Scottish livestock farmers and crofters are facing mixed fortunes of farmgate prices as the festive season approaches.
The farmgate price for prime lambs is buoyant with strong demand driving gains in the market, which is supported by a tightness in supply over last year.
This market situation will be welcomed on Scottish farms and crofts which have faced a year of volatile weather and increased input costs.
Beef prices, however, are much lower than would have been hoped with prices for most of November being lower than usual and there are no signs of a pre-Christmas boost despite the expected increase in demand.
NFU Scotland has been encouraging shoppers to support Scottish food and farming ahead of Christmas, and continues to encourage them to buy Scottish and local food.
Charlie Adam, NFU Scotland Livestock Committee Chairman, said: “The market situation ahead of the festive season has been a mixed bag for many of our livestock members.
“The prime lamb trade is very strong, and this is welcome following a year of challenging weather conditions.
“However, the lower returns in the beef market coupled with the significant increased costs of farm inputs will be presenting challenges to farm business viability and those of us working in the sector would have liked to have seen a demand driven boost in prices ahead of the festive season.”
NFU Scotland has been in touch with Quality Meat Scotland and the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers to convey farmer concern about the challenging returns in the beef sector.
Mr Adam added: “In these uncertain times, compounded by on-going political turmoil, farmers and crofters need to see returns which provide their businesses with the financial security to invest and build resilience.
“If Scotland is to build it’s food and drink turnover then our iconic beef and lamb sectors must be able to invest in business efficiency”.