A SCOTTISH study into land values will cause "deep concern" to farmers, says farming agency Strutt & Parker.

The firm has called for proposals to increase the viability of food production instead, rather than proposals to tax land value.

The Scottish Land Commission has asked for tenders to carry out international research into land value taxes and identify policy options for Scotland as part of wider research into land reform.

Mary Munro, partner in charge of Strutt & Parker's Farming Department, said: "It is wrong to assume that land values are any indication of income or the ability to afford additional tax burdens. Those of us working in the industry know that the return to capital from farming is low, typically two per cent per cent or less. One hopes that the Scottish Land Commission investigation will acknowledge this."

Ms Munro went on: "Many farming families are living very frugally and simply could not afford an annual tax that was related to the value of their land. This study will cause deep concern to many country people.

"I personally would like to see the Government looking at proposals to increase the viability of Scottish land-based food production, adopting policies to use Scottish produce in the public sector, and promoting the low food miles and first-class quality of meat, vegetables and grains of Scottish provenance."

Scottish Land Commissioner Andrew Thin was keen to dispel any concerns and explained that the proposed research into how other countries deal with land value taxes was prompted by public responses during consultations held last year. Mr Thin said: "There are no preconceptions to our work - we are literally thinking out of the box."

Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced that the next round of applications for the Agri-Environment Climate Change scheme is now open.

Ms Cunningham said: "The scheme supports our continued efforts to protect and enhance our environment by promoting environmentally friendly land management practices. It also helps businesses to manage flood risks and mitigate and adapt to the challenge of climate change.

"I would therefore encourage all farmers, crofters and land managers to apply for support under the scheme, and explore how they can benefit and realise the environmental and economic potential of low carbon, environmentally friendly practices."

The 2018 application window opened yesterday and will run until 13th April 13, or May 31 for collaborative projects which involve five or more businesses.

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1333 prime hoggs in Newton Stewart yesterday to a top of £100 per head and 195.2p per kg to average 174.6p (-5.5p on the week).