27 March 1998

Scots grass let prices down

AVERAGE prices have been down between 10% and 25% at the first sales in the annual round of grass park lets in Scotland.

So far, the sales have been in the south of the country but are thought to set the trend for the rest of the season.

At Ayr, the average price for 846 acres was £68.50, a drop of £13.50 or 16.5%. Significantly, the entry was double that of last year. A spokesman for auctioneer James Craig said some people were having their grass valued in the open market and others were letting out more of their ground.

"Regular lets which go to the same bidder each year did not change very much in price but it was difficult to find interest in new lets," he said.

At nearby Kilmarnock last week it was a rather different story. The entry was doubled at more than 1000 acres, but the new entries were easy to sell and left the final average almost unchanged on the year although like for like lets were about 10% cheaper.

At Lanark, auctioneer Brian Ross reported two sales were rolled into one, and let 1800 acres to average £65, £15 or 19% down on the year.

"We had almost twice as much grass to let and demand was rather better than we had anticipated. All the talk was that we wouldnt be able to give grass away but it all cleared and we got as high as £187 an acre," said Mr Ross. &#42