By Alec Ross

THE continuing failure of the UK Government to introduce post-Brexit border controls on meat entering the UK continues to leave farmers and crofters exposed to the introduction of devastating animal diseases such as African Swine Fever.

As the UK Government has now delayed the introduction of border controls until January 2024, East Lothian pig producer Jamie Wyllie, chair of NFU Scotland’s Pigs Committee, is calling for the UK Government to guarantee a robust, reliable system of border checks on food.

“Since the UK left the EU, Westminster has had wholly inadequate border controls in place for checking meat and other products entering our country. Amongst the chaos of securing a Brexit settlement, the mechanics of how border controls would operate was lost with no thought given to having the infrastructure and staff in place to manage controls when the split finally came”, said Mr Wyllie. “The deadline has been repeatedly pushed back by Westminster, and the new legislative timeline requires an operational system to be in place by the end of January 2024 - a three year delay from the original January 2021 target”.

“The longer there is no system in place, the greater the distortion of the market for UK producers – with importers to the UK facing less bureaucracy than those looking to export meat from the UK to the EU.”


Lawrie and Symington held its fortnightly sale of 1,058 store hoggs at Lanark on Friday, when a cheaper fat trade and inclement weather led to a quieter trade.

Texels from Hills of Dalserf peaked at £93, while Beltexes from Dykehead reached £72.

Yesterday, Harrison & Hetherington sold 89 Clean Cattle, 34 cast cows, 793 prime hoggs and 602 cast sheep at St Boswells. Hoggs averaged 231p per kilo (-4p on the week) and £104 per head, and sold to £174 for Texels. The top price was £287.50 for Beltexes. Fifteen Bullocks averaged 275p/kg and sold to 293p, while 73 heifers averaged 273p/kg and sold to 320p/kg. Cast cows averaged 205p/kg and sold to 247p/kg. Demand for cast cows was also strong at Carlisle, with both beef and dairy females up 2p/kg for the week and averaging 201p/kg and 153p/kg respectively. Meanwhile, trade in hoggs was slower overall with prices falling by 6.5p/kg on the week, although hill ewes proved in demand and ended the day up 5.6p/kg on the week.

In Lanark yesterday, Lawrie and Symington forwarded 119 cattle comprising 40 bullocks and heifers and 79 cast cows. Limousin heifers sold to 306p/kg from Brockwoodlees Farm to S Collins Butcher, Muirhead, while bullocks from the same vendor sold to 286p/kg from to Chapman Butchers, Wishaw.

Beef cows sold to £2,100 per head from Over Hillhouse Farm, while dairy cows sold to £1,490 per head from Blackbog.

Messrs Craig Wilson sold 1,965 sheep in Ayr, comprising 1,253 prime hoggets and 712 cast sheep. The whole sale averaged 231p or 236p SQQ. Top price was £130, achieved by several vendors including Yonderfield, Clonbeith and Skerrington Mains. Beltexes from Back O’Hill topped the market at 288p/kg.