24 October 1997

Highlands deal

defies Brussels

ONE Scottish farming family isnt letting the Brussels-imposed beef export ban get in the way of doing business with overseas buyers.

Angus and Michelle Macdonald have sold three spring-born, female Highland calves to Dutchman Svend Nielsen.

The deal, which was done at last weeks Highland Cattle Society event at Oban, will see the stock stay on their farm on the island of North Uist until the ban is lifted.

If it remains in place – and the calves cannot be exported – the hope is we will be able to get their calves across, says Mr Macdonald.

The highest priced was 1100gns, with the other two at 700gns. But the ban continues to take its toll on values, says Mr Macdonald.

In the early 1990s – with demand strong from France, Germany and parts of Switzerland – some of these calves were worth nearer £2000, he says.

But the breed remains liked for its hardiness and its tastiness. "Its some of the tastiest beef in the world," says Mr Macdonald.

The Oban event saw heifer calves average £213. Other female averages were £335 for yearlings, £517 for two-year-olds, £773 for three-year-olds and £1050 for cows.n