Blizzards sweeping Scotland at the height of lambing season have been described as a major disaster.
Thousands of buildings were destroyed across north east Scotland by snowfall earlier in the year, and temporary buildings are still in construction as Glenlivet and Strathdon suffer under 15 inches of snow and waist-deep drifts with lambing reaching its height.
NFU Scotland’s hill farming committee chairman Sandy Tulloch who farms at 1000ft near Banchory in Deeside described the situation as “horrendous”.
His 600 Lleyn ewes started lambing 10 days ago but he faced an “explosion” of births during the worst of the weather.
He added: “They’re hardy sheep and good mothers but the wet, heavy snow conditions out here couldn’t be any worse. We’re doing our best to rig up some temporary shelter in Dutch Barns but we can’t take them all inside. The Land Rover got stuck in drifts at 4am this morning and I walked out onto the hill to found three dead lambs.”
Power was down across much of the area and throughout the region stocks of straw and fodder are now in desperately short supply. Charlie Adam, who farms between Alford and Tarland, said prices had gone through the roof. He added: “The issue is no longer what does it cost, but rather can we get it at all?”
His views were echoed by NFU Scotland’s regional chairman Tom Johnston at Huntly who had put his cattle out to grass earlier in the week but took them back into shelter when the snow was forecast.
“We had all hoped for an early spring after such a long hard winter but we are now looking at some very serious cost implications for Scottish agriculture,” he said.