The exchange rate to be used for direct farm payments in 2017 has increased by around 5 per cent compared with last year, reflecting weakening in Sterling against other currencies.

The 2017 exchange rate will be €1 = £0.89470. This is based on the average of the European Central Bank rates set over the month of September. The 5 per cent increase comes on top of last year's 17 per cent increase in the value of the Euro.

The decision affects around 16,400 farmers who have chosen to receive their 2017 Basic Payment Scheme support in Sterling.

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NFU Scotland director of policy, Jonnie Hall commented: "Although the weakening of Sterling is good news for support payments and strengthens the competitiveness of UK exports, the downside can be higher priced imported inputs such as animal feed and machinery."

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 246 store heifers at Ayr on Thursday to a top of £1180 per head and 229.8p per kg to average £816.30 and 201.9p (-5.7p on the week), while 218 store, beef-bred bullocks peaked at £1480 and 239.6p to level at £896.73 and 208.7p (-7.5p). Thirty-seven store, B&W bullocks sold to £950 and 169.8p to average £689.32 and 141.2p (no change).

The firm also had a "weathered" show 1492 store lambs forward that were £3-£4 dearer on the week as a result of more dairy farmers in attendance. Top prices: Texels to £64.50, Suffolk £60.50, Cheviots £53, Mules £50 and Blackfaces to £48.

Harrison & Hetherington Ltd held their annual show and sale of Aberdeen Angus cross and native-bred breeds in St Boswells on Thursday when 336 heifers sold to £1300 and 240p to average £912 and 208.4p (+5.4p on the year), while 768 bullocks peaked at £1500 and 294p to level at £1109 and 228.4p (+16.4p).

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold 3795 prime lambs in Longtown on Thursday to a top of £99 per head and 243p per kg to average 164.7p (-4.2p on the week).

A good show of 4601 cast sheep saw heavy ewes sell to £149 for Texels and averaged £69.53 (+£2.62), while light ewes peaked at £60 for Lleyns and levelled at 333.24 (+27p). Rams sold to £144 for a Texel and averaged £70.31.