By Alec Ross

NEARLY 700 rural businesses with projects that protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change will share more than £14 million this year from the 2022 Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS). In addition, the Scottish Government has announced that this year’s £5m Agriculture Transformation Fund (ATF) will extend support for slurry storage.

Seeking support for slurry storage has been a lobbying priority for NFU Scotland as farmers and crofters prepare their businesses to meet the requirements of The Water Environment Controlled Activities (Scotland) Amendment Regulations of 2021.

The Scottish Government has also announced that the forthcoming round AECS will target and support its ambition to double the amount of land under organic management by 2026.

Announcing the funding at Stagehall Farm, Selkirkshire last week, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Our £14 million of support will help hundreds of farmers, land managers and producers to thrive, while backing our climate change agenda and our response to the biodiversity challenge”.

NFUS Director of Policy Jonnie Hall said: “AECS continues to play a fundamental role in supporting Scottish farmers and crofters. We welcome the announcement of 680 successful applicants under AECS 2022 sharing £14 million, although it’s disappointing, given that agri-environmental actions can bring benefits without significant cost, that some popular elements, including improving public access, have been removed”.

 “On a positive note, we welcome the dedicated ATF funding for slurry and digestate storage. The £5 million available represents a significant step towards helping businesses to improve efficiency and meet the requirements of the water environment regulations. It sends a clear message that ambitions to reduce emissions cannot come at the cost of eroding important food producing businesses critical to rural economic wellbeing, especially that or more remote locations”.


C&D Auction Marts held its fortnightly sale of store cattle in Dumfries yesterday, and a full attendance of buyers cattle ensured a brisk sale. Highlights included Limousin heifers from FR Henderson & Son, Kirkbride being sold to £1,450 / head and 304p/kg respectively to Lantonside. Meanwhile, British Blue bullocks from South Carthat sold sold to £1,390.

In Ayr, Messrs Craig Wilson sold 496 Cast Sheep and 1,654 prime hoggets. Well fleshed sheep sold easily, weathered and lean hogs less so, with the sale averaging 242p/kg or £104 / head. Top price was £144 for a pen of strong Texels from MacNairston Farm, with 310p/kg for Beltexes from Keyshill.

Prime heifers and bullocks showed highly encouraging upward trends in Carlisle, with equal numbers of heifers and beef bred bullocks up 13p/kg and 9p/kg on the week respectively. Dairy bred young bulls bucked a slightly downwards trend in the sector by averaging 180p/kilo, 11p/kg up on the week. Cast dairy cows, up 7p/kg on the week, continue to be in demand. 1,751 hoggs averaged 368p/kg, up 6p/kg on the week.

At Lanark, Lawrie and Symington forwarded 106 cattle comprising 36 bullocks and heifers and 70 cast cows. Limousin heifers from Hill Farm, Strathaven sold to 304p/kg to H Black Butchers, Lanark and to £1,946 from the same home. Limousin bullocks sold to 290p/kg (twice) from Walkerdyke Farm, Strathaven and Brockwoodlees Farm to Bowland Foods, Preston. Beef cows sold to £1,970 from Toxside Farm, Gorebridge. Meanwhile, dairy cows sold to £1,670 per head from Craigthornhill Farm, Strathaven.