NFU Scotland has written to all major supermarkets asking them to support the Scottish sheep sector by stocking the highest volumes of Scottish lamb possible this Easter.

Easter is a hugely important time for sales of lamb, with many traditionally celebrating with a roast at family meals. While Scottish lamb production falls towards the start of spring, Scottish farmers believe that there is more than enough to fill Scottish store shelves and meet the year-round demand from Scottish shoppers for local, home-produced lamb.

Last Easter, an NFUS shelf-watch found that two-thirds of the lamb offered on supermarket shelves was Scottish or British. However, in some stores the percentage of imported lamb on shelves was well over 50 per cent and as high as 98 per cent.

The Union believes that the figures for home-produced lamb can be significantly improved by greater retailer support and has, for the last two years, been working with retailers who stock imported lamb to increase their offering or extend the season for buying Scottish or British lamb before turning to imports.

NFUS president Andrew McCornick said: "Some retailers - Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Co-op and Marks and Spencer - are staunch supporters, showing others - Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Waitrose - what can be achieved."

In the letter to retailers, the Union has asked all supermarkets to provide information on what volumes of imported lamb they are likely to stock in the next few weeks as we approach Easter. It also urges its members to keep an eye on shop shelves and let it know the amounts of Scottish lamb being offered.

Market round-up

C&D Auction Marts sold eight prime heifers in Dumfries on Wednesday to a top of 226p and an average of 213.9p.

In the rough ring 21 beef cows sold to 130p and averaged 120p, while 27 dairy cows peaked at 115p and levelled at 101p.

There were also 881 prime hoggs that sold to £120 per head and 250p per kg to average 208.7p (+13.8p on the week).

A smaller show of 219 cast sheep saw heavy ewes sell to £113.50 for Texels and average £70, while light/export-type ewes peaked at £72.50 for Cheviots and levelled at £42.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1042 prime hoggs in Newton Stewart on Wednesday to a top of £112 and 223.7p to average 196.1p (no change). Included in that overall average were 305 Blackfaces that were lighter than last week at an average of 36kg, and peaked at £87 and 209.2p to level at 188p.

There were also 130 heavy cast ewes forward that sold to £98 for a Texel Cross and averaged £74.15, while 351 light ewes peaked at £66 for Blackfaces and levelled at £43.12.