An assessment of performance of Scottish flocks was made using DAFS census data to impute a lambing percentage. Results showed levels of lambing percentage were generally below potential and threatened viability of hill units.
A postal survey of hill farmers' views on constraints to production was carried out in the Grampian region of Scotland. Farmers were asked for five technical problems in order of importance that they faced and also what management changes, new products or information had affected or would affect their sheep farming. Analysis of 120 replies from farmers owning about 500 000 ewes indicated farmers recognised three major problems. These were tick-borne disease, pneumonia and abortion which accounted for 30% of the problems. Farmers viewed the next most important problems in order of importance as footrot, broken mouth, predators, head fly, barrenness, neonatal deaths, worms, photosensitisation, vaginal prolapse, mastitis, feeding costs, hypothermia, bracken, orf, fluke, pregnancy toxaemia and marketing difficulties. These accounted for a further 40% of problems. Farmers assessed the most important technical advances to be (in order of importance) pregnancy scanning, fluke and worm drenches, pasteurella vaccine, feeding ewes before lambing, feed blocks, clostridial vaccines, land improvement and trace element supplementation. An assessment of technological answers to farmers' problems indicated that, although some technical problems remained unsolved, many practical solutions had been demonstrated but not yet fully taken up by farmers.