Farms could boost profits from ecological practices, new report concludes

Farmers could increase their profits by seven per cent by adopting some ecological management practices – and help achieve sustainable and greener goals for agriculture, new research has found.

Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) carried out an economic assessment of four different ecological practices on Scottish livestock farms.

They looked at farm-level data collected from 31 livestock farms as part of a large-scale survey of Scottish farmers carried out between January and March 2020. A farm-level economic model, ScotFarm, was then used to analyse the economic impacts of several ecological farm management practices.

The aim of the study was to understand whether the economic feasibility of an ecological management practice would lead to better uptake by farmers. They found that setting aside an ecological area on agricultural land and reducing farm inputs – both of which can be easily adopted by farmers – could potentially boost a farm’s profits by 7%.

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson sold 744 prime lambs at its weekly sale of primestock at Newton Stewart yesterday. Top price per head was £136 for heavy weight Suffolks from JR McKay & son, Broughton Mains.

The same consigner topped the price per kilo with a pen of Beltex making 289p/kg. There was a large show of Blackface lambs in the sale that averaged 266p. They peaked at £125 for a pen of eight from J Mitchell & Son, Little Larg who also led the Blackfaces per kilo with a pen of 82 at 274p.

The overall average slipped a bit this week when all the lambs levelled out at 267p (-12p). Eighty-eight cast sheep sold to £149 for a Texel cross tup with cast ewes not far behind at £140 for a pure Texel. Mule ewes sold to £100, Blackfaces to £68.

C&D Auction Marts held its final sale of primestock of 2021 in Dumfries yesterday. The prime lambs (970) continued to be a pleasing trade.Top prices were £135 for heavyweight Suffolks and for Texels, while lighter lambs won the day per kilo at 303p. There were 492 lambs in the 39kg to 45kg weight range that averaged 272p/kg (-15p).

There were also 210 cast sheep at the sale. Heavy ewes sold to £172 for a Texel and averaged £97, while light ewes peaked at £102 for a Cheviot and levelled at £85. Cross ewes sold to £115.

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