By Neale McQuistin

The latest 2021 figures released by the Scottish Government predict a good year for cereal production. Total cereal production is expected to be around 3.1 million tonnes. On the whole, the total area of cereals grown in Scotland is very like the 2020 estimates. Yet winter-planted crop areas have recovered following the impacts of poor weather in the previous year.

The reports, published by Scotland’s chief statistician, include first estimates from the June agricultural census. It shows that potato areas remained steady over the past year, at 28,400 hectares, and vegetable areas increased by five per cent to 22,100 hectares. Strawberries make up more than half the total soft fruit area, which remained steady in 2021 at 2,200 hectares.

Livestock estimates show the ongoing falling trend in cattle numbers has halted, remaining steady with last year’s total cattle at 1,720,000 with a half per cent increase from last year keeping numbers close to the 60-year low. Dairy numbers have been mostly stable over the last 10 years and increased very slightly in 2021. Beef cattle have fallen 13% over the last decade but their numbers were relatively stable in 2021 compared with last year.

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1556 prime and cast sheep at its weekly sale at Newton Stewart yesterday.

The 1101 prime lambs sold to £124 for Texels and for Suffolks. However, Beltex led per kilo at 261p. The overall average was 229p/kg (-6p).

Best quality cast sheep were still easy to sell, but anything lacking power was less money on the week. Top price was for a Charolias ewe at £130, while tups made up to £100 for a Texel. Mule ewes peaked at £85 with Blackfaces selling to £71.

Caledonian Marts Ltd sold 1780 store lambs and feeding ewes at Stirling yesterday.

Again, all classes were sharper on the week with longer-keep lambs in more demand. Top price of the day was for a pen of Texel cross lambs at £96. Feeding ewes sold to £75.

C&D Auctions held its weekly sale of primestock in Dumfries yesterday.

Prime cattle sold to 276p/kg for a Limousin cross heifer, while OTMs were easier on the week. Cast beef cows sold to £1346 and 204p/kg for a Simental, while dairy types peaked at £976 or 137p for a Norwegian Red.

There were also1073 prime lambs that sold to a top of £121 for a heavyweight Texel or to 255p/kg for mid-weights. The bulk of the lambs (478) weighed 39kg to 40kg and averaged 241p (-3p).

The 222 heavy cast ewes at the sale sold to £135 and averaged £74, while 155 light ewes peaked at £78 to average £44.