Basic improvements in the grade achieved by lamb carcasses could put millions into the pockets of Scottish lamb consumers, says Quality Meat Scotland chairman, Donald Biggar.

At present 50% of Scots lambs failed to meet processors’ specification and improving the grade of carcasses from R4L to R2 could be worth £4m to the industry, he said.

Announcing a three-year Scottish Sheep Strategy, Mr Biggar said the previous subsidy regime based on sheep numbers had contributed to the problem of highly variable lamb.

And Perthshire sheep farmer Maimie Paterson, chairman of the new QMS strategy, said the Scottish sheep industry had been operating “well below its true potential” for far too long.

She said producing a more uniform carcass would be one of the key aims of the QMS strategy to encourage farmers to be more involved in performance recording and improve consistency of grading.