Jobs are set to go at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) sites as part of a major redesign of veterinary disease surveillance services.
SRUC is expected to announce details of its plans later on Wednesday, but BBC Scotland understands more than 30 posts are at risk.
Staff employed in Aberdeen, Ayr and Dumfries are expected to bear the brunt of the planned cuts.
Jobs are also under threat at sites in Inverness, St Boswells and Perth.
The facilities are involved with post-mortem examinations on dead livestock as part of work to monitor for and combat animal diseases in Scotland.
Laboratory and administrative roles are at risk.
The union Prospect has expressed concern at the impact on its members, and has warned of the burden a reduced service would place on some farming communities already struggling with financial and other pressures.
Union spokesman Clive Davey said there was uncertainty over who would pay for the delivery of dead livestock for post-mortems carried out at facilities miles away from those currently available.
He said: “If a farmer has to pick up the cost and is already struggling then they are probably not going to send the animal in for post mortem.
“Therefore we are not going to have accurate disease numbers within Scotland. You will get skewed reports.”