Alec Ross

NFU Scotland milk committee chair Bruce Mackie responded yesterday to news that Asda had joined Tesco and Sainsbury’s in cutting their retail milk price by around 5p/litre.

“Cuts to prices on shop shelves are in stark contrast to input costs for dairy farmers which remain at a historic high”, he said.

“Given the cost-of-living crisis, this cut will be welcomed by consumers, but the cost of production has not fallen in line.

"The price of dairy feed for cattle is thirty per cent higher than this time last year and production concerns have also eased in the past month due to the excellent forage made last summer, and this is a undoubtedly a factor in the 20% reduction in the farm gate price.

"However, a colder March has corrected production to the extent that volumes are now lower than forecasted, and a dry spring may well restrict volumes further.

“The industry must be financially sustainable if supply is to be maintained, so a return to price volatility is in no-one’s interest”, he concluded.


OTM cattle at Dumfries yesterday comprised mainly dairy bred cows easily matching recent values, with Holsteins selling to £1,606/head for Kirktonfield and Shorthorns to 209p/kg for Wester Parkgate. Meanwhile, Texel hoggs sold to £148/head or 347p/kg for Cleughbrae.

Messrs Craig Wilson sold 104 calves and stirks at their sale in Ayr with all classes dearer on the week.

Bull calves topped at £560/head for Low Ballees, while heifer calves sold to £490/head for Aberdeen Anguses from North Knockglass. Prime and cast cattle were also sharper on the week, with heifers averaging £1,846/head and selling to 348p/kg for North Boig, with Limousin bullocks from the same home selling to 340p/kg. Cast bulls sold to £2,420/head for Limousins from Barscarrow while Shorthorn cows from Bogside peaked at £1850/head.

Prime cattle at Carlisle on Monday met with strong demand, with 25 selling to over £2000/head and 17 bullocks averaging £2,223/head and peaking at £2,436 for a Limousin cross from Messrs Nicholson. British Blues from the same vendor sold to £2,248/head before selling six bullocks to a healthy 317p/kg. Eight heifers sold to a top of £2,193 from Studholme.

Meanwhile, 1320 prime sheep sold to an average of £160/head, with the first spring lambs of the season averaging 409p/kg and selling to 526p/kg for Cardew Hall.

Hoggs saw a rise of 50p/kg on the week to peak at £210/head for Beltexes from Twentyman, while hill hoggs sold to £168/head for Cheviots from Castlehill or to 350p/kg from Woodhouses.