The slow start to spring and the spell of wet, wintry weather is taking its toll on farms across Scotland.
Farmers’ union NFU Scotland says the poor weather has resulted in livestock losses, poor grass growth, rising costs and a delay to spring ground work.
Union vice-president Gary Mitchell said the long and expensive winter experienced by Scotland’s farmers is being made more difficult by the continued spates of poor weather.
“There have been several reported incidents of fallen stock due to the unseasonably bad weather at the start and end of last month, but most are accepting that this is an unavoidable part of keeping livestock,” said Mr Mitchell, who runs a dairy farm near Stranraer.
“Arable farmers are seeing the struggles of last autumn amplified by this poor start to spring.”
He said arable land that farmers were unable to plant with winter crops last autumn was being added to the pile of land needing drilled this spring, and little if any sowing work had been done.
“Crop husbandry operations are also being delayed, so the winter crops which managed to be planted last year are suffering now,” said Mr Mitchell.
He said farmers from across the country were also complaining of very poor grass growth, which was adding to the cost for those who would usually be able to rely heavily on grazing for keeping livestock.
“Another worrying aspect of the poor weather has been significant lack of fodder and the added expense it is creating for farmers up and down the country,” he said.
“With so many crops having to be left in the fields at the end of harvest last year, we are seeing a lot of members suffer because of the unexpected hike in outgoings just to feed stock,” added Mr Mitchell.