196.5p (+3.5p). The 1022 Blackface hoggets in the sale averaged 200.4p/kg and peaked at £94 and 215.3p/kg.

Cast sheep were harder to cash this week when 60 heavy ewes sold to £100 for Beltex crosses and averaged £72.56, while 72 light/export-type ewes peaked at £70 for Blackfaces and levelled at £65.22.