A NEW farmer-led group, which will be co-chaired by well-known farming champion Jim Walker, is set to examine how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the suckler herd.

The group will consider proposals for alternative ways to support the suckler sector, mitigate its environmental impact and identify practical ways in which it can reduce its emissions.

It will also produce recommendations to improve the efficiency, productivity and profitability of Scottish beef, including changes to breeding and feeding practices and the restoration and improvement of natural on-farm habitats.

Announcing the group, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Our beef sector must change and adapt if we are to meet our ambitious climate change and biodiversity targets.

“While our Programme for Government has already set out steps in response to the climate emergency, I have asked Jim Walker to chair a farmer-led group to specifically look at what our beef suckler herd needs to do and bring forward initial proposals next month”.

Mr Walker added: “The industry has faced multiple challenges over the last 25 years and its resilience and ability to rise to these challenges and adapt is remarkable. Providing progressive beef farmers with the tools to make their businesses more productive and efficient, alongside measures to improve on farm emissions to help fight climate change, is yet another chapter in this story and is potentially game changing”.

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson sold 102 prime and cast cattle at its sale at Ayr on Tuesday.

Eight prime heifers sold to 232p/kg or £1,369 for a Limousin to average 220p/kg or £1,190, while bullocks peaked at 230p or £1,334 which was also a Limousin.

In the rough ring 23 beef cows sold to £1,260 for a Limousin and 150p for a Charolais from the same home to average 129p, while 60 dairy cows sold to £1,010 and 115p for two different Friesians to average 99p. Five cast bulls were topped at £1,260 or 107p for a Charolais to average 92p.

Five clean cattle peaked at £980 or 170p for a Hereford heifer to average 148p.

Nine dairy cattle sold to a top of £1,450 for a Holstein Friesian heifer.

Caledonian Marts sold 2,298 prime hoggets and cast sheep in Stirling on Tuesday.

The 1,790 hoggets averaged 232p/kg which was +1p on the week or +47p on the year.

Top price was £137 for a 61kg Beltex and the same vendor also topped the price per kilo at 300p for six 43kg Beltex at £129.

There were also 508 cast sheep forward which were topped by a pair of heavy Texel ewes at £177 to average £102, while light ewes peaked at £82 for Blackfaces and averaged £78.