THE Tenant Farming Commissioner announced recommendations yesterday to update Schedule 5 of the 1991 Act. Schedule 5 sets out a list of tenant's improvements to agricultural holdings which are eligible for compensation from the landlord at the end of a lease.

The current list in Schedule 5 was last updated in 1948 and therefore some significant changes are now required to make the tenanted sector fit for the 21st Century.

All stakeholders agreed that obvious omissions needed to be addressed and the recommendations cover all modern improvements including work to farmhouses and cottages, slurry stores, silage pits, equipment to mitigate pollution, and provisions for the use of renewable energy on farms.

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In addition to the physical fixed equipment of the holding, the recommendations include provisions for any permissions, consents, contracts and restrictions (quotas) that the tenant may have acquired.

Welcoming the recommendations, Scottish Tenant Farming Association (STFA) chairman Christopher Nicholson said: "The Tenant Farming Commissioner has worked closely with stakeholders to revise the current list of tenant's improvements that are eligible for compensation at way-go (end of a tenancy). It would appear that all improvements relating to modern agriculture are covered by the recommendations, but it is important to recognise that modern technologies on farms are changing rapidly, and if the tenanted sector is to keep up to date then Schedule 5 will require reviewing on a regular basis.

"STFA, along with other stakeholders, had argued for the inclusion of a catch-all clause similar to the crofting legislation which would help future-proof Schedule 5. However, the Tenant Farming Commissioner has not recommended a catch-all due to it being too open to interpretation, but instead to review Schedule 5 regularly to ensure tenants will not be disadvantaged as new technologies develop."

Mr Nicholson went on to add: "The updated Schedule 5, in the eyes of the law, will not be retrospective so will not apply to the current amnesty for tenant's improvements. However, there is strong evidence to show that many landlords are willing to include modern improvements such as slurry towers into amnesty agreements."

Market round-up

Wallets Marts had a larger but slightly poorer show of 1,769 prime lambs forward in Castle Douglas on Tuesday that sold to £100 per head and 238.1p per kg to average 173.8p (-1.5p on the week).

There were also 130 heavy cast ewes that sold to £91 for a Texel and averaged £68.21, while 172 light/export-type ewes peaked at £57 for Blackfaces and levelled at £36.30.