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Sheep sector set fair for 2014 says banker

Scotsheep team NSA Scotsheep hosts, John Macfarlane (second left) and his son, Iain (centre), with Sandy Hay (left)from main sponsor, Bank of Scotland, Sybil Macpherson, chairman of NSA Scotland, and organising committee chairman, David Leggat, executive chairman of United Auctions

Scotsheep team NSA Scotsheep hosts, John Macfarlane (second left) and his son, Iain (centre), with Sandy Hay (left)from main sponsor, Bank of Scotland, Sybil Macpherson, chairman of NSA Scotland, and organising committee chairman, David Leggat, executive chairman of United Auctions

The outlook for the sheep sector is positive according to the Bank of Scotland’s head of agriculture, Sandy Hay.

Speaking at a media preview of next month’s Scotsheep at Quixwood, near Grantshouse, Mr Hay said his bank’s annual agriculture survey has provided encouraging results. And the banker, whose employers sponsor the NSA biennial event, said the outlook for sheep looks good for 2014.

The survey showed nearly half of Scotland’s hill farmers reported profits exceeded drawings in 2013 and 65 percent were optimistic for profit in the current financial year.

But he cautioned: “Having said that, only eight per cent of hill farmers said they would be profitable without the Single Farm Payment.

“This dependence highlights the significance of CAP reform next year. As one of the bank’s key sectors, we want to ensure agriculture benefits from the finance it needs.”

Scotsheep organisers, National Sheep Association (NSA) Scotland also announced the judge of the invitation sheep dog trial at the event on June 4 will be Paul Turnbull of Debdon Farm, Rothbury. Thirty top handlers from the Borders will take part in the trial from early morning throughout the day.

Scotsheep hosts John Macfarlane and his son Iain run 1,500 ewes and 700 suckler cows on ground rising to 850 feet at Quixwood, and adjoining farms, Ferneylea and Drakemyre, with another 200 acres farmed on a contract basis.

NSA honorary president, the Duke of Montrose will open the event at 10am.

 

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