It has been confirmed that hill farmers and crofters can now expect to receive 100 per cent of their 2018 Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) grant.

Subject to expected changes to EU CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) regulations, the move follows this week's draft Budget and will result in more than 11,000 farmers and crofters receiving their full grant rather than a 2018 parachute payment worth 80 per cent as was previously announced.

LFASS provides hill farmers and crofters in Scotland's most fragile and remote areas essential income support to their farming businesses.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: "Unlike England, who discontinued their equivalent scheme some years ago, Scotland continues to operate this key measure to compensate for the extra costs incurred by farmers in our most remote and challenging areas."

LFASS 2018 payments are anticipated to begin in spring 2019.

Market round-up

United Auctions sold 249 store heifers at Stirling on Wednesday to average 202.7p per kg (+0.8p on the week) and 327 store, beef-bred bullocks to level at 215.6p (-0.8p). Thirty-two store, B&W bullocks averaged 131.2p (-9.5p) and 47 store bulls levelled at 211.5p (no comparison).

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold 5 prime heifers in Dumfries on Wednesday to a top of 226p and an average of 167p, while 7 prime bullocks peaked at 217p and levelled at 184p.

In the rough ring there was another show of mainly leaner types when 33 beef cows sold to 157p and averaged 101.4p, while 55 dairy cows peaked at 139p and levelled at 86p.

The firm also had 1332 prime lambs forward that sold to a top of £92 per head and 200p per kg to average 175p (+5p).

A good show of 635 cast sheep saw heavy ewes sell to £129.50 for Texels and average £74, while light/export-type ewes peaked at £76.50 for Cheviots and levelled at £37.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd had 23 pens of three prime lambs presented for judging at their Christmas show and sale in Newton Stewart on Wednesday when the championship was awarded to Beltex crosses shown by Messrs Young of Tormitchell Farm that weighed 42kg and sold for £140. Winning that rosette made it a double this week for the Young brothers as they also won the Christmas show at Ayr on Monday.

The overall reserve champion pen and first prize pen of Texel lambs came from T Forsyth, Isle Farm that scaled 43kg and fetched £100. First prize pen of Blackface lambs was consigned by D Ferguson, Drannandow that weighed 43kg and sold for £90. Overall the 1955 prime lambs averaged 177p (+5p).