IN its latest policy document, NFU Scotland is calling on Scottish Government to recognise the value of active farming and crofting across Scotland’s vast and varied Less Favoured Area (LFA).

To safeguard and enhance the contribution of active farming and crofting in the LFA the union is calling for the Scottish Government to act with urgency to retain the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) from 2021 with a £65 million budget and rebased to better reflect current activity.

LFASS 2020 payments, made in Spring 2021, must also be reinstated to 100 per cent of 2018 payments. The Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme must also be retained with the added safeguard on the number of ewe hoggs claimed limited to 20 per cent of the ewe flock to ensure better targeting of Region 3 land. These schemes all provide vital funding to LFA farmers and crofters, in addition to the mainstay of support via the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening.

The Union has written to Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing outlining its priorities and provided him with an advance copy of the document ‘Less Favoured Areas – Delivering for Scotland’ launched today.

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1592 prime and cast sheep at Newton Stewart yesterday.

The 1045 prime lambs averaged just short of 194p/kg or just over £86 per head. In line with many other centres this week the average price held steady but lambs which were 48kg plus were hardest to sell. However, there were still plenty of pens of lambs, weighing between 38kg and 46kg, that were making more than £2.00 per kilo. The sale’s top price per head of £96 was achieved on three occasions for pens of heavyweight Texels, while the top price per kilo was paid for another pen of Texels at 210p/kg.

Cast sheep were still a pleasing trade with a top price of £100 being paid for a Suffolk cross. A single Llyen made £87, while Mules peaked at £78 and Blackfaces sold to £59.

C&D Auctions sold 87 cattle,1293 prime lambs and 630 cast sheep at their weekly sale of primestock in Dumfries yesterday.

Prime cattle sold to 242p/kg for a Limousin heifer, while OTM cattle sold to £1374 and 195p/kg for Limousins.

Prime lambs were still a pleasing trade although lambs over 45kg met less demand. Top prices were £98 for a heavy Texel and 250p/kg for a lightweight lamb. There were 771 lambs in the 39kg – 45kg which averaged just short of £2 per kilo.

Cast ewes were easier on the week with a lot of grazing ewes being presented. Top price was for a heavy Texel at £118 while Blackfaces peaked at £60.