By Alec Ross

NFU Scotland is calling for an immediate reinstatement of £61 million to the Agriculture and Rural Economy (ARE) portfolio and that, instead of deferring these vital funds, Scottish Government allocate them in this financial year through Pillar 1 direct support payments.

In the Scottish Government’s Emergency Budget Review in 2022, £33m of funding awarded to Scotland was deferred. In June, NFU Scotland received a categorical assurance from the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance that the £33m would be returned.

NFU Scotland was angered to find that a further £28m of uncommitted funding is to go the same way as detailed in the 2023/24 in-year budget changes set out to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee last week.

President Martin Kennedy said: “Scotland’s farmers and crofters are angry that vital funds have been deferred from the agricultural budget without any consultation or engagement with NFU Scotland or the wider industry.

“While we recognise there are financial pressures, the significant return on investment generated by expenditure through the rural economy portfolio should equally be recognised. Delivering these monies through Beef Special Premiums and greening top-ups would go a long way to restoring confidence in the budgetary process and would help the wider rural economy”.


Lambs in Dingwall yesterday were in short supply, and while leaner types met a similar trade to last week, premium types were noticeably sharper on the week, selling to 256p/kg for 40kg Texel crosses from Olrig Mains or to £127/head gross for 56kg lambs of the same breeding from Inveruglas, and averaging 242p/kg. Cast sheep sold to £175 for a Texel tup from the same home.

Meanwhile, lambs at Newton Stewart achieved similar returns to last week with an average of 262p/kg and a peak of £163/head for Zwartbles from South Clutag or 292p/kg for Beltexes from Corhulloch Farm Partnership.

The Blackie section was led by Glenchamber at £116/head or 257p/kg, while mules from Ardoch sold to £140/head. Ewes were scarcer and sold to £156/head for Texel crosses from Low Milton while Barlaughlan led the tup section at £138 for Blueface Leicesters. And Crouse once again topped the mules with their best types making £87/head.

Calves at Carlisle yesterday were again in demand and sold to £570 for an outstanding British Blue bull from Big Balcraig with Angus calves selling to £490 for Moss Side.

Heifers were an exceptional trade and sold to £550 for a British Blue from Tempest Tower, while Anguses sold to £440 on two occasions, again for Moss Side.

Store heifers peaked at £1,640 for a Limousin cross from Nirvana, and dairy bred cows peaked at £1,490 for Fleckviehs from Croftheads. And weaned bulls sold to a peak of £1270 for a Limousin from Dornick Mains.