• Reduced numbers coming forward, coupled with a weakening of sterling, has bolstered old season lamb prices in recent weeks, with both live and the deadweight markets witnessing much welcome improved prices.

  • ANY recovery in future milk prices will be dependant on a reduction in production, the sale of excess stocks and a rise in demand, according to a new report from AHDB Dairy.

  • WITH the UK being the third largest global exporter of sheep meat, and exports from New Zealand unlikely to increase, future lamb prices appear positive, albeit much dependant on developments in China.

  • FORGET the doom and gloom surrounding current pig prices and the amount of money being lost on every animal sold, Scottish producers have a lot to be positive about with the opening of the new plant at Brechin, next week.

  • WHILE milk prices are continuing to fall, the number of dairy cows in Scotland has again increased on the year according to figures from the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association.

  • WHILE Scottish pig producers have made huge advances in levels of production and efficiency, Great Britain still lags behind the rest of the EU in terms of the number of pigs weaned per sow.

  • ENSURING finished cattle hit specification will be the key to preventing significantly lower beef prices this year.

  • LAMB may not be the most popular of meats in Scotland, but it certainly gave turkey a run for its money in the run-up to the Christmas period, as sales grew both in terms of value and volume.

  • PROBLEMS with silage of extreme variability will have to be addressed if farmers are to avoid nutrient shortfalls in their animals' diet.

  • A NEW genetic index will be published this month that will help UK farmers breed dairy cows with better resistance to bovine tuberculosis (bTB). TB Advantage, an index developed following extensive research undertaken by the University of Edinburgh, Roslin Institute and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), will give an indication of an animal's genetic susceptibility to bTB, highlighting those which may be more prone to infection or - at the other extreme - those which have a higher degree of resistance to the disease. Consequently, by selecting bulls with a high score for TB Advantage, farmers will be able to breed better resistance into their herds, which - like all genetic improvement - will accumulate over the generations leading to long-term benefits. Used alongside existing bTB control measures - including high levels of biosecurity, protecting cattle against infected wildlife and routinely monitoring cattle for the disease - the index is expected to play a part in the plan to eradicate bTB from UK farming. The first genetic index in the world to be developed to help farmers breed better resistance to bTB into their herds, TB Advantage will be expressed on a scale which typically runs from -3 to +3, similar to many genetic indexes farmers are familiar with using.