James McMillan: Whose vine is it anyway?

With Scotland’s Food & Drink Fortnight kicking off on Saturday, the industry will again gather to celebrate and focus on the quality of Scottish produce – including Scottish wine.

The study is aimed at refining the use of antibiotics in farming. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Cattle farmers asked to help map use of antibiotics

Beef and dairy cattle farmers across the UK are being asked to help compile an accurate assessment of antibiotic use within their herds by completing a major national survey carried out by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) and the University of Bristol.

Controlling bracken is a major job for farmers. Picture: Contributed

Breaking back of bracken needs brains and brawn

It has been estimated that the area of Scotland covered by bracken has increased by 25 per cent in the past decade and many hillsides and remote areas of the country are now dominated by the aggressive fern.

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Andrew McCornick said farmers and crofters 'play a vital role' in rural communities. Picture: Contributed

Andrew McCornick voices NFU’s fears on land reform

Politicians may have given a hefty sigh of relief when they signed off the extremely complex and multi-faceted 2015 land reform act back in March.

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The spring barley harvest is behind that in England. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Spring barley slower to ripen north of the Border

While cereal growers in England are now well through their crops, the situation in Scotland is of a slower to ripen, slightly later harvest.

Some farmers need subsidy but still voted for Brexit. Picture: Contributed

Farmers need to make the case for keeping subsidies

A Radio 4 series in recent years has asked ‘What’s the point of…’ a range of activities and organisations such as, for example, golf, Lord Lieutenants, the National Trust and the Church of England. It can only be a matter of time before the question is asked of farming.

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Farmers have been urged to challenge buyers over milk prices. Picture: John Devlin

Mixed response to Arla’s proposed milk price rise

An increase in the price of milk proposed by Arla, one of the major buyers in the UK, has been both welcomed and criticised by NFU Scotland’s milk guru, George Jamieson.

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Average sale prices were up on the year. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Texel lambs in strong demand at Lanark national sales

Texel ram lambs proved popular at the Scottish National show and sale at Lanark yesterday, selling to 70,000 guineas, with a further 14 lots reaching five-figures.

Livestock producers are concerns about the impact of Brexit. Picture: John Devlin

Europe still vital post-Brexit for livestock producers

Leaders of the UK livestock industry this week thrashed out their priorities for life following this country leaving the EU and, ironically, one of the main themes for the future of the cattle and sheep sectors is continued access to the European market.

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Producers are urged to take care while harvesting. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Malting premiums under threat from ‘skinning’

With the spring barley harvest beginning to get under way across the country, growers have been urged to keep a close eye on their threshed grain samples to ensure they avoid the possibility of costly malting rejections for skinning and splitting.

Venison is regarded as a very healthy red meat. Picture: Contributed

Demand for farmed Scottish venison outstrips supply

Even though there has been a surge of interest in farming deer in the past couple of years and home production of venison is increasing, experts have predicted that the UK will be importing twice the quantity of venison in five years’ time.

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Lamb prices were tested at the Lairg sales. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Lamb prices still buoyant despite recent easing

Although lamb prices have eased in the past week, producers are still benefiting from a firm market and are receiving prices around 25 per cent above last year’s levels, according to Stuart Ashworth, head of economic services at Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

This Farming Life was a successful programme. Picture: Anne MacPherson/BBC

Lights, camera, action needs to find new furrow

As the nation staggers away from the fortnight’s sportsfest called the Olympics the question has to be: “Can you have too much of a good thing?”

Cottages on the Applecross peninsula with stormy skies in the background.

Government distances itself from crofting body in payments dispute

Calls for the overhaul of the Crofting Commission have intensified after the leaking of a letter in which Rural Affairs Minister Fergus Ewing told its convener that the Scottish Government’s interpretation of the law is “diametrically opposed to your own”.

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Fergus Ewing, left, with NFUS president Allan Bowie. Contributed

Government ‘committed’ to short-term farm support

The political jousting over the future funding of Scottish farming continued yesterday with rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing confirming the Scottish Government remained committed to delivering “Common Agricultural Policy levels of support.”

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Hill farming is set to become less labour intensive. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Are ewe ready to embrace hill farming of the future?

Hill farmers were told yesterday that technology has as big a role to play in the future of their businesses – often seen as the most unchanging type of farming – as it does in other sectors in agriculture.

NFUS president Allan Bowie. Picture: Paul Watt

NFUS keeps up pressure over post-Brexit support

Scottish farming leaders yesterday kept up the pressure on politicians to provide more clarity and certainty on life after the Brexit vote.

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SAYFC chairman Stuart Jamieson. Picture: Contributed

Ring of truth for young farmers’ training plans

Specialist training for the next generation of young farmers will cost less in the future thanks to a deal hammered out between the Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYFC) and three of Scotland’s machinery rings.

Lairg market hosts the annual lamb sale. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Lambs on the up as new buyers emerge at Lairg sale

If the Lairg sheep sale held yesterday retains its reputation for setting the sheep trade for the season, then sheep men will be happy.

Fergus Ewing's letter remains unanswered. Picture: John Devlin

Fergus Ewing fails to get Brexit response from London

The political bidding post-Brexit continued yesterday but the pleas only confirmed ambitions – they did little in the way of providing clarity on what support farming will get and what it would be in life outside the EU.

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