Author Archive

More than £20k raised at Charity Arts Auction and Postcard Sale

8th November, 2012 by admin

(L-R) Kevin Harrison, Julia Donaldson, Fiona Taylor, David Leggat.

More than three hundred people came out in support of arts charity Artlink Central at Sunday night’s Art off the Rock event (Sunday, November 4th 2012).

With a highly competitive auction and postcard sale as well as book signings by the charity’s Patron and Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson, it is estimated that well over £20,000 was raised to support the work of Artlink Central’s artists in engaging people in prison, hospitals, schools and communities who face barriers to expressing themselves, to their health and wellbeing or to their learning.

Supported by Smith and Williamson, the event was hosted by Beaconhurst School in Bridge of Allan with school prefects welcoming guests. Other support came from United Auctions, Alison Green Books, Macmillan Children’s Books, Bronze Framing and Showcase Glass as well as hundreds of professional and non-professional artists from Scotland and beyond.

Director of Artlink Central,Kevin Harrison, said: “We were delighted to see so many new and familiar faces at this year’s events. We auctioned 35 lots of paintings and sold hundreds of original postcards, some by artists such as Elizabeth Blackadder, June Carey and Peter Nardini.

“With the fantastic support of our Patron, Julia Donaldson and the supreme talents of Auctioneer David Leggat from United Auctions we had a truly memorable evening in Bridge of Allan. Thanks to all who supported us.”


For further information, please contact:

Kevin Harrison, Director, Artlink Central on 01786 4488359 / 07764940919 or

Scottish Mart Meetings State Tight Global Beef Supplies Will Keep Prices High

16th March, 2012 by admin

Sandy Hay of Bank of Scotland, David Leggat of UA, Robert Gilchrist of Keenan and Stuart Ashworth of QMS.

Beef prices look likely to remain firm on the back of a tight supply of cows and calves in the chain, according to Stuart Ashworth of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), who spoke at a series of beef meetings held at four of Scotland’s Marts, including Stirling Agricultural Centre.

At the events organised by Bank of Scotland, Keenan and QMS at Thainstone, Lanark, Dingwall and Stirling auction marts, local farmers heard that the Scottish beef herd is very challenged following high culling rates. “There is little prospect of significantly more cattle appearing over the next couple of years so the tight supply will remain,” he said.

Mr Ashworth suggested that the supply and price dynamics are also likely to be affected going forward by low animal numbers in many parts of the world, for example numbers in the USA, one of the world’s biggest beef trader, are significantly down on stock as a result of the drought in 2011.

This worldwide shortfall will limit where domestic and international buyers could seek alternative supplies. “There is a tight supply everywhere, so prices will remain firm; there will be no cheap beef for the EU market. However, with consumer confidence remaining fragile, farmgate prices may be constrained by consumers’ willingness to pay higher retail prices.”

The audience consensus was that the supply and price equation certainly points to opportunity for those with cattle to fatten and finish, as well as those selling stores. However the high price of feed is still a big concern as is the outcome of the CAP reform, which is making many reticent to invest in upping cow numbers.

The Bank of Scotland and Keenan focused their discussions on the need for improved efficiency in production to give the confidence that good margins can still be made independent of the single farm payment.

“The rise in beef price since August 2009 has been 17%; over the same period feed wheat prices have increased by 76%, so what can farmers do to capture the value that we’re seeing in rising sale prices, whilst insulating yourselves from these increases in input costs?” Sandy Hay from the Bank of Scotland asked.

Mr Hay said production efficiency equates directly to business efficiency, which gives the bank’s enhanced confidence in lending to farmers looking to capitalise on the undoubted domestic and export opportunities. “The QMS average for feed plus forage cost is 50%, a 10% reduction in costs would give a net margin improvement per finisher of £22.31 whilst a 10% reduction in feeding days from the QMS average of 221 days to 199 days would yield an improvement of £20.65 per head.”

In addition to feed costs and feeding days, Mr Hay suggested that it was imperative that producers should also focus their attention on feed conversion efficiency (FCE) – “an improvement in FCE from the average of 182kg gain/tonne of feed up to 200kg gain/tonne of feed would yield another £16.72/head. The combination of a 10% improvement in all three areas would be £59.68/head.”

Keenan’s Robert Gilchrist said that feeding the Keenan Mech-Fiber System way is all about driving efficiency improvements.  “The average improvement for beef finishing units using the System is £47/head based on feeding a similar ration but presenting it in a more physically effective manner. This improves rumen function and, in turn, animal performance.”

He explained that FCE is one of the most important measures for any livestock farmer; it is widely used by pig and poultry farmers but should also be the focus of beef farmers. “The measure of feed conversion efficiency is kilos of liveweight gain per tonne of dry matter fed. This means that if feed is costing £150/tonne of dry matter and you were to improve your FCE by 10% from 100 to 110, the cost per kilo would fall by 14 pence.”

“Achieving marked improvements in FCE is our goal and it boils down to the physically effective mix that you get from the Keenan,” he explained. “The Mech-Fiber as we call it encourages the animal to chew the cud for longer, slowing the passage of feed through the rumen and improving the level of digestion.” He added that the other real gain for first time Keenan users is that for many it gives them very accurate feed intake and cost information for the first time. “If you can’t measure it, how do you know how you’re doing?”

Stuart Ashworth concluded that there is certainly opportunity for beef producers going forward, but the one thing that would give them the confidence they need to invest for the future is improving their production efficiency.

David Leggat, Executive Chairman of United Auctions, who chaired the largest seminar, held at Stirling Agricultural Centre, said: “Numbers of store cattle forward at our weekly sales are well ahead of last year due to prevailing buoyant prices and also a shortage of bedding and feed stuffs in some areas. This is likely to mean a reduction of numbers in April, the traditional time for buying store cattle for the grass. “


For more information, please contact:

Jane Craigie, Jane Craigie Marketing on 01466 780078 / 07795 278767


On behalf of United Auctions:

Jenny Kumar, JK Consultancy on 07989 557198 /

CKD Galbraith opens new Central Scotland hub

7th June, 2011 by admin

(L-R) Neil McLean, group joint managing director of United Auctions and James Galbraith, chairman of CKD Galbraith.

CKD Galbraith, Scotland’s leading independent property consultants, announced today a significant expansion of its rural property and agricultural services.

The firm is to open a new Central Scotland ‘hub’ office, based at the Stirling Agricultural Centre.

The new office, which will be staffed initially by 20 personnel, will provide comprehensive property services to the agricultural and rural sectors.

The establishment of an office at the Stirling Agricultural Centre will enable CKD Galbraith to strengthen further its alliance with United Auctions (UA), Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists.

CKD Galbraith is now Scotland’s most comprehensive independent property consultancy with 12 main offices across the country.

James Galbraith, chairman of CKD Galbraith, said: “This is an exciting development for our firm and, more importantly, will offer improved services to our clients across the central region and the West of Scotland.

“Through our four-year long alliance with United Auctions we have been able to broaden our offer to the farming community such as property sales and other professional services related to renewables, valuation, compulsory purchase and finance through the AMC. We are delighted that our partnership with UA will be further enhanced by opening an office with a strong team at the Stirling Agricultural Centre.”

Neil McLean, group joint managing director of UA, said: “We’re delighted to welcome one of Scotland’s premier rural property consultancies to Stirling. Their new rural ‘hub’ will reinforce the City’s excellent agricultural proposition.”

UA’s executive chairman, David Leggat, said: “Our two companies work extremely well together and a new office at our Agricultural Centre will offer the rural property sector better services, particularly the many farmers who attend the centre.”

CKD Galbraith will maintain their presence in local Estate Offices in Houston, Renfrewshire, and Bishopbriggs, East Dunbartonshire.

For further information please contact Lorna Gardner of Media House on 0141 220 6040 or email

About CKD Galbraith:
CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy specialising in serving the needs of private clients. It employs over 180 people in offices in Edinburgh, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Aberfeldy, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso and Peebles. Services currently provided by CKD Galbraith through its Glasgow office will in future be provided through the Stirling, Houston and Bishopbriggs offices.
The firm provides the full range of property consulting services across the commercial, residential and rural sectors throughout Scotland. The company enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

The company’s rural arm specialises in farm sales and purchases, the management and sale of large estates and woodland, valuations and building surveying work.

UA secures deal with Carrs Billington Agriculture

30th March, 2011 by admin

UA hand over the keys for CBA's first Stirling store

United Auctions (UA) has completed terms with Carrs Billington Agriculture to open its first retail branch in Stirling.

The Carlisle-based agricultural supply company is leasing 7000 square feet on the ground floor of the Stirling Agricultural Centre (SAC) and is seeking to recruit staff.

The news comes less than a week since Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers took ownership of the SAC.

Carrs Billington Agriculture (Sales) Ltd supplies the farming and rural communities through locally based teams of professional field sales staff and a network of 18 branches throughout Scotland and the North of England.

A major manufacturer and supplier of compound animal feeds, blends and specialist mixtures, the company is a main agent for many leading brands of farm machinery. Their portfolio also includes fuel, a wide range of fertilisers, seeds and animal health products, together with a wealth of other agricultural sundries.

Neil McLean, Group Joint MD of UA, said: “We’re delighted that this major agricultural company has chosen the Stirling Agricultural Centre for its new branch. It’s a perfect fit with our business and strengthens the City’s proposition as the heart of Scottish agriculture.”

Managing Director Rae Tomlinson said: “We are pleased to be extending our network with a strategically placed branch in Stirling. The new premises are in a great location and the access is excellent. We’re delighted to be joining the United Auctions team at the Stirling Agricultural Centre.”

The new Stirling store will be run by local branch manager Grant Dunn who also oversees the company’s Perth and Milnathort branches.

Shop fitting is expected to begin soon.

UA business award nomination

28th October, 2010 by admin

Good luck to agricultural client United Auctions who are nominated for ‘Outstanding Business’ at Friday’s Provost Awards.

The Award Scheme is run by Stirling Council to recognise the outstanding contribution made by an organisation or individual in the past 24 months.

They are presented by Provost Fergus Wood at a Gala Dinner in Stirling Castle’s Great Hall and I’m delighted to be attending.

Stirling Observer, 27 October 2010