With feed barley prices currently trading at about £95 per tonne ex-farm, livestock producers have the chance to dramatically cut feed costs whilst also maximising output by shortening finishing times.
FEW BREEDS of sheep can boast the hardiness or the longevity of the hill or Lairg-type Cheviot which, coupled with the breed's shape, carcase and skin, ensures an ideal ewe for much of Scotland's hard, heather hill and upland ground.
AN INSTANT attraction as a teenager has led to a full blown love affair with the Beltex breed for an Ayrshire-based breeder who now sells a large number of pedigree and cross-bred rams and picks up a number of top titles in show rings across the country.
While many young people aspire to farming on their own, eventually getting that lucky break and a farm tenancy, can seem like a dream come true but that initial step up the ladder is only the first of many hurdles.
Store lamb values fell just short of £12 per head but for almost double the number sold at Craven Cattle Marts opening show and sale at Skipton, last week, where a strong entry of 4087 cashed in at £56.73, compared to last year's average of £68.18 for 2231.
Forget modern so called easy-care sheep systems, when it comes to breeding and producing today's most productive and indeed most profitable ewe, there is nothing to beat the Blackface and her popular cross-bred female, the Scotch Mule.