Tag Archives: Bank of Scotland


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

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 / jenny@jkconsultancy.com



UA acquire Stirling Agricultural Centre

United Auctions (UA) has purchased the Stirling Agricultural Centre (SAC) for an undisclosed sum today (Tuesday March 22, 2011).

Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists have completed the deal for their company headquarters with administrators KPMG on behalf of the Centre’s original owners, Glasgow-based Elphinstone.

The funding for the acquisition was part-assisted by the Bank of Scotland.

The £15million Stirling Agricultural Centre opened its doors in July 2009 and is the single centre of operations for the company’s Perth and Stirling sales, including the world-famous Perth Bull Sales®.

UA’s Executive Team, comprising Executive Chairman David Leggat MBE and Group Joint Managing Directors Neil McLean and Robin Tough, will now manage the entire business operations for the business premises and its 52 acres.

Mr Leggat MBE, Executive Chairman of UA, said: “We’re pleased to announce this deal, which is a significant investment that further enhances the company’s position and long-term sustainability.

Neil McLean, Group Joint MD of UA, said: “We value the support from the team at Bank of Scotland who have been instrumental in the delivery of this deal. We’re now able to control the development of the livestock Centre in the way we intended from the outset and we expect to make further announcements in the near future.”

Sandy Hay, Agriculture Director at Bank of Scotland, said: “The focus and commitment of the directors at UA since their management buy-out has resulted in a strong business committed to a future in livestock sales. The purchase of the Stirling Agricultural Centre is a positive move which will enable UA to galvanise the development of the business in the future.”




  • Legal and financial advice for UA was handled by Burness LLP and CKD Galbraith
  • UA purchased Huntly and Lairg auction marts and their area office and lairage facility at Oban last year as well as Dalmally Auction Mart in 2008

United Auctions – www.uagroup.co.uk

  • United Auctions (UA) are Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists. We operate a network of different auction markets across Scotland, including Stirling, Huntly, Lairg, Dalmally, Tiree, Islay, South Uist and an area office and lairage facility at Oban
  • The company conducts auctions of both commercial and pedigree sheep and cattle, and provides farm-to-farm and farm-to-abattoir procurement services
  • Group turnover is in excess of £100 million and in 2008 we celebrated our 150th year in operation
  • The Stirling Agricultural Centre is located in the heart of Scotland, just off J10 on the M9 motorway. Located on a 52-acre site on the outskirts of the City, the mart supports around 300 on- and off-site jobs and comprises 400 pens, three sales rings, 18 paddocks, an exhibition hall, viewing gallery, conference facilities, and a 100-seater farmers’ restaurant
  • The Centre is also home to a range of agri-related businesses and is the new headquarters for the Highland Cattle Society

Next week: 900 bulls on parade at Perth Bull Sales

A grand selection of 900 pedigree bulls will be on show and sale this month at United Auctions’ Annual Perth Bull Sales, now held in Stirling.

The prestigious Spring Sales will run over two weeks, from Monday 7 to Wednesday 9 February and from Monday 21 to Tuesday 22 February at UA’s headquarters, Stirling Agricultural Centre.

Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers will welcome farmers from across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland with around 1079 entries to the national Sales.

They are held under the auspices of the national breed societies and sponsored by the Bank of Scotland.

David Leggat MBE, Executive Chairman of UA, is pleased with the quality of bull and female entries forward and particularly the health status of the cattle on offer. He said: “Along with the breed societies, we’ve been actively encouraging and promoting health declarations for many years. In addition to health certificates displayed above the bulls in the pens, for the first time virtually all the animals have health details listed in the catalogue index, making it easier for buyers to research this important area.

“Buyers will also be pleased to see that 97% of entries are supplied with Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs).”

Mr Leggat continued: “With our new, user-friendly website, it’s now even easier to download the breed catalogues and access the live webcam to watch the Bull Sales, wherever you are in the world.”

He added: “We’re delighted that Bank of Scotland continue to support the Spring Bull Sales and we look forward to welcoming the team, who will be presenting prizes at the show.”

Sales catalogues are available to download on the Perth Bull Sales’ page of UA’s new website at the same address www.uagroup.co.uk.

The new-look site reflects the company’s personal ethos by embracing social media to engage with customers and interest groups in different ways. Now you can read the latest UA-related and industry news via the RSS feed on the website and on Facebook, watch UA’s online videos on their dedicated YouTube Channel or scroll through the company’s image gallery on Flickr.

Opportunities for photographs will be available from Sunday 6 February onwards.

Show and sale programme




About United Auctions

United Auctions (UA) are Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists and operate a network of different auction markets across Scotland, including Stirling, Huntly, Lairg, Dalmally, Tiree, Islay, South Uist and an area office and lairage facility at Oban. The company conducts auctions of both commercial and pedigree sheep and cattle and provides farm-to-farm and farm-to-abattoir procurement services.

Issued on behalf of United Auctions by JK Consultancy. For further information please contact: Jenny Kumar on 07989 557198 or email jenny@jkconsultancy.com

United Auctions Master-2

Perth Bull Sales sale & show programme

The world-famous Perth Bull Sales are nearly upon us. This national event is taking place at United Auctions’ Stirling Agricultural Centre over two weeks, from Mon 7 to Wed 9 February and from Mon 21 to Tues 22 February 2011.

The Spring Sales are sponsored by Bank of Scotland.

Here’s the event schedule and list of judges. See you there!


Sunday 6th February

9 am               Aberdeen Angus inspection

1 pm               Beef Shorthorn inspection

Monday 7th February

8 am               Show of Aberdeen Angus females followed by bulls

1.30 pm          Show of Beef Shorthorn females followed by bulls

3.30 pm          Collective sale of Aberdeen Angus females (26) followed by Draft from Rawburn and Elliot herd

4.30 pm          Collective sale of Beef Shorthorn females (22)

Tuesday 8th February

8 am               Salers, British Blue and Blonde inspection

10.30 am        Sale of Aberdeen Angus bulls (217)

2.30 pm          Sale of Beef Shorthorn bulls (54)

3.30 pm          Limousin inspection

Wednesday 9th February

8 am               Show of Limousin females followed by bulls

12 noon          Show of British Blue followed by Salers

1 pm               Sale of Limousin bulls (148) followed by British Blue bulls (7), Blonde bulls (2), Salers bulls (17) followed by Limousin females (15), Salers females (24) to include an important Draft sale of 16 maiden and yearling heifers from The Cumbrian herd

Sunday 20th February

9 am               Simmental bull inspection

12.30 pm        Charolais bull inspection

5 pm               Show of Simmental females

Monday 21st February

8 am               Show of Simmental bulls

12 noon          Show of Charolais females followed by bulls

1 pm               Sale of Simmental bulls (176) followed by Simmental females (49) including Drafts from the following herds – Dirnanean (6), Skerrington (12), Westridge (7)

Tuesday 22nd February

10.30 am        Sale of Charolais bulls (275) followed by Charolais females (22)


Aberdeen AngusMr W McLaren Jnr, Netherton Farm, Blackford, Perthshire.

Beef Shorthorn - Mr. D.J. Steen, Whitecastles Farm, Corrie, Lockerbie.

British Blue - Mr Kevin Watret, Northfield Park, Annan, Dumfries.

Salers - Alan Howatson, Barncaughla, Newton Stewart.

Simmental - Mr S Stronach, Berrylees Farm, Keith, Banff.

Limousin - Mr D Graham, Mains of Burnbank Farm, Blairdrummond.

Charolais - Mr John Christie, Nethercarse Farm, Kippen.

Tel:  01786 473055

Email: stirling@uagroup.co.uk