By Alec Ross

Farmers and crofters have been reminded that applications to the Scottish Suckler Beef Scheme (SSBCC), which provides £40 million to support the production of beef calves, must be submitted before the December 31 deadline.

The payments will be made provided the calves are at least 75% beef genetics, and last year represented £101 per mainland animal and £142 for those on the islands.

Speaking at Tuesday’s annual Christmas press briefing, NFUS President Martin Kennedy was keen to emphasise the importance of the scheme in maintaining the suckler herd in Scotland, which represents 24% of the sector’s agricultural output.

“The importance of the scheme cannot be underestimated,” he said. “We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to the project beyond 2025 and we will look to ensure that any new conditionality measures continue to be proportionate and pragmatic”.


Lambs at Newton Stewart yesterday were of mixed quality, but quality commanded a premium and the best export types saw an increase in the week and sold to £142 for Suffolks from Claughrie and Dunjop, or to 303p/kg for Beltexes from Mount Pleasant.

The Blackie section was once again led by Kirkmabreck at £119.50, while Texel cross ewes from Kirkford and Texel tups from High Ersock led the cast trade at £128.

There was also a sharper trade at Dumfries yesterday with all classes meeting demand, and with prime lambs selling to £143/head for Foregirth.

Lighter lambs averaged 286p/kg and sold to 386p/kg for Cragielands Hill, while the heaviest types averaged 246p/kg and sold to 262p/kg for Druidhall and Braco.

Store lambs sold to £94 for Lochhill, and cast ewes and tups were similarly sharp, selling to £140 and £172 respectively. The previous day, the final store cattle sale of the year saw a large attendance of ringside buyers, making all classes sharper on the week. Bullocks sold to £1,420 for Mouswald Grange or to 296p/kg for Drumyeonmore, who also topped the heifers at 336p/kg.

A fine consignment of impressively well-bred Simmental in-calf heifers from High Dovecote were keenly sought at Longtown on Tuesday, and this was reflected in a peak of £1,700 and an average of £1,672/head. Meanwhile, stores sold to £1,060 for British Blue bullocks from Nether Albie and Saler heifers from A Tullie Farming.