By Alec Ross

An announcement from the manufacturers of the only viable plant protection product available to control bracken on Scottish hillsides has been labelled a further blow to controlling the invasive plant.

UPL Ltd, the manufacturers of Asulox, are to cease carrying out further work on a permanent solution that would support the use of the active ingredient Asulam in the future.

Although granted an emergency authorisation for use in England this year, the Scottish Government announced in June that Asulox would not be authorised for use in 2023. For the past 10 years, Asulox had been approved annually as part of an emergency authorisation process.

Chair of NFU Scotland’s environment and land use committee, Peter Douglas, said: “Scotland’s farmers and crofters are facing an uphill battle to control existing stands of bracken and prevent further rapid spread from robbing Scottish hillsides of quality grazing for animals and vital habitats for wildlife.

“We believe that a more consistent and strategic approach to bracken is needed for the long term and we will work with the Bracken Control Group to achieve that. The strategy should be based on improved stewardship and should emphasise integrated pest management”


Bullocks at St Boswells yesterday averaged 291p/kg and sold to 316p/kg, while heifers averaged 296p/kg and sold to 330p/kg on two occasions. 47 cast cows averaged 175p/kg and sold to 243p/kg or a top price of £1,775.

Lambs averaged 260p/kg and sold to £157/head for Suffolks or to 317p/kg for Beltexes, and cast sheep averaged £78/head and sold to £141 for a Texel ewe. Heavy ewes averaged £116, while lighter types peaked at £113 for a North Country Cheviot and averaged £69/head.

Lambs at Ayr yesterday were refreshingly easy to sell given the time of year. 2,144 prime lambs achieved an SQQ average of 256p/kg or £117/head and sold to £151 for Texels from Keyshill or 310p/kg for the same breed from Tormitchell. In the cast ring, a Texel from Greenridge topped the sale at £130, with Blackies from West Capellie reaching £72 and Mules from Farden making £92.

Prime cattle at Carlisle yesterday held up well, with heifers and beef-bred bullocks averaging 282p/kg and 276p/kg respectively, virtually unchanged on the week.

Young bulls fared less well, however, and dropped by 23p/kg to average 231p/kg, selling to 312p/kg. Cast dairy cows held up well though, and sold to an average of 126p/kg and a peak of 236p/kg. Lambs also compared favourably with last week at an average of 270p/kg and a peak of 366p/kg, and lowland ewes rose by £6 on the week to average £97/head and sold to £160 for a Texel.

Finally, beef bred heifers at Lanark yesterday dropped by 8p on the week to average 309p/kg and sell to 350p/kg for a Limousin, but bullocks rose slightly to an average of 301p/kg and a top of 342p/kg for a Limousin.

Cast beef and dairy cows largely matched recent rates at 169p/kg and 123p/kg respectively, but the big movers were new season lambs which rose by 11p on the week to average 257p/kg and peak at £162/head or 306p/kg.