Animal health budget plan 'imminent' says Lochhead

A DECISION on a devolved animal health budget is due in the next few days, according to Richard Lochhead, the cabinet secretary for rural affairs, who was visiting the spring bull sales at Stirling yesterday.

He said that Scotland has a reputation in Europe for leading the way in animal health and welfare and he is working towards ensuring the new common agricultural policy (CAP) will be suitable for purpose in Scotland. He was not sure of the timetable for CAP but was pushing hard for the painful anomalies to be resolved such as the restrictions for new entrants to agriculture.

While working hard for Scotland, Lochhead was not impressed with the UK minister for agriculture, Caroline Spelman, actually arguing for less money to spend in her own portfolio. He said: "I would have thought she would champion her own industry."

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One of the health problems specific to this time of year and the bull sales is bluetongue. David Leggat of UA pointed out that there was a missed opportunity to sell to Ireland because of the time it takes to get animals vaccinated and quarantined due to bluetongue and he was keen for the issue to move on to the next stage as soon as possible to open up more trade routes.

Judging of Aberdeen Angus and Shorthorn bulls took place yesterday with the overall and intermediate champion Aberdeen Angus, Idvies Jarvis, coming from father and son duo Alasdair and Graeme Fraser, of Idvies, Forfar. Reserve overall and junior champion was Ballathie Estates, Perth, with Ballathie Consort. This was a first win for owner John Milligan who used to work in the oil industry and set up his herd only ten years ago.

Senior champion was Wedderlie El Nino from John and Marion Tilson, Gordon, Berwickshire, while reserve was Graeme Massie, Blelack, Dinnet, with Blelack Backgammon. Reserve intermediate champion was Flodden Jewel from John and Carol Laing, who only bought the herd, along with East Learmouth Farm, Cornhill-on-Tweed, in March 2009. Reserve junior champion, Tonley Adriano, came from managing director of Sellars Agriculture, Neill Wattie, Mains of Tonley, Alford.

The overall champion Shorthorn and senior winner was Alvie Connor from Jamie and Cathryn Williamson, Alvie Estate, Kincraig, with reserve spot going to the intermediate champion from Donald Biggar, Chapelton, Castle Douglas, for Chapelton Clansman.