Impact of poor weather on livestock farmers evident during Caithness visit by NFUS President

The challenges facing farmers due to adverse weather in some parts of Scotland was witnessed first-hand by NFU Scotland President on a visit to Caithness this week.

President Allan Bowie met on farm with local representatives and farmers to establish how badly affected those in the region are by the heavy rainfall that has been seen in recent weeks and the impact this is having on their businesses.

Orkney and Shetland have hit the headlines in the last few months for the extreme impact it has had on farmers there, and for Caithness farmers and others within the region, the impact is similar. However, the Union recognises that the majority of Scottish farmers has been impacted by the poor weather.

President Bowie visited the Mackay Family at Dunnet Head, Morris family ay Olrig Mains, Castletown and Andrew Mackay at West Greenland on Monday 27 July.

The poor weather has meant a delay in silage work getting underway, currently running around a month late, and some cattle remaining indoors. Some have also been forced to sell their store cattle earlier than normal to relieve pressure on their farms. In addition, calves and lambs about to go to market will either be lighter weights or will have had extra expense to get them there.

President Bowie heard concerns on how well spring calving cows were bulling and thus the likely later calvings next year. More empty cows could lead to problems beyond just this year.

He also met with Caithness Livestock Breeders to discuss the logistics of getting extra straw and feed imported to guard against any shortage.

Commenting on his visit on Monday, NFUS President Allan Bowie said: “We know Caithness and the Highlands are not alone in these difficulties. The problems being faced as a result of the ongoing poor weather were evident in the impact it has had on farms.

“There is real concern about how many will manage during the coming months with poor silage quality for some who have cut.

“We know the poor weather is affecting livestock but also crops too, and to those farmers this is of equal concern.

“It is crucial that the Scottish Government does everything in its power to ensure that Single Farm Payments are received by farmers on time in December, and there is no delay, otherwise it could cause further worry.

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