FARMING leaders have welcomed Michael Gove's support for food production, delivering fairer food supply chains and securing the right trading platforms post-Brexit when Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Secretary addressed the Oxford Farming Conference yesterday morning.

Mr Gove also reiterated his previous commitment on maintaining support levels to agriculture until the end of the current parliament in 2022 and mapped out his vision for how support and policy in England may develop beyond that date.

Now Scottish Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing and NFU Scotland are both looking to Westminster for guarantees on the financial framework and the flexibility for Scotland to develop agricultural policies bespoke to the needs of Scotland's farmers and crofters.

Mr Ewing said: "The guarantee of the continuation of CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) basic payments for five years after Brexit is welcome - and something that I have sought since the referendum - and importantly something that we were promised by Brexit campaigners.

"While this guarantee provides a degree of certainty and clarity, it does not cover a whole variety of vital support schemes such as our hill farmers, sheep and beef support, new entrants, forestry and environmental support programmes, which are crucial to ensure the continued economic wellbeing of all of Scotland's rural communities.

"I have continually highlighted to Mr Gove the fact that without support for our hill farmers - under the LFASS (Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme) scheme continuing in Scotland - many of them would give up farming and the impacts on rural Scotland would be devastating."

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick welcomed Mr Gove's commitment that securing tariff-free trade with the EU is an imperative and that all future trade deals recognise and protect the exceptional production and welfare standards being delivered across the UK.

Mr McCornick went on to call for the development and implementation of a new support regime that fits Scotland's agricultural landscape and rewards activity, incentivises innovation and productivity, and recognises good stewardship of a flourishing environment, allowing farmers and crofters the opportunity to manage and adapt to change.

Market round-up

United Auctions sold 319 store heifers at Stirling on Wednesday to average 219.7p per kg, while 451 store, beef-bred bullocks levelled at 225.7p. Fifty-eight store, B&W bullocks averaged 148.8p.

Wallets Marts sold 1,378 prime hoggs in Castle Douglas on Wednesday to a top of £102 per head or 255p per kg to average 176.9p (-9.7p on the week).

A small show of 15 heavy cast ewes averaged £66.33 and 78 light/export-type ewes levelled at £41.41.