WITH soya sustainability a growing concern for consumers and retailers, SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), has been exploring the use of alternative proteins in dairy feed rations for farmers looking for high-performing substitutes.

Marks & Spencer recently announced that it is banning the use of soya from the production of its milk as part of its commitment to end deforestation in its supply chain, and SAC Consulting notes that other retailers may follow suit.

This year, SRUC removed soya from three of its dairy herds and analysed the impact of protein alternatives on their productivity.

The three herds, based in Dumfries and Galloway on Arla contracts, are SRUC Crichton Royal Farm, home to the Langhill Research Herd (200 cows); Acrehead (210 cows); and, SRUC Barony Campus dairy herd (200 cows).

Lorna MacPherson, Dairy Consultant with SAC Consulting, who supports farmers across Scotland with their herd nutrition, said: “Farmers shouldn’t be afraid of not using soya in their rations. There is now plenty of evidence and trials being conducted showing that protected rapemeal is a viable alternative to soya and can be used with no detriment to milk yield or quality”.

Market round-up

Harrison & Hetherington sold 61 clean cattle, 62 cast cows, 1,877 prime lambs and 491 cast sheep at St Boswells yesterday.

Prime cattle were a blistering trade which resulted in 38 prime heifers peaking at 255p/kg to average 233p (+12p), while 18 bullocks sold to a top of 244p to average 214p (n/c). Five young bulls sold to £1472 and 220p to average 180p.

In the rough ring cast cows were topped at £1636 and 173p to average 129p (-1p).

Prime lambs peaked at £115 and 274p/kg for Beltex to average 205p (-3p).

Heavy cast ewes sold to a top of £157 for Texels and averaged £95 (+£6), while light ewes peaked at £89 for Cheviots and averaged £59 (+£9).

The firm also sold 18 prime heifers in Carlisle yesterday which peaked at 238p/kg and levelled at 208p (+11p), while 16 beef-bred bullocks sold to 244p and levelled at 210p (+9p).

Forty-one beef-bred young bulls sold to 231p and averaged 195p (-6p), while 31 dairy-bred young bulls peaked at 179p and levelled at 147p (-6p).

In the rough ring 150 cast dairy cows sold to 157p to average 96p (+2p), while 118 cast beef cows peaked at 196p to average 123p (+1p). Eleven cast bulls sold to 143p and levelled at 102p (-15p).

A large show of 3783 prime lambs sold to £133 and 315p/kg to average 204/kg (-5p).

In the cast sheep section 179 heavy ewes peaked at £140 for a Texel and averaged £80 (-£5), while 58 hill ewes averaged £40 (-£5).