Moray SNP News
Richard Lochhead MSP met with a group of Moray farmers at Pitgaveny Farm to discuss the impact the dry weather his having in the local industry. The meeting was arranged by the local National Farmers Union (NFU).
Speaking after the meeting Mr Lochhead said:
“My valuable meeting with a number of local farmers brought home to me that although the recent prolonged hot weather was good news for many of us, such an exceptionally long period of dry weather has taken its toll on our local farms.
“The arable sector has suffered due to damage to crops and the livestock sector is feeling the effects due to a lack of feed and higher prices.
“A lack of grass due to the lack of rain has meant that there isn’t enough silage and therefore a shortage of feed that will mean higher prices. Many livestock farmers who rely on buying in feed from other farmers will find that these farmers have had to keep more for themselves. I’m told that livestock farmers are also selling their animals earlier than usual as this will mean less mouths to feed, but that means lower prices for their cattle as there is more being sold than normal.
“An issue we discussed at length was the situation facing alternatives to silage for feed with crops now being grown for the many anaerobic digesters in Moray and the wider region which is reducing the amount of land for growing animal feed and also raising prices given the amount renewable energy operators are able to pay. This is also an issue in terms of the draff from our whisky distilleries that has traditionally been used for animal feed where again prices have increased due to it being used for other purposes.
“The dry weather has therefore brought challenges for our local farmers for a combination of reasons with the potential for cash flow problems. Clearly, the more rain we have the easier things will get but much of the damage has already been done. I’m thankful to the local NFU for arranging the meeting and to Martin Birse at Pitgaveny Estates for hosting it. I’m grateful to the farmers that attended and will be taking up their issues with Scottish Ministers to ensure that anything that can be done is being done to help them through this difficult summer.”