Market round-up

By Alec Ross

NFU Scotland has written to the Scottish Government with short and medium term requests that it says will enable farmers, crofters and growers to continue to produce high-quality food against the backdrop of one of the most challenging springs on record.

In the short term, the union is asking for:

• A temporary suspension of all farm-based inspection requirements

• A pragmatic approach to enforcement of environmental regulations, including elements of the good agricultural and environmental conditions (GAEC), the diffuse pollution general binding rules (GBRs) and the requirements of nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZs) action plans.

• A temporary derogation from ecological focus area (EFA) fallow requirements under greening rules.

• An immediate review of the the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 (the ‘CARs’) to allow proactive water course management to protecting agricultural land from flooding risks.

• The creation of beaver ‘exclusion zones’ on very productive agricultural land protected by flood-banks.

In the medium term, NFU Scotland is asking for:

• The return of £46 million of still outstanding uncommitted funds to the agriculture and rural economy (ARE) portfolio.

• Of which, £40m be returned as resource via a top up to basic payment scheme (BPS) and greening payments - equating to a pro rata top up of approximately 9.5% which could be delivered as part of the BPS 2024 payments schedule.

• The remaining £6m to be spent as capital through a grant scheme open to all agricultural businesses to build resilience to weather extremes.

In the letter, president Martin Kennedy writes: “In helping to achieve industry resilience, we consider that the Scottish Government can and should act in the short and medium term to protect then enhance our unique role in the provision of food and public goods. A productive and resilient agricultural sector is key to the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of Scotland.”


Bullocks at St Boswells yesterday averaged 298p/kg and sold to 332p/kg, while heifers averaged 295p/kg and sold to 342p/kg, and cast cows averaged 191p/kg and sold to 250p/kg or £1,883/head. Hoggs dropped 13p on the week while still achieving a strong average of 380p/kg, and sold to £251/head or to 465p/kg for a Beltex. Cast sheep averaged £128/head and sold to £228 for a Charolais ewe, and heavy ewes averaged £155. Light ewes sold to £190 for North Country Cheviots, averaging £114/head.

Well-fleshed hoggets sold easily at Ayr yesterday while leaner types were harder to place, resulting in an average of 267p/kg and a peak of £218/head for Beltexes from Balcaimie, and for Texels for Chalmerston, Rushaw and Aitkenhead, or to 449p/kg for Beltexes from Creochhill.

Cast sheep sold to £239 for a Beltex cross tup from Skerrington Mains, while ewes peaked at £210 for a pair of Texel crosses from Chalmerstown. Cheviot mules sold to £157 for East Revoch while Blackies sold to £128 for Redwells.

Prime heifers at Carlisle yesterday averaged 278p/kg, up 3p on the week, and sold to 324p/kg, while beef-bred bullocks rose by the same level to an average of 275p/kg and sold to 317p/kg. Young beef-bred bulls jumped 7p/kg to an average of 271p/kg and sold to 318p/kg, while dairy types averaged 240p/kg and sold to 273p/kg. Hoggs dropped 20p on the week but still achieved an average of 386p/kg and sold to 553p/kg or £252/head, while lowland and hill ewes were mostly unchanged at £164/head and £95/head respectively.

Finally, prime beef-bred heifers at Lanark yesterday dropped slightly on the week to an average of 299p/kg and sold to 342p/kg for a Limousin cross, while cast beef cows averaged 199p/kg (+2p) with cast dairy cows averaging 169p/kg (+2p). Hoggets averaged 360p/kg and sold to 458p/kg or £247/head, and cast ewes averaged £121/head and sold to £295 for a Texel, with Blackies selling to £140/head.