COMMENTING on the publication yesterday of proposals to introduce changes to existing disease control measures for bovine TB, Rural Economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: "The Scottish Government is committed to maintaining our current low level of TB and safeguard our Official TB Free status.

"It only seems fair that, where a keeper has broken rules, that they should not then be able to recover the full market value for their animals that are slaughtered as a result of poor farming practices or non-compliance. We are therefore looking for views as to whether further measures to encourage Scottish farmers to follow good farming practices and keep diseases out of their herds is required.

"This makes sense particularly at a time both DEFRA and the Welsh Government have introduced, or are consulting on substantial changes to their respective TG programmes, as it highlights the need for us to ensure that our own controls and compensation arrangements continue to incentivise compliance and best practice."

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Penny Middleton, NFU Scotland policy manager commented: "Bovine TB is causing concern in some regions and we have had calls from some members looking for tightening of the rules on high risk cattle movements. We recognise the levels of concern surrounding the risk of losing our officially TB free status, and facing widespread TB issues. We had already planned to discuss at upcoming meetings measures that might be considered to help discourage higher risk activity."

The consultation ends on 30 November 2017.

Market round-up

United Auctions sold 399 store heifers at Stirling on Wednesday to a top of 240.4p per kg and an average of 213.1p (+1.3p on the week), while 597 store, beef-bred bullocks peaked at 264p and levelled at 215.7p (-4.7p). One-hundred-and-forty-eight store, B&W bullocks sold to 181.1p and averaged 150.6p (+6.2p).

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold 11 prime heifers in Dumfries on Wednesday to a top of 233p and an average of 180p.

In the rough ring 25 beef cows averaged 131.2p and 54 dairy levelled at 114.9p.

The firm also sold 838 prime lambs to a top of £87.50 per head and 206p per kg to average 171.6p (-18.6p).

A nice show of 490 cast sheep saw heavy ewes sell to £94.50 for Texels and average £66.71, while light ewes peaked at £92.50 for Cheviots and levelled at £43.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 752 prime lambs in Newton Stewart on Wednesday to a top of £93 and 185.2p to average 176.5p (-19.5p).

There were also 328 heavy cast ewes that sold to £105 for Texels and averaged £61.16, while 237 light ewes peaked at £74.50 for Lleyns and levelled at £35.41.