Farming Scotland Magazine (July - August 2021 Edition)

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Proud to support Scottish farming, and agriculture throughout the five nations

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Flavour of Scotland 16

Oysters and Oat Milk

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arable & root crops Re-introduction of sugar beet to Scotland takes significant editor's bit step forward Keep it local I have no intention whatsoever to buy hormone injected beef and lamb from the other side of the world. If we are serious about saving our planet, this kind of nonsense has to stop. There is also a moral issue here about animal welfare that the current UK Government don’t seem too bothered about, and we should all reject this mindset. I have seen lamb from Peru in my local supermarket in the past, and even today, I still struggle to find locally produced Scottish lamb in this same store! In Britain, we produce our farmed produce to very high standards, and in Scotland we pride ourselves in the excellence of our end product, and this is the same for all the home nations. Can the same be said of intensively farmed meat from Australia? The clear answer is no. While the UK Government is too busy looking after its friends and cronies as well as their financial backers, they are shafting our farmers and fisherfolk. ‘Keep it local’ will be my own personal mantra from now on, supporting only my local farmers here in Scotland and throughout Britain. Throughout these islands we have great farmed produce, let us all support each other and reject the UK Governments attitude to the dumbing down of food standards and animal welfare. I will continue to support our farmers, it’s just a pity those in power don’t seem to give a damn!

Slàinte, Athole.


The re-introduction of sugar beet production to Scotland – a move that could support national climate change targets, create green jobs, and unlock new economic opportunities – has taken a significant step forward after the pilot project laying its foundations received new funding. With the first successful crop in half a century harvested earlier this year, the consortium behind the sugar beet initiative – which includes the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), SAC Consulting, and Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) – has secured a funding boost from Scottish Enterprise to analyse its potential environmental, societal, and economic impact. The study will examine the widespread benefits that are expected to follow on from the crop’s return to Scotland. Sugar beet is seen as a key building block for the development of sustainable supply chains and

a ‘bioeconomy’, which uses natural materials instead of petrochemical compounds in manufacturing. A local source of sugar beet could pave the way for the development of an ethanol-producing biorefinery in Grangemouth – the hub of Scotland’s chemicals and petrochemical processing industries – and later support a fully functioning bio-based chemicals industry.

Sugar beet can be used in the production of ethanol as a natural and sustainable[1] substitute for petroleum-based chemicals used in a range of household goods, as well as antibiotics and therapeutic proteins. Demand for ethanol in Scotland is expected to double in the coming years to more than 100 million litres, yet all of the country’s supply is currently imported from Europe.

New fungicide in development shown to boost wheat yield by more than 1 t/ha in trials A new foliar fungicide being developed in the UK by Syngenta has been found in field trials to deliver more than 1 t/ ha in extra wheat yield, as well as yield increases in barley even in the absence of disease, the company’s experts have revealed. The new active ingredient, AdepidynTM Technology, is already registered in 29 countries outside the EU, including in North and South America, says

Syngenta UK fungicide portfolio manager, David Ranner. Now, it has also been submitted for UK registration, he says, initially for use in winter and spring crops of wheat, barley, oats, triticale and rye. “The AdepidynTM Technology molecule is an SDHI fungicide but is in a new group within the existing class of SDHIs,” Mr Ranner explains. “The molecule contains distinct parts. One

part is associated with longlasting activity. Another part is associated with potency against key diseases. “In particular, trials have shown that AdepidynTM Technology has delivered a step change in potency against the key diseases of Septoria tritici in wheat and net blotch and Ramularia in barley. It has also been shown to provide robust potency against Rhynchosporium

arable & root crops

In my view By John Cameron Balbuthie, Kilconquhar, Fife

Just as we thought the fallout from Brexit could not get any worse – it has!

in barley, and against Fusarium head blight in wheat.” Syngenta fungicide technical manager, Jason Tatnell, says as well as the AdepidynTM Technology molecule having been shown to deliver high potency against Septoria tritici in the laboratory, it has also given high levels of control in field trials.

“Trials have shown that an AdepidynTM Technology treatment applied at the important flag leaf or T2 timing produced clearly visible reductions in Septoria compared with alternative SDHI/azole combinations, including newer chemistry,” Mr Tatnell explains. “More importantly, this super-power performance has been reflected in increased yields.

Focus on nutrition for improved forage maize crop yields Achieving the highest yields possible from your forage maize programme can be dependent on many things. One area in which we do have control is through establishing a robust nutrient management programme. Philip Cosgrave, Country Grassland Agronomist at Yara,

offered his advice on getting the most from your forage maize. “All nutrients play an important role in plant growth,” says Philip. “Some species need higher levels of certain micronutrients however, making deficiencies that result in loss of yield and quality more likely.

It has become increasingly clear that the Prime Minister is determined to secure a tariff free trade deal with Australia. He has made it clear that he would like to achieve this before the G7 summit in Cornwall on 11th June. Whether or not he achieves that deadline is academic. The real fear is that if that deal is achieved at all it will be bad news for the Scottish – indeed British – Livestock Industry. Bearing in mind the conditions and scale of Beef and Sheep production in Australia it is obvious that without the balancing effect of widely used tariff controls, Scottish Livestock producers will be under pressure. The real fear however is that these imports will not be matched by the high standards faced by home producers. The use of certain chemicals and also growth promoters – both banned in the UK – creates an immediate unfair advantage for the imported product. It doesn’t help that previous assurances from – among others – the International Trade Secretary – Liz Truss and indeed the Prime Minister – that the Government would never agree to any Trade Agreement which would undermine home producers – have we heard that before! As if that were not bad enough, - we now have a reported reaction from a senior Scottish civil servant that – in order to make the necessary contribution to climate change and carbon emissions we will require to have the Scottish Beef Herd reduced from 1.2 million head to 900,000 head. When did we last have a food famine in Scotland!

To conclude this edition’s dismal vein, - we have just had the official announcement from the retiring Scottish Government that the average farm incomes in Scotland for the year 2019/20 were down by around 36% with the lowest sectors being the LFA Sheep farms with an average income just over £11,000. The LFA Beef sector did little better with an average income of around £14,500. An unfortunate repercussion of these trends is that these two sectors are paramount in supporting the social fabric of these remote areas and the people living there. Finally following the Scottish elections we say farewell to Fergus Ewing MSP as our Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs. Appointments come and go – as always but we have much to be thankful for in the contribution to Scottish Agriculture which the industry received under his guidance. Apart from his wide knowledge he also had an unfailing sense of humour – a necessary ingredient these days! We await with interest to see how his successor copes with our present stream of problems. We wish her well. *Since writing this article the Prime Minister has confirmed a new Free Trade Agreement with Australia but has said ‘British Farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards. The critical question of course is what is covered by ‘other safeguards’? Time will tell!

arable & root crops Zinc and phosphate in particular should be monitored.“ Phosphorous Phosphorus is crucial for the crop’s early stages. Many soils have a limited supply; crops which are slow to establish often struggle due to low availability. Tests performed by Yara Analytical Services in 20192020 showed that 51% of maize leaf samples were deficient in P and 45% of maize soil samples were P index 2 or lower. Foliar application of phosphate is the best way to avoid early deficiencies. The P supply will also help the crop to develop a better root system at these critical stages, supporting later growth. “Fresh applications of P help ensure availability and avoid deficiency,” says Philip. “Without it, the plant will become dwarfed and thin with dark green leaves. By the time this discolouration shows, yield has already been compromised.” Zinc Analysis also showed 53% of leaf samples as deficient in zinc, which plays a role in protein

synthesis and structural integrity of plant cells. When deficient, the crop suffers from stunted growth and is far more prone to invasion by fungi and bacteria. The most common symptoms of zinc deficiency in maize include the appearance of white/yellow stripes on young leaves and shortened internodes. Necrotic spots and reddish colour may also develop as the deficiency worsens. “A trial in which a product containing zinc was applied as a foliar spray showed notable benefits,” says Philip. “Five weeks after application, the maize plants were harvested. A three-fold increase was observed for both shoot and root weight, demonstrating the powerful effect foliar applications of the right treatments can have.” The price of poor nutrition “Pay attention to foliar nutrition in your maize crop, especially phosphate and zinc, for higher yields and better quality forage,” adds Philip. “Doing so will not only improve results but ultimately recoup on the cost of investment.“ “For example, farmers that we surveyed estimated that

proactively using a product containing the right nutrients at the correct timing improved

crop yield by over 20%. We just can’t afford to ignore nutrient deficiency in maize.”

New Orondis Plus adds extra for disease protection in onion and lettuce The launch of new Orondis Plus will give onion and lettuce growers


a valuable new tool to add to fungicide programmes this season.

The inherently high potency of the active, oxathiapiprolin (OXTP), in Orondis Plus, used in combination with Amistar, has proven highly effective in preventing key diseases in both crops, including downy mildew and botrytis, advises Syngenta Technical Manager, Michael Tait. For both onions and lettuce applications, Orondis Plus will be supplied in a co-pack with Amistar. It is imperative to always use the two in combination. “Primarily it is a resistance management strategy to protect the immense value of OXTP. Adding Amistar further broadens

the spectrum of disease control and brings the physiological effects on plant health of benefit to the crop,” he added. The approved rates of use enable three applications of Orondis Plus per crop in onions, shallots and garlic, at 0.2 l/ ha with 1 l/ha of Amistar. For lettuce, growers are permitted two applications at a rate of 0.15 l/ha Orondis Plus and 0.75 l/ha of Amistar. The action of Orondis Plus sees rapid uptake into the leaf structure, which ensures good rainfastness and avoids wash-off for integration into irrigation scheduling. Mr Tait highlighted the product’s activity is principally

protectant against disease germination and preventing ingress into the plant. It breaks down lipid movement between cell walls of targeted disease pathogens, which works in tandem with the respiratory inhibition action of Amistar. With the high level of protection offered, he recommended that, in onions, Orondis Plus would be used early in the spray programme, again mid-season and, because of the relatively short phi of 14 days, near harvest. In lettuce, the two permitted applications should be made before disease becomes established, probably early to mid-season in the programme. Whilst OXTP has previously been available for onions, the Orondis Plus label now provides 30% more active per application. The combination with Amistar adds to the activity against downy mildew, while at the same time providing control of a broader spectrum of diseases.

arable & root crops New hybrid barley could strike a chord with growers in the north and west and on heavy land A new hybrid winter feed barley being launched this autumn, which combines high yield with high grain quality, could hold particular appeal for growers in the north and the west of the country, as well as on heavier land, says its breeder. SY Thunderbolt, from Syngenta, is new on the AHDB Recommended List (RL) for 2021/22, where it has a UK treated yield of 107% of control varieties and a grain specific weight of 69.6 kg/hl, says Syngenta seeds technical manager, Paul Roche. This should give growers high confidence for achieving

grain buyers’ specific weight thresholds, he says, particularly since further AHDB data showed SY Thunderbolt delivered above 69 kg/hl consistently over the last three years. But as well as its headline figures, Mr Roche says its consistent yields of 107% across all UK regions, combined with it being one of the earliest maturing varieties on the AHDB RL, could make SY Thunderbolt a particularly attractive option in the north and west regions. Further data available on the AHDB RL also shows it has the highest yield

figure on heavy soils, at 111% of control varieties, he points out. “We know that winter barley matures several weeks later in the north,” says Mr Roche, “so early ripening is important here, as well as in the west. “An early harvest also helps to spread summer workloads and gives an opportunity for early cashflow. It is also especially useful if following barley with oilseed rape. “The oilseed rape price is very healthy at the moment, and soil moisture is critical for the crop’s germination. If you can get oilseed rape up and away early while soil

arable & root crops moisture is still available it stands a better chance against the first wave of cabbage stem flea beetle.” For growers on heavy land which is typically favoured by black-grass, Mr Roche says the combination of the top yield figure of SY Thunderbolt on heavy soils and the ability of hybrid barley to

suppress black-grass with its hybrid vigour, means SY Thunderbolt looks a good fit in this situation as well. Hybrid barley has also been shown to suppress ryegrass and brome, he says, and competes not only through its vigorous growth above ground but also through its vigorous roots.

Blight control for today and tomorrow Blight is the bane of potato growing and experts warn that, long-term, pressure in the UK is only set to rise. We asked a specialist agronomist, a grower and a crop protection manufacturer about best-practice now and in the future Together with his business partner at Spud Agronomy, John Sarup, is responsible for over 11,000 acres of potatoes across


Northern England up to the Scottish Borders. “Getting to the source of the inoculum is key,” he says. “Usually that’s about controlling volunteers, and growth on potato dumps. With the loss of CIPC, we’re turning to maleic hydroxide, a sprout suppressant, which is an effective active for controlling volunteers. “The next step is understanding which genotypes

arable & root crops you’re dealing with. As soon as blight appears in your crop, take a sample and send it in via the ‘Fight again Blight’ initiative. It will help you make informed decisions about what products you can use safely without causing any resistance issues.” Despite the delayed start to this year’s season, AHDB have already recorded the first incidence of 2021. Several patches of the disease were seen in a crop of Maris Peer in Kent when the sample was collected on 26th May. Overall, John describes the current pressure further north as ‘low’. “Soils have been so cold and wet that generally speaking,

we’re two to three weeks behind. Crops are now growing very quickly but they are dry. Even at night there doesn’t seem to be too much leaf wetness. I’ve some early crops in Cheshire which have relatively large canopies at 50% ground cover and we’ve started applications. Currently it’s about preventing the development of blight, but as the crop moves into rapid growth stage that’s when we’ll start with products that protect the growing point.” John adapts fungicide programmes based on a variety factors, including product performance and cost.

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arable & root crops Potato herbicide strategies affected by weather conditions

A prolonged period of dry weather followed by early May’s rainfall is likely to require a change of herbicide strategy for potato growers this season. The bulk of weed control in the sector is carried out using residual chemistry applied to ridges shortly after planting. But with April’s average rainfall dropping below 15mm – when growers typically see 72mm – weeds have not had the moisture to germinate and some growers have seen ridges degrade.


Corteva Agriscience’s Field Technical Manager, Craig Chisholm, says this scenario means recent rainfall – or irrigation – will stimulate both surface weeds and those coming from depth. He said: “The dry, cold weather means potato growers are in a different position this year when it comes to weed control and strategies will have to be adapted to 2021’s conditions. “Dry ridges will lose soil from their sides, causing disruption of the seal required for residual

herbicides to be effective, and will allow weeds to germinate and grow away unchecked once stimulated by the arrival of moisture.” Leaving weeds unchecked can hit yield and slow down harvesting machinery, but a greater threat may come from increasing the risk of blight through sheltering leaves or contributing to a more favourable microclimate. Craig added: “The aim is always to start with a clean field then tackle any late germination but, with such limited rainfall, a

more effective course of action would be to apply a herbicide when weeds begin to actively grow.” Titus, containing the active ingredient rimsulfuron, targets the key problem weeds and will be an invaluable tool in a dry season when pre-emergence activity will be negatively affected. Titus may be used in tank mix with metribuzin, where varieties permit, or alone with a wetter to provide post-emergence activity across all potato varieties, excluding seed crops.

One third of UK OSR crops at risk from turnip yellows virus

OSR growers should be aware of the risk from TuYV as results from a recent survey confirms that one third of susceptible UK crops are infected, with severe implications on yields, warns plant breeders Limagrain UK. Turnips yellows virus (TuYV) is transmitted by aphids and it is believed that 70% of the most common aphid, peach potato aphids (Myzus persicae) carry it. Work carried out at Brooms Barn a decade ago, showed a 30% yield penalty where levels of the virus were high and infection occurred early in the crop’s life. Since 2015, plant breeders Limagrain have led the way in monitoring levels of TuYV in non-resistant or susceptible crops across the whole of Europe, including the UK. Leaf samples are taken both in the spring and autumn and tested using the standard Elisa test. “We’ve mapped the incidence of TuYV from the UK to Ukraine and seen it build over the years,” notes William

Berry latest research on show at Fruit for the Future 2021

Join scientists at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee on Thursday 15th July (3:00 to 6:30 pm) for the 2021 edition of Fruit for the Future, the annual showcase of soft fruit research including scientific presentations, outdoors demonstrations and walks through experimental plots, presented by the Institute and the Scottish Society for Crop Research. Fruit for the Future is one of the James Hutton Institute’s most successful and longrunning industry events and is aimed at farmers, agronomists, representatives of the food and drink industries, scientists and others interested in soft fruit. After a virtual stint last year, the event is returning to its usual format of in-person fruit walks at the Hutton site in Invergowrie. This year the programme includes: s 3POTTED 7ING $ROSOPHILA SOFT FRUIT CLINIC Gaynor Malloch, James Hutton

Institute: Bring a 200g sample of fruit (raspberries, strawberries, cherries etc) and Hutton staff will test it for the presence of SWD. Results will be sent to delegates in confidence. s 0ROGRESS FROM THE 2"# RASPBERRY BREEDING PROGRAMME Nikki Jennings, James Hutton Limited: Come and see our most advanced floricane and primocane genotypes from the RBC Breeding Programme, including new variety Glen Mor and James Hutton’s first two primocane raspberries, Skye and Lewis. s )NVESTIGATING THE ENVIRONMENTAL TRIGGERS OF FRUIT DROP IN CHERRY CROPS Alison Karley, James Hutton Institute: Hear about the CherryBerry project, which aims to determine the environmental causes of yield variability in cherry crops. s 0ROGRESS AND PLANS FROM THE BLUEBERRY BREEDING

PROGRAMME Susan McCallum, James Hutton Institute: Entering the fifth year of fruit evaluations, selections have been identified with superior flavour, size, yield and firmness and trials in the Netherlands have shown excellent climatic tolerance. s !N UPDATE ON THE INTRODUCTION OF HONEYBERRY CROPS TO 3COTLAND Louise Gamble, James Hutton Institute: The talk will offer an overview of the emerging honeyberry industry in Scotland, which has over 100 acres in cultivation and evidences a better understanding of the cultivation practices required for this climate and which varieties are most suitable. The event is free to attend, but pre-registration is essential due to COVID regulations. Book your place at

The James Hutton Institute is a world-leading scientific research organisation working to resolve global challenges in food, climate, energy and water security. The Institute works in partnership with people, organisations and governments to enhance sustainable environmental, social and economic development to deliver practical solutions for our shared future.

arable & root crops New rapid test kit to preserve phosphate supplies

Charlton, arable marketing manager for Limagrain. “We’re getting to a situation where TuYV is now endemic across Europe, and no longer confined to hotspots.” Sampling is carried out twice during the growing season, with an initial small-scale survey conducted in the autumn, followed by extensive testing carried out in early spring. Results from this spring’s sampling confirm that one third of all the UK’s non-resistant oilseed rape crops sampled were infected with TuYV. Samples were taken from 26 locations across the British Isles. The highest rates of infection, which were as much as 81-100%, were reported in the Midlands. “Five years ago we would not have seen these cases in the north and west, which just goes to show how TuYV is becoming increasingly widespread, and is now endemic in the UK OSR crop, irrespective of region.” The link between high numbers of aphids in the autumn and corresponding levels of infection is clear, explains Mr Charlton. “Infection usually occurs in September to October when aphids are still flying; the earlier a crop is infected, the more severe the symptoms tend to be with a harsher yield penalty as the plants have less seeds/ pods.” “Early drilled crops that are more open, corresponding with mild autumnal conditions, are at the highest risk.”


It is reported that global phosphate sources may only last 30-100 years at current usage rates, ending the supply of phosphate fertilisers but a new rapid in-field soil test kit could help farmers to more precisely utilise this valuable nutrient. Designed as part of the Phosfield project, funded by ERDF’s Agri-Tech Cornwall programme, the test kit provides precise results within just 20 minutes - a massive improvement on the several-day turnaround by laboratories. “Most farmers test their soils for phosphate every three to five years,” explains Dr Susan Tandy, soil scientist at Rothamsted Research. “They usually take several samples from across the field and amalgamate them to get an average reading.” However, the level of phosphate will vary across fields, and more accurate GPS-located testing would enable farmers to apply fertiliser at variable rates - and thereby achieve more consistent yields. More importantly, phosphate availability can change over time and depends on the soil type, so by testing more frequently and knowing the soil type farmers can be even more accurate in their fertiliser application, she adds. The test has been three years in development, and has been trialled in Ghana, where it could

have significant benefits. “The technique would be extremely useful in developing countries as they have limited lab access to test their soils, meaning the application of expensive fertiliser is both financially risky and may not match crop requirement,” explains Dr Tandy. Having nailed down the scientific process using Cornish soil samples, the researchers worked with Vital Spark Creative to produce an analytical kit which would be relatively easy to use in the field. “There are lots of different elements to the kit; if you’re not a chemist it’s pretty involved,” says Chris Booker, director at Vital Spark Creative. “We tried to make it user friendly, so that farmers can easily use it on the farm.” So how does it work? “You put a small soil sample into the

bottle and mix it with an extraction solution before passing it through a filter,” he explains. “You then add various chemicals to get the final result, which is analysed in a colorimeter so the result is easy to read.” The results are very precise; but can also be translated into a phosphate index if desired. “The attraction of it, beyond speed, is that this test may well prove more accurate for different soil types,” says independent agronomist Tim Martyn. “The phosphate fertiliser recommendations in the Nutrient Management Guide (RB209) are not soil type specific. Given the limited world phosphate supplies, more accurate measurement means we can be much more efficient with these resources, particularly in developing countries. It’s really exciting.”

arable & root crops Fertiliser spreader checks should be prioritised to reap financial rewards

It is reported that global phosphate sources may only last 30-100 years at current usage rates, ending the supply of phosphate fertilisers - but a new rapid in-field soil test kit could help farmers to more precisely utilise this valuable nutrient. Designed as part of the Phosfield project, funded by ERDF’s Agri-Tech Cornwall programme, the test kit provides precise results within just 20 minutes - a massive improvement on the severalday turnaround by laboratories. “Most farmers test their soils for phosphate every three to five years,” explains Dr Susan Tandy, soil scientist at Rothamsted Research. “They usually take several samples from across the field and amalgamate them to get an average reading.” However, the level of phosphate will vary across fields, and more accurate GPSlocated testing would enable farmers to apply fertiliser at variable rates - and thereby achieve more consistent yields. More importantly, phosphate availability can change over time

and depends on the soil type, so by testing more frequently and knowing the soil type farmers can be even more accurate in their fertiliser application, she adds. The test has been three years in development, and has been trialled in Ghana, where it could have significant benefits. “The technique would be extremely useful in developing countries as they have limited lab access to test their soils, meaning the application of expensive fertiliser is both financially risky and may not match crop requirement,” explains Dr Tandy. Having nailed down the scientific process using Cornish soil samples, the researchers worked with Vital Spark Creative to produce an analytical kit which would be relatively easy to use in the field. “There are lots of different elements to the kit; if you’re not a chemist it’s pretty involved,” says Chris Booker, director at Vital Spark Creative. “We tried to make it user friendly, so that farmers can easily use it on the farm.” So how does it work? “You put a small soil sample into the



Native Oysters restored to the Firth of Clyde Restoration efforts underway placing ‘ocean superheroes’ under marina pontoons in Scotland

1,300 native oysters have been returned to waters in the Firth of Clyde, as part of an ambitious restoration project to bring back these ‘ocean superheroes’ from the brink of extinction. The Wild Oysters Project, a partnership between ZSL (Zoological Society of London), Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) and British Marine aims to help restore healthy, resilient coastal waters around the UK. The Wild Oysters Project, a three-year ambition, was awarded £1.18m by the Postcode Dream Trust. The Dream Fund, run by Postcode Dream Trust, gives organisations the opportunity to bring ambitious, innovative and collaborative projects to life. Earning themselves the title ‘ocean superheroes’, native oysters (Ostreedulis) provide great benefits to the oceans health, including filtering pollutants from our seas and acting as an important habitat for marine wildlife. Declining by 95% due to human activities, native oyster populations have continued to decrease since the 1800s, meaning their benefits to the ocean have been lost. In a bid to restore native oyster populations, and in turn see the return of healthy coastal waters, nurseries filled with oysters will be suspended underneath marina pontoons in Largs Yacht Haven and Fairlie Quay Marina. The nurseries create a micro habitat where the oysters can reproduce, much like a maternity ward to the next generation of oysters. These oysters will begin reproducing over the next few months, releasing millions of baby 16

oysters, known as larvae, into the ocean. Celine Gamble, Wild Oysters Project Manager, ZSL, said; “The Firth of Clyde is an important area for marine life and with just a handful of known

oyster populations remaining across the 4000km2 sea area of The Clyde, we have an exciting opportunity contribute to the restoration of local native oyster populations here in the West of Scotland. Thanks to players

of People’s Postcode Lottery, we can work to restore the native oyster population to support healthy, resilient, coastal waters in west Scotland”. For more information visit

Growing a market for Scotland’s oat milk producers Exploring the opportunities for Scottish oat growers and businesses within the milk alternatives market was the focus of a recent Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) group which is in the process of establishing an Association of Independent Oat Milk Producers in Scotland.

The project, which was supported by SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College, addressed the need for collaboration and development within the Scottish oat milk sector. Alistair Trail, Senior Consultant with SAC Consulting who facilitated the group, said:

“The group started because SAC Consulting was receiving a lot of enquires from farmers and businesses interested in developing a Scottish oat milk from seeing the success of other brands. “There are currently no largescale manufacturers of oat milk in Scotland. A small number of


Scotland The Brand

What Is It Going To Take? By Ruth Watson

micro businesses in Scotland are producing perishable fresh oat milk and the logistical challenges of cold-chain delivery mean that these businesses are only supplying their individual, local markets. “By collaborating, as part of the Association of Independent Oat Milk Producers member businesses will be able to get involved in several areas which can help the sector grow in Scotland.” The project, which ran from August to December last year, consisted of meetings with various guest speakers, with an aim of providing an

opportunity for collaboration, knowledge exchange and to discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities they face. “The industry in Scotland is in its infancy and must compete with large international brands like Alpro and Oatley. By collaborating, the individual niche manufacturers will be able to share resources and help the fledging industry compete against the large multinational competitors,” said Alistair. For further information on the Association of Independent Oat Milk Producers contact: Alistair Trail, SAC Consulting at

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A deal now has been struck between the UK and Australian Governments. A deal which the Australian farmers are rubbing their hands over. Other nations are demanding they get the same terms the Australians are set to enjoy. Farming leaders are warning this could finish family farming, crofting, and smallholding as we know it. The small-scale stewardship of the land which has provided for us over countless centuries, has sustained to this day breeds of livestock which ran with our stone age ancestors, could be wiped away. Don’t get me wrong, given Scotland has lost tarifffree access to the markets we enjoyed with the European Union, the need for trade deals is pressing. But whatever happened to ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’? Most negotiations take between 7 – 12 years to ratify for good reason. The howls of anguish emanating from Lord Frost, the man who negotiated the Brexit border in the Irish Sea, are an example of a legally-binding

deal signed in haste being a source of immediate regret. As our farmers face restrictions on shipping livestock from islands to the mainland, Aussie farmers load huge lorries full of creatures travelling vast distances just to get off the farm. While Scottish farmers are rightly proud of animal husbandry and have built a global reputation on full-life farm assurance, our Antipodean counterparts flay the backend off unnumbed sheep in a process called mulesing. Not to mention use of insectides which would make Scottish consumers baulk, if they only knew. Without farmers, we don’t eat, and we all need to eat. Food security is national security. We are faced with a UK Government which seems prepared to outsource food production and rewild our rural landscapes without thought for the people who are a part of that landscape. So, I ask, in frustration, fear, and anger, what is it going to take for us to stand up for our homes, our communities, our future?


food & drink The world’s first biodynamic whisky to be bottled this summer Ireland’s Waterford Distillery has confirmed that its Biodynamic: Luna – the first whisky anywhere in the world to go on sale made from solely biodynamic barley – will be bottled this summer. The whisky, which is the vision of CEO Mark Reynier, has been in development for several years. It will be the second instalment in Waterford Whisky’s Arcadian series, which investigates how historic farming and growing techniques impact the flavour of whisky. The first instalment, Organic: Gaia 1.1, was released last year to critical acclaim. Waterford Whisky has distilled around 500 barrels of spirit made from local biodynamic barley, and annually incorporates biodynamics as part of its ongoing ambition to create the most flavoursome spirit possible. Biodynamic: Luna’s arrival will be the culmination of Mark Reynier’s project to bring biodynamics out of the wine world and into whisky, which has required three Irish growers – Trevor Harris, John McDonnell and Alan Mooney – to apply biodynamic agricultural practices to barley. An advanced and esoteric form of farming, often described as “uber-organic” or “organic plus”, the principles of biodynamic farming were first discussed in a series of

agricultural lectures by Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924. They assume that each farm is its own self-sustaining organism and that elements including soil, crops, animals, people and the ‘spirit of place’ are all interconnected. The approach includes some noteworthy methods that Waterford Distillery’s local growers have adopted for the production of biodynamic barley. They include: burying cow horns filled with manure or mineral silica under the soil during the winter or summer months respectively, ploughing fields with horses rather than mechanical machinery, and sowing barley seeds according to the position of the moon. The purpose of all the elements combined is to produce the healthiest possible soil and thus crops - the ultimate regenerative agriculture. When applied to barley, the very source of malt whisky’s complex flavour, the Waterford Whisky team believes it will contribute to a more flavoursome whisky. Mark Reynier, CEO and Founder of Waterford Distillery – who spent more than 20 years in the winemaking industry before another 20 in whisky – explains: “Many of the world’s very greatest winemakers follow biodynamic farming to produce the most exquisite flavours. The Burgundian legends Romanée

Conti, Leroy, Leflaive, Trapet and Sauzet. Alsacians Zind Humbrecht, Ostertag and Zusselin; And the mighty chateaux of Latour, Lafite, Yquem, Climens, Pontet Canet, Angelus, Palmer from Bordeaux. “But nobody has released a whisky made from purely locally-grown biodynamic barley – until now. “Malt whisky already is the most complex spirit in the world thanks to the barley from which it is distilled, and with a biodynamic cultivation regime there is the ultimate opportunityy to enhance its flavour. At Waterford, we are on a mission to create the most complex, unique and profound whisky, and biodynamics is the next step on that journey. It makes little financial sense, but for taste – for taste alone – it is the holy grail. Simply put: the healthiest possible soil equals the best possible flavour.” The influence of biodynamics on the life and structure of the soil is undeniable: a recent study by Professor Magali Delmas at UCLA analysed tasting scores given to more than 128,000 French wines from 1995 to 2015 finding that biodynamic wines scored 11.8 points more compared to conventional or sustainable wines. Unlike other whisky producers, Waterford Distillery’s credentials are built on the

demonstrated concept of terroir, in which factors such as weather, soil and microclimate influence the flavours found in crops and the products made from them. A distillery-led academic study, published in peer-review journal Foods earlier this year, revealed conclusive evidence that terroir is found in barley and whisky.

Spanish-inspired fresh white cheese turns Gold and wins Best British cheese La Fresca Margarita wins Best British Cheese at the 2021 Virtual Cheese Awards national final beating off 100s of cheeses made in all four corners of the UK Joint silver was awarded to Harvey & Brockless by Cellar 18

Dairy for its goats cheese Blanche and Butler’s Farmhouse Cheeses for its oak-fired Red Leicester Smouldering Ember, Wyke Farms was awarded bronze with its Ivy’s Reserve Vintage Cheddar.

The Virtual Cheese Awards was created in 2020 by Sarah de Wit to celebrate and support Britain’s world-leading cheese industry in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic which threatened to decimate the industry.

It was the second year in a row that Somerset cheese producer, Feltham’s Farm has walked away with the top crown at the Virtual Cheese Awards after it won for Renegade Monk in 2020.

food & drink La Fresca Margarita (meaning fresh cheese) is made with pasteurised cow’s milk and was inspired by the cheesemakers’ travels in Latin America and Spain, it comes salted or plain. Margarita is Spanish for “daisy” which grows in abundance on Feltham’s Farm marsh meadow in Somerset. The cheese was developed during lockdown. The five-hour final of the pioneering cheese awards took place on Friday 7th May 2021 hosted by BBC broadcaster and local food and drink champion, Nigel Barden and was beamed online to 1000s of cheese fans who watched the cheese action unfold. Sarah de Wit, co-founder of the Virtual Cheese Awards and Cheese & Dairy consultant said:

“We’re so grateful to everyone who took part in and supported the awards this year, it was a real celebration of all that is brilliant about British cheese. Feltham’s Farm winning for a Spanishinspired fresh cheese just shows how innovative our dairy industry is. They take inspiration from cheeses from around the world and give them a bit of British spice. It’s vitally important that we continue to support our Great British cheese industry by seeking out and buying new and exciting cheeses, which is now so simple with the growth of online cheese shops. We will be donating money from the event to a Specialist Cheesemakers Association bursary fund which will support British cheesemakers of the future.”

The Future of Food Production is Insight KisanHub’s new Dashboards shine a light on the data blind spot in the fresh produce supply chain. Leading Agri-Food software developer KisanHub have launched Reporting and Analytics Dashboards to provide fast, convenient access to businesscritical supply chain data for Producer Groups. The Dashboards aggregate real-time information from

KisanHub’s existing range of agri-data solutions to provide a comprehensive overview of crop progress, weather reports, satellite imagery, stock levels, contracts and more. Replacing spreadsheets and some degree of guesswork, the new update provides one source of truth for any fresh produce supply chain. Disparate data sets from growers and customers

are summarised in one place to provide actionable insights to improve margins, reduce waste and streamline operations. Commercial Managers, Supply Chain Analysts and Procurement Teams can all use the application to make better purchasing decisions, work collaboratively with growers and suppliers and plan distribution with greater accuracy.

The Dashboards also provide useful summaries of contracts and supply KPIs side by side so it is clear to all stakeholders how a season is progressing and where there may be shortfalls or surplus. Raw data can also be downloaded for analysis and reports can be easily shared with customers to provide a clearer picture of contract progress


food & drink or to explain any deviation in quality, yield, or delivery date. Giles Barker, CEO said; “There’s currently a huge information blind spot between planting and when the crop finally turns up at the packhouse. It creates risk and uncertainty for Producer Groups who already operate at low margins while trying to meet the exacting demands of

the supermarket chains. With so much at stake, we’re bringing together our expertise in software and agriculture to make the fresh produce supply chain more predictable. With our new Dashboards, Producer Groups can forecast more accurately and have reliable information to negotiate better commercial terms.”

Lisa Beattie, VP of Product and Engineering added: “The increased focus on sustainability and the need to reduce waste has become a major concern for Producer Groups. Our new Dashboards show what’s on schedule and what’s not. This enables any corrective action to be taken sooner. By reducing waste and optimising their fresh

food supply chain, Producer Groups are clearly showing their commitment to sustainability.” KisanHub is part of a global community of technology innovators serving the food supply chain. Together they share a mission to support one of the world’s most meaningful challenges - how to feed a population of 9 billion by 2050.

Hydroponic farming: a focus on sustainability and innovation Everybody is working hard to contribute to the UK’s net zero target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Manufacturing and engineering, in this regard, is no exception. Innovation, science, and design are critical concepts here, something at the heartbeat of both sectors, and a prime example of this is hydroponic farming. Where previously, the food and


beverage market had to make do with importing sun-kissed fruit and vegetables from around the world, we now have the conditions to meet these needs on UK soil. Allowing us to grow foods such as tomatoes all year round, this soilless farming technique utilises less water than traditional farming as well as fewer materials. It is already taking off as a concept across the UK, with a

staggering 91-hectare project, Thanet Earth, in Kent, producing millions of vine, baby plum, Sunstream and Piccolo tomatoes a week. And as more and more manufacturers get on board with this concept, less foods being imported will see less travel, leading to fewer greenhouse gases and emissions being released into the environment.

Delivering a sustainable food ethic, hydroponic farms may well be in their growth phase in the UK, as well as having some critics, however I believe it to be a significant component of the future food supply chain as we strive towards a net zero target, which lets face it, isn’t an easy challenge to achieve. Overcoming challenges Ultimately, times change and

so do the needs and desires of consumers, and brands respond accordingly, most of the time. And with that, this calls for a need for a design, which requires the help, expertise and craftmanship of the engineering industry. The challenges faced come with the question of resource. And with a widening STEM skills sector, in-house engineering support is increasingly amiss for manufacturers who need to substantiate science with new machinery and systems of operation. That is where expertise across the entirety of the supply chain comes into play, businesses that can deliver 360-degree support across all major market sectors involved in sustainable food production, to the accompanying bioscience involved in its creation. Its why firms like us have spent years incrementally adding to our skillsets, keeping our ears to the ground to respond to marketplace changes that will engineer the world of tomorrow. Innovation, science and increasingly sustainability underpins our manufacturing industry. To lead an altogether healthier lifestyle, we must now recognise the lack of skilled support that if overcome, can help us reach those future net zero targets, a little easier.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next Issue September 2021 FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 140

RSABI helps over 700 people in last financial year In the financial year 2020/21 the agricultural charity RSABI supported over 700 people and their families. RSABI provides emotional, practical and financial support to people in the Scottish agricultural industry and quite often people will need all three types of support to help them through a difficult time in their lives. Over the past few years, RSABI has seen an increasing number of working farmers, crofters and farm workers come to them for support. While sometimes it only takes one or two calls to help someone move forward, oftentimes these cases can be complex and it’s not unusual for a case officer to support someone for over a year. This is reflected in the number of interactions RSABI’s team have with and on behalf of the people they help. In the last financial year

this was 10,000 and includes activities such as helpline calls, research, follow up emails and working with third parties to help resolve issues. RSABI gave direct payments of £300,000 to people in need last year. They’ve also seen a significant increase in the demand for practical and emotional support in recent years. In fact, 67% of people who came to the charity last year

required emotional support – this includes regular calls from one of the team and help to access counselling. RSABI helps put people in touch with third party counsellors, many of whom have a knowledge of agriculture and a lot of people have found this very helpful. If someone is unable to afford counselling, RSABI can look at providing a grant for a block of ten to twelve sessions.

You can find out more about how RSABI can help on their website: The RSABI helpline is open every day from 7am to 11pm on 0300 111 4166.


Health versus natural behaviours in farm animals

Health is the most important factor for wellbeing in animals

Farmers and members of the public want animals to be both healthy and able to express their natural behaviours, according to research comparing the views of both groups. There is also general agreement that when it comes to assessing the overall wellbeing, physical health and productivity of the animals, the level of health provision is most important. The study, by researchers at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), looked at whether there were differences in the overall importance livestock farmers and the public give to health and natural behaviours. It also looked at how these judgements are influenced by the extent to which health issues are minimised and natural behaviours promoted.

Generally, it has been believed that livestock farmers emphasise the importance of keeping their animals healthy and reducing stress, while members of the public are more likely to want farm animals to be able to exhibit their natural behaviours and have access to the outdoors. The study found there were more similarities than differences in the views of the two groups. In addition to wanting animals to be free from health issues and able to express their natural behaviours, the responses from both groups suggested that minimising health issues was seen to be a baseline requirement before any benefits from promoting natural behaviours were gained. However, it found farmers judge situations where health issues are not minimised but

natural behaviours are supported, more negatively than the public. There was also much more variance among farmers in their attitudes to the importance of health and natural behaviours, depending on the sector, production system and farming background. Differences in attitudes among members of the public were also found, with demographic factors potentially playing a role. For instance, having a greater belief in animal mind (sentience) or being vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian increased the likelihood of highly rating natural behaviours as important. The study is based on a survey of more than 800 members of the public across the UK, published in PloS ONE, and a survey of 168 farmers in

the UK and Ireland, published in Frontiers in Animal Science. Dr Belinda Vigors, a social scientist at SRUC and co-author of the study, said: “This study shows that although there are differences between farmers and members of the public, there are also some key similarities. “Importantly, it is very clear both farmers and the public want farm animals to be both healthy and able to express their natural behaviours. “The findings of the study are relevant to better understanding the expectations of farmers and members of the public and what they consider is important for animal welfare.” The survey was funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS).

For more information, visit: 22


Drones: A new age of farming Drones are changing the face of farming, allowing for precision, optimisation, visualisation and application in ways that have never been seen before

Farmers are likely familiar with using drones to map fields and identify issues with soils, yield variability and weeds, but the next revolution could be a game changer for a number of reasons. The recently held Cereals Drone Zone, themed Scout, Seed and Feed: Cover Cropping with Zero Carbon, previewed ground-breaking drones and their capabilities, which could revolutionise some aspects of farming. Although various eastern countries are already using drones to spray crops, this technology is still in its infancy in Europe – largely due to regulations – but the British Drone Consortium is working to change this. “The regulations mean people have been afraid of new technology, but in China and the East they have been happy to embrace it,” says Jim Bishop, director at Red Air Media. “We have spent the past year working out a way to use drones for spraying and are at the point we just need chemical companies on board. We can do anything with a drone.” Here’s a flavour of the companies and their drones that featured at Cereals 2021 last month. Drone Ag Skippy Scout is Drone Ag’s unique crop scouting system, with a drone

taking photos of key points in fields. Able to scout 10ha in five minutes, it can identify weeds and damage to build field reports on crop health, problems and progress. At Cereals, Drone Ag demonstrated Skippy Scout’s automated flight as it collected close up leaf imagery at key points in the arena before seamlessly generating a crop report within minutes. British Drone Consortium XAG’s JetSeed is able to spread seed, fertiliser and plant protection products. The British Drone Consortium (BDC) – as the only organisation with permission to fly this drone in the UK – also showcased at Cereals. The XAG JetSeed is able to precisely propel seeds and fertiliser via stable jets of air to in the desired way. It has an autonomous flight control system and high-accuracy navigation. Its hopper can carry 15-20kg loads at present and can cover around eight-10ha per hour. “One of the biggest issues in this country is farmers not being able to get tractors onto fields in wet weather to sow seeds,” explains Mr Bishop. “Jetseed was designed for use in paddy fields and so is ideal for these conditions. Working with the Government we are aiming to be the first licenced

drone organisation to sow seeds and apply sprays.” The organisation is already working with Turkey to deploy chemicals and salts in the Black Sea to disperse sea snot (pollution) using the drone. Working with other companies, fields can also be mapped and 3D images of crops created to tailor spot application. With the adoption of the technology, farmers will be able to contract in drones and pilots, or get trained up and licenced to use drones themselves through the BDC. Harper Adams Bringing the only V40 drone outside of China to Cereals, Harper Adams University’s National Centre for Precision Farming demonstrated spray drone technology. The V40 is the first of a new generation of drones specifically designed to improve spraying performance. This draws on XAG’s decade of development and millions of hectares sprayed. The key innovation is its double rotor design which brings numerous advantages. The first being that it improves spray penetration into the crop because the airflow below the drone is less turbulent than on older four or eight rotor designs. A second advantage is the size and volume – being reduced by

two-thirds it is lighter and easier to transport. Autospray Systems Supplying both air and groundbased autonomous spray solutions, AutoSpray Systems demonstrated the R150 at Cereals. This is a modular, multi-function platform which can spray crops, cut grass, sow seeds, spread pellets and tow up to one tonne. It has an electric drive train to minimise carbon footprint and noise pollution. It also has an independent electric four-wheel-drive system and differential steering for manoeuvrability with a minimum turning diameter of 0.7 metres. Its 100-litre capacity intelligent spray tank with real-time sensing enables fully autonomous operation and data integration. Dual Engine RTK positioning gives cm-level navigational accuracy with fully automated route recording and repeatability. The R150-ATJ can operate in total darkness and is suitable for 24hr operations. There were also additional drone demonstrations taking place throughout both days outside of the arena, said Ms McEntyre. “The technology on show at this years Cereals event offered farmers the chance to see the future in action and what could be operating on their farm very soon.” 23

Returning in 2021 to Balruddery Farm Potatoes in Practice, the UK’s largest field event for potatoes and a highlight of the season for the sector bringing together variety demonstrations, research and trade exhibits in one place, is set to return on 12 August 2021 to Balruddery Farm (Angus, Dundee DD2 5LJ) with a focus on new varieties and a slightly


different format to allow for social distancing, with the support of event partners James Hutton Institute, Agrii UK, AHDB and SRUC. It’s a welcome comeback for an event that has become an unmissable date in the potato industry calendar. After cancelling the event in 2020,

Potatoes in Practice partners had to take a punt earlier in the year about the likely pandemic conditions by summer, knowing that unless demo plots were selected and planted in good time there would be no field event even if the restrictions were lifted. The need to work around likely or possible limitations on indoor spaces will result in a Potatoes in Practice event with a slightly different appearance, focussing on exhibitor small spaces from which to interact with visitors. For the same reasons, there will be no seminars this year: it’ll be all about the plots, and field exhibits where the trade can interact and re connect to discuss, new varieties, IPM and the challenges of the trading environment in a COVID safe environment. This will also be the first Potatoes in Practice event for many years without the active participation and support of AHDB Potatoes. Following the levy payers’ No vote, the organisation is being wound down, which will present opportunities and challenges for the industry in the coming years. Notwithstanding the many challenges for the potato industry, Potatoes in Practice 2021 is shaping up to be a key forum for the discussion of key topics about the technical and business realities. Archie Gibson, executive director of Agrico UK Ltd and

former chairman of the Food and Drink Federation of Scotland, comments: “As the Brexit deadline approached at the end of December 2020, little did the trade imagine that in the final throw of the dice the seed potato industry in the UK would be cast adrift by the European Commission without the possibility of exporting to EU member states from 1 January 2021. This despite the promise of an FTA and the UK Government’s position approving a derogation to allow the import of EU certified seed until 30 June 2021. “Growers, merchants and breeders all recognised the possibility of border delays and additional documentation, so set about exporting seed lots to European customers ahead of the deadline. Despite significant challenges around access to hauliers and reefer containers brought on by the combination of Brexit and COVID, most trades were successfully completed. “But what of the future? The AHDB Potatoes No vote has exposed vulnerabilities and Potatoes in Practice represents a golden opportunity for the industry to come together to discuss some of the issues and how to resolve them. “Under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) potato production was unsupported with much critical research being funded from the potato levy. For the industry to remain resilient and for food security to be assured all the stakeholders: industry,

Potatoes in Practice

governments and main research providers need to agree new ways of collaborating and funding vital work, to secure the future of the sector. “The potato industry makes a significant economic contribution to the balance of trade through certified seed exports. While ware production underpins the fresh produce category at retail with processing crops vital to a dynamic and innovative processing industry.” The cancellation of Potatoes in Practice 2020 due to COVID was a considerable loss to the sector in terms of seeing what’s new, networking with colleagues

and contacts and catching up with friends in the trade, but it means that there will be even more to see, catch up on and talk about at this year’s event. Between now and Potatoes in Practice 2022 there will be a lot of changes to shake out in the sector, but the silver lining is that there is an event to look forward to: it’s a sign that some normality is beginning to return to life and business. The PIP story will continue at Potatoes in Practice 2021, on Thursday 12 August at Balruddery Farm, Angus. Find more details and book your place at See you there!


Tillage Equipment

Tillage equipment news Amazone Tillage round-up for 2021 Cenio 3000 mulch cultivator New to the Amazone portfolio is the Cenio mounted tine cultivator which, with its 30 cm tine rows and a maximum working depth of 25 cm, is aimed at the smaller tractor with its shorter, lighter execution making the tractor lift easier, The Cenio keeps the 3 row tine layout of the Cenius for optimum soil and trash mixing as well as good passage through the machine. The rear levelling discs or paddles back-fill the tine action to ensure a level


finish before being consolidated by the following roller. The Cenio range is available in 3m, 3.5m and 4m rigid mounted models and is offered with the full range of following rollers - from the simple cage, the soil on soil UW and DUW rollers, through to the wedge ring and disc rollers. The Cenio Special features shear bolt overload protection for the tines – the Cenio Super with sprung break back overload protection and a 450kg trip force.

Tillage Equipment

GreenDrill 501 catch crop seeder Also new is the GreenDrill 501 which is suitable for sowing catch crops, fine seeds, undersown crops and spreading micro-granules, pellets and micro-fertilisers in combination with either the trailed AMAZONE soil tillage range or the Cirrus trailed drill combination. The 500 l capacity, plastic seed hopper can easily be accessed using steps and a platform for rapid seed filling and has a screw lock to protect the contents against dust and moisture. The seed hopper has a fill level sensor that can be mounted in two positions and, in the bottom, a protective sieve in order to protect the hopper from foreign bodies. The metering of the seed is carried out by an electricallydriven, ISOBUS controlled metering unit below the seed

hopper. Different metering rollers are available for different seed types which can be quickly and easily interchanged. The electric drive facilitates easy setting of the seed rate using the terminal in the tractor cab or the electric drive can also be controlled fully automatically using application maps. It is possible to calibrate the system remotely at the push of a button or via the mySeeder App. The segmented distribution head, with up to 48 rows, ensures the accurate distribution of the seeds over the full width via baffle plates. In combination with the Cirrus drill, the GreenDrill can be used for under-sowing crops via baffle plates as well as the option of metering an additional seed type from the GreenDrill direct to the sowing coulter.

Vaderstad to launch NZ Extreme after successful pre-series Vaderstad will launch NZ Extreme 1250-1425 wide heavyduty tine harrow from October 2021. Currently in the final phase

of the product development its innovative high-quality design brings capacity and agronomic solutions on farm.


Tillage Equipment “Farmers, agronomists and operators that have experienced the new NZ Extreme so far, really like the work result and the overall performance of the machine.” says Väderstad commercial product manager for tillage equipment, Wolfram Hastolz. The NZ Extreme is easy and quick to set up from the comfort of the tractor cab. The machine brings several new patented solutions to the farm industry too, especially its strong and unique tine mounting. To ensure exact field contour following NZ Extreme is built from a five section frame, which is able to adapt to the field surface and maintain the selected depth. This is further increased by an innovative weight transfer, ingenious wheel setup and heavy machine design.

Striger strip-till from Kuhn In response to the growing interest in minimal tillage cultivations, KUHN has developed its Striger strip-till range and will demonstrate this machine at events during 2021. Available from 4 to 12 rows, the Striger 100 is designed around a parallelogram system that allows all elements to operate independently, ensuring excellent ground following characteristics. To achieve the optimum conditions for seed germination within the cultivated row, the Striger 100 comprises six key elements: 1. Ground following is achieved using the hydraulic parallelogram and the gauge wheels, with each element being independent of the frame and the other elements. 2. The opening disc cuts through any plant residues and creates a slot ready for the leg. As an option, a corrugated disc can be fitted which offers a better expansion of the furrow before the leg passes through. 3. Debris clearers remove any residue from the seed furrow to provide a clean seedbed. They can be lifted out when work is resumed in spring. 28

4. The leg and point cracks and loosens the seed furrow to allow good development of the roots. Working depth can be adjusted between 7 and 30cm without tools. To prevent soil ingress from the inter-row, the leg is independent from the deflector discs. 5 The deflector discs channel the flow of soil while creating

a fine tilth. The inter-row remains intact and weed emergence is significantly reduced. 6 The rear press wheels reconsolidate the seedbed and avoid cavities in the seed furrow. The pressure is adjustable, and the press wheels can be raised during a pre-winter pass.

The STRIGER 100 can be adapted to work effectively in all conditions and can accommodate liquid, solid or slurry fertiliser applications. It can be used with varying inter-row widths and with a wide choice of working parts and equipment. It is available in 3m, 3.50m, 4.40m and 6m formats.


New Defra data shows organic growth ‘in the pipeline’ Provisional 2020 organic farming statistics released by Defra reveal reasons to be optimistic about the future of the organic sector, with the overall UK land currently in conversion increasing significantly by 12%. While not all the details in Defra’s annual review are as positive, OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers) believes there is growing evidence to support a healthy, longterm outlook. This view is corroborated by OF&G’s internal data records for the same period, which in some instances exceed the overall sector growth figures reported by Defra. As the first organic control body (OCB) approved by Government, certifying over 50% of the UK organic land area, OF&G contributes to Defra’s annual organic farming data collection along with other OCBs. During 2020, OF&G itself saw a slight increase in producers during the period against what appears to be an overall sector decline of 5%. Roger Kerr, chief executive at OF&G, highlights that despite the small decrease in producer numbers, OF&G has also recorded a 6% increase in producer enquiries compared with the same period 12 months ago, with enquiries across all schemes up around 70%. This has translated into the slight increase OF&G has seen and clearly indicates a growing interest in the environmental benefits and commercial opportunities provided by converting to organic. Having seen a decline in land area following the 2008 recession, the total organic land area in the UK has seen marginal increases for the second consecutive year of 0.8% compared to 2019, with a total of 489 thousand hectares of land farmed organically. “I feel that given the unprecedented year we have just 30

experienced the overall picture remains very robust despite the numerous challenges the sector and agriculture in general currently face. It is essential that we continue to focus on the solutions that an organic systems approach delivers,” says Mr Kerr. “It is also important we that we recognise the broader context. The recent Soil Association

Organic Market report (SA OMR) and Organic Trade Board (OTB) Grocery Perspective report shows a growth of 12.6% and 14.1% respectively in organic spending, with almost 9 in 10 households purchasing organic products in 2020,” he adds. The organic category has grown consistently for the last few years and was worth £2.79bn

in 2020[3]. With consumer demand rising, and our close neighbours introducing a robust and ambitious European Organic Action Plan, OF&G believes organic deserves specific attention and to be fully embedded within future policy developments. For advice on organic conversion visit

Agricar Group Premium Product Premium Service and Family Values By Fiona Sloan

Left to right: Kenny Esslemont, Ness Plant General Manager; Colin Duthie, Agricar Sales Manager; Wendy Smith, Director; Mike Milne, Director; Derek Johnston, Director

Since its formation 35 years ago in 1986, Agricar has remained as a family business in more ways than one – but the aim has always been to offer the best possible service. It’s a testament to that target, it has just landed the New Holland Service Dealer of the Year award.

A management buyout at that time from Elbar Agricar, by Jim Johnston and John Milne, included the depots at Forfar and Montrose, with Forfar remaining as the main office and Montrose subsequently moving to Laurencekirk on premises vacated by Aberdeen Tractors.

They also made the most of the availability of the main New Holland franchise on the demise of Aberdeen Tractors and many of the staff joined them in their new venture. To all intents and purposes, this founded the ‘family’ feeling of the business which remains

today. While both Jim and John are still involved in the business, the next generation of the Agricar family, Derek Johnston, Michael Milne and Wendy Smith are now leading the way. When you walk into the Forfar offices, it is clear from the start that the team are 31

Agricar Group welcoming and helpful, ensuring that their customers and visitors are immediately put at ease. The company logo is proudly displayed on walls, parts and clothing, giving it the outlook of a modern corporate entity. Following the acquisition of the Laurencekirk depot in 1988, a year later the company expanded west into Dumbartonshire with the purchase of Erskine Tractors and opened a new depot in Clydebank. With the takeover of the Perth Branch on the demise of Gillies and Henderson in 1991, their customer base was hugely expanded. But their ambitions did not stop there. Three years later, the new Agricar Group purchased Forfar Electrical and then the Brechin based J and D Ness and created the new Ness brand with Ness Electrical, which remains with them. Its namesake Ness Plant, which originated in the Laurencekirk branch, moved to


Directors Jim Johnston (Left) and John Milne (Right) outside the Agricar head office in Forfar

Forfar in 2002 to make it more central to the demands of the growing customer base before

setting up their first depot in 2006 in Brechin. While Ness Plant nestles under the Agricar umbrella, it is a

stand alone company specialising in the Manitou range of handling equipment.

Agricar Group

Ness Plant’s new depot at Bridge of Allan

In 2003, the group expanded further west into Ayrshire when an opening arose to pick up the New Holland franchise there and the Dundonald Branch was opened. Over the years, it is clear that attention to being ‘local’ to the marketplace and its needs, have allowed the group to expand and fill gaps in the market by acquiring



9 Houstonfield Road, Houston, Renfrewshire, PA6 7EY Mob: 07836 707488 Email: 34

new franchises as they became available and by looking at where their customer base could be better serviced. Both Agricar and its sister company, Ness Plant, which opened a second branch in 2010 in Kinross, again to service growing customer demand, have looked at options as and when they arose and now are a major

Agricar Group player in the north central region of Scotland from East to West. “We have a particularly good customer base in the areas we work in,” explains Company Director Derek Johnston, “and with Forfar our main base, it is a big enough area for us to comfortably cover but we will always be looking out for other opportunities, something else we are currently opening is our new Ness Plant site at Bridge of Allan, which is an exciting new move for us.” Agricar originally specialised in Ford Tractors until the CNH merger took place and since then they have grown with the New Holland brand to where they are today offering a wide selection of premium agricultural equipment. While the New Holland head office is in Turin, Italy, it is the only mainstream manufacturer which has a production base in the UK, at Basildon, in Essex.

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I asked Colin Duthie, Group Sales Manager, if UK production had been helpful during the Covid shut down and the sometimes-

tortuous Brexit situation. “It has and it hasn’t,” explains Colin. “It is certainly an advantage in having a UK based production plant,

“Demand for tractors is continuing to climb and the plant have suffered slightly from a cut back in production and a lack of manpower

Agricar Group during the Covid crisis. Tractors are in short supply everywhere this year, nevertheless we worked together and had enough stock to cover the first two quarters of the year.” Traditionally, the agricultural machinery industry works in the four quarters, with the first two quarters having the highest demand, as farmers have already made their plans for the following year and are now making the purchases they need for harvest. The third quarter is always quieter, as all machinery is generally in use and maintenance becomes the most important part of any machinery business at this time, before the fourth quarter planning starts to boost sales again in the new year. “We have really missed The Royal Highland Show for the last two years to help us cover that quieter quarter,” adds Colin. “We

New Holland FR550 Forage Cruiser

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Agricar Group always brought home a few orders from the Highland which was welcomed. We definitely need the Highland and will be going back as soon as we can.” Agricar has run its own show for the past 10 years or more, which was introduced to enable the company to display the merchandise in a local environment and to speak to customers directly. Effectively, it was an event to showcase equipment to customers and discuss their needs at a specialised event, with group members and manufacturers alike. This type of event has proved to be highly successful over the years and despite the difficulties of 2020, it still went ahead as a virtual event with a highlight on new marketing materials. Despite the pandemic, Agricar, like most of the agricultural industry, has been able to continue to work as normal, furloughing very few staff and only for their

own protection, due to age etc. The apprentice scheme, however, has been harder hit due to the proximity in which the apprentices have to work and had to be put on hold as it was not possible to continue without a close contact situation. New Holland originally set up the apprenticeship scheme in Crewe. However, with devolved governments, Scottish apprentices could not use the budget in England and vice-versa. The company approached New Holland to look at the situation and with the rest of the New Holland Scottish dealer network they all agreed to support a new scheme based in Scotland at Oatridge College, near Edinburgh. The apprenticeship takes four years and runs in three, fourweek blocks over the first three years. Apprentices then spend their fourth year on full time work placement with the group and then

Agricar Group sit their exams at the end of that time. The fundamental training for working with all types of equipment is already done within the apprenticeship and the boxes are ticked. Do all of the apprentices make it through the course? I ask Derek. “Not all of them, but most do,” he replies. “Some decide it is not for them but most complete their apprenticeship. While they may not all make technicians, we endeavour to have a job for any who want to work with us. Loyalty is a big part of our company ethic and we reward our staff accordingly. We have staff here who have been with us their whole working life.” Around 10% of the 122-strong workforce are apprentices coming through the system. Agricar pride themselves on being premium suppliers of premium products.


New Holland CR8.90 Combine with 30ft Header

Why New Holland? “Innovation for tractor design is better than any other company,” explains Derek. “New Holland

are Industry leaders in looking towards a greener future for the planet. Iveco, which belongs to the same group as New Holland,

have already introduced greener vans and they are now rolling out the same technology into their agricultural vehicles.”

Agricar Group They are now pushing ahead with the development of methane and hydrogen tractors. Methane powered machinery would appear to be the most imminent advancement in agriculture, with the first New Holland methane powered tractor already in Scotland and on field trials. Methane production is advanced within the industry making the introduction more effective. “We have recently picked up the award again for Dealer of The Year Medium Tractor Industry Volume (TIV) which basically calculates the percentage of sales within a prescribed area, over all dealerships of any kind.” continues Derek. “It is refreshing to see that New Holland is still positively considered by our farming customers, considering the competition that is out there. There is so much more to buying a tractor now, with so

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Agricar Group much to offer the customer. Together, with the merging of our various franchises, it has allowed us to become a one stop shop as a supplier.” Leading brands now carried by the Agricar Group running alongside New Holland include Kuhn, the world’s leading supplier of machinery for hay and silage making, baling, bedding, seeding, spraying, landscaping and more. Dalbo, manufacturer of agricultural machines for soil preparation. McConnel, offering the most comprehensive range of power arms, rotary and flail mowers and cultivation machinery. Greencrop, covering clean water irrigation, dirty water and slurry systems, plus they are also suppliers of digestate separators, pumps and mixing systems to AD plants. Fleming Agri Machinery designed for agricultural including grass toppers and land rollers.


New Holland T7.245 Blue Power Tractor and Standen T2 XS Trailed Harvester

Agricar Group Plant-Mec, supplying all types of brushes and associated parts for agricultural, municipal, and contractual sweeping machines. Albutt, specialising in the design, development and manufacture of attachments for materials handling in agriculture, forestry, construction and waste sectors. Lynx engineering, for front loaders, front linkages, PTOs, weight packages, pick-up hitches. Ritchie Agriculture, manufacture products for both the livestock and arable industries. Master Driers, suppliers of highly acclaimed grain driers. Alo group, suppliers of premium front end loaders and handling equipment, Polaris has a full range of Utility vehicles and ATV’s and Marshall trailers. They are also the official agent for Tracker, which helps prevent vehicle theft and they have an extensive range of used machinery on offer all year-round. Following the sudden decision by Grimme to move from Agricar, who were their biggest dealers in the UK, the group was left in a position where they had to find a new supplier for the potato growers in their area, which would suit their extensive customer base. “We set off looking at various brands all around the world and finally settled on a British company.” explains Derek. “We could see that Standen would be good for our customers and good for us. Both ourselves and our customers had to realise that there are other options out there, which are just as efficient as the brand we had carried for such a long time. Customers like the new Standen equipment and it is working well for them. To compliment Standen we also are very well supported by Team Sprayers supplying a range of on-planter potato application systems suitable for accurate and reliable spray application for potatoes and tubers, Horstine Machinery, who are experts in the application of liquid and granular products and Greencrop Irrigation equipment. Laterally we are

enjoying success with the Ploeger brand as they offer a market leading four row self-propelled potato harvester thus offering the end user a different option regarding potato harvesting.” “Loyalty is a major part of our philosophy,” he continues.” Our potato trained staff remained loyal to us, as did our customer base and we have positively

moved forward. We now have seven people working on potato machinery alone.” I asked Colin what in his time with the company what was the one thing which he would single out as a game changer in the industry. “As you get older, you start to appreciate that technology will undoubtedly prevail, and I would have to say the precision

land management (PLM) is the outstanding innovation in my time in the industry. In the future, farming subsidies will be driven through green payments and that is where the accuracy of the system will be important hence the appointment of Lucy Jackson as Group PLM Specialist which, long term should be a huge advantage to the customer base looking to


Agricar Group purchase these valuable assets for their land machinery” Derek agrees: “We put up our first RTK mast in 2008, which was a serious investment at the time but now it is hugely important for all kinds of applications including potato planting, sowing grain, fruit work to even planting Christmas trees. While it takes the skill out of the job a wee bit, we have come to rely on it. The beauty of it is that it can be used for much more than just planting and it can be a major asset to a farming business if farmers take the time to see everything it can do for them.” Telematics and diagnostics are the most important recent development, with advances being made not only in the field but also to predict issues and to check warranty faults remotely, which may be going undiagnosed. The time will soon come with a lot of machinery that advanced

Ploeger AR-4BX 4 Row Self Propelled Harvester

(continued on page 44)


Agricar Group diagnostics will become the norm. “New innovations come in at a rapid rate these days which some might find a bit daunting, but I find it exciting to see where we are going next and New Holland are behind such great innovations, so we are quickly up to speed with whatever is just around the corner,” adds Derek.


“Methane tractors will probably be the main way forward in Scotland in the foreseeable future. The electric engines seem to work well and are common-place on bin lorries and buses for example, but they are still fairly unproven in much larger machines, so methane or hydrogen would currently seem to be the way forward, although

the infrastructure is still to be put in place with the dealers for these new innovations.” Technology has clearly advanced a long way since manual transmission days but I asked Derek if it was easier to service and maintain tractors now than it was when there were less computer parts and more nuts and bolts.

“There are definitely more clutch packs for example, which differs from the days when everything had a 13-inch clutch which, if it burnt out, you just removed and replaced it. It is often more difficult to get to the problem parts, within the machine than it used to be. However, there is a lot more awareness of what is going on and you can have a good look at a computer screen to see where the issue is. Basildon staff are highly technical in this department, and they can easily send us the information, on precisely which part is faulty.” With the government pushing a green agenda, it is almost impossible to find a ‘basic’ tractor now. Bizarrely, this has led to tractors becoming bigger as they need the space to house cooling systems etc. Despite the increase in size and the potential for soil compaction, the most popular tractor remains within the 150-160 hp range. “You find your niche in this industry,” explains Colin, “and you need to focus on the key models and concentrate on the job in hand. Agricar has worked on the principal of premium product and premium supplies. They have streamlined their product range to ensure they are working with the best, the benefits that come with this is allows the stock orders to be controlled and repetitive which has allowed them to maintain supply throughout Brexit and Covid. An added spin off to stocking fewer types of machinery is that the marketing can be more easily targeted, and our staff are better able to familiarise themselves with a smaller portfolio of machinery and ultimately enables them to act as all round salespeople. We have our own dedicated marketing administrator who has the job of orchestrating all our social media which has proved to be very valuable during the current pandemic.

Agricar Group “You buy the product right … you sell it right,” says Colin. “That’s the main principle we work on.” With a turnover of around £36 million a year, the next logical step to the one stop shop framework was to introduce an in-house finance package, which would complement the business. The company were already organising finance arrangements through third parties, and it made sense to bring that in house, to speed up the process for the company and the customer. It has clearly been a worthwhile venture. The introduction of specialised roles within the group, also allows an easier conversation with manufactures, when one person is proficient within a particular area of the business. The one-stop-shop principal is working well, and the directors

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Agricar Group

New Holland T5.115 Fiat Centenary Tractor

New Holland W80C Pivot Steer Wheeled Loader

are comfortable with the changes which have been made. As far as the wider portfolio is concerned, the group now cover most farming activities but if there is any likely progression into further business, time is taken to really consider the product and where it fits into the group. Small machinery, like everything

move out to a new four-acre site on the outskirts of Forfar from their town centre base. “We have outgrown our current site, the kit has got bigger, and we are near a school. If you stand still, you go backwards. We are all looking forward to moving ahead with our new project,” points out Derek.


else, requires after sales service and the introduction of Kuhn products has allowed the group to look at working more with local authorities and service their needs, which is an added string to its bow. Agricar has never stood still in its development during the last 35 years and the next plan is to

There have been many changes and innovations since Jim Johnston and John Milne started the company in 1986 but the same business principal applies 35 years on. Premium product, premium service and family values, result in a loyal company with loyal staff and loyal customers.


The Need to Reseed… Consider reseeding if there is less than 50% sown species in the ley By Rob Wyborn, St Catherine’s Seeds

It’s time to start thinking about your Autumn Reseed. A better indicator of whether you need to reseed in the Autumn is the percentage of Ryegrass (or other sown species) in your sward, rather than relying purely on the age of the ley. Simply pulling up a handful of grass plants will allow you to see how much PRG you have by looking for their familiar red base to heir stem. The invasion of weed grasses in your leys can easily be done by annual meadow grass. These do not have the red stem bases and provide a very poor quality of feed and also yield badly. Their response to nitrogen is also inadequate. We hear anecdotal evidence that the perfect Grass/Clover balance over the grass growing season is 70/30. Even so, clover content can vary widely, even within fields. Reseeding gives you the opportunity to improve the performance of your swards depending on your objectives. Which type of grass? Many UK farmers benefit from sowing a mixture of grasses and clovers, as opposed to a single variety. Sowing mixed species has many benefits. You can capitalise on the strengths of different species. The digestibility of PRG can be combined with the yield of a hybrid ryegrass (HRG) and the superior nutrient value of white clover in one field. Perennial, Italian or Hybrid ryegrasses? Ryegrass is the most important sown grass grown in the UK due to its productivity and suitability to the climate and farming systems.

Perennial ryegrasses (PRG) This produces persistently excellent yields of superb forage. Whilst an Italian ryegrass (IRG) may yield higher, it is known to have poor persistence. Hybrid Ryegrass (HRG) This is a cross between perennial and Italian varieties, combining the strengths of the two parent species, e.g., the sward density of PRG and the out-of-season growth of IRG. Red Clovers When reseeding, do not use red clover again on that field for 6-7 years due to Sclerotinia and stem eelworm. Both are naturally present in all soils and numbers multiply with the red clover plants as a host. If you don’t drill red clover for 6 – 7 years those populations in the soil naturally die back down. Can you sow White Clover after Red Clover? Yes, the disease that affects white clover are different and therefore no issue with following red clover swards with a white clover sward. How to reduce N inputs and improve drought tolerance High Sugar Grasses don’t take any less nitrogen to grow but are proven to increase dietary nitrogen in the rumen and reduce the amount of ammonia and methane released. Using the correct white clover in grazing situations and red clovers in cutting situations (and possibly for strong live weight gain with lambs and young stock) is the answer. For 2-year leys – use tetraploid and diploid Italian ryegrasses For 3–4-year leys – use hybrid

ryegrass and early perennial ryegrasses For long term leys – use intermediate and late perennial ryegrasses. Which varieties are recommended for sowing after maize in late September/early October? If you are trying to establish a long-term ley then drill before late September. If trying to establish a short-term ley and keep the ground covered for winter then Italian ryegrass, hybrid ryegrass and even some Westerwolds would do the job. What about sowing a brassica crop as a break between the old established grass to a new ley? A brassica as a break crop would also help with reducing populations of Frit Fly and Wireworm. How About Harrow or Disc for making a fine seed bed? The implement is not the important part, it is choosing whatever equipment is suitable and available to create a Fine firm seedbed.

What about drilling? The grass seed sometimes goes in too deep which ends in failure, this is true in all drilling circumstances. As a rule of thumb drill no deeper than one and a half times the size of the seed. What advantages would there be to growing a forage brassica crop to use as a break crop rather than direct grass to grass? Brassica crops are not hosts for the parent pests to lay their eggs. Therefore, a cleaner seedbed with less risk of pest problems. You also get two chances at weed control and a high protein break crop that can provide valuable forage. In conclusion • An Autumn reseed can provide huge benefits to your business: • Full production the following season • Soil has had chance to settle prior to grazing • Great opportunity for a break crop • Using brassicas can help with livestock feed • Less weed pressure 47

New Zealand A day a way and a lifetime of memories By Fiona Sloan

WORLD FARMING Since long haul travel became an everyday occurrence (except recently) New Zealand has been the country of choice for many Scottish farmers, whether for emigration or as a right of passage for the younger generation. Many young farmers see New Zealand as a must do before the rigours of settling down to work and family. For many of the older generation, it is a must visit for its agriculture and friends made when they travelled there in their youth. The South Island, in particular, has a similar climate to Scotland, making it an ideal settlement for Scots and the welcome found there certainly suits our Scottish mind-set of work hard and play hard. Many

North Island coast


of New Zealand’s towns are named after Scottish towns, signifying our joint heritage. New Zealand consists of a group of islands running north to south, surrounded by the South Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, with an area 10% larger than the UK and a similar population to Scotland. It is spread over 1600km from tip to tail and its nearest neighbour, Australia, is 4000km away. This spread of latitude provides many micro climates, enabling the production a wide range of food and forestry produce and like Scotland,is influenced by the surrounding seas and a varied climate. Māori legend says that the great fisherman Maui hauled the North Island up from ocean

depths, so it’s original name is Te Ika au Māui – the fish of Māui. Early Maori arrivals in New Zealand brought the South American sweet potato (kumara to Maori) with them and this crop continues to be grown in sub-tropical regions of the North Island. Also in the sub-tropical regions of the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, avocados and kiwifruit thrive. Kiwifruit are an important export crop, worth NZ$3bn (£1.5 bn) from 14000ha, with avocados grown on 4000ha. The wine regions in Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa together total around 6000 ha of a national total of 40000ha of grapes and are also significant sectors on the drier eastern regions of the North Island. Hawke’s Bay also

Twin Peaks North Island

produces a wide range of fruit and vegetables for domestic and export markets. However, pastoral agriculture remains the backbone of the North Island’s primary sector, with 60% of the total national dairy cow herd of 5m found there, together with around half of the national sheep flock of 26m, 70% of the national beef herd of 4m (mainly Angus) and 250,000 farmed red deer. Grass can grow year-round in many regions, with some limitation to growth either due to low temperatures at higher elevations in winter, or a lack of moisture in some regions in a dry summer. With a good supply of the green stuff, New Zealand is the largest exporter of sheep and farmed venison in the world and

WORLD FARMING the introduction of refrigerated shipping as far back as in 1882, has allowed New Zealand lamb to make a regular appearance in our supermarkets in the UK. Large pine forests cover parts of the central North Island, where rapid growth rates allow trees to be felled in around 25 years.

With a small domestic market, many of the logs are exported unprocessed, mainly to Asia. With an annual export from agriculture, horticulture and connected industries, of around NZ$35bn per annum, the primary industries are crucial to the economic and social well

being of not only the North Island but the whole of New Zealand. Combined with plenty of indigenous and colonial history and lots of great beaches and coastline, the integration of a highly varied agriculture, into the New Zealand tourist industry,

has made the country a popular visit for farmers from all over the world and particularly Scotland. In the next issue we will look more at life and agriculture on New Zealand’s South Island. Thanks to Farm to Farm Tours New Zealand for the photos for this article

Vaderstad acquires US-based Agco-Amity JV LLC Väderstad AB, one of the world’s leading companies in tillage, seeding and planting has acquired 100 percent of North Daktota-based AGCO-AMITY JV LLC (AAJV). AAJV – also known under the name Wil-Rich – will be fully integrated into the Väderstad global group of

companies under the company name Vaderstad Inc. Since 2011 AAJV has manufactured, designed, and supported the Wil-Rich, Wishek and Concord brands of products with 270 dealers globally, most of them in the United States. Integrating AAJV into

the Väderstad Group allows Väderstad to gain access to distribution outlets in the USA, a manufacturing facility in the USA as well as benefit from the heritage and strong reputation of the WilRich, Wishek and Concord brands. “This acquisition is in line with our long-term ambition to

grow on the North American market. AAJV has a strong position on the US market combined with a product portfolio that gives us a more complete product offering in North America,” says Väderstad president and CEO Mats Båverud.

Light Science Technologies partners with environmental charity One Tree Planted Leading AgTech specialist Light Science Technologies has announced a partnership with One Tree Planted that aims to plant millions of trees around the world for landscape restoration in 2021. For every light or sensor provided to its customers, LST will donate $1 to One Tree Planted to plant one tree and support projects that help sustainable agriculture. This, is part of a joint commitment to champion global reforestation efforts and raise awareness of the importance of ecosystem restoration. The ‘One for One’ initiative, started by One Tree Planted Founder Matt Hill in Vermont in 2014, works with reforestations partners around the world to plant trees to restore forests and protect

habitat for biodiversity, as well as to create jobs and build communities. In 2020 it planted 15 million trees, more than triple the amount in 2019, and this year is looking to continue this exponential trend. Trees are vital to life on earth by providing oxygen, storing carbon and absorbing other harmful pollutants, filtering the water we drink, and providing habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. They are also known to have medicinal properties, with essential ingredients in 25% of all medicines. To get involved, donate or learn more about the ‘One for One’ initiative, go to: www.

Tree planting in Riwanda


Made in Scotland Scotland is blessed with its fair share of the world’s best produce when it comes to natural heritage foods indigenous to our climate. We benefit, by enlarge, from steady rainfall and reasonable sunshine, the Gulf Stream and maritime breezes. Sure we have midges and haar but who has beef, lamb, shellfish, berries and game like us? Our dairy farmers are diversifying into high quality ice creams, cheeses and yoghurts and we have Scottish heritage grains grown commercially for the first time in over a century! Indeed over fifty Scottish foods have been officially recognised as among the world’s valued heritage foods on Slow Food’s International website. With such fabulous and intrinsically Scottish foods, past, present and future, this regular feature will focus on Scotland’s natural bounty and the folk who have used their ingenuity, passion and business acumen to use the produce in their own imitable ways.

Piggy Talk! By Wendy Barrie Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife Director of Scottish Food Guide Being married to the breeding adviser for Sweden’s Linderöd pig genebank certainly has its moments! Some are poignant like the recently widowed member who needed Bosse’s help in relocating her late husband’s pigs as they had always been his domain. On a lighter note, another called needing a fine specimen to enable her sow to produce piglets so she called Bosse and, with no introduction, proclaimed the immortal words ‘I need a boar!’ Hardly a day goes by without what I affectionately call ‘piggy talk’ over the North Sea from across the length and breadth of Sweden. Linderöd pigs are super smart and absolute characters. With their handsome long backs, big ears and mottled colours, from

Errichel large black ©wb


ginger through to dark charcoal, they are affectionately known as Gingerbread Pigs, their shape that of a classic piggy cookie cutter! Their meat is superb, slightly gamey and darker than your average pig, packed with flavour. The Linderöd originated in Skåne and is the only ancient native breed of pig left in Sweden. Scotland’s last indigenous pig, the Grice, was still around (just) post war, in backyard farming but probably extinct by 1950. Thankfully there are several English breeds remaining, albeit in small numbers, including Berkshire, Gloucester Old Spot, British Lop, British Saddleback, Large Black, Middle White, Oxford Sandy & Black and Tamworth. Such heritage breeds thrive on a mixed diet of grains, legumes, farm surplus and

forage, and, like the Linderöd, are also all recognised on Slow Food’s International Ark of Taste. Outdoor-reared native breeds and their resulting products will always reflect their feed and terroir, and are intrinsically slower to mature with far more flavour. In contrast, many modern developed breeds cannot be reared outdoors as they are generally pale and thinskinned making them vulnerable to weather: either sunburnt or chilled through! Their speedy growth, extra chops and reduced fat add up to less flavour and more water. In Scotland we have a long tradition of rearing pigs for curing bacon for our Full Scottish Breakfast. No one knows that better than Andrew Ramsay, king of curers, who once told me, As the

Large back pig ©errichel

5th generation of my family, it is a privilege to be able to eat food we have been producing using the same traditional methods for 160 years, and my last meal on earth would have to be a bacon roll. Ramsay’s bacon and hams have gained recognition, praise and respect from chefs across the nations. Andrew carefully selects his pork from outdoor-reared, free range female pigs - key to the flavour, texture, high welfare and provenance of his products. Add the skills of traditional curing methods - no short cuts here - and it’s no wonder Ramsays are multi-award winning. Once the pork is boned and skinned, the cuts are placed in brining tanks. This traditional slow immersion curing for salting

Ramsay bacon is the same method, and secret recipe, that generations before Andrew have used with not a powder mix, ready-made brine or injected chemical in sight. Everyone has their favourite cut of bacon but by far the most well known is the Ayrshire cure where the middle bacon, with back and streaky combined, is cured and rolled, tied and sliced producing those familiar spirals we know and love. For those seeking smoked bacon, the cured joints are hung in chambers over wood smoke, the traditional way – no added flavourings or glazing. This is the real deal. Across Scotland are pockets of breeders rearing pigs outdoors. The fertile lands of East Lothian are home to one such family at Brand Family East Fortune Farm, where they rear British Saddleback pigs, as well as Hampshire Down sheep. The Saddleback is a medium-sized lop-eared porker, mainly black in colour with a distinctive light band running over the shoulders. They are calm and excellent mothers, hardy and expert foragers. Their meat has a great depth of flavour, both as fresh pork and for cured bacon. Like so many native pedigree pigs, Saddlebacks fell from fashion when much of post-war pig farming moved towards more intensive units. The Brand’s Saddleback pork is in demand from discerning consumers

Saddlebacks ©Brand

at their lovely farm shop, online and direct to top chefs. Gosford Farm Shop also keeps a few British Saddleback breeding sows and sells out regularly. Customers can see them happily pottering around in the paddock on their approach! Close to the border with England lies Peelham Farm, where the Walton family live. They started with a smallholding adjacent to Peelham in 1991 and have raised pigs ever since. Famed for their organic range of meats and charcuterie they have recently reduced their breeding numbers in favour of home bred Aberdeen Angus beef and ruby veal, with weaned calves from the Ethical Dairy and Mossgiel, both, like themselves, Pasture for Life and organic. Although they still have a mix of sixty or so Tamworth, Duroc and Hampshire on farm including up to fifteen sows at any one time, they have updated their butchery unit and nowadays source much of their pork from an outdoor organic producer in Aberdeenshire, who sends down mature female pigs on a monthly basis for their charcuterie. Using this collaborative method of supply improves the holistic management of their soil and grass, fundamental to the Walton’s business model, as is reducing their environmental footprint. Peelham’s butchery and charcuterie is available primarily online, at farmers’ markets and from

a selection of ethical retail outlets. An increasing number of top chefs are going the extra mile for provenance: some taking on an allotment or walled garden, others making use of a family smallholding. Some like Paul and Becky Newman go the whole hog raising their own pigs! Living on their family farm, whilst also running a restaurant and deli, they are devoted to heritage breeds and rear Shetland sheep and Kye, ducks and chickens. Their pigs are Large Black and live happily in their own woodland. Becky tells me at this time of year there are bluebells dotted around the forest floor and whilst the pigs enjoy all the foraging in between, they leave the bluebells untouched. Apparently the Gaelic name for bluebells is Fuathmhuc meaning ‘hated by pigs’ as they are toxic for pigs and they know to avoid them! Derived from the Old English Hog, the Large Black breed was first established in the 16th Century. They are excellent foragers, sufficiently hardy to relish the extremes of Perthshire weather and very docile. They have a rich, gamey and deliciously rounded flavour, put to good use in Thyme restaurant and for their homecured bacon, sausages, pastrami and biltong available from their deli. A Slow Food Cooks Alliance Member, Paul uses their produce in the kitchen to great effect: the best Scottish produce along with culinary influences he absorbed when working in top hotels across the world before settling in Perthshire. Their menu often includes rare breed pork cooked slowly in a tagine or spiced for an aromatic curry.

Think Parma ham and Parmesan and you will be aware of the ancient interaction twixt pigs and dairy: the whey from cheesemaking being the perfect by-product for pig feed. Closer to home, Isle of Mull Cheese follows the same tradition, producing fabulous mature truckles and tangy blues whilst keeping several sows and a boar or two. Garth has Gloucester Old Spot and Saddleback sows along with a hybrid boar that all live an island gourmet life on daily rations of whey, plus some biscuits and cheese leftovers until it is time to take the short journey to the local abattoir then butchered on-farm. The Reade family cure their own flavoursome bacon and hams and their cheese and onion bangers are a particular favourite with customers, available along with their cheeses at their café and farm shop. Fine outdoor-reared pork is versatile and delicious, whether you like yours slow-cooked with apples, as pea and ham soup, BBQ’d chops or sticky ribs. Whether it is minced for meatballs, fillets for fine dining, or pulled for parties, there is a pork dish for you. Ramsays of Carluke The Brand Family Larder Gosford Farm Shop Peelham Farm Produce Errichel House & Restaurant https://errichelhouseandrestaurant. Isle of Mull Cheese

Smoking bacon ©Ramsay



Balgownie Serving the North East for over 100 years Balgownie is a company which has served the North-east farming industry for more than 100 years


and today is a major force in the agricultural, construction and ground care sectors.

With modern, purpose-built depots at Thainstone Business Park, Inverurie, and Markethill

Industrial Estate, Turriff, the business continues to be a major supplier of machinery to farming, construction, ground care and domestic customers, with a range of leading franchises, including the full range of Case IH, Bobcat, Full range of Ifor Williams trailers plant, flatbed, tipping, livestock, horseboxes, box vans, transporters & unbraked. Abbey grass toppers, feed wagons, slurry tankers, and muck spreaders, Sulky fertiliser spreaders and seed drills, Iseki compact tractors & mowers, Honda, Stihl, Bobcat, Castel Garden, Toro, Ego professional & garden machinery, Stihl & Honda Robotic mowers, free site visit available. Doosan heavy, midi & mini excavators, loading shovels, articulated dumpers and more. Bobcat agricultural & construction telehandlers, skid steers, midi & mini excavators, tracked loaders midi & mini articulated dumpers, the new R-Series telehanders will be coming through soon, the goal of this new generation is to obtain a first-class user experience with a redesigned cab, and a new engine hood being a couple of the changes. there is an extensive range to suit all needs, offering excellent value for money, a three year full manufacturer’s warranty as standard, with an option to extend to 5 years and currently 0% finance options available. Balgownie are the main dealer for Case IH in Aberdeenshire, offering tractors, combines and balers. Case IH are a brand renowned throughout the world and the fourth biggest seller in the UK. The customers of Balgownie are supported by an excellent service and parts team. Robbie Ironside, service manager, and


Meet Mairi Gougeon Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands

15 fully trained engineers, along with Alan Robertson, Agri and construction parts manager and his team, understand how important it is to keep machines well

maintained for reliability. In the event of breakdowns, the team act quickly to source the correct parts, to get the engineers out to site and get machines moving again.

Mairi Gougeon

Balgownie are the main supplier for Case IH in the North East – coming soon is a new style Case Puma, from 150hp to 240hp, they have a choice of power shift or CVX drive transmission – available to order now!

Bobcat Agricultural Telescopic Loaders – new R series available soon, with an extensive range ensuring there is one to suit all needs. This new generation will offer a highly efficient machine, with a high level of comfort for a modern, intuitive and smart workspace, overall a first-class user experience!

I’ve lived and worked in rural Scotland my whole life, growing up in Angus, so it is an honour to have been asked to undertake the role of Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands. The rural connection is in my blood - my grandad grew up on a dairy farm in the North East and was involved in the industry for a lot of his life. Although by the time I came along, he and my granny had bought a sweet shop in Inverurie, so every child’s dream. I really enjoyed my time as Minister for Rural Affairs from 2018 to 2020 and I’m delighted to be back in this portfolio. I will be working closely with my Cabinet and Ministerial colleagues to ensure that the interests of those in our rural and island communities are at the forefront of the decisions we take as a Government. Though rural affairs isn’t just about farming, fishing and forestry - although they play a key part in it. It’s about the whole makeup of rural Scotland, our communities, the amazing businesses like the sweet shop my grandparents had, all the

start-ups and diverse industries too. It’s about those issues that affect our most remote and rural areas, such as access to broadband or access to transport which is critical for people living on our islands. I don’t for one minute underestimate the challenges in this brief, because there are many, from climate change, to Brexit, to trade deals which threaten our farming industry. However with that comes much opportunity and the chance to develop ambitious policies that will shape the future of rural Scotland as we adapt to our changing climate and tackle biodiversity loss. Scotland can continue to lead the world in providing sustainably produced food with an international reputation for quality and high environmental production standards. One of the most important parts of my job though is engagement and I’m looking forward to getting back out and about across Scotland, including our islands, meeting with farmers and rural communities, to hear about what matters most to them.

environment Yara launches Carbon Credits business for farmers Yara has launched Agoro Carbon Alliance, a business focussed on providing a market place for farmers to earn additional income from carbon cropping. By adopting climate-positive practices farmers can produce Farm Carbon Credits which can be traded to deliver an income stream alongside production of climate-smart certified crops.

With a 40 strong team currently located across Europe, Brazil, India and the USA, Agoro Carbon’s ambition is to capture the knowledge and connections of Yara and its many partnerships to help decarbonise food supply chains. Speaking about the launch Mats Rosenberg, European MD for Agoro Carbon Alliance says “We’re excited about the launch

of the Agoro Carbon Alliance global warming and sustainable food production are real topics. By focussing the collective knowledge, experience and impact range of Yara and Agoro’s collaboration partners across the globe, we aim to contribute a step change towards a decarbonized and sustainable agriculture future. Europe, with its Green Deal and Carbon Farming

agenda, and the UK with its Agricultural Transition Plan, have a particular role to play in this, and Agoro looks forward to support the shared objectives. We welcome all interested parties to our global launch event on Tuesday, June 8 at 3 pm to find out how you can be part of this global initiative”. To find out more please register online at

Birmingham energy experts develop sustainable routes and technologies for UK’s zero-carbon heating and cooling future Sustainable cooling experts are creating a roadmap to help reach the UK’s 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target, whilst maintaining food security for consumers and economic opportunity for the country’s food industry, as the University of Birmingham secures £2.9 million of UK Government funding announced today for energy-related projects. Backed by £1.4 million of UKRI funding, the four-year Zero Emission Cold-Chain (ZECC) project will create the first detailed road map to allow the UK food cold chain industry to identify opportunities to reduce emissions. Led by the University of Birmingham, the project includes experts from HeriotWatt University, London South Bank University and Cranfield University highlighting ways in which the industry can become more competitive 54

whilst heading towards zerocarbon. In parallel at the University of Birmingham and supported by £1.5 million of UKRI funding, the Heat Accumulation from Renewables with Valid Energy Storage and Transformation (HARVEST) project will develop new heat storage and conversion technology to help ensure that renewable electricity is stored in times of less electricity demand and ready for use to meet high heating demand in winter and high cooling demand in summer. ZECC project leader Toby Peters, Professor of Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham, commented: “Much of UK’s food is dependent on the cold food chain, which is also a significant contributor to the country’s energy demand. Our project is about thinking thermally and analysing engineering, energy resources, food quality and safety, finance

and business aspects to crack the conundrum of sustainable decarbonisation of cooling and the cold-chain. We’re bringing together world-leading researchers, industry, technology innovators and customers such as farmers and retailers to look at the whole system and map the opportunities and challenges to ensuring that the chain can support UK-wide Net Zero goals and decarbonise while also meeting demand and being resilient.” Professor Peters, who is also a visiting professor at Heriot-Watt University added that the food cold chain is complex and lacks integration between sectors. Technological challenges exist, but many decarbonisation issues are techno-economic or behavioural. The project provides fresh analysis in a field yet to be researched from a system approach, also targeting food loss in line with the

Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations (12.3). Researchers will identify how sustainability of the coldchain system can be increased by exploring integrated measures covering societal, technical, operational and economic perspectives across: • Reduce: Reducing the need for cooling, ensuring optimal conditions for food • Shift: Transitioning to more sustainable technologies and working fluids and taking different approaches to cooling • Improve: Enhance equipment and operation efficiency • Aggregate: synergies within the cold-chain to better integrate different cooling demands into single system The project aims to deliver energy savings, significantly reduced postharvest food losses and better quality of product to UK industry and policy makers, as well as

environment reduced emissions related to crop loss, by: • Updating information on energy usage and CO2 emissions; • Assessing how to maintain the quality and safety of fresh produce in the supply chain; • Designing strategies to reduce food loss; • Evaluating future cooling energy consumption demands and their impact on UK energy; • Using a systems approach to explore how to manage cooling demand; and • Determining areas of intervention considering available energy and thermal resources, emission targets and other commitments as well as costs. The HARVEST project sees researchers at Birmingham working in partnership with their counterparts at University of Edinburgh and UCL to develop a microwave-assisted process to flexibly absorb electricity and then regenerate it through reaction between thermochemical materials and ammonia solution.

HARVEST project lead Dr Yongliang Li, from the University of Birmingham, commented: “Great Britain curtailed wind power on 75% of days in 2020, with over 3.6TWh of wind power being turned off in total. The HARVEST project will develop new decentralised heat storage and conversion technology to meet high heating demand in winter and high cooling demand in summer.” UK Minister for Climate Change Lord Callanan said: “The way we use energy in our buildings makes up almost a third of all UK carbon emissions. Reducing that to virtually zero is going to be key to eradicating our contribution to climate change by 2050. “That’s why it’s important that innovative projects like HARVEST and ZECC in Birmingham receive backing to develop new and effective ways to heat and cool our homes and workspaces, helping drive down the costs of low-carbon technologies so everyone can feel the benefits of cheaper and greener energy.”

Mid-season management to maximise grass quality Lorna MacPherson, Dairy Consultant, SAC Consulting As we are now halfway through the summer, the maximum potential for milk production from grass has passed. Maintaining grass quality becomes more challenging as cows have rotated round paddocks several times and are less likely to be grazing down to the desired residual of 1500kg DM/ha. Grass quality may also be poorer, with a build-up of dead at the base of the plant. This must be removed to improve grass yields and cow productivity. To maintain grass quality, pastures can be freshened up with the following methods: s 4OPPING (OWEVER THERE are downsides to this. Cut material is wasted and not eaten by the cows, lying in the field which blocks out light and affects regrowth. Toppers cut too high and can shred/damage the plant, again impacting on regrowth. s 0RE MOWING 5SE A MOWER to remove grass covers in the region of 3000-3300kg DM/ha by cutting down to 4-5 cm. Wilt the material for 8-12 hours then allow cows to clear up mown grass. Palatability increases with wilting and there is less wastage as opposed to grazing, increasing dry matter intake and milk from grass. s #UTTING AND BALING FOR silage. The downside

is the bales may be contaminated with manure but old grass is removed, allowing regrowth of better quality material. s 5SE YOUNGSTOCK OR DRY cows to tidy up pastures. With correct allocation and grazing pressure, the aim is to graze small areas down hard in a few days, before moving stock on to allow the sward to regrow. Be careful not to overestimate how much milk can be produced from grass, especially heading into autumn. Shorter days and less grazing time, plus lower grass dry matter means that by September, grass may support little more than maintenance. Maximise intakes by grazing cows on the best grass in late afternoon/evening when sugar levels are highest. This is also when cows are “hormonally driven” to graze. Provide buffer feed before the afternoon milking, so that it is finished 20-30 minutes before milking and cows return to the field with an appetite to graze.

For information on improving the quality and productivity of your grass, see There are other practical ideas about improving farm efficiencies and reducing the farm carbon footprint at - find us on Facebook and Twitter @SACFarm4Climate.



Work begins by Morrison Telecom Services to support Openreach and the Scottish Government in their rural Broadband and R100 ambitions In 2017 the Scottish Government announced their ambitious vision to deliver Superfast Broadband (30 mbps) for everyone across Scotland. The vision will ensure a future proofed, national fibre framework. 95% of the country was upgraded through commercial build and the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) with the remaining 5% to be captured within the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, which is a key element to deliver that vision. In 2020, Openreach were awarded the R100 programme works by the Scottish Government following competitive tender and they, in turn, procured two of their Tier 1 suppliers to carry out the survey and build services of the new network. Morrison Telecom Services (MTS) secured the Central and South Lots and KN Circet secured the North Lot. The geographical area for Lot 2 and 3 covers from just South of Arrochar across to Perth and everything South to the Border. Morrison Telecom Services will not be an unusual sight for rural residents living in the South and Central areas, due to our work on the initial phase of the DSSB programme. In the past 12 months we have been completing surveys for the R100 programme in these areas. As these surveys continue we would like to encourage you all to engage with our teams out on site, ask them questions and discuss 56

the works that are being carried out. Through these discussions we hope to identify landowners who may be able to offer knowledge of the surrounding area, which could determine how the network is planned to the best value for money for the Scottish Government. Our surveys are targeted to the premises which are most in need of the updated service, as well as providing key information on where is best to build the new network. Our surveys enable us to gain the required level of detail to ensure an effective solution whilst maintaining the safety of everyone involved in the works, whilst

paying particular attention to any environmental impact, preserving the beauty of our countryside. Building this critical infrastructure is now well underway, with our delivery teams and supply chain are already out on the ground working hard to install the new network through a variety of means, including cabling in existing Openreach infrastructure, installing new poles and installing new duct in the ground through Moleplough or mini-digger excavation methods. The first premises now have the ability to order their new Superfast service on this newly

built network for R100, on the outskirts of Biggar. As R100 is a fast paced programme which is constantly progressing, please keep a look out for our updates in your local area. For more information about Morrison Telecom Services, please visit: And for more information about the Government funded R100 project or to view the postcode checker for your area, please visit: delivering-r100

renewable energy

UK farmers identify renewable energy and Agri-Tech solutions as top priorities

Propel, a leading UK independent finance lender and agricultural finance specialist, has conducted the largest survey of its kind of farmers across the country to reveal their economic outlook across the sector. Main findings from Propel‘s National UK Farm Finance Survey: • 75% of farmers are looking to acquire assets in the next 12 months. • Nearly 60% of farmers feel positive about the financial outlook for the farming industry over the next 12 to 24 months. • Only 22% of farmers expect the impact of Covid-19 to be a main constraint to growth in the next 12 to 24 months.

• Asset finance is the most popular form of alternative finance, with 86% of farmers seeing clear benefits to using it to acquire machinery and vehicles. After a challenging year for farmers, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, the survey shows that they are increasingly looking at alternative finance options to help maintain or grow their businesses. The survey highlighted farmers’ growing interest in acquiring new tech, particularly renewable energy equipment. Three-quarters of respondents are now looking to acquire additional assets: tractors and trailers remain the most common items, but now renewable energy technology has become

the third most popular area of investment. More than three quarters (76 per cent) of those interviewed are now exploring the use of high tech equipment on their farms. The most popular areas under active consideration are advanced weather forecasting, DNA soil testing and drone mapping and crop spraying, which points to an ongoing desire to continue to modernise and automate UK agriculture. The survey also shows that UK farmers are increasingly looking at alternative finance options to help maintain or grow their businesses. The findings highlighted that asset finance is the most popular form of alternative finance, recognised for conserving working capital (41%),

offering affordable payments (35%), and simple budgeting (30%). Post Covid-19 farmers are also increasingly optimistic about their outlook, with over half of respondents (58%) feeling positive about the financial outlook for the farming industry over the next 12 to 24 months, with 13 percent giving a ‘very positive’ view. However, the sector is not without its challenges, with rising costs identified as the main constraint to growth over the two years. Farmers were also concerned about the cuts in the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), despite the Government’s sustainable farming approach announced in November 2020. 57

renewable energy Jon Maycock, Commercial Director of Propel, said: “Diversification in the farming sector is well underway, and at Propel we’ve seen our clients’ continued desire to engage with and invest in technology ranging from herd GPS to items such as robotic laser weed killers, a more environmentally friendly form of weed management to herbicides. We will continue to support UK agriculture through this shift, just as they have supported the nation by putting food on the table throughout the pandemic. “Despite all the hardships the sector has suffered over the last 18 months, UK farmers have come back swinging. However, the sector’s optimism should not be taken for granted. As farms emerge from the pandemic, it is vital that they are able to access fast and flexible finance to invest in the critical machinery and technology they need to drive future productivity and growth.”


Northern Irish WELTEC Customer uses Biomethane as a Truck Fuel

The biogas plant of the Northern Irish food logistics company McCulla Transport will go live producing biomethane in July 2021 following a plant expansion by WELTEC BIOPOWER and partner companies. At the site in Lisburn, 10 kilometres south of

Belfast, 450 standard m3 of biogas will be processed into biomethane/ RNG every hour. With this amount, the logistics company can operate ten new CNG trucks, which are refueled directly at the company’s new biomethane filling point. The substrates for the production of the

green fuel come from the 41 Lidl supermarkets in Northern Ireland. Ashley McCulla, chairman of the transport company of the same name, was able to commission the first stage of his biogas plant from WELTEC BIOPOWER back in January 2017. The intention

renewable energy at the time was to utilise the residual materials from his own agricultural business and to create synergies through the use of renewable electricity and heat in the refrigerated warehouse at their main logistics depot. “By digesting slurry, agricultural residues and grass silage from our farm, we were able to produce green energy ourselves with a 500kW CHP plant and use it on our company premises. Ultimately, this has significantly improved our carbon footprint,” McCulla sums up. The expansion to biogas upgrading, HGV fuel and becoming Ireland’s greenest fleet was the logical next step of this good experience with the AD plant and their network in the food industry. As one of Northern Ireland’s largest food transport companies with 235 employees and a cold storage facility of almost 8,500 square metres, McCulla has been supplying Lidl Northern Ireland’s supermarkets for years. With the conversion of the biogas plant, 17,500 tons per year of food leftovers from Lidl stores will substitute the agricultural residues as substrate for the HGV fuel production. Under the motto “Goodbye Diesel - Hello Biofuel”, the ten new bio-CNG trucks will transport Lidl food deliveries with renewable gas. “Every lorry that runs on the green fuel emits 93 percent less carbon emissions than a diesel truck,” explains chairman Ashley McCulla. Due to the excellent eco-balance, the reduced emissions and the lower dependency on fossil fuels, the deal between Lidl and McCulla is creating a positive response from all parties involved. To ensure successful performance long-term, WELTEC BIOPOWER relied on its established components and technologies. Four pits are available for the pre-storage of the substrates. The subsequent anaerobic digestion takes place in two digesters made of stainless steel with a diameter of 23.03m, a height of 6.30m and a capacity of 2,625m3 each. The digestate is stored in a 3,432m3 stainless steel gas-tight storage tank. In order to fully exploit the energy potential

of the food waste, WELTEC has equipped the 80m3 dosing feeder in combination with the MULTIMix pre-feed system. In it, food leftovers are shredded and homogenised. In addition, the Lidl waste is automatically unpacked and pasteurised at the biomethane plant. In the course of the extension, WELTEC BIOPOWER upgraded the in-house developed LoMOS PLC-based control system. “We also retro-fitted the extra gas lines, installed a second emergency flare and ensured that all components were connected smoothly with no downstream consequences on the original plant, which since commissioning has shown some of the top performance figures in the industry”, WELTEC Sales Manager Dr. Kevin Monson explains. “Last but not least, our Biology Department guaranteed a trouble-free substrate changeover, more than doubling output from the original 500kWe plant without further investment in digestion space, by switching from grass silage and slurry to food wastes,” adds Dr. Monson. The biogas upgrading system comes from Pentair Haffmans. The tried and tested module separates carbon dioxide and other components of the biogas from methane using membrane technology. This creates biomethane that is similar in its properties to natural gas, but is significantly more climate-friendly. Despite processing 450 standard m of biogas per hour, the 500-kilowatt CHP continues to run, because McCulla can use the electricity and heat for his headquarters and the cold store. With the tried and tested technology package and its extensive biomethane expertise, the German biogas specialist WELTEC and their partner Pentair Haffmans is making a significant contribution to McCulla being able to lay claim to being one of the greenest transport companies in Ireland. Chairman Ashley McCulla has already announced that the sustainable transport model will be applied to his entire truck fleet over the next five years.

crofting Shooting ourselves in the feet By Patrick Krause, Chief Executive, Scottish Crofting Federation Welcome Mairi Gougeon, in her role as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands under whose portfolio crofting lies. And there is much to be done. We have an immediate threat in the form of proposals by UK Gov to allow unbridled access to our markets for Australia’s meat. At what cost? If this went through it would be catastrophic for crofting and hill production. Australia produces sheep and cattle in quantities that make our flocks and herds look tiny. But they also have considerably lower standards than we do. We have worked hard to get very high standards but the reality is that Australian meat would undercut our prices and our meat production would suffer – possibly collapse. And if we open the door to Australia other countries will expect the same. We shot ourselves in the foot by ruining the market with one of the largest trading blocks in the world which is right on our doorstep, and where we found most of our market for our very high quality meat. This suggestion by UK Gov, desperately trying to get deals with other countries to justify Brexit, is tantamount to shooting ourselves in the other foot. Looking closer to home, Ms Gougeon, what will our

post-CAP agricultural support system look like? A string of advisory groups have offered recommendations on direction of travel but we have yet to see an actual itinerary. Scottish Government commits to supporting active farming and crofting with direct payments and will align, broadly, with the European Common Agriculture Policy. This makes sense whether Scotland re-joins the EU or not, as to trade with the EU we will need to conform to EU standards. The intention is that by 2025 half of the support payments will be conditional on targeted outcomes for biodiversity gain and a drive towards low-carbon approaches. Again, this makes sense given the climate emergency we are facing. Crofting has sound credentials in working with nature in a low carbon system – indeed crofting peatland management and woodland creation can contribute to a positive carbon balance, and the government pledges to support crofting in this. If the Australian deal goes through and other trading is based on this, will we only have conservation grazing left of the Scottish livestock enterprise?

New innovative app improves access to learning in a Scotland first: From falconry to sheep shearing, French to spreadsheets. A new pioneering app has been launched today and is calling for those with a skill to share to register and earn extra income by passing on their knowledge. From learning a new language or instrument, to dry stone walling or fitness, the new app, SkillSeeder, gives users the chance to both share or learn new skills. Co-founded by four entrepreneurs, Kerry Cowan, Simon Rigden, David Ritchie and James Ritchie, SkillSeeder provides a solution for improving access to learning and upskilling. Initially created in response to the Scottish Government’s CivTech 5 programme to support learning in rural communities, the SkillSeeder app received funding from the Scottish Government and launches today (Thursday May 13). A first for Scotland, SkillSeeder is a one-stop-shop for skill seekers to find courses, workshops or 1:1 training and allows skill sharers, whether they are professional or non-professional, to advertise their services in one place. The app saves skill sharers from having to register their services on numerous websites, and makes searching for specialist learning easy. In addition, the app manages payments so it removes any concern from the sharers about when they will receive their pay. The unique app encourages in-person and online upskilling for all skills and sectors. SkillSeeder removes barriers to learning, such as people that lack confidence, have limited English language skills, or live far away from a college. Filters within the app allow users to tailor their search. 60

They can search by location, and by their preferred learning style such as in person, online, listening, watching, or reading/writing). Skill sharers can register their workshop or course for free, and until November 2021, they will not be charged a fee when bookings are made through the app. Each course will be submitted for review and approved by SkillSeeder before they are registered on the app, and some courses, for example machinery operatives, must require the sharer to be accredited. Speaking about the launch of SkillSeeder, Kerry Cowan said, “We are calling for skill sharers across Scotland to register on SkillSeeder. We are keen to ensure that as many skills as possible are listed – from cooking to fitness, music to horticulture, whether it be for work or for leisure, we are excited to offer people in Scotland as much chance as possible to learn something new or upskill their abilities. With either in person or online training, SkillSeeder ensures that even the most rural of communities will have access to specialist training. “The world has changed and the way we all work and communicate has too. As we move out of lockdown, this is a great time to learn a new skill or start a new hobby, and to have access to great training where you want, when you want, and in a way that works best for you. With SkillSeeder, it is the perfect place to start. We are calling for skill sharers to register now and those wanting to learn a new skill will be able to search for a course on the app from June 2021 onwards.”

Barry Sweeny, a dry stone waller skill sharer, said, “We are a fourth generation dry stone walling and stonemasonry company. There are great benefits to being a skill sharer on the SkillSeeder app. It puts us in front of such a large audience and helps to get our name out in front of people who want to learn the skills that we are providing training for.” Elaine Marshall, a skill sharer farmer from Baddinsgill Farm in the Scottish Borders, said, “Supporting other women in the industry is very important and I see the SkillSeeder app as a great opportunity for women in

agriculture to train and upskill.” SkillSeeder is a green, forward thinking start-up business. They have offset each team member’s carbon footprint by planting 1200 trees this year and they have introduced a ‘work at home forever’ policy, unlimited holidays and no set working hours. As the business scopes and scales, SkillSeeder’s employees will have flexible working to ensure their wellbeing, work/life balance and to suit their personal and family commitments. For further details visit

Trailers A brief look at few models available on the market today …

Hydraulic Bale Clamps from Bailey Available as an option across the range of Bale and Pallet trailers from Bailey Trailers, Hydraulic Bale Clamps provide the perfect solution for moving high volume round or square bales more easily, quickly and safely. Bailey has designed each side to lower below the height of the trailer bed which provides easy access for fork lifts. Additionally, because both sides are powered independently you can select either nearside or offside loading to fit your needs. The simple press of a button raises the clamps and the load is totally secured in just a matter of seconds, then you’re ready for safe transit across field and road. Need more height? Not a problem. Bailey’s new Twin Hydraulic Bale Clamps provide the option to load bales at a height of three Hesston’s. This latest innovation offers the ideal solution for contractors and large-scale farm businesses looking to further reduce the number of loads and save valuable time, plus save on fuel costs. All Bailey Bale and Pallet trailers in the Bailey range are 2500mm/8’2” overall and fitted are

with a 4.5 mm chequer plate floor with 60 x 40 RHS floor runners at 300 mm centres. Bale trailers feature heavy-duty 8 mm side rails and a 600 mm high headboard for safe and secure loading of pallets, bags and boxes.

A wide range of optional extras are available for Bale and Pallet trailers including: a Hydraulic Working Platform to aid filling of potato boxes; a Box Pusher for safe transportation of loads and a Rollover Sheet for

protection against adverse weather conditions. For more information on Hydraulic Bale Clamps and the Bale and Pallet trailer range speak to your local Bailey dealer or visit

A choice of trailers from Harry West As every farmer/ contractor knows well with every busy harvest choosing the right equipment is key to a successful operation. The trailer choice for field work is a major component to most processes be it silage work, bale carting, grain or maize. As part of the ongoing development of products Harry West (Prees) ltd have recently introduced the West flatbed/

bale trailer to complement our existing trailer line up. Two models are available, FB26 & the FB 32, as the model indicates they are 26’ & 32’ long both with a 14T capacity. The use of 250 x 150 box section in the construction and full commercial parabolic springs with ADR hubs give the trailers a very strong and durable construction. A similar construction is also

used in the West C27 trailers which are made up of both 14T & 16T capacity grain trailers and silage trailers. These trailers are built to the same standards and excellent quality expected in any West product. A short compact design these trailers give good maneuverability in and out of gateways and up tight lanes. Both the FB & C27 ranges have numerous options with tyre

choice, air brakes, ABS systems and our ESP information unit. The ESP unit is incorporated in the ABS control block and gives the operator an accurate record of miles/km travelled, speeds travelled and weights carried. This can give contractors simple details when costing work carried out. At the other end of the spectrum we at West still give the 61

Trailers option of a “classic” built trailer in the 10T & 12T capacity grain/ utility & silage trailers. These units have been tried and tested over the years and run on the rocking beam design. These are both road friendly but come into their own when used on undulating fields and heavily rutted lanes and gateways. These units are available with sprung axles and this gives us a wide and varied line up.


Joskin Trans-KTP trailers Joskin is well-known for manufacturing high-end machines that will never let you down even in the worst conditions. The best example is the Trans-KTP dump trailer available from 9t to 30t. The most imporant thing on a dump trailer is the quality of the steel. All Joskin dump trailers are made of HARDOX 450. At Joskin we know that dump trailers will be used with abrasive matters like concrete, sand, stones… That’s why you want the steel to be as flexible/ tough as possible. 450 is the grade of the steel which means that the tensile limit of the steel is 140kg/mm where a low-end steel would only take half this weight before it brakes. Using HARDOX 450 allows Joskin to reduce the tickness of the steel and use less reinforcments on both sides of the trailer to keep the trailer as ligth as possible, maximise the payload and spare the tractor. The Trans-KTP is available on single axle (on 9t model), twin axle (from 11t to 27t) or triple axle (from 27t to 30t). The choice of the running gear is crucial. The most common running gear on dump trailers is the twin axle. At Joskin we call it the CROSS-OVER, ROLLOVER bogie or ROCKERBEAM. The advantages of those running gears are : stability at high speed and when driving into ditches but also good ground clearence (+-250mm), good weight distribution of the load and allows the driver to turn shorter especially when fitted with a steering system. The 27t and 30t triple axle trailers come on hydraulic suspension which is today the best running gear you could have with good ground clearence (between 250mm and 300mm) even distibution of the load on

Trailers each wheels to keep the body flat and increase the stability, maximised manoeuvrability thanks to its double forced steering system on first and last axle and much more. Today Joskin offers a lot of options to build a trailer that meets your needs.


FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 140



Ktwo improve trailer silage sides to increase versatility and longevity Ktwo are a leading British manufacturer of farming machinery and are focused on continually improving their product range to maximise versatility and longevity, recently with their new agricultural trailer silage sides design. Ktwo have always invested heavily in their product design and have increased their design engineering team by three in the last year alone. They are continuing to focus on product innovation based on customer feedback, precision, efficiency, and the most up-to-date technology. Ktwo trailer silage sides are designed to give farmers the flexibility with materials


Trailers without needing to increase their trailer fleet. The new and improved silage sides have been designed to ensure there are no external ledges, reducing any spillage of product onto the road to improve efficiency and road safety. Ktwo’s Roadeo Curve Trailer range has a unique body design built from a single sheet of high tensile steel for increased strength and a lower nett weight. The new silage sides have been improved to follow the Curve’s strength in its design and build quality. The silage sides have an increased side thickness from 2mm to 3mm to improve rigidity and longevity. ‘’Our silage sides are fully welded to improve quality. This allows for an excellent paint finish and product longevity.’’ Explains Chris Gordon, Design Manager. ‘’The new silage sides have no external lip so when loading there is no risk

of product remaining on the outside of the trailer.” Ktwo have made further improvements in the rear trailer posts to improve fitment and making it easier to take the sides on and off. Coupled with the new Ktwo Roadeo Curve Trailer front window which gives increased visibility and the removable front ladder, Ktwo trailers are now more versatile then ever before to ensure maximum efficiency. The new design also features the bold Ktwo logo cut into the front panel of the silage sides which really makes the new design standout. The first Ktwo Roadeo Curve Trailers with the new and improved silage side designs have left the factory and are being very well received by customers. For more information on Ktwo visit:

The Marshall BC trailer range

“This unique load securing system fits to all BC models from the BC-25-12T upwards and can be used for a variety of loads from bales to fertiliser bags and boxes. The system incorporates two hydraulically lifted bars that pull a pair of securing nets into place on either side of the trailer, reducing the need for strapping

and further tying down of cargo. There are a number of benefits to this design, using nets instead of complicated steel frames reduces the chance of damage, the nets fold together when in the lowered position so the trailer can be moved or unhitched, and the system works with more than just bales.”



Slurry Kat farm trailers SlurryKat farm trailers have evolved from many years of their experience gained through their contracting division. They embody the high levels of engineering expertise applied to every product they produce and built using the finest quality materials and parts. Designed specifically for farmers and contractors handling forage crops, the Proline silage trailer is the flagship model, demonstrating previously unseen levels of technical innovation. Prolines’ unique design features laser-cut body panels, which means that forces exerted on the body of the trailer are transferred down into the chassis. The chassis has been designed to handle these dynamic energy forces during transport. The result is superb stability and


unparalleled ease of movement. Proline’s superior single-tipping cylinder is proven to tip up to 65% faster than conventional designs - wet or dry - and its laser cut body hivision panel, with clear acrylic cover, means the operator’s vision into the trailer during filling is always unimpaired. The SlurryKat range includes: • Grain and Silage Trailers • Flat Trailers • Low Loaders • Dump Trailers • Multi-Purpose Trailers • Silage Dump Trailers Each of these types are designed to fulfil specific niche functions, but they also offer the flexibility of adapting to a wider range of uses.

people A lockdown hasn’t limited Tom Bruce of Udny JAC lifting Young Farmer of the Year 2020 title at Royal Highland Showcase! The 2020 (delayed) finalists of SAYFC’s ‘Young Farmer of The Year’ contest, certainly travelled to Ingliston’s showground to make an impression! The Royal Highland Showcase weekend, hosted the pinnacle, the culmination, the awaited final – of their fully packed day of testing competitions! Finalists who battled their way through their eliminations to compete, from across the country were; Jack Young [Carluke YFC], Andrew Taylor [Crossroads YFC], Tom Bruce [Udny JAC], Alasdair Morrison [Lanark YFC], Alan Lindsay [Bathgate JAC] & David Campbell [Beith YFC]. First point of business for the finalists on Sunday 20th June, was just that – BUSINESS! They each completed interviews in front of the panellist of Alistair Christie from Galbraith, Roddy McLean of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Craig Davidson from SRUC, which further questioned the finalists on their previous produced business plan. These plans were each produced around a mock farm based just outside Stirling [provided, with thanks by sponsor, Galbraith]. Afternoon brought an abundance of patience and skill testing tasks; Preparation of a tup, the construction of a self-locking yoke, an ATV driving course, a ‘Sell a Steak’ promotional video shoot each as well as the setting up of calibrate tractor and plough! Close of play saw the six SAYFC members take to the ‘cameras’ within the studio set prepared by sponsor, Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland [RHASS]. They were joined by representatives

Tom Bruce

from all four main sponsors, namely; Royal Bank of Scotland, ATV Services, Galbraiths and RHASS. Without the sponsors of this event, it simply would not have been able to go ahead, to provide the postponed nervous finalists a chance to shine. SAYFC would like to take this opportunity to thank them wholeheartedly for their various ways of support for ‘Young Farmer of the Year 2020’. There are a bank of supporters who must also be mentioned, for their help and kindness, to allow SAYFC to pull off the spectacle – namely; Farm Fit UK, LS. Smellie & sons, Bryson Tractors, Regatta Professional and SAC consulting. Winner, Tom Bruce, speaking of his highest point of achievement in Young Famers to date, mentioned: ‘I was placed 3rd in the 2019 final and delighted to

have qualified again in 2020, so absolutely thrilled to have returned for this final and win the Young Farmer of the Year award.’ Tom was already involved within the showcase earlier in the week as he was selected by RHASS to judge Simmental and Interbreed classes. Alan Laidlaw, RHASS CEO, highlighted: Young farmer competitions are so closely linked to Ingliston and the royal highland show that it’s only right that the Young Farmer of the year finale is here and we are delighted that it’s been able to be included in the Showcase. Being able to live stream the results during our magazine show today (or not depending when you out this out) is a very fitting way to celebrate the relationship between RHASS and SAYFC.

John Yuille from sponsor, ATV Services was delighted for Tom Bruce name and all competitors who completed in the eliminations as well as the final. He told us: ATV Services are once again delighted to be involved in the SAYFC Young Farmer of The Year competition. “We firmly believe in supporting those who support ourselves and can think of no better way of doing that than working with SAYFC and sponsoring this fantastic competition, celebrating the bright future of Scottish Agriculture. After the postponement of last year’s final it was great to be back.” Roddy McLean, Royal Bank of Scotland added: It’s great to be supporting SAYFC again, we are reassured that the future of Scottish Agriculture looks bright 67

farming diversification

Take the Plunge in Angus… Farm Accommodation and a Pool with a View By Janis Hopper Offering accommodation on a farm used to be a relatively novel offering. As it’s become increasingly popular many farmers seek a USP that stands out. David and Lynsay Milne of Balbinny decided that, when they diversified into holiday accommodation, their cottages would be complemented by a swimming pool. “Angus isn’t the most well known area for tourists so we needed to create accommodation that would draw them in,’ says David. ‘Once they were here they would explore and visit all the sights and attractions. From the beginning we felt that offering high end, high spec farm accommodation, with a swimming pool and gym on site, would encourage visitors to choose our accommodation and our region of Scotland over others.” The Milnes admittedly knew nothing about building or maintaining swimming pools when they embarked on their plan, but worked with planning consultants in Fife, and a former pool firm in Brechin to realise their vision. “We knew we wanted to make use of the view, a 180 degree panorama of the Angus glens, so we threw as much money at glass as we could afford,’ says David. ‘Some designs submitted to us incorporated sill height windows but we wanted the Wow factor, with floor to ceiling windows.’ ‘Clearly so much glass created issues with misting and condensation so we had to invest capital in quality air recycling systems and vents. Our high temperature air source system is like a reverse air conditioning unit. Rather than being oil 68

Location, location, location!

Unwind in the jacuzzi and pool

farming diversification fired it’s more eco friendly so we’ve won awards for the environmental aspects of this pool.” In terms of practicalities, a pool brings a lot of additional responsibility, from staffing and chemicals to facilities and cleaning. “We purposefully created a pool 1.2 metres deep so we don’t require a lifeguard on duty. For health and safety reasons, a remote access key fob was added to ensure nobody can simply or accidentally walk into the pool area.’ ‘Naturally, we need to test the water regularly, backwashing the pool and spa, cleaning the filters and keeping everything fresh. Chlorine is monitored alongside pH and alkalinity. You become a bit of a chemist along the way and it’s been a learning curve. I now source all our supplies online and it’s quite straightforward.” David comes from an agricultural family and was a full time farmer rearing pedigree Texels and suckling cows. He inherited the farm from his father who was born and brought up here, and worked the land for decades. Hospitality and leisure were relatively new markets for the Milnes, but the story of diversification often leads back to family. “My brother and I split the inherited land between us about 25 years ago. Then, as my children grew up and moved to London and Dublin to pursue their lives and careers, my wife and I realised we wouldn’t be passing on a traditional farm to the next generation. It was an opportunity to do something new.” And the couple has certainly succeeded. Balbinny does stand out. It’s luxurious, and the pool draws families who wish to play and spend quality time together, and couples who desire to unwind. The farm offers two cottages, two brochs and three steadings, built from

reclaimed materials, stone, iron and flagstones from former buildings. The accommodation is exceptionally well finished and it’s all about the scenery. The steadings feature a balcony and floor to ceiling glass. Bifolding doors in the bedrooms provide uninterrupted views of the scenery and immediate access to the countryside. The brochs have quirky grass roofs, woodburning stoves to keep guests cosy, and feature sought after hot tubs. “Everyone’s currently very keen on hot tubs, people can’t seem to get enough of them, so we invested in four woodburning tubs, available at both the brochs, and soon available at both the cottages. It’s an added incentive to book Balbinny over other similar properties,” says David. As an added extra, the Milnes invested in Highland Cattle as an additional draw for the guests. David initially bought four cows as a birthday present for his wife, which she was apparently delighted with, and now the herd stands at fourteen. For guests to arrive and see such iconic animals peacefully grazing in the fields around Balbinny is many visitors’ dream and vision of Scotland. Whilst the Milne’s project is going swimmingly, Covid-19 sank plans across the country. Balbinny faced extended closures like everywhere else, additional cleaning systems have been introduced, touch points are regularly sanitised, hand gels were added at relevant points, guidelines had to be understood and followed, guests were encouraged to arrive at the gym/pool in their kit as changing rooms were temporarily closed, and a new booking system was introduced within the leisure centre to stop households mixing. Out of this maelstrom came occasional silver linings. “Turns out we found the booking system a success. Guests

book ninety minutes exclusive use at the leisure centre. People wish to use the pool for different things, keen swimmers can swim, families can jump, splash and play, romantic couples can peacefully enjoy the views and atmosphere. It’s worked really well so that’s one part of the experience we’ll be continuing.” Admittedly there’s a lot to keep guests relaxed and entertained at Balbinny, but there’s plenty of sight-seeing nearby as well. Glamis Castle, Edzell with its castle, walled garden and Rocks of Solitude walk, the sweeping sands of

Lunan Bay, and family fun at Brechin Castle Centre all tempt visitors to explore Angus. The cities of Aberdeen and Dundee, and the towns of Montrose and Angus are a short drive away too. “Creating Balbinny has been a long journey. It was a lot of capital outlay at the beginning and it’s been challenging, but thinking big is paying dividends now,” concludes David. The Balbinny pool, brochs, cottages and steadings are doing so well they’re substantially booked up for 2021 so make your reservation now if you wish to splash out in Angus.

Fab living space

Bedroom with a view

Janice Hopper is a freelance writer based in Aberdeen who’s written features, copy and social media text for a range of publications and clients. Her Scottish family travel blog,, covers child-friendly short breaks, attractions and activities.



Bird-like drone could be game-changer for farmers A drone which mimics bird flight could make the technology more usable for farmers in remote and windswept landscapes. Drones are increasingly being used in agriculture, such as for checking crops and livestock, but are currently limited by their inability to fly in winds exceeding 25mph, and to stay airborne for long periods. But a Cornish start-up, run by an aerospace engineering graduate, is now aiming to change that with ‘Hover Bird’, a drone which uses wind to its advantage. “If you look at conventional drones and helicopters, they use 95-98% of their energy to just stay in the air and overcome gravity, which means drone batteries often don’t keep them airborne for longer than 20 minutes,” says Patrick Maletz, founder of Falco Drone Technologies. “They’re also not very good at flying in high winds. “We’ve worked out that by using wind like a bird does, rather than fighting against it, we can increase flight time to about three hours in optimal conditions.” Mr Maletz hopes Hover Bird could help farmers access remote land and spend more time inspecting crops and livestock, as well as aiding the offshore wind industry and search and rescue operations. “The benefit is that you can hover over a target, like an animal, and come in for closer inspection. Drones are also really useful for early detection of pests and diseases in crops, 70

and like most drones, Hover Bird can be fitted with multi-spectrum cameras to aid this.” Having worked in humanoid robotics, Mr Maletz came up with the idea for the drone while on a holiday in the Alps a few years ago. “I thought how useful it would be to have a drone for ski patrols, but realised that the high winds would be a problem,” he says. “This led me to think about a drone that could handle this, and how useful this could be for search and rescue operations.” He then spent a couple of years tinkering with drones to make improvements, until lockdown last year gave him more time to focus on developing Falco Drone Technologies. Grant funding from Agri-Tech Cornwall was critical in enabling Mr Maletz to continue testing the technology, finding problems, and adapting the drones until a solution was found. “The biggest challenge has been the time and money – it’s been hard to fund this myself and to do it alongside working part-time. The Agri-Tech Cornwall funding really helped and has enabled us to develop the next prototype.” Falco Drone Technologies is also working with Marine-I and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and has flights planned at a demonstration wind turbine in Scotland next year. The goal is to work with farmers to perform similar technology validation flights in the agricultural sector as well. “We’d really like to work more closely with farmers to

understand their challenges and needs better,” says Mr Maletz. “So we would be keen to hear from anyone who wants to collaborate.” The drone is made from inexpensive materials, and so

should come in at an accessible price point for the agricultural sector, he adds. “Commercial drones currently on the market are priced at £5,000 to £50,000, and Hover Bird is expected to be at the lower end of that.”


Autonomous agricultural machines CLAAS cooperates with start-up AgXeed and acquires minority shareholding

CLAAS has entered into a cooperative venture with Dutch start-up AgXeed B.V. and acquired a minority shareholding in the company’s international funding round as a mark of their commitment. The aim is to cooperate on the development and commercialisation of autonomous agricultural machines. The farming industry must further increase productivity in the decades ahead to meet the needs of a growing global population. At the same time, the number of people employed in the industry, measured in terms of land area, continues to decline, while skilled labour is

increasingly difficult to find in some regions and farmers still work longer hours than many other sectors. The agricultural machinery industry has come up with various solutions to address these challenges, ranging from operator assistance and machine optimisation systems to precision farming technologies, and even autonomous machines in different size and performance classes. For CLAAS, collaborating with and investing in AgXeed marks a logical step towards future-proof technologies. Netherlands-based AgXeed offers a smart, sustainable and fully autonomous system

with scalable hardware, virtual planning tools and extensive data models, making it one of Europe’s leading companies in this sector today. To this end, AgXeed will be bringing its autonomous AgBot to fields, pastures and speciality crops alongside a full suite of vehicle peripherals. The aim is for this autonomous field robot with diesel-electric drive, wheels or crawler tracks, up to 156 hp and standard three-point linkage to assist farmers with a wide range of tasks in future. “Our involvement provides CLAAS with access to innovative technologies in a familiar market

segment and complements our own expertise in autonomy and robotics”, explains Thomas Böck, CEO of the CLAAS Group. “In turn, AgXeed benefits from our extensive expertise and networks in many areas such as data transfer, interfaces and drivetrain solutions. It’s a winwin situation in our view, and one reason why we decided to invest in this start-up company, as well as the fact that the targeted AgXeed technologies are in an advanced state of development. This solution offers farmers and contractors concrete economic added value, and what’s more, it will soon be available.” 71


A partnership between the Rural Youth Project and Smart Village Scotland has witnessed the successful launch of a pioneering, youth-centric Smart Village which will champion young people to collaboratively build vibrant, creative, and sustainable rural economies in the places they call home. Rebecca Dawes, Director of the Rural Youth Project said: “Smart Villages are a concept driven by the European

Network for Rural Development – essentially digital rural ‘villages’ that combine physical and digital communities to improve their resilience, building on local strengths and opportunities. As such, the Rural Youth Project Smart Village now functions as a space where young people across Scotland can access helpful resources, connect with others, uncover employment and volunteering vacancies, as well as having their voices heard.”

The platform, which is exclusively dedicated to tackling issues facing rural young people, is funded by LEADER (‘Liaison Entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie Rurale’. Attending the launch was Jackie Brierton, who spoke on behalf of the programme which is committed to funding rural development efforts. Ms Brierton emphasised the programme’s delight at supporting such an initiative, especially since young people have been

so disproportionately affected throughout the pandemic: “The Rural Youth Project Smart Village fulfils all of the requirements we look for when considering funding. It has certainly been community-led; it has been a brilliant example of cooperation; and it is absolutely about innovation. It is truly pioneering.” To join the growing network, head to

Student project has goat potential A proposal for a goat meat cooperative in the north east of Scotland was the overall winning entry in an internal competition run by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in partnership with Converge. Three Rural Business Management students from SRUC’s Craibstone campus in Aberdeen were awarded i-pads from Converge - which works in collaboration with Scotland’s universities to uncover emerging spinouts and start-ups - after winning the Group Business Planning competition. The students were asked to choose a farm, food or business product/service and investigate the


benefits of forming a marketing or purchasing co-operative before preparing a detailed development and marketing plan for their proposed co-op. Third year students Georgina Milne, 20, from Oyne, near Insch, Alison Rotheray, 31, from Turiff, and Emma Maguire, 21, from Montrose, put forward a proposal for a co-operative goat meat business for North-East Scotland, with 30 founder members dedicating part of their farms to the production of kids. In their report, they described goat meat as the UK’s fastestgrowing meat market and wrote: “Goat is a very healthy meat with lots of flavour and a growing

youngfarmers restaurant and home-cooking market, so North-East Goat Meat has the potential to become very lucrative for its members in time.” The runners-up included Vicky Haddow, Emily Inglis and Kate Massie from the King’s Buildings campus in Edinburgh, who suggested the formation of a Scottish Craft Beer Association; the Ayr team of Olivia Kelly, Lia Connel, Dylan Brown and

Daniel Anderson, who came up with The Best Whey – a product for the elderly market to combat muscle wasting; and Neli Kuzina, Kirsty Laidlaw and Sophie Hilton from the Barony campus, whose Fly’n’Spray project used a drone for spraying. For more information about studying at SRUC, visit: www.

John Deere to open new apprentice training centre

John Deere and training provider ProVQ have announced plans to open a brand new Apprentice Training Centre this autumn, at a farm site in Upper Saxondale near Bingham in Nottinghamshire. This will mark the 30th anniversary of the company’s first Ag Tech apprentice intake, who were enrolled at original partner Brooksby Melton College in 1992. Designed specifically and solely for John Deere dealer apprentices attending the company’s award winning Ag Tech, Turf Tech and Parts Tech training programmes, the first John Deere Apprentice Training Centre was established at Radcliffeon-Trent five years ago. These premises have now been outgrown, due to the programmes’ success and increasing dealer demand. The Ag ,Turf and Parts Tech apprenticeships focus on

developing the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for dealer personnel of the future. Each year group trains at the centre for up to eight weeks a year in four blocks of two weeks. Some of this time is also spent at John Deere’s Langar HQ when working with the largest equipment and the latest technologies. John Deere appointed ProVQ Limited in summer 2015 as its new business partner to deliver the apprentice training programmes on behalf of its dealers in the UK & Ireland. Since that time the strength of the partnership has allowed the programmes to develop and grow to meet the needs and expectations of a modern John Deere dealership. The current full-time ProVQ staff will continue to be managed by James Haslam at the new Apprentice Training Centre from the autumn.


GENERATION This Next Generation column is a collaboration between the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth Next Generation (RASC) and NFU Scotland Next Generation.

Clarkson to the rescue? by Rebecca Dawes

Love him or loth him, Jeremy Clarkson is doing what many have tried to do for years. Clarkson’s Farm is showing the reality of farming in the UK and in doing so is connecting the public to the agricultural community. The good and the bad, the vast range of skills required, the extensive use of technology and science, the high costs, the importance of health and safety, and the complexity of managing the farming calendar, to name just a few topics that have been covered in the first few episodes. For many, the fear was Clarkson would discredit an industry that has worked so hard to bridge the gap between the consumer and farmer, making the sector look amateurish. But through his lack of knowledge, and humour, he has done quite the opposite. He has sought help from his local agricultural advisor, NFU, NSA, his team, vet, auctioneers, and other farmers, demonstrating the extensive expertise and careers available. Together they have showcased the basics such as drilling crops, worming sheep and buying machinery, through to the complex discussions such as why a field of OSR failed, costing the business

£4000 due to cabbage stem flea beetle, Through his naivety, Clarkson is asking important questions that we all need to consider on-farm. He is also challenging political decisions and regulations, such as why was neonicotinoid chemistry banned, and what are we doing to improve environmental standards. Whilst TV is often about PR, requiring good drama to continue to attract an audience, Clarkson is humbling, humorous and respectful of the industry. If the first few episodes are anything to go by, we should be embracing this opportunity and encouraging views so that future series are produced. As one friend said, “he did more to educate nonfarming folk in one episode, than other programmes have achieved in their entire existence, particularly about the financial and environmental difficulties associated with growing crops.” Surely this can only be a good thing and in doing so we are encouraging future generations to consider a career in agriculture, the general public to be respectful and supportive, and key decision makers, who often have never stepped foot on farm, to consider the consequences of their actions.

Rebeca Dawes is a Director for the Rural Youth Project, Next Generation Trustee for the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth, LEAF Open Farm Sunday Coordinator and Agricultural and Rural Communication for Jane Craigie Marketing.


The big boys of 2021 A brief look at combine harvesters available for this season

Case IH Axial-Flow combines range The Case IH Axial-Flow combine range includes the 150 series, with models from 312 to 459hp and the 250 series, with models from 498 to 634hp. The grain-on-grain threshing action of Axial-Flow® not only limits grain losses in the field through more effective separation, but also ensures that what goes into the grain tank is a clean and high quality crop, adding revenue to the customer’s bottom line. The single rotor technology delivers a smoother and gentler thresh than a conventional drum, with fewer moving parts, and the transition from threshing to separation is completely seamless. Centrifugal forces ensure perfect separation even in the most difficult conditions and the Axial-Flow® delivers

best in class grain quality, high throughput and low grain losses. Every Axial-Flow® model has a grain tank with highcapacity elevators allowing highspeed unloading of high-yielding crops. Unloading times are best in class. In addition, classleading residue management is available; when the X-tra chopping straw chopper is fitted, swath to chop is easily selected to produce a swath of straw suitable for baling. Case IH Varicut® headers cater for controlled-traffic farming operations. A new 8-metre header has been introduced for customers using tramline widths of 16/24/32 metres. The working width is 8.53 metres (28’) and offers all the same features and benefits as the other Varicut® models. All grain headers also feature crop lifters,

which have been designed to reduce losses by utilising a higher lifting profile to better lift lodged crop up to the cutter bar. To help improve wear resistance, the crop lifters also feature a wave formed skid.

The Axial-Flow® 150 and 250 series are covered by SAFEGUARD WARRANTY Standard Market Offer 1+2 years for free, with no minimum claim value or excess fees (max 1,000 hours).

New LEXION takes straw-walker combines to higher level The new second generation LEXION 6000 and 5000 range of straw-walkers combine harvesters see’s not only a considerable expansion in models available, but also the introduction of a host of new features to increase output and efficiency. Central to the LEXION 6000/5000 range is the completely new APS SYNFLOW WALKER threshing system, which sets a new standard for the threshing and separation performance from straw-walker combines. A total of seven new 74

models are available, comprising four 6-walker LEXION 6000 versions and three 5-walker LEXION 5000 models. Topping the range is the new LEXION 6900 which, with a power output of 507hp and maximum grain tank capacity of 13,500 litres, further extends the overlap between LEXION strawwalker and HYBRID models. The new APS SYNFLOW WALKER system brings together the accelerated crop flow provided by the APS system together with an additional

Combines separator drum after the threshing drum. Central to the threshing system is the massive 755mm diameter threshing drum, fitted with 10 rasp bars, which is 26% larger than the 600mm drum on the LEXION 600 range. Behind this is the new 600mm-diameter separator drum that provides additional gentle separation of grain from the straw. A shallow wrap angle of just 132° and 116° respectively means straw flow through the APS SYNFLOW WALKER system is flatter and gentler, resulting

in improved straw quality, but load on the threshing system is reduced, so saving power and fuel. The main concave area has also been considerably increased. to 1.30m2 on the 5-walker LEXION 5000 and a massive 1.55m2 in the LEXION 6000 models. Drum speed is infinitely variable from 330-930rpm and is synchronised across all four drums. All the main concaves are infinitely adjusted hydraulically using CEBIS, which is also used to engage an additional pivoting concave bar between the pre-separation concave and the main concave.

All LEXION 6000/5000 models now have the JET STREAM cleaning system, venting through a dual strawwalker step and a long airflow equalisation channel. The LEXION 6000/5000 range also incorporates the latest QUANTIMETER yield measuring system, which is far more accurate and robust, and only needs calibrating once a year for each crop type. The pivoting concave bar, synchronised drum speed and concave adjustment systems are fully integrated into CEMOS

AUTO THRESHING which automatically adjusts concave settings and drum speed. In addition, CEMOS AUTO CLEANING will automatically adjust the JETSTREAM fan speed and the upper and lower sieve settings and AUTO CROP FLOW used to avoid potential blockages. Grain tank capacity ranges from 9,000 litres on the smallest LEXION 5300 to 13,500 litres on the LEXION 6900 and seven different unloading augers up to 12m and maximum emptying speed of 180 litres/second are available.

Deutz-Fahr Combine range Deutz-Fahr, famous for their long history of combine harvester development, extending back through Fahr combines right to their roots with Kodel & Boom, have a comprehensive range of straw walker machines that are synonymous with providing an excellent sample and leaving great quality straw. Today’s offering includes 4 different model ranges, all with Stage V fuel efficient engines. Starting with the C5000, a simple 5 walker machine, with a maximum cutting width of 4.8m. This machine retains as much mechanical operation as possible to include drive engagement and adjustment of the concave. This unit, originally developed for export markets was soon

recognised as a great machine for customers who only have a small amount of crop, but still wish to retain the independence of their own machine and not rely upon the availability of an often over committed contractor. By adding a 175hp Stage V Deutz engine to this range, has made it available to the UK market for the first time. The C6000 range, harnesses the 250hp Deutz 6.1 litre Stage V engine to power this 5-walker machine, now available with or without the turbo separator (TS), a third rotor located behind the 600mm diameter drum & rear beater. The Turbo separator accelerates material away from the drum towards the straw walkers helping to separate those grains from the straw, returning

them to the preparation pan. Machines with a Turbo Separator have an additional output in capacity of up to 20%.

For customers requiring a larger machine, with a choice of either 5 or 6 straw walkers, the C7000 range is available.

Fendt Ideal combines range The Fendt Ideal range includes four models, the 7, 8, 9 and 10 series. ParaLevel and flat land variants are available, each can be specified with four-wheel drive making the range well suited to the Scottish market. Tracks are available on the flatland machines ranging from 25 to 36 inches in width. All models benefit from Fendt’s unique processor design which can tackle a wide variety of crop types and conditions with precision and efficiency.

The combines can travel at 40 km/h on the road and have an unrivalled narrow transport width. Visibility and operator comfort have been a focus for Fendt and the range all benefits from the VisionCab, which has a window area of 5.75 m2 that offers a 180° panoramic view. This coupled with a low noise level of just 73 decibels makes the Fendt a relaxed place to work. The cab layout will be familiar to any farmer who has operated a Fendt tractor as many of



Combines the controls are shared between the machines. Fendt’s unique VarioDoc Pro allows the combine to seamlessly share data with farm management software. The combines are also fitted with Fendt’s VarioGuide guidance system. Using Fendt’s machine to machine communication two or

more combines working together can communicate with each other to share combine settings and waylines. Fendt’s SuperFlow cutting tables offer headfirst feeding of all crops in all conditions with widths from 25 feet to 40 feet. The Fendt also performs well on undulating terrain as a result of its ParaLevel

slope compensation system, which levels the combine’s chassis on slopes of up to 20 percent, ensuring that the threshing unit and the entire separating and cleaning systems remain level. The Fendt E, L & C series combines offer accomplished straw walker performance delivering high grain and straw quality. The

L and C series are available in 5 and 6 walker variants with engine power ranging between 243hp and 360hp. Speed and versality is helped by Fendt’s multi crop separator (MCS) which allows the operator to electrically add or remove its concave in 60 seconds to increase separation or maximise straw quality.

New John Deere X-Series combines John Deere has added two new X-Series combine harvester models to its 2021 harvesting line-up to help large-scale farmers harvest more tonnes per hour and more hectares per day, specifically in tough, high yielding, wet conditions. The new X9 1000 and X9 1100 combines represent the next level of John Deere harvesting performance and are now the flagship machines in the company’s range. The X9 1100 can harvest wheat at an impressive 100 tonnes per hour at less than one per cent grain loss. As conditions change, the X9 combine can make automatic adjustments for the operator so it consistently operates at peak levels.

The X-Series combines feature the widest feederhouse on the market, which is the foundation for the X9’s performance. Coupled with a new dual rotary separator and the industry’s largest cleaning shoe, providing the largest active threshing and separation areas John Deere has ever offered, these work together to improve crop flow and increase harvesting capacity. In the lead up to this year’s US Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, which is billed as the world’s largest technology event, the new X9 Series combines were recognised in the Robotics category of the 2021 CES Innovation Awards. This was the second straight year

John Deere has received such an award, after the 8RX tractor was honoured in the ‘Tech for a Better World’ category in 2020. These awards recognise outstanding product design and engineering in technology products that impact society and

the world in a positive way. The X9 Series combines have also received a 2021 AE50 Award for outstanding innovations that improve production agriculture, as well as a DLG silver medal for the ‘large combine efficiency package’ at Agritechnica 2019.

The New Holland CH Crossover harvesting combine range The New Holland Agriculture CH7.70 combine is the latest addition to the CR twin rotor rotary ‘proven record holding’ range and the proven CX conventional range. Introducing a brand-new, Crossover Harvesting™ concept that brings together outstanding Twin Rotor® separation technology with the brand’s proven and renowned conventional threshing technology. This Crossover Combine delivers outstanding grain and straw quality, for all crops and conditions. The highly fuelefficient engine with patented HI-eSCR 2 technology for Stage V compliance, delivers high 78

productivity, extremely low operating costs and comes with the superior comfort of the Harvest Suite™ Deluxe cab. The Crossover technology delivers up to 25% higher throughput than a conventional combine in this segment. The two-drum threshing system features a 600mm diameter drum delivering outstanding threshing performance. The large drum combined with the user-friendly sectional concave, enables fast adaptation to different crops, in less than 20 minutes. Drum speed is controlled from the cab by a new heavy-duty hydraulic drum variator, ensuring

that the speed is perfectly matched to crop and field conditions. The New Holland Opti-Thresh™

system adapts to crop conditions and maturity by repositioning the rear part of the concave – no tools

Combines required. When the hinged top section is moved away from the drum, the rubbing action is gentler, improving straw quality. The CH7.70 combines this high-capacity two-drum system with New Holland’s proven Twin Rotor concept delivering the Crossover Harvesting experience. The specially designed 21-inch,

3.45-metre-long Twin Rotor system provides the largest separation area in the segment, at some 2.9 m2. Minimal settings changes when switching between crops are required, resulting in outstanding crop-to-crop versatility. A range of Varifeed™ headers of up to 9.15 metres can be

fitted, including an 8.53-metre version specifically developed for this range. The front face of the feeder housing can be mechanically adjusted ensuring perfect alignment with the header, delivering smoother, laminar crop flow for increased throughput and best flow for any crop.

The CH7.70 features the unique New Holland TripleClean™ cascaded cleaning system, boosting cleaning capacity by up to 15% with the addition of an extra cascade in the centre of the grain pan. The double flight cross auger transfers grain to the elevator faster, which increases throughput.

A range for all harvests from Massey Ferguson From simple and straightforward, to advanced and sophisticated, Massey Ferguson’s comprehensive range of combine harvesters is the culmination of generations of exhaustive research, technical development and innovation. Today’s line-up comprises a spread of versatile machines designed to cope easily with challenging conditions and terrain. As pioneers in the field of harvesting a wide range of crops, MF has always been aware of the difficulties many growers face in terms of, for instance, making the most of what may be sporadic windows of opportunity. Four model options make up the range: MF Activa, MF Activa S, MF Beta and MF IDEAL, so here’s a quick look at their main features. Simple, straightforward and very economical to run, the MF Activa is designed for smallerto-medium arable operations and is available with either 176hp or 218hp engines, with cutting widths of 4.2m or 6.6m. Up front

is the proven and acclaimed Freeflow cutting table, then the high inertia cylinder. There’s a simple, highlyeffective three-speed transmission, while AutoLevel is an option for those working on sloping ground. The smaller MF 7340 engine puts out 176hp and has a tank capacity of 5200 litres, while the 7344 has a 218hp engine and 6500-litre tank. Both have five straw walkers. Moving up the capacity scale, the MF Activa S version has two models, this time with 243hp and 306hp engine options and the Proline cab environment. Buyers can choose between the Freeflow table, up to 7.6m cutting width, or Powerflow up to 6.8m. Next, we have the proven MF Beta. With 306hp or 360hp engine options and Skyline cab, the Beta offers 7.7m Powerflow or 7.6m Freeflow cutting tables, six-row straw chopper and an unloading rate of 105 litres/ second.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next Issue September 2021 FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 140


TRAINVIEW TALK Oh how nice it is to finally have the warmth and sunshine on our backs once again! Grass supplies were getting tight however now as expected the grass is now shooting ahead of the livestock and there is a wonderful shine on their backs to prove it. However since the rain has stopped it just feels like the floodgates have opened on our workload. Lambing is complete and all have had their 1st dose of clostridial vaccine and a drench to cover them for nematodirus. We got away without doing these last year as we were on ground that hadn’t seen sheep for few years but the cold dam spring was hard on them so best to cover ourselves and not live to regret it. The day we did it in fact must have been one of the most dreich! However with the help of friends and fellow sheep and flower farmer Kelly and her husband Gavin we got the job done in double quick time…even in our usual make shift pens with a web of farmers friend holding it all together! After saying we wouldn’t get to any shows this year we had our arm twisted by well known Lincoln Red breeder Andrew Mylius to take our Lincoln Red heifer to the Royal Highland Showcase. The breed was supposed to make its’ return in 2020 after an absence since 2003. We felt it important to help support the breeds comeback even though it will be far from a normal Highland. I think more than anything we are looking forward to the break albeit just for one night! Most of my time is taken up with the flowers at Blooming Bees just now and it has to be one of the latest and strangest Springs I have seen in over 10 years of growing flowers. The normal seasonal window of crops like tulips has been extremely late with us still harvesting them up to the end of May…unheard of normally. In flower growing we do tend to have a ‘May Gap’ between the Spring and Summer flowers starting but it was more like a ‘May Void’ this year! Thankfully 80


Diary page By Valerie Orr

‘Hectic’ is a good word for it! like the grass the crops are jumping and the slow start has made for excellent quality. It’s also great to be able to get back out selling at farmers markets such as the

one at Forfar Mart, getting back out to seeing and talking to customers is good for the soul after the past year of doing most sales behind the computer screen. We are

also getting out there now to sell our wares to local florists. Brexit and the pandemic have made the international flower trade quite volatile with significant price increases and with import checks delays in delivery leading to some quality issues. An opportunity for local growers for sure. We have made a lot of changes this year to how we grow flowers, mainly scaling up production but also in our crop management, we are looking heavily into how bio stimulants such as seaweed extract can help build resilience into our crops for disease. We have also taken delivery of our first biological controls for our main pest species aphids in the form of ladybird larvae. We’re still to see if they are going to work for their release was delayed due to the cold temperatures and now the sudden warmth has seen an explosion in the little green blighters. However, with more targeted use of insecticides we are starting to see the base of other natural predators such as hoverflies and parasitic wasps building so, we have everything crossed our biological warfare will work! Finally, Jo our Highland teaser bull got his vasectomy operation or more specifically an epididymectomy where vessels were removed from his epididymis to render him infertile. This was a pretty new procedure for our vet practice however Roddie our vet did a great professional job as always and plenty of craic too! He will be put to work with our Moocall Heat collar in July, at least 8 weeks needs to pass to ensure he is no longer fertile. I guess the proof will be next spring…hopefully we have no hairy looking Irish Moileds! During the operation Jo behaved well under light sedation and was up and going in no time and hasn’t looked back since. In fact by the next day the virile little sod was feeling well enough to jump a fence into the cows next door and hasn’t left them in peace since!


National Beef Association (NBA) statement on Australian trade deal from NBA CEO Neil Shand “Recent press has been largely negative regarding the Australian trade deal, although as yet we still don’t really have much idea of the fine details. As far as we can ascertain, although there is a degree of protection offered with tariffs phased out over a 15-year period, there is also an immediate tarifffree quota - as yet of unknown tonnage. The trade deal is happening. Rather than expend our energy fighting the inevitable, we should ensure that safeguards are in place to maintain standards in production. We must be realistic and accept that we need to import beef – and, of course, we do also export a reasonable quantity too. It is vital that all imports – from Australia or elsewhere - are produced to a minimum of UK welfare and production standards, and that lower quality imports are not used to push our home-grown prices backwards. We currently have the support of the Great British public, and keeping this backing is of major importance.

Neil Shand, NBA CEO

This deal opens a much bigger debate on how to solve the dilemmas in beef production in the UK. Noises from a couple of the UK devolved governments are appearing to imply that they want to - or will - reduce domestic production to help them reach their carbon targets in their own countries. Whilst this remains unconfirmed, they appear to be ideas that are on the table. England, with her much higher population, is naturally the biggest UK consumer, and Northern Ireland,

Wales and Scotland export 60-70% of their beef production here. Any reduction in domestic production will mean that the beef shortfall has to be covered elsewhere, opening the door for more imports from the likes of Australia, and the corresponding increase in carbon that transportation from the other side of the world involves. The idea behind reducing domestic production appears to be that we will eat less beef to compensate. Whilst this may reduce slightly over time, it is likely that the increase in population

will keep pace with consumption reduction for the foreseeable future. The ‘carbon-friendly’ devolved governments would just be transferring their carbon load elsewhere. This local threat may be far more damaging to long-term UK beef production than the Australian deal. The devolved governments who are lamenting its introduction at Westminster should get their own house – and mathematicians in order first. Decreasing domestic production will open doors for all imports, not just the Australians. It currently takes a national herd of nearly 1.4 million suckler cows to produce our import requirements. It is imperative that our devolved governments realise the need for a UK approach, not an individual one. Alternatively, we will be faced with the ludicrous scenario where we produce less, high-welfare beef in the UK to meet dubious carbon targets, but ship in lower standard product from the other side of the world.”


livestock Scotland set for first new vet school in 150 years Scotland could be home to a new school of veterinary medicine for the first time in more than 150 years. The plans were announced today recently by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), which will offer courses in veterinary medicine ranging from Higher National Diploma to postgraduate degree level. Based in Aberdeen but with a footprint across rural Scotland, it will be the first vet school based outside of Edinburgh or Glasgow. SRUC, which has more animal and veterinary scientists than almost any other institution in Europe, has a national network of veterinary hubs and consulting offices, providing a solid basis for a distributed model of learning. Already the biggest provider of veterinary nursing, livestock husbandry and animal care training in Scotland, SRUC

will offer a core veterinary programme to address existing shortages in veterinary provision, in areas such as rural veterinary practice, food production, food

safety and animal and public health. The school will aim to widen participation using workbased teaching to align student

recruitment and employability in shortage areas, which are essential to support Scotland’s highly prized rural and food sectors.

H&H Insurance Brokers Launched ‘Insure My Alpaca’ to provide bespoke insurance to growing market of alpaca breeders A one of its kind insurance product for the 45,000 alpacas across the UK, ‘Insure My


Alpaca’ was launched earlier in the year to meet the needs of the growing Alpaca industry from H&H Insurance Brokers. Accessible online, clients can obtain quotations for their Alpaca or Llama insurance via the dedicated website https:// Owned and operated by H&H Insurance Brokers, the product provides niche coverage to owners and breeders to help protect their herds. H&H Insurance Brokers have worked with specialist underwriters to ensure that this tailored product offers protection in the case of

mortality or theft, stud males, as well as for the risks inherent in travelling to exhibitions and shows. This Camelid insurance is provided by a specialist team familiar with the liability issues related to alpacas. Dedicated to supporting owners and breeders in covering their risks, it also includes compensation and public liability when attending events, and for trailers used for transportation. Insuring the animals is easy, with a quick quotation process on the website and cover available within a few minutes. The protection aims to

also give peace of mind to those growing businesses which offer alpaca walks and tours, just in time for the British staycation season gearing up for summer. Visit the website: https:// to get a quote or contact the office on 01228 406290 to speak to the dedicated team and find out more about how this product could protect you and your animals.

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livestock The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society expands knowledge base The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society is forging ahead in 2021, with Society member numbers rising and the breed racing up the BCMS registrations league table. Barrie Turner, AberdeenAngus Cattle Society CEO, explains the Society has invested in its people. further strengthening the knowledge base of the team, and therefore the support for members, at Pedigree House, Perth. “This is a very exciting time for The Society, welcoming two new members to our team,” says Mr Turner. “Firstly, we’re thrilled to have Robert Gilchrist on-board as Breed Development Manager. Robert brings with him a great deal of industry experience, having worked previously for organisations including Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Keenan, where he supported

customers on nutritional advice to maximise cattle performance. “Robert was also involved with the Aberdeen and Northern Marts Scottish Government and EU funded Farm Profit Programme.” Barrie explains The Society identified a need to increase the knowledge base through physical data collection, to ultimately drive the uptake of Aberdeen-Angus and AberdeenAngus cross cattle within the commercial beef sector. “Robert’s position will be pivotal in driving the demand for the breed, by developing strategies and programmes to increase the breed’s market share, while driving the 10year business plan from a breed development and technical perspective,” he adds. Robert’s duties will include identifying, developing and maintaining effective relationships

with the beef industry’s supply chain. These include breeding, backgrounding, finishing, processing, exporting and promoting Aberdeen-

Angus as the breed of choice for UK beef farmers, processors, retailers, the food service sector and consumers.

Tackle fly populations early to protect cattle Farmers are being urged to protect cattle against flies before populations rapidly increase, to avoid costly health issues and drops in productivity.


Matt Colston, vet at Elanco Animal Health, says that while the cool, wet weather in May will have kept flies at bay, populations will

multiply rapidly as temperatures increase. He advises getting on top of the problem early to protect stock for the summer season.

“Not only do flies spread disease, they’re also extremely irritating and cause a high level of stress to livestock. This can really impact feed intakes and subsequently performance, with associated drops in milk yield or daily liveweight gain typical.” Matt says that a preventive approach is key for successful control, and a good rule of thumb is to treat cattle a month ahead of when flies became a visible problem last year. “To protect cattle from adult flies, an insecticidal treatment is recommended. A pour on such as Flypor™ is easy to administer and can offer up to eight weeks control. However, if heavy infestations are present, it’s best to repeat treatment after four weeks.

livestock Livestock housing from Moore Concrete Moore Concrete has been providing the agricultural sector with quality precast products since 1978. Our success is based on a customer-led strategy, with numerous discussions driving innovation through product redesign and creating an expanding product offering to meet the needs of modern day agriculture. Our extensive agricultural range includes livestock housing products, such as Cattle Slats, Cubicle Bases and End Walls, as well as Support Beams, Passage Covers, Prestressed Wall Panels, Feed and & Water troughs, Footbaths, Slurry Channels and Diagonal Slats. Two innovative additions to our livestock housing range include Surefoot Slip-Resistant Slats and our new XL Mixing Slat. Surefoot Slip-Resistant Slats builds on the benefits of standard brushed slats providing 50% more grip. This helps to improve animal welfare through reduced casualties from slips, healthier feet reducing lameness as well

as improved bulling activity reducing calving interval. In turn this has an economic benefit of around £60 per cow per year. The key driver in the development of our XL Mixing Slat was farm safety coupled with a need for a mixing slats

to accommodate larger modern day slurry pumps. The new opening is 1000mm long by 940mm wide and is available in 2 depths, 178mm deep up to 4572mm in length and 250mm up to 5000mm. These complement our existing slat

range and are available in both standard tractor bearing and heavy duty options. We also offer a high-quality range of portable bulk storage solutions, including Freestanding L Shaped Retaining Walls and Bunker Walls.

UK breeders invest in $42,000 Hereford bull Hereford bull, Mawarra Influential, has been purchased by a syndicate including two UK breeders for AUS$42,000. EL Lewis and son of Haven Herefords, Herefordshire and PRJ and LR Vincent of Pulham Herefords, Norfolk teamed up with Australia’s Graham Genetics to purchase the bull online from the national Hereford show and sale, Wodonga, Victoria where it was a class winner. With a particularly strong demand for Hereford cattle in the UK currently, Influential ticked all the boxes for the breeders for phenotype and strong EBVs backed up by excellent growth and eye muscle raw data. Edward Lewis said: “Influential’s sire Evolution was seen by my son Ben at Mawarra 86

Herefords in 2017. I saw him for myself as a calf in February 2020 prior to the World Hereford Conference in New Zealand and noted him as a top prospect. “When Phillip Vincent and I saw how he had progressed into a standout young sire, we knew the opportunity could not to be missed, but we had to bid strongly to beat off tough competition.” Semen from the bull will be used within these two wellknown herds where these new outcross genetics are welcomed for future production.

livestock £500k boost for veterinary health in the Borders

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out September 2021

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is investing £500,000 to upgrade the veterinary

disease surveillance centre in St Boswells,in the Scottish Borders. The refurbishment of the

veterinary disease surveillance centre will extend the life of the building for decades and improve


livestock the facilities to support animal health and livestock production. The works will overhaul the interior and exterior, and upgrade the lab facilities and employee spaces. The post-mortem room will be upgraded with a new hydraulic table and a new design of cradle to improve efficiency and safety when examining adult cattle post mortem. Floor, wall and drainage improvements will maximise hygiene and safety. New energy-saving lighting will help reduce the carbon footprint of the building. Based at Greycrook in St Boswells, SRUC Veterinary Services provides animal health diagnostics for livestock across the Borders, Midlothian and East Lothian and more widely when required. The St Boswells veterinary team support farm veterinary practitioners in their work to reduce the impact of disease on livestock and also contribute

to the collection of disease information that is used nationally to improve livestock production efficiency and animal welfare throughout Scotland. George Caldow, head of SRUC Veterinary Services, said: “The St Boswells centre is an important part of the national disease surveillance programme helping to improve animal health and support farm production. “The refurbishment of St Boswells will help secure this service for many years to come and provide a focal point for farm animal health across the region.” The post-mortem room is now closed for a few weeks while the refurbishment work is carried out. The veterinary team will provide post-mortem services from an alternative location nearby. More information has been sent to veterinary practitionerswho should be the point of call for farmers.

Hoof Trimming Crushes advice from Wopa

Regular preventive maintenance is vital on all machinery within the Hoof Trimming world. This not only prolongs its working life giving maximum yield for money, but more importantly provides confidence that the equipment will perform as it should, not letting you down and giving benefit to both equipment , business efficiency and animal welfare. As a generic rule if it moves it requires lubrication, this is applicable throughout the spectrum of crushes from static manual to hydraulic mobile machines. Weekly maintenance should include but not limited to the lubrication of chains, checking that all ropes are in good order, all straps are in good condition, floors and nonslip surfaces if fitted are intact , and clean. If the machine is of a mobile variant make sure wheel bearings have no play detected ,

all road wheels have fixings and are torqued to 115Nm. After the equipment has been used and washed down its also advisable to carry out greasing where required, this will help expel any water that may have entered the points during this procedure, which aids the prevention of corrosion and seizure of the moving parts. Changing the Hydraulic oil prevents the system from unnecessary wear of components and seals, and maintains the oils quality to carry out lubrication and cooling of the system. Scheduled preventive maintenance for any equipment is always more advantageous than the corrective type. It can also highlight potential failures that can be rectified immediately reducing potential risks to the animal or operator. For more information visit the Wopa website.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next Issue September 2021 FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 140 88

No ‘one size fits all’ approach with cattle finishing

Efficient feeding can have a positive influence on the productivity and profitability of beef production, but with over 70% of variable costs in a beef finishing system coming from forage and feed, it is important that it is utilised effectively. But for fifth generation farmer, Claire Pollock from Ardross Farm, near Fife, adapting her system to allow all cattle and sheep to be fed on a 100% forage-based diet has paid off, with the farm recently being awarded its Pasture for Life status. “Our feeding regime is very simple,” highlights Claire. “Grass in the summertime and silage when the grass has stopped growing. “We use a mix of strip and paddock grazing in a rotational system; however, it is something we should do more of. Some of our fields are not the easiest to divide, but we have started using Kiwitech fencing and are upgrading our water system to allow this to be achieved.” As grass is an instrumental part to the system at Ardross, there is a strong focus on trying to produce high quality silage to fatten cattle and keep them over winter. The plentiful amount of grass in the arable rotation not only benefits the cattle

enterprise by providing higher quality silage but improves the arable operation on the heavier land. Situated near the east coast in Fife, Ardross is fortunate of some sandy land which Claire states is ideal for out wintering cattle. “We utilise our sandy land and grow forage crops including kale, rape and turnips to allow us to keep around two thirds of the cattle outwintered.” Claire, alongside her sister Nikki, sells beef through their diversification businesses, Ardross Farm Shop, which means a steady supply all year round is required. “We calve three times a year to maintain a steady supply of finished cattle for our farm shop. Our Pasture for Life certification means all cattle are finished in the same way, regardless of the time of year and that is off grass, silage or forage crops. “Prior to the pandemic, the farm shop required two 360kg deadweight cattle beasts each week with demand increasing in the holiday months, especially Christmas. Since March 2020 we have seen demand rocket and are increasing both our beef herd and sheep flock to keep up with demand.”

livestock Cattle producers urged to change one thing to improve parasite control

Beef and dairy producers are being urged to change their approach to parasite control as part of a new campaign to help livestock farmers move towards a sustainable, best practice approach. The Change One Thing campaign by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd was launched after the results of a recent survey1 which suggested that many cattle producers are struggling to implement some simple, but impactful changes. The survey aimed to investigate the extent to which beef and dairy producers are aware of methods to sustainably control parasites; how many are following best practice techniques, and what advice and support they need to make a change. Sioned Timothy, Ruminant Technical Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health said, “Reassuringly, 70% of respondents who are the main decision maker indicated that they were either very concerned or a little concerned about wormer resistance on farm. This level of awareness is positive since wormer resistance is on the

rise, and the livestock industry must make changes to parasite control practices if we are to safeguard the effectiveness of wormers. However, the survey indicated that farmers are not asking professionals such as their vet, or in-store animal health advisor (SQP) for advice on parasite control as much as they could. Only 55% of main decision maker respondents asked their vet for advice on parasite control planning as part of overall herd health planning, and that dropped to 21% for specific parasite control advice. In addition, only 65% of main decision makers sought advice from an in-store advisor when purchasing worming or fluke products, despite SQPs being qualified to provide parasite control advice at the point of prescription and supply. Positively, over 60% of main decision maker respondents had already implemented some methods of sustainable parasite control, including quarantining and treating bought-in animals, managing pasture use, and

calibrating and testing dosing guns. But more than half of the same respondents were aware of but had not implemented several key methods, including weighing or tracking growth rates of youngstock, testing individuals or groups of animals for parasites, and using preventative methods such as vaccinating for lungworm. Ms Timothy highlighted that nearly 25% of main decision makers had not implemented the calibration or testing of their wormer dosing guns, and a further 12% were not even aware of this practice. “These producers are missing a simple opportunity to ensure that their cattle are dosed correctly. Under-dosing is one of the factors that drives resistance to anthelmintics on farm, and over-dosing increases costs unnecessarily,” she warned. Resources for farmers, vets and SQPs to Change One Thing are available on the Beat the Parasites website, www.beattheparasites. com/change-one-thing.

livestock Micronutrition - a crucial part of the jigsaw in lameness prevention With lameness known to be in the top three most expensive issues to treat in cattle, farmers looking to support hoof health are being encouraged to consider trace element and vitamin supplementation. According to Tom Butler, group technical manager at Brinicombe, appropriate micronutrition, teamed with a suitable trimming strategy, can support the hoof horn and help prevent lameness and its costly consequences. “On top of the direct cost of treatment, lame cows will have a lower dry matter intake and their milk yield will subsequently be reduced, adding to the expense,” he says. “The problem most commonly occurs when the

integrity of the hoof horn deteriorates, allowing disease and bacteria to enter the foot, causing pain and decreased locomotion.” However, trace element and vitamin supplementation can play an important part in supporting hoof integrity and helping reduce the risk of hoof diseases, such as digital dermatitis and sole ulcers. Tom cites biotin and zinc as particularly crucial. “Biotin is essential for keratinisation, which is a key process in the healthy composition of the hoof horn, but this vitamin is often lacking in cattle diets. “Zinc is also incredibly important for hoof health, and prevalence of zinc deficiency

is high in some herds, although to varying degrees of severity,” says Mr Butler. “Severe nutritional deficiencies in both biotin and zinc can lead to a fragile hoof, more susceptible to cracks and bacterial infections, thus increasing the risk of lameness.” He recommends routinely incorporating trace element and vitamin supplementation into lameness management strategies. “Administering trace element and vitamin boluses high in biotin and zinc, such as EnduraBol® Biotin, is a good way to ensure a consistent and long-lasting supply of micronutrients to help support hoof health as well as general cow health and performance.


livestock “Based on scientific research, EnduraBol® Biotin has been meticulously designed with hoof health in mind. Two boluses deliver approximately 20mg of biotin per day and a sustained release of zinc for up to 120 days,” says Mr Butler. “During the summer, lameness can be increasingly noticeable as cattle are more likely to be walking further to the parlour, often on sharp, stony tracks, which can cause wear and tear on hooves. “Lameness can occur at any time in a cow’s life. So, it’s important to stay on top of the risk factors, such as nutritional imbalances, all year round to help maintain hoof health,” concludes Mr Butler. For more information about EnduraBol® Biotin, visit https:// or contact your local veterinary practice or agricultural merchant.


livestock Harrison & Hetherington to hold debut standalone sale or one of the UK’s native breeds



Write it Down Down Deeper and Down

By Andy Cant Northvet Veterinary Group

Harrison & Hetherington have announced that they are to hold the first ever standalone timed auction of Pedigree Shetland Cattle. Being conducted on behalf of Shetland Cattle Breeders Association (SCBA), this online auction will start on Thursday 30th September at midday and will end 48 hours later, on Saturday 2nd October 2021. Founded in 2000 by a group of mainland UK breeders, the SCBA aim to conserve for future generations the valuable genetic resource Shetland cattle represent, and raise the profile of what is presently one of the country’s rarest native breeds. In appointing Harrison & Hetherington to conduct this sale, it allows the association to provide a platform for its breeders to sell their pedigree cattle to both potential new breeders and established herds. This timed auction is for breeding stock – cows, heifers, and bulls. Entries for the sale are open until 1st September, with the catalogue of entries ready to view from 22nd September. The sale is open to pedigree cattle registered

with the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society, with all animals offered for sale having full registration status or pending for young calves. Heather Pritchard, Pedigree Sales & Marketing Manager at H&H said: “We’re really looking forward to this standalone auction. In addition to attracting interest from a range of buyers, the sale will also help to raise the profile of the Shetland Cattle breed. H&H have a long history of delivering firsts across the livestock industry and this sale is no exception. In advance of the event our team will be working hard to ensure a successful sale which provides the best possible outcomes for the association, vendors and breeders alike.” Rosemary Champion, Secretary of the Shetland Cattle Breeders Association, comments on the sale: “This is an exciting opportunity to showcase some quality Shetland Cattle and we have high hopes for this first ever standalone auction. We know that Harrison & Hetherington will use their extensive knowledge and experience to support in creating a successful trading platform.”

Write it down today! How are you at minding things on? I would freely admit to having a fairly poor memory and need to write things down quickly or they get forever lost. It would seem I’m not the only one. Preparing farm annual reviews as part of health planning needs the collection of accurate data to make sense of what’s gone on in the previous year and to objectively look at where production is not optimal. This info is often difficult to get if it has not been recorded at the time and written down, so we end up dealing with “educated guesses” which often suffer from a dose of rose tinted spectacle syndrome and problems get overlooked or swept under the carpet. Write it down today! The recording of data doesn’t need to involve apps and computer’s, a traditional wee black book in the top pocket of a boiler suit can be just as valuable. There also may be a reluctance to record numbers when they are seen as normal and so not worthy of mention but when we repeat measurements and can see trends over time

these can be so helpful in understanding what’s going on. Write it down today! The more accurate the data the more helpful its interpretation, add a little detail so that at your next health review there’s a story ,an explanation. In case it slips your mind - write it down today! Intensive livestock farming such as pigs poultry and fish have for a long time relied on accurate and timely data collection to monitor disease and make production as efficient as possible. They are the masters of management by data. Dairy farming comes a close second with beef and sheep perhaps bringing up the rear. The other side of the coin would be that in the dairy, beef and sheep sectors the animals are seen as individuals and treated as such so there is a balance to be had. However the next time I go back to a farm having put in the actions for the previous year to collect more accurate data, I don’t want to find the Status Quo but to find that they’ve been writing it down down deeper and down!


dairy Dairy farmers warned of heat stress impact on dry matter intakes With temperatures now regularly reaching 200C and beyond, dairy farmers are being warned that cows are extremely susceptible to heat stress which can result in depressed dry matter intakes (DMI) and reduced milk yields. The caution comes as heat stress is becoming a greater issue in the UK, due to a combination of rising ambient temperatures and increasing average milk yields. According to Mark McFarland, feed additive product manager at Lallemand Animal Nutrition, this means that on average, cows producing 60 litres of milk per day experience a 2.00 KW heat output. “A cow enters into a state of heat stress when there is excessive heat accumulation within her body which she

struggles to lose,” explains Mr McFarland. “Alongside increased panting, an immediate coping mechanism is to reduce DMI. This results in a decrease in the availability of nutrients used for milk synthesis and can also disrupt rumen function, which can cause acidosis.” “Ration reformulation is needed during periods of increased temperatures to account for decreased DMI and changing nutrient requirements. Maintenance of normal rumen function is also critical,” says Mr McFarland. “Intakes fall when cows get too hot as they tend to eat less often, and in bigger amounts, which results in ‘sluggish feeding’.

“As a result, producers should maximise eating time by considering feeding cows in the evening during cooler temperatures. Adding a probiotic yeast to the diet can also prove very beneficial,

helping to support rumen function and maintain DMI.” To access the data, visit: https://lallemandanimalnutrition. com/en/united-kingdom-ireland/ heat-stress-in-dairy-cows/

Increase milk from forage through precision feeding The promotion of efficient use of grass by precision feeding can help dairy producers increase milk from forage, with high purchased feed prices putting pressure on margins, explains nutritional supplement manufacturer UFAC-UK. “With plenty of forage on most farms this season, margins can be achieved by ensuring optimal DMI,” explains UFAC-UK ruminant technical manager Mike Chown. Mr Chown advises farmers to focus on what they want the cows to achieve, and consider how they can harness seasonality benefits alongside the nutritional supplementation required to support grazing, if they are to maximise the price received from contracts and increase margins. “We want cows to graze efficiently and to milk in a way that can achieve those best returns, through a combination of good quality milk and hitting the profile,” he explains. 94

“To maximise forage DMIs, we first need to know what we are feeding, so we should regularly analyse all forages, and balance them with the correct nutrients, such as sugar, starch, rumen protein, by-pass protein and rumen inert fatty acids,” explains Mr Chown. “We must ensure speed of break down in the rumen is matched, while at the same time, paying attention to acid loading and rumen pH. This will optimise rumen microbes to promote fibre digestion and intakes, most costeffectively,” he adds. Once microbial protein and VFAs (volatile fatty acids) from the rumen have been optimised, Mr Chown says adding ‘little bombs’ high in the specified nutrients, such as rumen inert/ bypass proteins and fatty acids, will help meet the cow requirements. Forage rations are typically low in these.

dairy Boost calf daily live weight gain this summer with ad-lib feeding Dairy farmers are being advised to consider ad-lib feeding this summer to boost dairy heifer calf growth and lifetime yield potential. According to Carr’s Billington’s calf specialist Clare Lawson, up to 1kg of daily live weight gain (DLWG) can be achieved using this type of feeding system when birth weights are at least 35kg. “When calves feed naturally on the cow, they typically drink between 11 and 15 litres per day. Ad-lib mimics this instinct and can often lead to better growth rates than in a restrictive system. “There’s also the added benefit that calves are fully weaned off milk on average four days earlier on ad-lib systems meaning feeding costs can be reduced.” There is evidence to suggest that if calves achieve an extra 0.2kg DLWG in the first eight weeks, it can result in 500 extra kilos of milk in their first lactation. “Therefore, if you are able to go above this and achieve up to 1kg of DLWG, this could pay dividends once these cows reach

the milking herd,” she adds. To optimise performance with the system, Clare recommends feeding a topquality milk replacement powder. The advice is bolstered by the latest LifeStart Science research

that’s revealed calves provided with a consistent, high plane of nutrition via ad-lib milk feeding, experience benefits post weaning above those animals of the same genetic merit that are fed a lower plane of nutrition. “Elevating the plane of

nutrition pre-weaning not only leads to higher calf growth rates and improved heifer performance but can also result in long-term positive impacts on fertility, survivability and lactation performance providing a clear return on investment,” says Clare.

The Ayrshire Cow As everyone is emerging from the chaos of the last twelve months our food security and supply chain has never been so crucial to the UK population and with the Carbon footprint being the buzz word for 2021 the Ayrshire cow is best placed to bring wholesome nutritious food to all. Some may ask how come, well its quite simple really the Ayrshire cow will produce great quality nutritious milk from even the lowest grade of pasture. You don’t need to import expensive soya and proteins from overseas for her to do her work. Many farmers who have purchased


dairy Ayrshire cows in the last few years also comment about there ability to cope with all weathers and still thrive. The Ayrshire cow was very popular in the 50’s and 60’s, although her popularity waned a little her popularity is on the rise now with many new herds being formed and she is also being used for cross breeding purposes to put longevity and hardiness back

into some other breeds. Many Ayrshire cows live in excess of the UK national average for dairy breeds and with sexed semen now available at competitive prices, gone is the stigma of the Ayrshire dairy bull calf prices. The Ayrshire cow is one of the best if not the best for ease of calving with many new breeders commenting that she will calve herself unlike some other well-known dairy breeds.

If you are looking for a cow with less reproductive and health problems. A cow that will turn low quality forage into nutritious quality milk then look no further than the Breed that was established by great Scotsmen. The Ayrshire cow is a one stop dairy cow that can fit any system and thrive. Diary dates for upcoming events Great Yorkshire Show

Ayrshire Judging 16th of July Ayrshire Cattle Society AGM Garstang 5th of August Ayrshire Cattle Society Judging School 18th of August, Morwick, NE65 9DG by Kind permission of Michael & Angie Howie Ayrshire Cattle Society National Show at Dairy Day, Telford, Shropshire, 15th of September

Increased milk yield with Harbro NutriONics Rationing programme Dumfries dairy farmer Willie Purdie has recorded his highest ever milk yields following a re-design of his ration by innovative livestock nutrition experts Harbro. Willie, of Ingleston Farm, New Abbey, saw daily yields from his 200-head herd increase by more than 500 litres after adopting Harbro’s new NutriONics Rationing programme in November 2020.


The new winter ration included Harbro MaizeMilk 18 Nuts – a bespoke blend including Maxammon cereals – along with Alkacid and molasses. It was formulated by Harbro Dairy Sales Manager, Stuart Cameron, who created a diet to meet the cows’ nutritional requirements and maximise performance at the same time as complementing the farm’s forage and other feedstuffs.

Willie, who has a constituent-based contract with First Milk, said: “Our winter diet was introduced at the start of November and we saw an improvement in yield immediately. We’re achieving more litres than we’ve usually seen, with around 500 litres on average more every day compared to last year, which certainly adds up across the whole herd over a period of time.

This has equated to an increase of around three litres/cow/day on average. “This increase in yield has been maintained throughout the winter months and we’ve kept our butterfat and protein percentages at the required levels throughout as well. We’ve seen no negative health implications from the increase in production, including no negative impact on fertility.”

Call for Scottish dairy farmers to help shape future of responsible antibiotic use in industry Lidl GB is inviting Scottish dairy farmers to have their say on current guidelines and compliance surrounding antibiotic-use in the industry, as part of a four-year partnership with University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine. The virtual consultations set out to listen to and understand the barriers nearly 900 dairy Scottish farmers across the country face when using antibiotics within the food chain. As part of Lidl’s ongoing commitment to source responsibly, the project focuses on addressing the known gap between understanding farmer attitudes and supporting the industry to deliver responsible antibiotic usage. This forms part of the retailer’s ongoing support for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance’s (RUMA) antibiotic reduction targets, which are outlined in their Antibiotic Stewardship Policy.


Next Issue September 2021


NFU Scotland


“If Scottish agriculture is to be part of the solution to climate change, while achieving ambitious food and drink targets, there must be a clearly defined approach to woodland expansion and forestry on agricultural land” Writes NFU Scotland Vice President Andrew Connon

Tree planting is seen by many as one of the solutions to Scotland achieving its Climate Change targets by 2030. The Scottish Government has set targets for afforestation - 12,000 hectares for 2020/21 rising to 18,000 hectares by 2024-25. In our recent Scottish Parliamentary Elections hustings, all main parties signalled their intent to increase tree cover. That fixation with planting trees as the route to tackling climate change is naïve at best, is certainly short sighted, and has the potential to be damaging in other economic, environmental and social aspects. At the same time, the Scottish Government supports Scotland Food and Drink’s ambitious targets of doubling the value of the food and drink sector by 2030 to £30 billion. How do you square that circle? With multiple pressures on agricultural land use, NFU Scotland members are rightly concerned about the current trend. I am receiving fresh calls every week from

despairing farmers and crofters across Scotland telling me of another farm or estate destined for tree planting. The terminology now being used by non-farming buyers to justify the purchase includes: “carbon positive, carbon capture, carbon credits, carbon economy and carbon trading.” However, the more of Scotland’s limited productive land that shifts from farming to forestry, the more we are likely to simply offshore our emissions or even increase our carbon footprint. Land acquisitions for forestry, combined with the potential for carbon trading are already creating inflated land prices that are out with the reach of commercial farming activities whilst restricting opportunities for new entrants to the industry. NFU Scotland recognises that tree planting, in the right place, has a key role to play in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises. We are in favour of farm woodlands that integrate with existing farm enterprises offering

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benefits from mixed broadleaf/hardwood and conifer plantings without compromising food production and farm business viability regardless of land ownership or tenure. NFU Scotland remains opposed to whole farm afforestation of a commercial scale - greater than 30 hectares of conifers - that reduces agricultural activity and food production whilst potentially accelerating land abandonment. It is essential that we get a balanced approach before it is too late. Agriculture plays a key role in underpinning the viability of our vibrant rural communities. Reckless planting will affect agricultural viability and the critical mass of the industry with detrimental knock-on effects for the processing sector, employment and food production. The new Scottish Government must be challenged and be prepared to have a rethink at the earliest opportunity before catastrophic damage is done to our industry.

dairy New robotic technology for flexible milking systems UK dairy farmers are in need of intuitive, flexible milking systems to cater for changing cow needs and production demands. For those who are looking to upgrade to the latest technology without totally reinventing their systems, batch milking through robots could be the answer. “More and more dairy farms are seeking milking solutions that can handle larger herds and have capacity for other management systems – like grazing - without compromising efficiency or cow comfort,” says Simon Redfearn, country manager at Fullwood Packo. “Batch milking could be a productive and practical asset and give UK dairy farmers more flexibility to respond to market and contractual changes.” The firm officially launched its batch milking set-up, the

M2erlin Meridian, in the UK on 4 May, after three successful years and more than 3 million milkings across Europe. “It has a cow-first design philosophy because it is widely accepted that cow comfort is key in quality production,” says Mr Redfearn. “But we also know that a ‘one or the other’ approach to conventional and robotic milking might not be the best solution for all dairy farms – larger farms face their own unique challenges.” And with greater focuses on welfare and sustainability in the sector, some milk processors are already dictating that cows must be grazed for a minimum of 150 days each year. “For the farmer who is larger scale - or who wants to grow cow numbers - they need innovation and systems that meet real needs and allow them to

stay competitive in a demanding market.” So why batch milking? Batch milking is essentially the milking of grouped cows. “Incorporating the batch milking concept into a robotic system combines the best of both worlds; consistency and

routine of conventional milking, and the technological and time advantages of robotics,” Mr Redfearn explains. It also allows the installation of robots without having to completely redesign the cow housing, as is required in free-choice milking.

UK farming unions warn of rising dairy production costs and lack of sustainable milk price The UK farming unions are warning that the dairy industry is facing an extremely challenging year on the back of spiralling production costs and variable milk prices. It follows new analysis from AHDB which highlights how the milk to feed price ratio for some producers is at a level which historically has led to reducing milk production. NFU Scotland milk committee chair Gary Mitchell said: “I know a number of farmers in Scotland and further afield were receiving below the UK average farmgate milk price for April 2021. The AHDB data is clear; milk supply is likely to suffer if this trend of cost to income is not rectified. 98

“For too long dairy farmers in the UK have been asked to produce a quality product at an unsustainable price - one which inhibits on farm investment and a profitable return for the primary producer. The whole supply chain from cow to consumer must recognise the severity of this situation.” NFU dairy board chair Michael Oakes said: “We have previously highlighted the ‘haves and have nots’ when it comes to dairy contracts. “Even those on the best performing contracts will be struggling to keep up with the rising bills. “For those on the least favourable contracts, we know it

means that many may consider cutting production or leaving the industry. Milk prices may now be improving slightly, but those on certain contracts will have been suffering losses for a while now, which is unsustainable.” NFU Cymru milk board chair Abi Reader said: “Compliance with a huge array of standards is constantly in milk producers’ minds, to meet consumer demands and trust in the UK’s amazing safe and trusted dairy products. Although those standards are very important to our industry, it comes at a cost and those producers with milk prices below average will be hardest hit. “A current case in point here in Wales are the extra costs

of meeting Water Regulations recently introduced by the Welsh Government and the steep rise in building material costs across industry postCovid, not to mention feed and fertiliser input prices.” UFU dairy chairman Mervyn Gordon said: “Here in Northern Ireland we are facing the challenge of constantly rising variable input costs which is seemingly relentless and impacting upon the profitability of many of our dairy farms. “This expands beyond traditional dairy inputs to include many general and capital items needed to run a viable dairy enterprise.”


Millennium Bleu Celebrating 21 Years of Undeniable Quality In the year 2000, the Late Gavin Shanks pioneered this cross of his two favourite breeds which proved to be a winning combination of conformation and vigour which has more than withstood the test of time and with registrations surpassing our expectations in the last 12 months, the Millennium Bleu is setting the tone for its future. Richard Pilkington of the AINTREE Flock has farmed Bleu’s since 1988 and Millennium Bleu tup sales are a main focus within the flock, with serious sheep farmers returning as repeat customers. “These are lads who know exactly what they want”, says Richard, “they always comment on the muscling of these sheep, which haven’t been stuffed – it’s all through genetics improvement. They have great muscling in the front of the hindleg which wraps right around the front; not just a hindquarter.”. “This year we have sold cull ewes well in to the £180’s and the

buyers always make a beeline for them at the mart. The lambs are sold deadweight direct to slaughter and we aim for 19-20.5kgs average. We will be retaining more replacement Bleu Du Maine ewe

lambs as trade is on fire and we just cannot afford to buy these in. For us, the future of the Bleu Du Maine and the Millennium Bleu is looking very positive which is proven by the number of repeat

customers we have for on farm sales as well as the Buyers at Carlisle National Sale right through to the Buyers of the cull sheep at the mart – Bleu’s are in demand at all levels”.


sheep BASIS and NSA launch Register of Sheep Advisers BASIS has joined forces with the National Sheep Association (NSA) to create a sheep industry first – The Register of Sheep Advisers (RoSA). Launched in May, RoSA aims to recognise personal development and training for advisers, so they can continue to support UK sheep farmeårs so they can access the best and most appropriate advice to meet their business needs. The first opportunity for members to join RoSA and collect CPD points will be on 1 June, in a webinar on ‘maintaining lamb performance post-weaning’. Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, says RoSA aims to drive the UK sheep industry towards a sustainable future.

“RoSA will pull together advisers from all areas of the sheep industry, such as nutritionists, vets, RAMAs, environmental advisers, farm consultants and technical specialists who can all provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of sheep production. “RoSA membership will allow all advisers working within the UK sheep sector to demonstrate that they have comprehensive knowledge across all aspects of sheep production, and signifies “The industry is facing a huge period of change, and to navigate through these uncertain times, farmers will be seeking up-to-date advice from professionals across the industry,” says Stephen.

North Country Cheviot surges in popularity across UK and Ireland The North Country Cheviot is experiencing a surge in popularity across the UK as farmers recognise the premium traits the breed conveys to a commercial flock. The breed society has recruited around 220 new


a commitment to professional development through structured CPD,” he adds. “At BASIS, we’re excited for this new collaboration in the livestock sector and look forward to welcoming the first cohort of RoSA members in June,” he concludes. Those interested in becoming a RoSA member can sign up at www.sheepadvisers., or can find out more by

members in the past five years, taking the total to well over 600, with all areas of England, Scotland and Wales represented. Melfyn Williams, President of the North Country Cheviot Sheep Society, said the surge in

$UTCH 3POTTED 3HEEP &ARM .AME 3IZE %NTERPRISE Tercrosset Farm Run by James and Gillian Whiteford with their 3 children Jack, Jessica and Abby their farm is 400 acres running a well known flock of Pedigree & Commercial Breeding Sheep 7HEN DID YOU lRST SEE $UTCH 3POTTED 3HEEP We first saw the Dutch Spotted Sheep breed at their breed sale at the end of August at H&H, Carlisle which always lands on the same day as our annual production sale. James also judged the National Dutch Spotted Show in 2019 at the great Yorkshire Show which gave him a great hands on feel for the breed being very impressed 7HAT MADE YOU WANT TO USE ONE We lamb a large quantity of ewe hoggs going to the Beltex and the Bluefaced Leicester sires and we were looking for something slightly different to put to some of our shapier females to for ease of lambing and to improve their growth rates. (OW HAVE THEY DONE LAMBING SUCKLING AND GROWTH AND WHAT IMPACT HAVE THEY MADE IN YOUR mOCK We purchased Rams from Ali Jackson’s Tiptop flock and Nick Brown’s Irthing Valley flock and considering we have only tried them on our ewe hoggs they are ideal. They lamb very easily and are up on the feet and sucking very quickly. We are very pleased with their growth rates, very similar to the BFL growth rates and easily beat the Beltex lambs which quite often stop growing at 8 weeks old. Lambing a selection of our hoggs to the Dutch Spotted hasn’t changed our farming outlook but has given us another outlet for our hoggs lambs. 7HAT PRICES HAVE YOUR SPOTTED LAMBS BEEN MAKING Our spotted cross lambs have been up to £250 for ewe lambs and £150 for tup lambs on a none MV, Commercial basis. 7HERE DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE IN THE BREED We see the future of the Dutch Spotted breed holding their own against other pedigree breeds, only if breeders prioritise the commercial farmer keeping power, size, growth, mobility, correctness and style in the breed. We will be purchasing ram regularly from now on and hopefully get some pedigree females in the near future.

sheep the breed’s popularity was down to a number of issues including the mothering instincts of the ewes, the longevity of rams and ewes, and the hardiness the breed brings to a cross. Mr Williams said: “North Country Cheviot ewes are renowned for being excellent mothers and this is reflected in the quality and health of their offspring, which rarely have problems. “They also have a long working life. Draft ewes are sold for good prices at around five years of age and go on to produce another two or three crops of lambs. “Combine this with the fact that in both store and prime markets, North Country Cheviot crosses regularly achieve a higher-than-average price – often upwards of £10 extra per head – and it’s easy to see why the Northie’s popularity is on the up.” The North Country Cheviot the largest UK hill breed and comes in two types – the Hill type and the Park type. The Hill type was developed for its thriftiness and health, meaning it thrives in the poorest upland conditions. Although undoubtedly still a hill breed, the Park type is larger, heavier and perhaps more suited to grassy hills. Both types make excellent crossing sires, producing sheep to meet most needs. Mr Williams added that from a commercial point of view, he believed the North Country Cheviot offered benefits to sheep farmers in all areas. “A North Country Cheviot ram will bring hardiness to a cross, enabling it to run on hard ground and still produce a saleable, profitable lamb of 4045kgs,” he said. “Running on the hill, ewes return a lambing rate of around 150 percent – 180 percent and have fewer triplets, meaning all their energy and attention can be put into caring for the lambs they produce. “So, from a commercial point of view, Northies really are hard to beat.”

“Stop the Creeps on Sheep” Moredun, in conjunction with Elanco Animal Health, have released an engaging short animation in their entertaining series. “Stop the Creeps on Sheep” takes you through the four main ectoparasites of sheep. It clearly explains the different treatment options available and how to use these correctly to ensure treatments are effective. The ectoparasites concerned, sheep scab, lice, ticks and blowfly, cause economic, health and welfare concerns in sheep production systems and are endemic in UK flocks. Lack of clear knowledge of the treatments available, and which are effective against each parasite, can lead to control measures not being fully effective. This is very important for both short and long-term parasite control. Using the wrong treatment for any one parasite can leave you with serious welfare and production problems and using any product incorrectly can select for resistance within the parasite groups.

Created by the talented Selina Wagner of Ping Creates, this animation describes, in a fun and entertaining way, which product groups are effective for each parasite, and how to use them to effectively control those parasites. Matt Colston, Ruminant Technical Consultant at Elanco Animal Health said, “I must give Selina full credit for tackling what can be a confusing subject, and presenting the information

in such a clear, concise and entertaining way.” Dr Beth Wells, Knowledge Exchange Specialist at Moredun said, “It has been great working with Elanco and Ping Creates to put together this animation, with its fun graphics and clear messages. We have found using animation to communicate complex information is valuable in terms of increasing understanding and engagement.”

135 Years celebration for the Suffolk Sheep Society This year we are celebrating the 135th Anniversary of the formation of the Suffolk Sheep Society. The Suffolk breed has been at the forefront of the British and Irish sheep meat industry since the 1800’s and the Suffolk ram still holds the place as the leading terminal sire throughout UK and Ireland. The past 12 months have undoubtedly, been some of the most challenging for the society with COVID-19 and Brexit dominating discussions. 2020, however, turned out to be an excellent sales season with more sheep being sold in 2020 than in 2019, with a higher value and an increase in averages across the Society.

Not only do Suffolks finish faster and outperform other breeds for muscle depth, Suffolk sired lambs continue to produce an excellent early lamb with great muscling and marbling. Recent studies by AHDB/ Signet’s Ramcompare project and the Ulster University’s Food and Consumer Testing Suite have highlighted the benefits of the Suffolk breed for producers and Suffolk sired meat has been shown to be first choice for 70% of consumers with key attributes being taste, flavour and texture. Because the Suffolk can deliver in a variety of environments and isn’t troubled with respiratory problems, commercial farmers are

becoming more reliant on the Suffolk ram as many other breeds struggle to perform in the current hot summers. Traditionally a terminal sire, more and more farmers are also using Suffolks for their maternal qualities and are discovering that difficulties such as mastitis are not an issue for Suffolk ewes. Ninety-four percent of the national Suffolk pedigree flock is highly resistant to Scrapie. Looking forward to the 2021 sales there will still be challenges, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with regard to COVID-19 restrictions. Introducing Suffolk genetics into a flock can only benefit financially, a faster finished (continued on page 104)


sheep healthy lamb, with excellent muscling and marbling making perfect financial sense, so whether your business is prime, store or breeding lambs, Suffolks continue to deliver for the producer, the processor and the consumer. Chief executive Robin McIlrath commented ‘I am really looking forward to the upcoming Summer Sales as we move out of lockdown.’ The Society sales are starting on 17th July at the Northern Ireland Branch Premier Export Sale in Ballymena and then moving to the Scottish Area Sale in Lanark on the 22nd July. The National Sale in Shrewsbury is taking place on 30th July and then on 6th August we are in Carlisle for the Northern Counties Branch Sale.


sheep Plans to improve powers to deal with livestock worrying cases welcomed, but proposals could go further, says NSA

The National Sheep Association (NSA) welcomes any strengthening of legislation on livestock worrying by dogs, however, the sheep farming association believes that strengthening police powers to seize dogs should have been further backed up by a significant increase in the maximum fines that could be imposed. Following the announcement that stricter measures to crack down on livestock worrying were to be introduced in England and Wales through the Kept Animals Bill introduced to Parliament earlier this week, NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “This was an opportunity to create a major deterrent to this antisocial behaviour by substantially increasing the maximum applicable fine alongside more proactive measures to prevent attacks occurring. Defra and

Ministers responsible for English legislation are missing a trick in not taking the opportunity to increase fines in line with what the Scottish Parliament has done”. The provisions of the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2021, which received Royal Assent on the 5thMay 2021, includes imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, a fine not exceeding £40,000, or possibly both. A person who commits a similar offence in England under this new proposed Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill is liable to a summary conviction and a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale – currently £1000. NSA Chief Executive, Phil Stocker adds: “There are significant and very welcome improvements contained in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals)

Looking to the future By Grace Reid Despite the arguably dreaded Brexit and Covid combination, sheep trade has somewhat surprisingly remained buoyant. Before the aforementioned factors, the sheep industry was preparing for the worst possible scenarios whilst planning in the hope of protecting life after the EU.

In the light of a new Scottish Parliament, it is unsure in which direction things will take us. However, it is vital to ensure that both sheep farming and agriculture are represented fully at all levels of discussion. NSA Scotland look forward to working with

Thankfully, discussions around compensation schemes and safeguards were not needed. However, we cannot rest on our laurels just yet. It is difficult to plan ahead in farming to an extent due to the ever changing nature of the world we cater for and live in. But that is exactly what is being asked of us. Many things are a given, but it is well known that many are not. Irrespective of planning and forecasting, some very changeable weather over the recent lambing period has certainly made its mark and taken a toll on lambing percentages. In another respect, our flocks are becoming increasingly predated on whether it be by dogs, birds, animals or rather concerningly with the looming prospect of species reintroduction. Mother Nature certainly does not make any allowances for anyone.

the new Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers to ensure that the new direction of Scottish Agriculture reflects the value of what we can contribute not only via production but also in environmental and social terms. One thing that we do know is that the resilience and capability of our national sheep farmers and crofters will continue upon the tradition, history and culture of those who came before us. We have many things to celebrate and none more important than the place of sheep in Scotland. Our landscape would certainly be none the better if there were not any sheep around. Save the date: 01 June 2022, NSA Scotsheep by kind permission of Robert and Hazel McNee, Over Finlarg Farm, by Tealing, Dundee.

sheep Bill to support the police and rural crime teams after an offence has occurred, but very little to reduce the number of incidents that are increasing year-on-year. In fact, the lack of clarity in defining “under close control” puts farmers and dog owners in a difficult, potentially conflicting position.” Recent reports of out-ofcontrol dogs causing harm to livestock including a Highland cow being chased over an embankment leading to its death and an MP being fined for his dog chasing deer in Richmond Park, London, underline a significant increase in the number of incidents that have come with increased dog ownership and more people using farmland for leisure. The results from NSA’s own sheep worrying by dogs survey also revealed a concerning increase in dog attacks on sheep over the past year. NSA believes these incidents all point to an urgent need for


simple, straightforward and effective measures to radically reduce the number of cases. NSA urges ministers to avoid any ambiguity by legislating for non-working dogs to be on a lead when around or likely to come into contact with livestock. DEFRA’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare highlights the UK’s long tradition of protecting animals and outlines its ambitions to raise welfare standards further – with tougher penalties for animal cruelty, raising the maximum prison sentence from six months to five years, and a new range of (unlimited) fines to be applied to those who are cruel to animals. NSA believes that the injury and stress involved when sheep and other livestock are attacked results in serious animal cruelty and should be subject to similar maximum penalties and deterrents. While the NSA would like to see legislation strengthened beyond what appears to be

proposed it will also continue to campaign to improve attitudes to responsible dog ownership, to protect its members’ livelihoods and reduce stress

and anxiety. NSA looks forward to working with DEFRA and other organisations to improve responsible dog ownership and a better situation for all involved.

Lamb prices remain firm despite increasing volumes of new season lambs arriving on the market Across most of Europe the volume of prime new season lambs reaching the market climbs steeply during June and market prices decline to reflect the increased supply. This year is no exception, Scottish auction markets for example have seen the volume of lambs sold each week increase almost threefold over the past month. This is according to the latest market commentary from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). Stuart Ashworth, QMS Chief Economist, observed that although both Scottish and GB auction markets have grown in volume, they are not matching the same throughput handled in June 2020. “This tighter supply has helped to limit the slide in prices in early June but the current week shows a rapid downward movement in farmgate prices in Scotland as auction sales moved ahead of last year’s level for the first time,” said Mr Ashworth. Prices in other major EU sheepmeat producing countries had drifted lower by 4-5% between mid May and the second week of June, while GB prices expressed in Euro had remained broadly unchanged. Nevertheless, despite sliding over the past few week’s prices in the major sheepmeat producing countries of Europe, with the exception of Italy, remain higher than last year. The market is particularly firm in Ireland and Great Britain where for the week

ending 12 June prices were respectively 33% and 40% higher than the same week last year in Euro. “The fall in provisional Scottish price for the current week would still leave the current price some 38% higher than a year ago with more recent sales this week 33% higher than the same day last year. “A more modest 10% increase on last year in France has resulted in an exceptional situation where both Irish and GB farmgate prices are higher than in France. Equally, the similarity of price with France would suggest that export activity is not the main driver of the GB price in the short term,” said Mr Ashworth. New Zealand prime lamb prices which had been tracking the five-year average, and well below last year’s levels for most of their current lamb crop year, have climbed steeply above year earlier levels during April. Prices continued to climb and currently stand 13-15% higher than last year in local currency and sterling. “New Zealand lamb slaughterings, between October and April, were higher than year earlier levels. With Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the country’s red meat levy body, expecting a lower export kill in 2020-21 than 201920, it is likely that some of the strength in New Zealand is due to lower year on year slaughterings in recent weeks.

pigs African swine fever: risks from outdoor pig farms EFSA has assessed the risk of African swine fever (ASF) spreading through outdoor pig farms and has proposed biosecurity and control measures for outdoor farms in ASFaffected areas of the EU. Outdoor farming of pigs is common in the EU. However, there is no legislation at European level for categorising such farms, so information is limited, not harmonised and needs to be interpreted with care.

The Panel on Animal Health and Welfare concluded that outdoor pig farms carry a substantial risk of introducing and spreading ASF, but that installing single solid or double fences on all outdoor pig farms in areas of the EU where ASF is present could reduce this risk by at least 50%. In addition, implementing comprehensive, objective onfarm biosecurity assessments and approving outdoor pig farms

on the basis of their biosecurity risk would further reduce the risk of introduction and spread. On-farm assessments are a powerful tool not only for improving biosecurity but also for addressing broader animal husbandry issues. EFSA recommends that derogations from the current restrictions on outdoor pig farming in ASF-affected areas could be considered on a caseby-case basis if these and other

specified biosecurity measures have been implemented. The scientific opinion is based on evidence collected from national veterinary authorities, farmers’ associations and the scientific literature. An expert knowledge elicitation (EKE) was carried out to group outdoor pig farms according to their risk of introduction and spread of ASF, to rank biosecurity measures by effectiveness, and propose improvements in biosecurity.

Scotland’s pig producers step out of spring with seasonal price growth According to the latest market commentary from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Scottish pig producers are experiencing a strong seasonal upturn, with farmgate prices rising 8% from a low point in late February. Although pig prices remain 9% below their level at this time last year, they remain above midMay levels from 2018 and 2019. Focusing on the value of the export market and trade opportunities, Stuart Ashworth, QMS Chief Economist, said that although the UK is around 66% self-sufficient in pig meat and pig meat products, there are some cuts with limited UK demand meaning exports continue to play a key part in maximising carcase revenue for pig meat processors, just as the price of imported product does. “The pig meat sector provides an interesting case study for the significance of international trade and the terms and conditions on which they take place. This includes the measures taken internationally at the border to protect animal health and food safety, and how they impact not only on farmgate prices but productive capacity,” said Mr Ashworth.

Incursion of disease can significantly destabilise the marketplace and border control measures to prevent, or reduce, the risk of a disease incursion are a key component to minimising the public and private cost of controlling a disease outbreak. “It has been well documented how measures taken to control African Swine Fever (ASF) have devastated the sow herd in China

and, to a lesser extent, in several European countries. For example, compared to 5 years ago, Romania reports a 14% smaller sow herd and Poland a 5% decline. “Measures taken to control animal disease locally can significantly impact on trade, again as the global pig market shows. The reduction in the sow herd in China resulted in significant growth in import demand from there. For

example, the UK and the EU nearly tripled exports to China between 2018 and 2020,” continued Mr Ashworth. However, controls to minimise the risk of introducing a disease into to a country - whether that be an animal disease, such as ASF, or a human disease, such as COVID – can lead to blanket bans of supplies from an affected nation, or part of a nation, to specific processor exclusions. 107

pigs Elanco offers up free piglet E. coli testing Bringing in the next generation has long been of concern in farming and crofting. Those outwith crofting might be surprised to learn that a transfer of the crofting business is nowhere near as straightforward as in farming. Most would accept that bringing in new and younger people with energy and drive and new ideas is a good thing! However, a good percentage of crofts are unused which many folk find frustrating when there are enthusiastic crofters wishing to start up or expand. The Crofting Commission and the SCF have looked into why crofts are underutilised and tried to ascertain what approaches would make a difference. The Farm Advisory Service has held the aptly named “derelict to productive” series courses to provide practical and technical solutions to bringing crofts back to life, whether for agriculture or woodland or biodiversity, and preferably, a combination of all 3.

For crofting, not only is there a need to think of who gets what and when, but also a need to submit applications to the Crofting Commission as the regulatory body. These might include a Crofting Register, Decrofting and Assignation submissions. If the croft is not registered on Registers of Scotland map based Crofting Register then this can be submitted to the Crofting Commission alongside another application such as decrofting or assignation. Decrofting is where an area is removed from crofting, typically the outgoing crofter’s home, so that the remainder of the croft can be passed to a new entrant, allowing the outgoer to remain in their own house with garden. The Assignation application asks for information on the new entrants and the skills they bring to the community. To help with these, there is a useful tool for crofting succession on the FAS website to help crofters navigate the requirements and considerations.

If you need help with emergency planning contact the FAS Helpline on 0300 323 0161 – they can arrange for some free advice from a consultant.

In order to help tackle the issue of Post Weaning Diarrhoea (PWD) caused by E. coli in piglets, Elanco is offering farmers free diagnostic testing to identify the bacterial strain and allow for appropriate vaccination. Prof. Frédéric Vangroenweghe, Elanco principal technical adviser, explains that farmers should access the testing service through their vet practice, who can then prescribe and advise on the appropriate vaccination if necessary. “With the European zinc oxide ban approaching, the most viable option for PWD control is vaccination. But, for this to be effective and lead to increased productivity, a positive diagnosis of the cause should be obtained.” he says.

“All you need to do is request a test from your vet at the first onset of PWD, which typically occurs in the first three weeks after weaning. If you have a positive test for the F4 or F18 strain of E. coli, it’s likely this will remain or increase in future batches of piglets.” To effectively prevent against the disease while promoting gut health, Prof. Vangroenweghe recommends administering the Coliprotec® vaccine through drinking water. “This vaccination has been shown to help reduce reliance on antibiotics and should alleviate the requirement of zinc oxide in feed,” he says. To request your free on farm test, speak to your vet. For further information, please visit www.

horses Rooting out causes of hoof condition

Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) are calling on native-breed horse and pony owners in Aberdeenshire to help them with the next phase of their study into laminitis. They are looking for people with native-breed horses or ponies aged four and over, and with no previous diagnosis of PPID (Equine Cushing’s Syndrome), for the study investigating risk factors for pasture-associated laminitis an extremely painful condition of the hoof that can have devastating consequences. Postgraduate researchers Ashley Ward and Verena Schmidt are conducting two linked projects to try to identify previously unconsidered triggers

for laminitis, both at the pony and pasture-level. The projects, funded by the World Horse Welfare and the Rowland Sutton Trust, are being carried out in partnership with scientists at SRUC, WALTHAM Petcare Science Institute and the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute. The first phase involves owners completing a questionnaire about their ponies and their management. This data will be used to better understand management practices of nativebreed horses and ponies. The second phase involves a yard visit where researchers will collect more information and take measurements - including body weight and body condition

score – of the pony. They will also attempt to collect a fresh faecal, saliva and urine sample from the pony. Verena said: “By analysing these samples from individual animals, we hope to identify whether differences in the bacterial communities (microbiota) or abundance of small molecules (metabolites) in these samples are related to individual risk for developing laminitis. “Laminitis cases are commonly linked to changes in the pony’s grass and/or consumption of this grass, so during the yard visit we would also like to gather more information on your pasture management strategies, and we

may collect a pasture sample to evaluate the chemical composition of the grass. “Analysing this data will allow us to better understand pasture-associated risk factors for laminitis. This we hope will then allow the development of evidence-based pasture management strategies that could be implemented to reduce the risk of laminitis.” Phase two of the study, which was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be conducted under Covid-19 safety guidelines. Following the initial visit, the researchers will keep in touch with owners and repeat the sampling if their pony develops laminitis in the future.

If you are interested in getting involved, or for more information, please contact: or 01224 711028.


horses Introducing FormaHoof HoofRehab and FormaHoof SportHoof Nutritional Supplements

The old saying ‘no hoof, no horse’ is 100% true, as without healthy, sound feet, you can’t have a healthy, sound horse. To support its mission to help improve the comfort, performance and welfare of equines worldwide, FormaHoof have launched 2 new scientifically formulated hoof supplements – FormaHoof HoofRehab and FormaHoof SportHoof. These high specification, multi-action supplements have been formulated by expert equine nutritionist Lisa Elliott MSc to provide the key nutrients that promote and support optimum hoof growth, health, and quality. FormaHoof HoofRehab has been scientifically formulated to meet the needs of leisure horses and ponies, whereas FormaHoof SportHoof has been scientifically formulated to meet the needs of harder working performance and sport horses and ponies.

FormaHoof Applications help to promote recovery from hoof issues, while supporting long term hoof soundness and health throughout your horse’s life. However, providing the right care and protection for hooves is only half the story. Hoof health also comes from within, and the right nutrition is intrinsically linked to healthier hooves. Both FormaHoof HoofRehab and FormaHoof SportHoof Nutritional Supplements provide key nutrients at levels scientifically proven to support and promote hoof growth, health, and quality. High in hoof-benefitting proteins, vitamins and minerals These 2 new supplements are rich in protein with the inclusion of the key amino acids Lysine and Methionine, both of which are vital for healthy hoof structure

and function. The inclusion of generous levels of essential minerals copper and zinc give your horse the right foundations to build a healthier, stronger hoof. Biotin is also included at optimal rates to ensure your horse’s hooves get the best nutritional support possible.

included to help combat free radicals which are released as a result of normal body processes and increased exercise. These help to boost immunity and provide protection against disease, helping to support and maintain optimum hoof health, structure, and function.

High in essential Omega 3 fatty acids FormaHoof HoofRehab and SportHoof deliver essential Omega 3 fatty acids which are not only beneficial for hoof structure and integrity, but also help to boost immunity and metabolism. They also have potent anti-inflammatory effects which can be beneficial for conditions such as laminitis and arthritis.

And more… Brewer’s yeast containing yeasacc (saccharomyces cerevisae) is included at scientifically proven levels to stimulate, support and nurture hindgut microbes and help promote a healthy hindgut microbiome, which is vital for optimal hoof health. FormaHoof HoofRehab and FormaHoof SportHoof Nutritional Supplements also include beneficial rosemary extract and are flavoured with apple for palatability.

High in antioxidants Antioxidant support



FormaHoof is priced at just 60 EUR and FormaHoof Sport at just 75 EUR for a 3kg tub (one month supply for a 500kg horse).


Women in Agriculture Scotland meets like mind in New Zealand! The founder of New Zealand’s Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT), Lindy Nelson, was the guest speaker at Women in Agriculture Scotland’s latest Zoom meeting in May. Her work in the agricultural sector started in 1992 when she moved to a rural area north of Wellington on the North Island to manage a hill-country sheep and beef operation along with her farming husband, David. Lindy had been a nurse and it was her own transformational journey that led to the development of the trust. The switch to rural life meant she had to adjust to a different mindset. The lack of women’s voice in the agricultural world made her believe it was time for action to support women and feminine leadership, their efforts were not always recognised, often sidelined as the supporting partner behind the scenes. “I landed in that rural role of a woman where you’re an unpaid extra pair of hands on a farm. I struggled to find my value and my skillset in that role,” she says. “So I thought, I’m going to do some research around the problem and find out what a solution to that could look like.” The AWDT story started with a simple fact – men and women each make up half of

Lindy Nelson

the population, but the problem was that 50% of these people in New Zealand’s primary sector – women – had little involvement in decision-making, from farms to boardrooms… but they had much to offer. In 2009, after three years of research, Lindy turned that problem into an opportunity. Out of a desire to grow primary industries by unlocking the talent of rural women and developing skills they had gained in their businesses, careers, communities and families, she founded the Agri-Women’s Development Trust with some fellow trustees. She also led the design and implementation of some of the most advanced leadership and governance programmes which has led to a transformation in NZ’s food and agricultural

sector by unleashing the talent of women. AWDT’s vision is that women are vital partners in worldleading New Zealand primary industries by empowering women to accelerate progress and change in the primary sector and rural communities. With support from their industry partners they research, design and deliver quality programmes that give women the tools, confidence and knowhow to lead and contribute in new ways. With the right skills and support these incredible women are helping transform farming businesses, industry organisations, Māori agribusiness and communities. The organisation has grown from having one programme with 14 women to now having

more than a thousand women and men coming through the programmes every year, with trained facilitators delivering programmes all around New Zealand. “We have lots of stories now of women who have graduated from our programmes and have found their purpose and are making a big difference,” she says. Ten years ago, the challenge was around finding a voice. Now, the challenge is really stepping into your role and being a vital partner and everything that means. “I would encourage women to keep investing in their personal and professional development because it pays absolute dividends for their family, their community, and country as a whole”. Lindy has travelled the world empowering women in agriculture, including a visit to the Scottish Government in 2018 to offer advice on developing a strategy for agri-women. Undoubtedly a visionary leader who has gained many awards for her efforts, including Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to agriculture and women in 2016. Her personal philosophy around diversity and inclusion is “leave no one behind”.



Workhorses with a big reach! Bobcat Launches New Generation of Telescopic Loaders Bobcat is launching the company’s new generation R-Series telescopic loader range for agriculture, providing a choice of seven models with Stage V engines. The new telescopic loaders cover maximum lifting capacities between 2.6 and 4.3 tonne with lifting heights from 6 to 8 m. This is the latest phase in Bobcat’s revolutionary ‘Next is Now’ programme, combining innovative product development and diversification with more intelligent, more connected technologies and services that


reshape how work gets done on the farm. Commenting on the R-Series launch, Gustavo Otero, President, Doosan Bobcat EMEA, said: “Telescopic loaders are a fundamental asset of our business strategy and key pillar of our Next is Now initiative. Our new groundbreaking R-Series range offers superior machines that combine all-day comfort, maximum productivity and reliability, intelligent features, a robust build with intuitive operation and excellent 360o ergonomics. With

Telehandlers these new models and the increased investment in our telehandler business, we are aiming to double the production of Bobcat telescopic loaders by 2025.” Gustavo Otero continued: “Bobcat telescopic loaders are

popular all around the world. We want to further improve our presence and accelerate our growth in all agricultural markets with this new generation of machines.” Bobcat R-Series telescopic loaders offer a premium

workspace with a new cab design. The new high quality, contemporary interior of the cab features stand-out R-Series branding, colours and textures that clearly reflect Bobcat’s DNA. In the ergonomic design,

all surfaces have been optimised to offer increased space and visibility. The backlit controls are within easy reach, and they are quickly identified thanks to their colour coding, which is identical day and night.

The Case Farmlift loader The Farmlift telescopic loader series from Case IH caters for the needs of a multitude of material handling tasks, offering six models with maximum reaches ranging from 5.7 to 9.1 metres. The Farmlift range is built with safety at the core, featuring a stable design with a lift capacity of between 3,300- 4200kg depending on model. Further safety features include a ‘visual safe load indicator’ to check a load is within safe limits at a glance and an automatic cut off system to prevent overloading or putting the machine in an unstable situation. Inboard wet disc brakes offer excellent stopping power and increased durability and all Farmlifts are built with a heavy-duty frame ensuring stability and rigidity throughout the whole machine. A large, curved windscreen allows all around visibility in the cab, with a 360o LED lighting package available for safe working at night. On high spec models, all key functions are ergonomically grouped on one joystick, which is mounted onto the comfortable seat allowing it to move with the operator, with an air suspension seat optional. Ventilation is standard, whilst air conditioning is optional on all models. Power shuttle and gear changing commands as well as hydraulic attachment locking can be carried out from this joystick, meaning that in most cases, attachments can be coupled without leaving the cab. Each model has a dedicated

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Telehandlers hydraulic system designed to its height and weight capacities, ensuring fuel and power is optimised. Furthermore, the 636 and 742 models are equipped with load sensing hydraulics that automatically match oil flow to requirement. All models are designed to have the fastest cycle

times, with the 636, for example, performing a lift, lower, extend, retract, dump and rollback cycle in a total of 26.5 seconds. All Farmlifts are currently available with a 3-year, 3,000 hour Safeguard Warranty with no minimum claim value and zero excess fees.

Upgrades for the Claas Scorpion range Last year saw the addition of a whole range of new features and upgrades to the CLAAS SCORPION range, in addition to a new addition, the high reach SCORPION 960. To meet Mother Regulation 2 compliance, all SCORPION machines are now fitted with

side marker lights and reflectors. Plastic fuel tanks are also now fitted, which for small platform models has helped improve the filling angle, resulting in easier filling and less chance of spillage. A free-flow return hydraulic pipe is also now available on all models.

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On small platform SCORPION 1033-635 models, the pressure in the 160 litre/ minute hydraulic system has been increased from 200 bar to 240 bar, plus a new load hold valve is also now fitted. Between them, these will provide improved fine control of the machine and boom, which is also now available with a JCB Q-Fit headstock. The SCORPION large platform range has also been expanded with the addition of the new SCORPION 960. Capable of lifting 6000kg at 600mm load centre, rising to 6500kg at 500mm load centre, the SCORPION 960 has a maximum lift height of 8.79m. These maximum rated lift capacities are a full 1000kg

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(20%) greater compared to the previous generation SCORPION 9055. The new SCORPION 960 is powered by a Stage 4, 4.1 litre Deutz engine developing 156hp. Drive is through a three-speed 40kph VARIPOWER PLUS transmission which, in addition to the main 45° wide-angle hydrostatic pump, incorporates a second 32° swivelling variable displacement pump to provide greater tractive and pulling power. It features the CLAAS SMART ROADING system to automatically adjust the engine speed when accelerating and once maximum road speed is reached. CLAAS DYNAMIC COOLING automatically controls the fan

Telehandlers speed and guarantees demanddriven cooling of the engine and DYNAMIC POWER engine speed regulation is an option. A 4-wheel drive lock-out is also available on both the new SCORPION 960 and the 756, which for road-work allows the 4-wheel drive to be switched off, so reducing tyre wear and saving fuel. The SCORPION 960 has a 200 litre/minute load sensing hydraulic system, rated at 270 bar. Using the CLAAS SMART LOADING control system, this provides the operator with the fine control and precision needed for the wide range of operations a telescopic handler is used for, in combination with automatic overload protection, and includes automatic bucket return and bucket shake functions. The SCORPION 960 also has a hydraulic levelling system between the front axle and the chassis.

A new compact telehandler from Dieci Dieci Telehandlers Ltd will be shortly bringing to the UK market a new compact Telehandler, the new Mini Agri Smart 20.4 with some innovative and exciting features. The new 4 in 1 joystick, allows full control with integral forward and reverse travel for rapid Shuttling. The redesigned engine compartment is fully openable to facilitate inspection quickly and easily. This compact machine is 1550mm wide, 1925mm tall, a maximum lift capacity of 2000kg with a maximum lift height of 4.35m. This machine can be specified with air conditioning if required,

fitted with 16” tyres. For more information contact Dieci

Telehandlers Ltd 01258 817997

The Fendt Cargo T Fendt has added the Cargo T955 telehandler to its expanding fullline product range. The telehandler is marked by its unique lifting cab with vibration damping and its tough, durable build. It may

seem all-new, but look closer and you’ll see its quintessential Fendt. With its unique technology, the Cargo T offers more comfort and performance than any other telehandler.

The Fendt Cargo T combines the best of both worlds: the lifting height, reach and stability of a telescopic loader, with a solid construction and enormous breakaway forces

otherwise only associated with wheel loaders. With a load of 5.5 t and a lifting height of 8.5 m, the Fendt Cargo T can meet the highest demands in loading work. When it comes moving loads up and down, Fendt’s homegrown Fendt Cargo front loader has been a best seller for many years. The new telehandler is also marked for its excellence in advanced charging solutions. Hence the name; Cargo plus the T for telehandler. The Cargo T reaches new heights with its unique lifting cab that can be raised to a viewing height of 4.25 m. Just lifting the cab by a mere 20 to 30 cm gives you the best 360° all-round view, the likes of which have only been seen on wheel loaders and telescopic wheel loaders. There is independent control of the cab, so the height can be set to suit which could be ideal if loading lorries or stacking, as the operators eye level is able to be at loading height. With no dashboard to obstruct the lower part of the (continued on page118)


Telehandlers continuous windscreen, this gives the operator unrestricted views of the surroundings. Together with the lifting cab, this gives the driver the perfect


view of the attachment tool in almost every working position. Loading is even more precise and the driver stays comfortable on long working days. The cab is vibration dampened, so the driver can enjoy the levels of driving comfort we have come to expect from Fendt. The drive intelligently regulates the power distribution offering variable driving speeds of up to 40 km/h. Whatever the job, the Cargo T is at home on the farm, in the fields and doing transport work.

Kramer – new features, level V and simply more performance The Kramer brand stands for all wheel steer loaders, telescopic wheel loaders and telehandlers with extreme manoeuvrability, allterrain mobility and high efficiency. Beside the upgrade to level V engines, Kramer telehandlers have received new features, which mean increased comfort and an optimal driving experience for operators. A huge model range from 3.000-5.500 kilograms payload, including KT407, is still be equipped with the Deutz TCD 3.6 engine with level V and 100 kilowatt power. For this purpose, the exhaust after treatment with DOC and SCR is supplemented with a DPF as a standard. For an optimal all-round visibility, the

New Massey Ferguson MF TH telehandlers Massey Ferguson has announced the introduction of the latest MF TH telehandler Series, which features a completely new cab plus other significant changes that further enhance comfort, operation and productivity. Six models in the latest generation MF TH Series are 118

designed to handle every job with ease. The line-up starts with the semi-compact MF TH 6030 and goes up to the latest MF TH.8043, which provides a maximum lift capacity of 4,300kg and height of 7.5m and can be equipped with a 3,500-litre capacity bucket.

compact models from the KT306 to the KT407 are optionally available with a raised cabin. In addition, the exterior FOPS protective grating is modified to ensure a better view upwards. To increase safety and comfort, the entry into the machine is improved, which is realised via a recess in the cabin floor. In addition, the models starting with the KT306, 3.000 kilograms payload and up can impress with a fourth steering mode, the “manual crab steering”. The wheel position of the rear tyres can be fixed here, but still manoeuvred with the front axle. This type of steering is very convenient in tight spaces or, for example, when driving along the silo wall.

Telehandlers Significant improvements to the hydrostatic transmission, which include a new operating mode, ensure the MF TH Series operate more smoothly to ease operation and increase productivity. Powerful and high flow hydraulics, equipped with proportional control, deliver optimum materials handling accuracy and productivity. “MF TH Telehandlers already have a strong reputation for excellent performance, productivity, visibility and manoeuvrability. These new models now introduce the most exciting developments in 10 years’ of MF TH production. This is not just an upgrade – it is a breakthrough,” says Thierry Lhotte, Vice President & Managing Director Massey Ferguson, Europe & Middle East. “The MF TH Series is completely transformed. Now

equipped with a high comfort cab, this new generation delivers outstanding comfort and control, combined with smoother operation and additional automation” explains Mr Lhotte.

“The new MF TH range not only reflects the new Massey Ferguson design initiated on the MF 8S, but substantial changes to the cab enable operators to benefit from modern, advanced controls in a quiet, comfortable workplace.

Our renowned MF Power Control lever, as used on all Massey Ferguson tractors, is now standard, providing excellent operation with the left hand,” adds Francesco Murro, Director Marketing Massey Ferguson EME.


FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 140



The new TF65.9TCS170-HF joins the merlo range telehandlers The introduction of the all new TF65.9TCS170-HF telehandler Merlo marks a significant addition to its heavy duty range of Merlo telescopic handlers. This new model is well suited for those handling a high volume of materials in the large scale agricultural, aggregate, renewable energy, timber & waste sectors. The TF65.9TCS170-HF has been developed specifically with these demanding applications in mind. Offering a maximum lift capacity of 6.5 ton and a maximum lift height of 8.80 m this new heavy duty handler offers class leading performance. The introduction of this new model complements and expands the offering from Merlo in this


growing high capacity sector. Fitted with a 4 cylinder, 4.5 litre FPT turbo diesel engine producing a maximum of 170hp operators can be sure of having sufficient power for the most demanding of tasks. The Stage V engine is equipped with both Diesel Particulate Filter technology and a Selective Catalytic Reduction system. The renowned Merlo hydrostatic transmission is fitted as standard along with the innovative EPD TOP (Eco Power Drive) electronic transmission control. This feature allows the operator to select to automatic engine response whilst using the hydraulic functions, giving efficient and the right amount of power for all actions. Furthermore it is possible

to activate the Eco and Speed Control functions in order to maximize ease of use and overall performance all whilst minimising fuel consumption. Naturally as you might expect from Merlo, a maximum transport speed of 40 km/h is standard.

The new TF65.9 is also equipped with the brand new ASCS (Adaptive Stability Control System). This system comes as standard with an in cab 10.1’’ LCD colour screen that displays the load dynamic & capacity chart, which is updated in real time.


New Holland TH Series telehandlers The New Holland Agriculture range of Telehandlers are the ideal solution to match the specific requirements of different farming operations. The TH Series now boasts an impressive nine metre telehandler together with an eyecatching bright yellow and gray livery which fully integrates the telehandler range into New Holland’s Harvesting family. A brand new transmission with electronic modulation ensures enhanced shifting and shuttling. Operator comfort has not been overlooked with a refreshed cab interior and new look seat. The TH Series offers 6 models and 14 versions: The entry level S version, available on the TH6.32 and TH7.32, delivers a powerful performance with its 133 hp engine and simple specifications for a small investment.

The Classic version, available on six, seven and nine metre models, is ideal for small livestock farmers and farmyard use. It features a limited-slip differential in the rear axle to increase the tractive effort in demanding conditions, variable displacement hydraulic pump and reversible cooling fan for high efficiency all-day-long. The new transmission on the 4x3 version on S and Classic models improves third gear travel on slopes and second gear operation for silage work. The Plus version, perfect for livestock and mixed farming operations, adds a host of comfort features, including an air-suspension seat, telescopic steering column and HVAC system. A hydraulic quick coupler makes it quick and easy to change attachments, and rear

cab lights enhance safe operation after dark. The Elite version is the perfect choice for large scale livestock farmers, contractors and biomass operations. With a more powerful 146 hp engine

and additional advanced features such as hydraulic pressure release, heated air-suspension seat with integrated controls, and rear cab and boom lights maximise productivity even when dark.

Travel Scotland

Go Wild in West Lothian by Janice Hopper Venture a few minutes outside Scotland’s capital to discover locations with the space to offer rural adventures and activities. If you head to Kirkliston, Kirknewton, Livingston and West Calder there’s a host of country pursuits ideal for a short break, plus there’s always the option of dipping into the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh if you so wish.

Rare Breeds in the Valley One family-friendly destination is Almond Valley Heritage Centre, which is a ‘Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) Accredited Farm Park’, looking after a range of native ‘at risk’ farm animals. Highlights include the glowing Golden Guernsey Goat, which was nearly wiped out in the Second World War when much of the island’s livestock was slaughtered during the Nazi occupation. A local woman, Miss Miriam Milbourne, managed to hide a small group of goats allowing the breed to survive. Other rare species at Almond Valley include North Ronaldsay Sheep, and Bagot Goats believed to be Britain’s oldest breed of goat with a documented ancestry dating back to 1389. Visitors are also drawn to the iconic Highland Cattle, Shetland ponies, Tamworth pigs, Clydesdale horses, reindeer, donkeys, a mix of rare breed chickens, ducks and geese, plus alpacas that visitors can book walking experiences with.

Almond Valley


In terms of family fun, children can dig for bones and fossils in a huge sandpit, take a ride on subterranean trollies, jump around on inflatable pillows or play Highland Cow hoopla. When Covid restrictions allow Almond Valley will resurrect its popular train journeys, tractor and trailer rides, and the many talks and feeding sessions centred around their special animals. Exotic Adventures For those wishing to temporarily swap farmyard animals for something a little more exotic then opt for Five Sisters Zoo near West Calder. It’s recently welcomed an adorable new red panda called Rufio, and visitors will also discover Arctic wolves, snow leopards and coatis. Five Sisters has come a long way, especially when you consider that it started out as a garden centre. The owners regularly rescued animals in need of a home, and families who dropped by the

garden centre took an interest in these unexpected beasts, and organically a zoo came into being. It officially opened in 2005 with a host of rabbits, guinea pigs, goats and pigs. Over the years it’s rehomed three bears and four lions from travelling circuses, and recently taken in two further bears from a roadside restaurant in Albania. Today it’s home to 165 different species of mammals, birds and reptiles from around the world. As well as animals, Five Sisters runs the Leaping Lemurs Soft Play that offers indoor fun over four levels for children up to eleven years old, with specially designated baby and toddler zones. Lunch and snacks are served in the Leaping Lemurs Restaurant.

Rufio at Five Sisters

Art in Nature For those seeking something outdoors and rural, yet grown up and sophisticated, then Jupiter Artland is highly recommended. It’s also a fascinating way to see the Scottish countryside used in a very different and engaging manner. The park engages children as well, so it ticks the family-friendly box with its intriguing sculptures peppered around one hundred acres of parkland. Some pieces tap into nature, such as Shane Waltener’s spidery web (said to be inspired by Shetland lace), the staggering amethyst walls of The Light Pours Out of Me, or the gun sculpture by Cornelia Parker that refers to Scotland’s hunting, shooting and fishing culture. Take a walk around the calming Cells of

Travel Scotland Life landscape created by Charles Jencks, then wander into the woods to discover Weeping Girls, melancholic and eery artworks by Laura Ford. Other headline names exhibited at Jupiter Artland include Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Andy Goldsworthy. Play Time For more boisterous play, head to Conifox Adventure Park near Kirkliston. It’s the brainchild of sheep farmer James Gammell who runs a four thousand acre hill farm in Perthshire. Conifox was initially a tree nursery and laterally a garden centre, and has expanded from there to become an active family-friendly day out. Go karts and off-road pedal tractors allow youngsters (and big kids) to put peddle to the metal in the West Lothian countryside. Springer trampolines, plus an inflatable pillow and a mix of space hoppers let kids bounce off their energy. Look out for an outdoor chess board, tunnels, swings and balance beams, plus an extensive football pitch-and-putt or 9-hole ‘FootGolf’ where kids kick a ball over hillocks and through burrows from flagpole to flagpole. When Covid permits, the Stables Bistro serves up breakfasts, lunches and BBQs with outdoor seating for two hundred people, plus room for another one hundred diners indoors. In Room Camping Experience It’s fully understandable that hardworking farmers who spend vast amounts of their time outdoors might appreciate a little luxury when they go on holiday. If the kids would like to go camping, but the adults would appreciate shelter from the elements then there is a way to combine both ideas and bring the outdoors indoors. So, for a rural twist consider in-room camping whereby a tent is erected in your hotel room for little ones to enjoy (you don’t even have to put up or take down the tent yourself). This novel experience is available at Dalmahoy Country Club and Hotel, and allows the children the excitement of camping whilst adults stay warm, dry and able to enjoy the finer things in life.

Each tent sleeps one or two children, and is supplied with sleeping bags and torches. One book and soft toy per child is tucked into the tent as a gift that the wee ones can take home with them. Although only seven miles from Edinburgh, Dalmahoy boasts a wonderfully rural setting. Situated in one thousand acres of parkland, guests can follow nature trails, visit the lake to spot elegant swans drifting by on the water, or take the children

to the outdoor playground with swings, climbing frames and slides. Other facilities include a swimming pool, fitness centre, spa, two golf courses, pitchand-putt, two restaurants, plus children’s afternoon tea is served every day. With so many unique, quirky and exciting rural attractions, hotels and parks available, heading west to West Lothian is a breath of fresh air. Take time out to experience independent ventures that have worked with

Scotland’s countryside to offer up experiences that are truly memorable. Plan Your Trip Almond Valley Heritage Centre Five Sisters Zoo - Jupiter Artland Sculpture Park Conifox Adventure Park - conifox. Dalmahoy Country Club and Hotel - dalmahoyhotelandcountryclub.

Jupiter Artland

Dalmahoy launches hotel camping. Eva Chalmers (5) with her friend Will Stackhouse


forestry Spaldings expands TMC Cancela mulcher range with ‘fine finish’ machine for land regeneration

Ideal for: - Clearing woodland rides and bracken - Cutting fire breaks in heather on moorland - Contract and clearance work for gorse and rubbish Made in Britain

Foster's range of heavy duty ROTARY SLASHERS and SUPER SCRUB CUTTERS are the ideal machine for the clearance of gorse, heather, bracken and rushes. From 40HP to 150HP+ there is a machine to suit your requirements.

- Cutting wetland rushes



A tractor-mounted mulcher supplied throughout the UK and Ireland by Spaldings, the direct sales specialist, can produce a fine and firm tilth ready for woodland re-planting or sowing to other crops as part of a land regeneration project. The TMC Cancela MPK225 has a working width of 2.25m (a 2.50m version is also available), operates on the rear three-point linkage of a 220-300hp tractor, and has 58 rigidly-mounted hammers arranged in a helix patternEach hammer has a single carbide tip that shreds residue against six rows of replaceable counter knives and incorporates the resulting mulched material into finely tilled topsoil. Unlike other machines in the extensive range of tractor, skid-steer loader and excavator-mounted mulchers from TMC Cancela, the MPK has a two-speed gearbox, providing a slower rotor speed for shredding and incorporation, and a faster speed for grinding away tree stumps up to 450mm diameter.

Another feature unique of this model is a steel finishing roller equipped with six serrated traction rings and mounted on hydraulic cylinders to regulate the working depth and lift the roller out of work when not required. The combination of an intensive-action mulching rotor, consistent working depth, the adjustable hood and rear-mounted roller leaves a fine, level and consolidated surface largely free of trash ready for replanting trees or sowing to a different crop. Hefin Evans, forestry equipment sales specialist at Spaldings, explains how this machine, with its unique multipurpose capabilities, came about. “We had a potential customer who was impressed with the structure and engineering quality of TMC Cancela’s mulchers but who had particular requirements for the land regeneration contract work he carries out,” he says. “It’s a measure of TMC Cancela’s willingness to respond to different requirements that after discussions with the company’s engineers, a prototype was built and extensively tested, which the contractor then purchased after it was stripped for inspection and rebuilt as new.” Other features of the MPK mulcher include heavy-duty power transmission to both ends of the 632mm diameter rotor by Gates fibre-reinforced Poly Chain GT Carbon positive-drive belts. It also has TMC Cancela’s patented mechanism for keeping the pto shaft at the correct angle at all times for reliable power delivery; it comprises a pivoting gearbox and a hydraulic top link with parallel linkage.


Biodiversity in Forestry Integrating Trees on Your Land Pic by Jayne Adamson

By Lyn White Forestry and Farming Development Officer at Scottish Forestry

Biodiversity in Forestry refers to life forms found within forested areas: trees, plants, animals, and the ecological roles they perform. Here we consider the biodiversity of trees and ask, is the practice of replanting different species after felling beneficial?Agriforest are a timber harvesting and forest management company who specialise in small to medium areas of woodland. Owner, Douglas Mathison, is passionate about biodiversity in forestry. When it comes to timber harvesting, profit is key. However, rather than replanting a singular species of tree, biodiversity can create a more attractive woodland resource long term. Douglas reasons, “It’s best not to have all your eggs in the one basket. Don’t rely on one tree species too heavily!” Biodiversity has further benefits; planting different species of trees can increase their resilience against pests and diseases, and “is really the key thing that will help create an attractive habitat for wildlife”. Douglas gives an example of helpful biodiversity: “on some projects conifers have been previously planted right up to the edge of water courses - when it

comes to restocking these areas, we replant with native species such as Willow, and Aspen which prefer wet bits of ground.” It has been said that biodiversity within a commercial woodland can increase costs. For instance, planting native broadleaves in tubes can be expensive. However, according to Douglas, when spread across a large area, and combined with a good timber income from the felling of mature crops, these costs can be offset. “A lot of forestry clients wish to replant with commercial species as they are viewed as the ‘cash crop’ but planting a diverse mix in the right areas does not detract from what the bulk of the future crop is going to be worth.” Douglas owes his knowledge on biodiversity and forest management to 11 years in the industry and a degree from the Scottish Agricultural College. He founded Agriforest in 2016 and to date they have harvested, hauled, and marketed over 100,000 tonnes of timber from farm and estate shelter belts. To find out more about Agriforest please visit their website –

If you are a farmer, crofter, land manager and want to find out more about tree planting, then you can’t beat seeing and hearing from those doing it practically on the ground. That’s the aim of the new Integrating Trees Network which is building up a strong network of farm woodland demonstration sites across Scotland. The initiative is being led by farmers and supported by Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government. It’s all about encouraging more trees to be planted on Scottish land, in the right place, for the right reason and to give guidance on how this can be practically achieved. At the moment there are two sites in the demo network, Andrew Adamson of Messrs W Laird & Son, Netherurd Home Farm, Peeblesshire and the Imrie Family of Hillhead Farm, Torrance, Lanarkshire. Both are run by family farming businesses. Joining the growing network will be Andrew and Debbie Duffus, Mains of Auchriachan, Tomintoul.

All the host farms have been involved in online events and more farming hosts are due to be announced in the coming months. Scottish Forestry’s forestry and farming development officer Lyn White said: “It’s great that this network of demonstration sites is building up. We have had a great response to a call for host farmers, crofters, estates land managers from across Scotland to join our network. “Our current fantastic farming hosts are willing to share their practical experiences, discuss their objectives, challenges and benefits of their tree planting projects. “The network of demonstrator sites will be spread across Scotland. The aim is to have a site in each geographical region linked to a Scottish Forestry offices.” Lyn added: “As this is a farmer led network, we want hear from land mangers about what topics they want to discuss so we can bring in expert speakers to present alongside our farmer hosts.”

Check out Integrating Trees on Your Land website for host details, questions and answers from previous events and up and coming events.


Flower power to transform woodlands

A new guide shows how the transformation of newly-planted native woods into beautiful and biodiverse places can be helped by planting common woodland wild flowers and grasses. The comprehensive stepby-step guidance aims to speed up the natural colonisation of important woodland flora into newly planted woods. Published today by NatureScot, the work is funded by the Patsy Wood Trust and supported by Scottish Forestry, Plantlife Scotland, Scotia Seeds and Stirling University. With just 4% of Scotland comprising native woodland, the Scottish Government is prioritising tree planting to address the climate and biodiversity crises with incentives to encourage uptake. 126

Planting of new broadleaved woodland can often take place on former agricultural land, but it can take decades or even centuries for these sites to acquire much-loved woodland plants. The guide recommends that small populations of key common woodland plants such as dog violet, bluebells, wild garlic and primrose are sown or planted; with these chosen carefully to match the woodland type and soil conditions. These small populations are then encouraged to spread naturally over time, enriching the habitat and creating a more attractive space for people to enjoy. NatureScot Woodlands Officer Kate Holl said: “When native trees are planted it can often take decades for other

woodland species to appear. We can give nature a helping hand by planting wildflowers and grasses to speed up the process and boost biodiversity. “We need to build on our precious existing ancient woodlands which are home to dozens of species of colourful woodland flowers. “Once we thought that if we waited long enough the flowers would appear, but experience from the past 40 years has shown that this rarely works. “This guide shows that when well-planned and implemented, introducing flowers and other plants to certain woods can kick start this process, greatly improving woodland biodiversity, helping threatened pollinators and making a real contribution to tackling the nature crisis.”

Lead author and woodland consultant Rick Worrell, said: “Unfortunately woodland plants find it very hard to spread naturally in our current landscape. This is because they often rely on woodland insects, like ants, to spread their seed; and ants aren’t able to cross farmland and carry seed from wood to wood. This new guidance has people stepping in to give a helping hand.” Colin Edwards, Scottish Forestry’s Environment Policy Advisor said: “We recognise the immense ecological value in developing a native ground flora at the same time as establishing new woodland through planting. Woodlands are complex systems, so any assistance we can give to creating these natural habitats is welcomed.

estate Birthplace of champion Aberdeen Angus cattle now launched to the market About 640 acres (259 hectares) of predominately Class 3(2) land for sale as a whole or in 5 lots £3,245,000 for the whole: Lots under separate negotiation The famous herd will be for sale via United Auctions in October Savills is marketing Blelack Farm, the birthplace of many multi-championship prize-winning Aberdeen Angus cattle. Blelack is a highly regarded, fully equipped holding situated in Deeside, Aberdeenshire, on the outskirts of the Cairngorms National Park. It is available as a whole or in five separate lots. After having dispersed their Charolais cattle and adult section of the Aberdeen Angus herd, in what was a record breaking sale in 2016, Blelack’s Angus herd has since grown to 120 breeding animals. These will be dispersed through United Auctions in October. The property The farm and its 640 acres of predominantly arable and rotational grass is scenic but accessible, with the town of Aboyne eight miles away and Aberdeen city just 36 miles away. To the North east of the steading, along the farm’s drive, you will find a very pretty farmhouse. This spacious family home has been newly renovated. It has five bedrooms, three reception rooms and an expansive, modern kitchen. The house has spectacular views over open countryside and distant mountains, and is surrounded by a 128

large enclosed garden. In addition there are three farm cottages, each with three bedrooms, and a studio flat at Blelack. The cottages have been beautifully refurbished and recently upgraded and are currently successfully let as selfcatering holiday properties. There are a wide range of large modern buildings including a new feed shed and indoor cattle handling system. The farm buildings are capable of housing over 300 cows. These are situated conveniently towards the centre of the unit, allowing easy movement of stock around the farm. 200 cows have historically been out-wintered on the hill ground which benefits from good drainage and hardstanding.

The land at Blelack is farmed around the needs of the cattle unit, with cereals grown for feed and straw, although recent presale downsizing has allowed for a contract agreement across the arable land, with spring barley being the principal crop. If the farm is not sold as a whole, three distinct parcels of land of varying sizes are available as separate lots. Also for sale, either as part of the complete farm or alone, is Balnastraid Steading, which offers a variety of conversion and development opportunities, and holds planning permission in principle for a residential dwelling. Lot 1 – Blelack Farm: Farmhouse (5 bedrooms and 3 reception

rooms), 3 self-catering cottages (3 bedrooms) and a studio flat/Farm office. Farm buildings. Approx. 453 acres of arable and rotational grass Lot 2 – Land at Mill of Newton: Approx. 56 acres of arable land Lot 3 – Field at Carrue: Approx. 6 acres of arable land Lot 4 – Land at Balnastraid: Approx. 121 acres of arable land Lot 5 –Balnastraid Steading: A range of general purpose buildings, with planning in principle for residential development For further details and images, please contact: Beth Hocking, Savills Scottish press office, 07967 555779 bhocking@

estate Productive arable farm with development potential

)NTERESTING TIMES LIE AHEAD By Stephen Young, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates

Galbraith is pleased to bring to the market Westerton Farm, a highly productive arable and amenity unit in rural Perthshire, offering wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. Duncan Barrie of Galbraith, who is handling the sale, said: “This is a really superb location, private yet accessible and in one of the most sought-after and scenic parts of rural Perthshire. The farmland is well maintained and there is a good range of adaptable farm buildings. There is also the potential to add significant value through modernising of the farmhouse and potentially developing the adjacent barn into one very impressive family home, subject to planning permission.” The land at Westerton Farm extends to about 169.7 acres (68.70 hectares) and the property has a traditional farmhouse with four bedrooms and two reception rooms, requiring modernisation throughout. Adjoining the farmhouse is a substantial stonebuilt barn which offers the opportunity for development and integration with the farmhouse. The current owners commissioned an architect to create illustrative plans, but any future projects would be subject to obtaining the necessary building and planning consents. The land has been classified as a mixture of Grade 3.1 and 3.2 and is predominantly all down to arable, with a small parcel of amenity woodland. There is a range of useful range traditional and modern

farm buildings including an original Roundel; a Dutch barn with lean-to; a mono-pitch cattle court; large modern general purpose shed; brick built store, and traditional barn. The farmhouse and buildings lie in an elevated position to the south of the A822 and benefit from panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. The current owners bought Westerton in 1984, and the farming system has been centred on a rotation of cereals, potatoes, shopping swedes, together with temporary grass. The land can be worked to a good depth and regular soil and lime tests have been carried out and a continuous programme of ditching and drainage works, which have ensured the land is farmed to its maximum potential. In addition, a significant proportion of the existing fences have been renewed in recent years. Westerton Farm is situated in a private position about two miles from Muthill and about 6.5 miles from the popular village of Auchterarder, within the fertile Vale of Strathearn. Westerton Farm is for sale as a whole or in three lots as follows: As a Whole Offers Over £1,370,000. A closing date for all formal offers has been set for 12 noon on Wednesday 7th of July. Lot 1: Offers Over £550,000. Lot 2: Offer Overs £425,000. Lot 3: Offers Over £395,000. Please contact Galbraith for further details.

After the anticipation of the Holyrood election, it is time now for the dust to settle and the hard work to begin. We now have a new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, and we have welcomed her appointment with experience in representing a rural constituency and sound knowledge of the challenges we face as a sector. It is important that rural voices are heard and SLE and others will work hard to ensure that happens. There is sadness that Fergus Ewing will no longer be involved in cabinet but we wish him well in acting as a strong voice in parliament. In recent weeks, we have read with interest that talks were being held between the SNP Government and the Scottish Greens with the view to establishing a formal co-operation agreement in the coming parliamentary session. SLE is happy to work with all parties and stakeholders but has real concerns regarding policies which seek to reduce the number of rural jobs and disincentivise inward investment. Closing down shooting enterprises, often part of diversified farms and estates, would be devastating for businesses at the heart of communities for generations, representing a way of life, a distinct rural culture and a world class tourism offering. If adopted by the government, the Scottish Green proposals

would threaten hundreds of businesses and put tens of thousands of jobs in supplier businesses across rural Scotland at risk. Just as the potential closure of the McVitie’s factory is terrible for jobs and the economy of Glasgow, so too is seeking to put debilitating restrictions on rural businesses. We are seeking assurances that rural jobs will be highly valued and protected - these are real people with jobs which exist now, not hypothetical jobs which may exist in the future. Finally, despite widespread ire from farming organisations, it looks ever more likely that the UK Government will be signing trade deals with Australia and New Zealand. The UK has never been a producer of least cost but we do have some of the highest levels of environmental and production standards in the world. If our own politicians cannot value the benefit of guaranteeing these standards and taking ownership of our emissions, rather than offshoring, then how can we hope that international buyers will understand? In terms of UK agriculture, we are not looking for special treatment - simply a level playing field. The coming months will be critical for the rural economy and all our politicians have a duty to ensure that rural Scotland is not used as a pawn for benefit to other areas of the economy and country.

For more information Telephone : 0131 653 5400

estate The Finsbay, Flodabay and Stockinish Fishings, Isle of Harris ‘The Hundred Lochs’ Galbraith is pleased to bring to the market the Finsbay, Flodabay and Stockinish fishings, a wonderful and mixed wild fishery in spectacular rivers and lochs on South Harris, Outer Hebrides. The property offers fishing on three river systems and around 100 lochs, with a five-year average annual catch of 49 sea trout, 264 brown trout and the occasional salmon. The fishings are for sale as a going concern and the sale includes three superb Scandinavian style three bedroom lodges, generating significant holiday rental income, a comfortable modern five bedroom bungalow and a traditional three bedroom cottage, all with far-reaching views. John Bound of Galbraith, who is handling the sale, said: “This is a superb wild fishery set amidst the dramatic and unspoilt scenery of the Hebrides, which with its wonderful lodges and holiday cottage offers an excellent opportunity for the purchaser to develop a very successful business. There may be the potential to further expand the lodges, subject to planning permission. This is a perfect location for private parties to come to Scotland to fish and enjoy the spectacular and wild countryside.” The Finsbay, Flodabay and Stockinish fishings comprise three separate beats, all linked to the sea and with fishing rights on about 100 lochs between them, some with salmon and sea trout but many with brown trout only. Fishing has traditionally been restricted to fly only and the current owner has encouraged the release of salmon and sea trout. A number of lochs are fished by boat, with many being fished only from the bank. The surrounding area is one of spectacular open moorland. The coastal waters are dotted with charming bays and peaceful inlets that abound with seals, the 130

occasional otter and with regular sightings of sea eagles.

Cliff Cottage Situated on the coast by Loch Beacrevic, between the main road and the sea, just over two miles from Two Water Lodge, with a lovely outlook over the Minch towards Skye. Cliffe cottage is a traditional, detached cottage. It is currently let as a holiday cottage, with kitchen/dining room, three bedrooms and bathroom.

Scandinavian style lodges, Coll, Arran and Inver, have stunning views, overlooking the river that runs into Loch Finsbay. They sit in some 15 acres which are included in the sale and lie below the main road on the edge of the coast and include the attractive fishing bothy and the site of the old Finsbay sporting lodge, that was built by Lord Leverhulme and was demolished in 1925. Subject to planning consent, there may be potential for building further lodges or indeed a sporting lodge on the site of the old lodge. The lodges are all similar, spacious, extremely comfortable, well equipped and built to a very high standard. They are let as holiday homes and generate significant rental income, details of which are available on request. For the current season, bookings secured for the lodges show an occupancy rate of 69 per cent, despite the recent travel restrictions.

Finsbay Lodges These three timber

Fishing Bothy Situated just to the south east of

Two Water Lodge Two Water Lodge is a detached bungalow situated at the southern end of Stockinish. The singlestorey accommodation comprises: sitting room, dining room, kitchen, utility room, five bedrooms, (four en-suite), bathroom and WC. The house stands in a pleasant garden with four useful storage sheds and there is a slipway in the bay. It is currently used as the owner’s residence.


the Lodges and on the edge of the bay, this traditional stone-built fishing hut has a bunk room and a kitchenette catering for overnight fishermen. The Finsbay, Flodabay and Stockinish fishings are situated on the east coast of South Harris, amidst a maze of rocky inlets and a stunning landscape known as the Bays. On the south eastern tip of the island lies Rodel, site of the medieval church of St Clement. A short distance along the coast from Rodel is Leverburgh, once a centre for the herring fishery and now the ferry terminal to Berneray, giving access to all the Uists. Also nearby are the famous Isle of Harris distillery and the Harris Tweed shop. Stornoway is 48 miles distant, with an airport offering connections to the mainland and ferry service to Ullapool. The Finsbay, Flodabay and Stockinish fishings is for sale through Galbraith as a going concern for offers over £1,350,000.

GWSDF Auchnerran prospers through the pandemic The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has published the 2020 annual report for the Game & Wildlife Scottish Demonstration Farm at Auchnerran on Deeside and, despite the pandemic impacting on research and demonstration activity, the farming operation performed well over the year. David Noble, Chairman Scotland, GWCT says in his introduction to the report “2020 has been a year like no other. The impact of the pandemic has not spared our research and demonstration activities on the farm. In contrast, the farming operation continued to make progress and produced an excellent return for us, both financially and environmentally.” Despite the restrictions, the Auchnerran-based research students still managed to deliver a broad-ranging research programme and maintained the datasets on birds, mammals and habitats. The aims of the farm are: “to demonstrate to practitioners, policy makers, influencers and learners of all ages how a wild, mixed-species shoot and productive farm can contribute to a net gain in natural capital in a marginal hill-edge setting.” Inevitably, opportunities for the farm to open its gates for such activities were severely limited due to Covid-19. &ARMING Since the tenancy was taken on by the Trust in 2015 an objective has been improvement of the quality and health of the sheep flock. This is expected to reach its optimum size of 1500 ewes this year. The farm enjoyed reasonable weather during much of the spring and summer and above average temperatures and low rainfall in

gas emissions but this is partially mitigated by the amount of carbon sequestering woodland on the farm. GWCT is also looking at ways to reduce emissions, for example by intelligent livestock management, and use of fertilizer and equipment.

2020 and final lambing figures were a satisfactory 120%, there were good silage and turnip crops and good results at market. The size of the flock is determined by available winter grazing on the farm, and also the requirements for tick control on the neighbouring 5,000 ha hill where the treated flock performs the important task of reducing tick on the moor and consequently the spread of tick-borne pathogens, louping ill and Lyme disease. The campaign against rabbits on the farm continues as they are the main factor limiting availability of on-farm forage for the sheep. 4HE SHOOT Five rabbit and four mixed species shoot days were managed during 2019/20 before Covid, with 34 guns hosted and respectable bags achieved. A modest harvest of wild pheasant is taken annually, based on counts of breeding birds and their productivity, to ensure that stock for future years is not reduced. Feeder numbers have been increased and game crops improved to provide more food and cover for pheasants and other wildlife over winter, and to help hen pheasants maintain body

condition during egg-laying. Predator control is also crucial in maintaining high breeding success. 2ESEARCH AND MONITORING Almost 30 separate projects were undertaken. These included: gamebird and hare counts; farmland bird counts; raptor counts and breeding surveys; breeding wader monitoring; red squirrel transects; soil invertebrate sampling; bumblebee transects; mud snail sampling; grain hopper monitoring. Trail cameras are a very important tool for monitoring grain hopper usage and also wader nests. Densities of lapwing and oystercatcher at Auchnerran suggest that it is in the top 1% of breeding sites for these species in Scotland, and waders once again enjoyed a successful year with high productivity – between 71% and 87% of wader nests monitored saw hatching with recorded losses to badgers, hedgehogs and common gulls. The high breeding success can likely be attributed to habitat (diverse unimproved pasture) and predator control. A major exercise in 2020 has been a focus on a carbon audit and natural capital accounting. The growing sheep flock is increasing greenhouse

$EMONSTRATION The farm’s landlord has generously completed the renovation of the old mill and associated derelict buildings, and these now provide office and lab space, storage, and a reception area for larger meetings and lectures. The lack of such facilities has restricted such activities in the past. Dave Parish, Head of Scottish Lowland and GWSDF Research says: “We look forward to being able to share our new facilities with our usual target audience of scientists, farmers, policy makers and influencers – but also to be able to host whole classes of school children in due course.” David Noble, Chairman Scotland GWCT concludes: “I would like to thank the staff and students at Auchnerran, and all who have supported this important initiative. 2020 was for us another successful year despite the challenges. I look forward to when we can more freely develop the scientific results, practical advice and use of our new demonstration and meeting facilities that will make Auchnerran one of the most important research and demonstration farms in Scotland.” 4HE '73$& !UCHNERRAN ANNUAL REPORT CAN BE DOWNLOADED FROM HTTPS WWW GWCT ORG UK AUCHNERRAN REPORT

estate Survey finds support for widening land ownership Nearly three quarters of people in Scotland support widening ownership of both urban and rural land, a public survey has found. The survey of 1,500 people also found climate change, building on greenspace and inequality in land ownership are considered three of the biggest issues for the future of Scotland’s land. The Scottish Government survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), looked at the public’s attitudes to land reform and community engagement in decisions about land use. While 73 per cent of those surveyed knew very little about the Scottish Government’s land

reform agenda, participants were aware of challenges related to land in Scotland, including concentrated ownership absentee landlords, housing developments encroaching on the green belt, vacant and derelict land, disputes over access rights and land banking - where investors buy land in the hope of making a greater profit in the future. Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of survey respondents supported widening ownership of both rural and urban land to include more public, community and third sector ownership, while only 7 per cent opposed that aim. A considerable number of respondents (44 per cent) were concerned about vacant

or derelict land in their area, and there was a feeling that urban examples of communities buying buildings or unused land benefitted a greater number of people for a much lower cost, than rural examples of relatively large land purchases where populations are smaller. Respondents viewed climate change (24 per cent), building on greenspace (18 per cent) and inequality in landownership (17 per cent) as the three biggest challenges for Scotland’s land. The majority of respondents said it was important to consider the protection of wildlife (96 per cent) and climate change (89 per cent) when making decisions about land use.

Rob McMorran, Interdisciplinary Researcher in the Rural Policy Centre at SRUC, said: “There is an evident appetite among the participants for greater involvement in decisions about land use. Initiatives to encourage this should tap into the pride that is felt in Scotland’s land, but also the concerns about vacant and derelict land, about the lack of community facilities and about land not being used to benefit local communities.” For more information about the survey, which was published by the Scottish Government, visit: scot/publications/attitudesland-reform

Balfour Browne Trophy recognises outstanding contribution to deer management Forestry and Land Scotland’s Bruce Sewell has been awarded the Balfour Browne Trophy for his outstanding contribution to the management of wild deer in Scotland. Bruce (who is based in Doune, Perthshire) has been a Forest Management Officer with FLS since 2010 and over the years has worked closely with policy makers and public and private land managers to help government, regulators and practitioners establish a national vision for deer management.


The award - given annually to an individual for their exceptional input to deer conservation – is named after a founding member of the British Deer Society (BDS) Vincent Balfour-Browne, and nominations alternate between BDS and FLS. Simon Hodgson, FLS Chief Executive, said; “Managing deer on the national forests and land is an important part of what we do in our role as a leading land management organisation.”

“Bruce’s strategic thinking is highly valued by his colleagues across the board. Land Managers across Scotland will benefit for years to come from Bruce’s expertise, which has shaped regulatory changes and enabled the introduction of new tools and methods available to deer managers across Scotland.” “I would like to thank Bruce for his hard work and unique contribution. His receipt of this award is very well deserved!”

Moving on is something we all have to do at some point in our lives, and depending on your outlook, moving on could be good, bad, easy, or difficult. In 2021, it was a delight to move on and away from something that’s weighed the world down over the last 15 -16 months. It was a relief to see Scotland open up again. What a joy it was to sense the optimism in our ability to travel, meet up friends and relatives, go on holiday (if you were exceptionally lucky!), and generally get our lives back on track. Countryside event planners were tentatively organising their dates and we were finally putting dates of interest in our diaries – how weird, but how welcome, does that feel? The Stag season is here already (1st July) and the Shooting season opens in five or six weeks times in August. The Scottish countryside has not missed a beat, we watched as Mother Nature continued to make her progress through the seasons and there’s no time more active than spring and early summer. I find that part of year very uplifting because it’s a feast for the senses and rich in countryside experiences. The weather improved, although there was a sharp intake of breath caused by a couple of sudden snow falls that created a thick white blanket over the land, and minus temperatures mid to late May. It was a cold month, but May recovered beautifully to give us the warmth we had come to expect at that time of year. Looking back through the photography archives to last year, we ended May with very similar weather. This year we have less snow on the high tops of the hills.

by Linda Mellor

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE Higher temperatures and sunlight help human optimism, we seem wired to look forward to the summer months. For our wildlife, warmer, drier conditions are critical for their survival. A harsh winter followed by prolonged cold and wet spring hinders all our species and also the new growth of grass, trees, and plants, all sources of food and cover. Growth slows down, and the spring flourish arrives later than usual. Some animals and birds do not survive the winter and others struggle to bring up their young. Of course, some species experience a bumper year and double in figures but the only example that springs to mind is the midge, that dreaded beastie and the biggest irritant known to the Scottish countryside (hmmm… I can think of a

few people fitting in that category!). So far, I haven’t heard any reports of 2021 being a bumper year for the midge, we certainly didn’t have a warm, damp spring: ideal midge conditions. I’ll be happy with a gentle breeze taking us through the summer months and keeping us midgey-free. In late May and early June, I lost a few hours photographing an adult Cuckoo and its youngster. The Cuckoo’s call is certainly a sound I associate with the coming of spring, it’s distinctly different and unmistakable. It is tricky bird to see and to photograph, and that was the case until it started to show its youngster how to hunt. I had heard the adult calling, so curiosity got the better of me (always!) and I went looking for the bird.

The adult was on the garden fence and dropping down into the garden and continually calling. As it was so close to the house, I was able to study the bird’s behaviour through the binoculars (as you get older, binos on every window ledge around the house are a must for bird identification). At first I didn’t see the youngster, it was perched on the fence, and silent. It was a brownish, grey colour and not quite as big as the adult bird. The adult would fix its gaze on the grass, with its noticeably piercing yellow eyes before it swopped down on an insect – they like caterpillars, especially the big, thick hairy ones. The way the Cuckoo landed reminded me of a Jay or a Sparrow Hawk with its wings and tail feathers spread wide revealing its black and white undercarriage. It spend ages doing this while the youngster sat on the fence, watching. After an hour or so the youngster finally jumped down. The hunting lessons went on for days, from early in the morning to well into the evening around the house and further afield but still within hearing. I hope the youngster picks up some hunting tips because, in a couple of months the adults will depart for Africa, and the young birds follow them a month or so later. Isn’t nature incredible? Now where’s my midge spray? 133

Bramble Ice Cream

This is also beautiful with raspberries and works particularly well when the berries have been pre-frozen as they quickly release their juices on heating. As the eggs are cooked through, this old-fashioned recipe is suitable for everyone.

Photograph © Wendy Barrie

By Wendy Barrie

Ingredients: 4 egg yolks 75g caster sugar 350mls double cream 150g brambles Method: s 4O MAKE BRAMBLE COULIS SET ASIDE A FEW BERRIES FOR GARNISH AND WARM THE REMAINDER GENTLY IN A PAN RELEASING ALL THE JUICES as they soften. Bring to the boil then strain through a sieve. Return the juice to pan and the seeds to compost. Add 25g of weighed sugar to juice and boil to dissolve the sugar and reduce the juice to 50mls of syrup. Set aside to cool. s 4O MAKE ICE CREAM HEAT CREAM IN A PAN UNTIL SCALDING HOT -EANWHILE WHISK YOLKS AND SUGAR UNTIL PALE THICK AND HOLDING A trail. An electric whisk is ideal for this task. s 0OUR PIPING HOT CREAM OVER THE EGGS WHISKING TOGETHER USING A BALLOON WHISK 3ET OVER A PAN OF HOT WATER AND USING THE balloon whisk, swirl gently as the custard heats and thickens to a coating consistency. s 0OUR CUSTARD INTO A CONTAINER SUITABLE FOR THE FREEZER AND SET ASIDE 7HEN COOL DRIZZLE IN SYRUP s #OVER AND FREEZE UNTIL lRM FOR HOURS OR SO THEN REMOVE FROM FREEZER AND WORK ROUGHLY WITH A FORK TO BREAK UP ICE CRYSTALS AS they form. Return to freezer and repeat hourly over 4 hours of freezing. s 7HEN SERVING REMOVE FROM FREEZER AT LEAST HOUR BEFORE SERVING TO SOFTEN A LITTLE Serves 4

Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife, Wendy Barrie is a highly respected campaigner for local sustainable food, popular cookery show presenter and food writer. Founder & Director of award-winning & Wendy is Leader in Scotland for Slow Food Ark of Taste & Member of Slow Food Cooks Alliance. 134

Beatha an eilean Coimisean na Croitearachd ag ainmeachadh toraidhean na Suirbhidh Faotainneachd is Fo-chleachdaidh air Croitean Fhreagair còrr air 400 croitear do shuirbhidh Coimisean na Croitearachd mu fhaotainneachd agus fo-chleachdadh air croitean. B’ e amas na suirbhidh a rèir Bill Barron, an t-Àrd-Oifigear, gum faigheadh an Coimisean in-shealladh cudromach air na h-adhbharan as fhollaisiche airson fo-chleachdadh air croitean agus dè a ghabhadh a dhèanamh gus cuideachadh le dèiligeadh ris a’ chùis. Chaidh an t-suirbhidh gun urra a phostadh air làrach-lìn a’ Choimisein agus fhoillseachadh tro a shianalan mheadhanan sòisealta, agus dhùineadh an t-suirbhidh nas tràithe sa Chèitean 2021. Thuirt Heather Mack, Ceannard Leasachaidh Croitearachd: “Bha na toraidhean ag innse dhuinn gun robh 87% den luchd-freagairt a’ comharrachadh chroitean neo-chleachdte mar chuspair san sgìre aca. Dh’ainmich an luchd-freagairt ceithir prìomh adhbharan airson fo-chleachdadh, croitearan a’ còmhnaidh fada air falbh bho an croitean, croitearan a’ cumail na croite mar sho-mhaoin ionmhasail luachmhor, croitearan air am faicinn leisg air a’ chroit a shònrachadh/fho-leigeil do neach taobh a-muigh an teaghlaich agus croitearan còmhnaidheach aig nach eil miann sam bith air an croitean obrachadh.” Chaidh draghan a thogail le 90% den luchd-freagairt gun robh dìth chroitean rim faotainn le luchd-inntrigidh ùr, na dhragh san sgìre aca. Nuair a chaidh iarraidh air croitearan na h-adhbharan a chomharrachadh, a bha air

am meas a thaobh croitearan a bhrosnachadh gu croitean a dhèanamh fosgailte do luchdinntrigidh ùr, chomharraich luchd-freagairt a-rithist ceithir prìomh raointean cuimseachaidh. Thuirt Ms Mack: “B’ iad sin an fheum air meudachadh ann an adhartachadh bhuannachdan an lùib chroitean a dhèanamh fosgailte do luchd-inntrigidh ùr, meudachadh na tuigse am measg chroitearan a thaobh nan roghainnean riaghlaidh leithid sònrachadh, fo-leigeil agus roinn, a dh’fhaodte a chleachdadh gus cothroman a chruthachadh do chàch, an fheum air cuideam

bhon choimhearsnachd gu croitean fhaicinn air an deagh chleachdadh, agus gnìomhadh le Coimisean na Croitearachd a thaobh chroitearan neochòmhnaidheach no croitearan nach eil ag àiteach an croitean.” Nochd na puingean aisfhiosrachaidh an fheum air modh-obrach co-aonaichte leis na coimhearsnachdan fhèin, leinne aig Coimisean na Croitearachd agus le prìomh luchd-ùidhe is buidhnean riochdachaidh chroitearan, thuirt Ms Mack. “Tha an t-suirbhidh ag ainmeachadh gu bheil obair sparraidh aig mullach na liosta

agus deatamach, ach gu bheil obair oideachail/adhartachaidh air a cho-aonachadh le cuideam dìreach bhon choimhearsnachd, cudromach cuideachd,” thuirt i. Tha Coimisean na Croitearachd faisg air a bhith deiseil de a thrusadh airson dhreuchdan stèidhichte sna h-Eileanan an Iar. Tha seo a’ gabhail a-steach dhreuchdan anns an dà chuid sgiobaidhean Leasachaidh is Còmhnaidheachd agus Cleachdadh Fearainn, a mheudaicheas comas air obrachadh le coimhearsnachdan croitearachd agus fuasgladh air croitean a bhrosnachadh far nach eil dleastanasan croitearachd gan cur an gnìomh. “Tha an t-iarrtas airson luchdinntrigidh ùr agus croitearan làithreach an croitean fhosgladh, ga fhaireachdainn gu mòr le coimhearsnachdan croitearachd agus leis a’ Choimisean; feumaidh sinn uile obrachadh còmhla gus tionndadh air croitean a bhrosnachadh agus cothroman a chruthachadh gus croitearachd ghnìomhach a mheudachadh,” cho-dhùin Heather. A-mach às na 410 freagairtean a fhuaireadh, bha dìreach còrr air 65% à Leòdhas agus Na Hearadh (31%), an t-Eilean Sgitheanach (20%) agus Uibhist is Barraigh (15%), le 9% eile à Taobh Siar na Gàidhealtachd, 6% à Ceann a Deas na Gàidhealtachd agus 5% à Cataibh. Bha an luchdfreagairt air fhàgail à EarraGhàidheal is Bòd, Gallaibh, Meadhan Na Gàidhealtachd, Loch Abar, Mòrar agus Àird nam Murchain, Moireibh, Arcaibh agus Sealtainn. 135

people RHASS announces 2021 Sir William Young Award Winner Alasdair Houston, of Gretna House Farms in Gretna Green, has been awarded this year’s prestigious Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) Sir William Young Award for his exceptional contribution to the world of cattle breeding. The award recognises outstanding contribution to livestock breeding and commemorates the service to Scottish agriculture by the late Sir William Young. Based at Gretna House Farm, Alasdair’s Gretnahouse herd is one of the most influential in the national Charolais herdbook, with bulls to 25,000gns twice at national sales. Added to this outstanding achievement was the creation of an Aberdeen Angus herd in 2011, and in just a decade Gretnahouse Blacksmith is one of the most sought-after bulls in the breed. In the early stages of the Simmental breed, the Gretnahouse name echoed through sales rings, with Gretnahouse Supersonic gaining widespread distinction, and

even today his name is scattered throughout the herd book. But 20 years ago, foot and mouth disease ripped the heart of the prefix, taking with it all

of the fine animals belonging to the herd. However, with unmatched resolution and conviction of breeding policies, the Gretnahouse name was

re-established through a new Charolais breeding programme by embryo transfer and purchasing some of the best genetics from fellow breeders.

Farmers’ mental health study extended across Scotland The opportunity to take part in a study about managing low mood and anxiety is now open to people in farming and crofting communities across Scotland. Led by the University of Stirling in partnership with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), the study hopes to find accessible and acceptable ways to support people when they are feeling the weight of farming and crofting life. It involves participants answering an initial set of questions (by email or phone) before trying out one or both types of support which have been specifically 136

developed for people in farming and crofting communities. They will be contacted again three - and then six - months later, to test the effects of the interventions and for feedback. The study, which started initially in the Highlands, Argyll and Bute and Shetland, is now open to anyone from a farming or crofting community across Scotland. Margaret Maxwell, Professor of Health Services and Mental Health Research at the University of Stirling, said: “Four fifths of farmers under

the age of 40 consider mental health to be the biggest hidden problem facing the agricultural community. Depression in farmers is increasing and suicide rates are among the highest in any occupational group.” Dr Kate Stephen, Behavioural Scientist at SRUC, said: “Changes and challenges in the sector can wear people down over time. This project is an opportunity to find out what might be helpful. We hope that, not only will farmers and crofters be helping others in the future, but they may also benefit personally by taking part.”

The research is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government and is supported the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI), Support in Mind Scotland, The National Rural Mental Health Forum and NHS Highland. If you are interested in taking part or would like more information, email or text 07871 062471. You can also download the information sheet and consent form.

people Trials officer wins highly respected BASIS award Trials officer and trainee agronomist at Procam, Jodie Littleford, has been awarded the esteemed Barrie Orme Shield for excelling in the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection. Although a new entrant to the agricultural industry, Jodie secured a placement at Eurofins Agroscience as part of her biology degree at Cardiff University, and subsequently spent three years working in the crop trials department before taking on her current role at Procam, two years ago. “I initially started the BASIS training in late 2019, because I really enjoy seeing how biological processes affect crops, and I wanted to better understand my research on new integrated

approaches to crop husbandry,” she says. “The comprehensive course gave an excellent overview of everything involved in integrated crop management and part of the qualification involved carrying out a research task. My project involved looking into the plant health impact of mycorrhizal fungi on wheat varieties.” Although Jodie initially started the BASIS training with her research role in mind, with the help of the knowledge gained during the course and time spent working more closely with Procam agronomists, she has been inspired to embark on a new career path and is now in the process of becoming a fully qualified agronomist.

Southern Belle Relevance is relative With lockdown easing, we finally got away to meet with friends this month. On leaving the hotel, the guy next to us, had locked his keys in the car, something I thought hadn’t been possible since digital keys were invented. Back in the day, a coat-hanger or in the case of my Triumph Herald, a lollypop stick, would have done the trick but while we were all standing around sympathising but helpless, he casually pulled out his phone, clicked on his “Find my Key” Ap and abracadabra, the car door opened! Brilliant. We now have apps for everything, including a “Random Number App” which could render H & H Carlisle’s ballot draw, of a bag of 50 year old beer bottle tops, with the number written inside, obsolete; the much needed, S.M.T.H. Send Me To Heaven app, which measures how high you can throw your phone; a “Hug” app, which finds people locally you can hug (currently not in use) and the Nothing App which does exactly that; oh and nearly forgot … our banking apps. In 1810, Rev Henry Duncan of Ruthwell Parish, near Dumfries, founded the first savings bank in the world. At this time, you

needed £10 to open a Bank account but you could open a savings bank account with sixpence. No apps, no advertising, no gimmicks, just a great idea carried forward by a great man, which led to 900,000 savings banks all over the world, founded on the same principal. 200 years later and the “new” TSB management, ironically resident in ‘Henry Duncan House’, in Edinburgh, feel the museum, which houses this history is no longer relevant. The first bank, which allowed ordinary people to save for their future, is now irrelevant?? It is a huge part of our social history, which is being boxed up and put in a vault in Edinburgh. Visitors from all over the world visit the museum, the famous Brow Well and the Ruthwell Cross. These things keep our village alive and worthwhile, not irrelevant. We don’t have an app to stop the closure but thankfully we can use technology. Please sign our petition at You have no idea what it means to us all and thank you. Finally…App Utopia, would be one which, can tell me why I came back to the kitchen??! 137


The Cairngorms The precious stones of Ben Avon You’ll be lucky if you find gems in the Cairngorms these days, says Patrick Barker. But hunting for them can be rewarding all the same

so well defined and so regular as to give the impression of titanic masonry’. One of the best places in the Cairngorms to encounter these geological oddities, however, is one of the most remote. Alexander pronounced the tors of Ben Avon as being ‘far more numerous and more striking’ than those on other mountains in the range. There was also another reason to reach Ben Avon. The mountain was once one of the prime places where the semiprecious gem that takes its name from the place of its one-time abundance was to be found.

Cairngorm Stone had been mined extensively on Ben Avon from the eighteenth century onwards and now few pieces of the smoky quartz remain. Evidence of the gem mines, however, apparently still existed and I was keen to search for their presence on the mountain. I chose to approach from the south, making my way inwards along Gleann an t-Slugain, passing the ruins of Slugain Lodge, built for Victorian shooting parties as a stopping-off point to and from the wider reaches of the range, but abandoned in the early twentieth century. Continuing upwards

from the Sneck on a switchback path of loose pink scree, I reached the summit plateau of Ben Avon where I hoped to begin my search for Cairngorm Stone. One of the earliest written records of the practice of crystal foraging in the Cairngorms is in the Statistical Account of 1791–99, which refers to ‘Stones of value’, to be found, ‘sometimes by chance or accident; at other times by digging for them’ near the Shelter Stone in Loch Avon. The language of the account suggests a wellestablished interest in gem hunting in the region, reporting a ‘number of stones of variegated colours, and Picture: Bruce McAdam

The Cairngorm tors can be seen rising from numerous summits in the range. From afar the strange protuberances spaced out across empty ridgelines of the plateau, in particular those of Bynack More and Beinn Mheadhoin, appeared deliberately formed: crumbling fortifications or wartime pillboxes, long-deserted lodgings or the decaying follies of an eccentric. In the first Scottish Mountaineering Club guide to the range, Sir Henry Alexander described them as ‘gigantic warts’. ‘The rough crystalline granite,’ Alexander explained, ‘has in many cases weathered into horizontal slabs,

Ben Avon’s tor, a granite battlement at least thirty metres long and almost ten metres high


BOOK SERIALISATION regular sides’ appearing, ‘as if cut by the lapidary’. The surge in popularity of private crystal collections from the mid-eighteenth century onwards created a demand for semi-precious stones not only from home but also from mainland Europe. Cairngorm Stone in particular was much sought after, and the search for crystals in the range suddenly became a profitable undertaking. For the most part, the crystal hunters of the Cairngorms were local people chancing upon finds or occasionally working known deposits in the more remote areas of their daily travels. A cottage industry for retrieving Cairngorm Stone, however, soon came into being. Prospectors mined sites across the range, in particular high on the summit plateaus of Beinn Mheadhoin, Cairn Gorm, Beinn a’ Bhuird and Ben Avon. Likely veins of quartz were dug back into the soil, faults cavities in the bedrock were exposed and blasted out. The resulting depressions in the surface of the plateau from these more industrial searches can still be seen. Some incredible finds were made. The largest crystal discovered was a huge piece of beryl weighing over 50lbs. Fittingly it was unearthed on Beinn a’ Bhuird by perhaps the most prolific of all the Cairngorm gem hunters, a crystal prospector known as ‘A’Chailleach nan Clach’, the Old Woman of the Stones. Numerous types of gemstones have been found throughout the Cairngorms. Quartz is by far the most abundant. Milky quartz can be seen almost everywhere in the range, banding and partitioning the granite. Clear quartz (known as rock crystal); yellow (known as citrine) and dense black varieties (known as morion) can also be found. The term ‘Cairngorm’, although often generically used for any gemstone from the range, refers specifically to the particular type of smoky brown quartz, once so plentiful it became synonymous with the mountains. Beryl has also been collected in various different

shades: heliodor (gold/yellow); aquamarine (pale) and emerald (green). As has topaz, differing notably from its usual spectrum of colourless to yellow tones and discovered in striking blue. Gemstones are now seldom found in the Cairngorms without a deliberate search or expert knowledge. Centuries of collecting as curiosities or latterly for profit or as a hobby have stripped all but the most obscure of the range’s mineral treasures. Finds such as those recorded by Queen Victoria in 1850, where the monarch and her party ‘came upon a number of “cairngorms”’ in Gleann Slugain seem highly unlikely today. I walked in transects on the Ben Avon plateau, methodically splitting the grid squares on my map into imaginary halves and quarters, prospecting for signs of crystals. By early afternoon I had tramped the geometric equivalent of several kilometres. I had seen nothing that resembled crystal workings and the land was beginning to blur around me. I temporarily gave up, and headed north. The summit tor of Ben Avon came into view suddenly, curling upwards on the skyline like a breaking wave. Mist had descended, moving in patches, closing and then opening the horizon. Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe was the highest point on the mountain but it appeared only briefly, flickering through the cloud-breaks, the first in the chain of tors running south to north along the Ben Avon plateau. Up close, the tor was incredible: a large battlement of wet-black granite, at least thirty metres long and almost ten metres high. The rock appeared almost organic in form: bulbous and wind-rounded, moulded over the millennia into something resembling mutated, biological shapes. When I looked for more than a few moments, I saw faces and limbs. Contorted expressions, figureheads, gargoyles and monsters; inanimate but grotesque and gothic in their appearance. I scrambled up a gap in the midpoint of the tor. Despite the dampness, the rocks felt coarse and

abrasive, rasping at my fingertips, and I was able to clamber easily along the narrow band of granite to the top of the feature. From the summit I looked northwards. By now, the cloud was lifting, being burned back by the sun, evaporating from the ground in wisps and flumes like steam rising from a bath. The view felt cinematic: an epic horizon like the opening credits of a David Lean film. A path scrolled out ahead of me, eventually fading into the middle distance. Across the plateau I could see other tors emerging from the mist: dark, maritime shapes, spectral galleons held up on the rolling levels of the land. Each of the tors differed markedly in size and shape, from small clusters to huge edifices of rock, some the size of houses. To the northeast just over a kilometre away I spotted a perfectly symmetrical tor. It was large and dome-like, and from a distance resembled a mausoleum or a giant termite mound.

Walking north from Leabaidh an Daimh Bhuidhe the upper world of Ben Avon assumed a fantastical reality, a landscape abstracted from the normality of sea-level topography. I passed by huge walls of granite, sculpted with extravagant curves and sweeping lines. There were embankments of blancmange-shaped rock, puffy and soft-edged, and clutches of boulders, smooth and timerounded, the size of dinosaur eggs. Cairngorm Stone had eluded me, but Ben Avon’s dreamlike features had made up for it. This is an edited extract from The Cairngorms: A Secret History by Patrick Baker (Birlinn, £9.99pbk). Readers can buy it and/or Unremembered Places: Exploring Scotland’s Wild Histories, also by Patrick Baker (Birlinn, £14.99 hbk), with 15% off while stocks last. Both free p&p in the UK. To order, phone 0845 370 0067 or log on to www.birlinn. . Quote code CAIRNFS2020. Offer ends 31 December 2021.

The surreal granite tors on the Ben Avon plateau.

The ruins of Slugain Lodge. Queen Victoria discovered a number of ‘cairngorms’ in the nearby upper glen.


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finance Yara completes significant liquid fertiliser investment in Perth

Yara have announced the completion of the first phase of investments and improvements at their liquid fertiliser storage and distribution site in Perth, Scotland. Brenntag, the No.1 global chemical distributor, runs the site in partnership with Yara and have committed £5 million in investment for new liquid storage, warehousing, blending facility expansion and distribution infrastructure. The first phase of improvements and an investment of £2.5m were undertaken last year and completed in time for this spring’s fertiliser usage. The Perth site handles manufacturing and distribution of Yara fertilisers across the whole of Scotland, from Caithness down to the Scottish Borders. Changes made have included major improvements and expansions that improve safety, efficiency, and consistent quality of delivery for all customers. “This investment is important for both Yara and Brenntag,” says Gareth Flockhart, Yara Business Manager for Scotland. “Our collaboration has made this a smooth process. All of the investment from Brenntag shows commitment to our customers and our offering in terms of service, quality, and efficiency.” The next stage will include a new fertiliser warehouse along with expanded capacity and support for faster turnaround of orders. Work is set to begin shortly with an expected completion of early 2022.


Succession planning By Ian Craig, Campbell Dallas, Accounts & Business Services There is a saying that one generation earns the wealth, the next maintains the wealth and the third generation spends the wealth. Breaking this cycle is important, and as custodians of “the wealth”, one of the biggest responsibilities for the family is to plan for succession. Reasons for succession planning vary from family to family, but common triggers are: s 4OO MANY GENERATIONS IN A business and it becomes unwieldy to manage s $ESIRE TO MAKE PROVISION for non-farming adult children s 9OUNGER FAMILY MEMBERS joining the business s ! FAMILY MEMBER WISHES to retire or exit the business s ! FAMILY MEMBER MARRIES or starts a new family s )LLNESS s (IGH LEVELS OF CONmICT s &RUSTRATED FAMILY MEMBER It is easy to find reasons to avoid succession planning. Fear of conflict, too difficult, don’t know how, bad past experience, not their job, and fear of what next are all good reasons for doing nothing. The earlier a plan is made however the more options there are available. It is a long term strategy that requires thought and buy-in from all parties involved. There are many tax implications related to the transfer of assets and these can have a large effect on those inheriting assets and businesses, especially those not covered by agricultural property relief. Decisions on the division of assets within a family have long term implications. The aim is to

have good communication with all parties to minimise the risk of expensive family conflicts and division which can occur many years in the future. It is useful for families to openly discuss the issues to reach an equitable or practical solution. Once the business and family issues are understood, the starting point is often to look at the financial statements to establish who owns what, how much is it worth, is the farm on or off the balance sheet and ultimately assess what each family member’s shares or capital account is actually worth. Because financial statements record property at historic cost, there is usually a need to revalue farms to market value. Depending on what stage the succession journey is at would influence whether an informal estimate of value is sufficient or whether a professional valuation is required. Accountants are not valuers, and whilst we have knowledge of potential values, in order to be independent in our role, often it is a good idea to have the farm properties professionally valued. An independent valuation is very useful when considering division of

assets, and also to assess the tax implications of any restructuring work. It is also important to consider any partnership or shareholder agreements in place as these often specify the process and timescale for paying out an exiting family member. After real values, pension funds and potential tax liabilities are established, the next stage is to consider income requirements of the different generations, review existing bank debts and assess the capacity of the business to repay existing or potentially take on new debt, and also consider the options for creating separate businesses allowing family members control of their own destiny. Once all these facts are assembled, formulating the plan and getting it written down for review and revision is the second hardest part, after actually starting the process. The written plan may contain a series of different options, with the pros and cons of each. Encouraging all parties to discuss and build the plan will assist with buy-in. Some families feel the pressure is relieved by having input from their trusted advisers. Integral with succession planning is the review and update of Wills for all parties involved. Inheritance tax is considered by some to be a voluntary tax, but charged at 40% mistakes can be expensive. Death is a certainty, inheritance tax can be planned for. If you would like to discuss succession planning and the options available please speak to your professional advisors.

Ian Craig is a partner in the Perth office of Campbell Dallas and can be contacted on 01738 441888 for any further information

machinery J & S Montgomery take on the Strautmann Brand OPICO Ltd is pleased to announce the expansion of its partnership with J&S Montgomery, adding the Strautmann forage wagons to their product line up. J&S Montgomery is already a long-standing and successful OPICO dealer, selling and servicing the HE-VA range of cultivation machinery, OPICO range of grassland maintenance equipment and grain dryers and Sky Drills. J&S Montgomery has been a John Deere dealer since 1980 and operates from depots in Beith, Stranraer and Ayr. Commenting, Charles Bedforth, OPICO Sales Director said, “We couldn’t be more delighted that Strautmann will be represented by J&S Montgomery and we are confident that all our customers will continue to receive excellent support. J&S Montgomery cover the West of Scotland and have a large team

of service engineers across three branches.” Douglas Montgomery, Managing Director at J&S Montgomery added, “The

Strautmann forage wagons are a valuable addition to our machinery portfolio. Alongside OPICO’s expertise in grassland equipment, we will offer a

comprehensive service to our local customers. We are looking forward to getting the machines out to our customers for demonstrations.”

LEMKEN Solitair with divided seed hopper Just under a year after the successful market launch of the Solitair 9+ pneumatic seed drill, LEMKEN now introduces its new “Duo” version with divided seed hopper. This machine offers a wide range of options for simultaneously spreading seeds, fertiliser and even catch crops. With it, LEMKEN, the specialist for professional arable farming, has expanded its portfolio to include a machine for consistently cost-optimised market fruit cultivation. The seed hopper of the Solitair 9+ Duo holds 1,850 litres. Its capacity can be split 50/50 or 60/40, depending on needs. As a result, two application variants are possible: In the single-shot version, seeds and fertiliser are combined downstream from the two metering units in each of the two 142

machinery hopper segments. The different components are guided to the double disc coulters via a seed pipe and deposited in a seed furrow. This allows a suitable starting dose of fertiliser to be added for winter sowing or a complete fertiliser application for summer sowing. An automatic tramline mechanism is integrated into the distributors. The double-shot system provides greater deposition flexibility. With this system, the two components flow separately to a double disc coulter via doubled distributors in two seed pipes. They can then be spread either in a single row, as with the singleshot method, or separately and alternately in two rows following a quick exchange of the tramline cartridge in the distributor. In addition, the deposition depth of every other row can be adjusted separately via the pressure roller up to a difference of 5 cm. This allows two different seeds to be placed at


different, optimum seeding depths or inter-row fertilisation to be applied while seeding.

The Solitair 9+ Duo is available in working widths of three and four metres. Orders

are being accepted now; full availability is scheduled for January 2022.

New GSM slurry pump remote launched Tramspread has launched a new remote control for engine driven pumps that operates using Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). The Teletram 2020 GSM remote does not rely on radio connectivity and instead can connect a mobile device, using its 2G to 5G data connection, to one or multiple engine driven pumps. The remote control features a seven-inch colour screen and industrial grade instrumentation that can be operated using Apple or Android mobile devices. Communication is not

compromised by distance and multiple pump units can be controlled by the same device. “This means that an operator pumping over an eight-kilometre distance with four pump units will only need one device to monitor and operate all of the pump units,” explains Tramspread managing director, Terry Baker. The Teletram has been designed in collaboration with automation specialists CTRL. “As little as 2G connectivity is sufficient to send commands that will control one, or multiple, pump units more safely and reliably, and the operator can use any mobile device that can access a 2G to 5G network,” he says. This helps to address concerns that traditional radio-controlled remotes can be interrupted by others in the area using the same frequency, or that a signal may be lost when pumping long distances. The remote has sensors for inlet pressure, outlet pressure

and can monitor the slurry store level. It also has an air compressor control with an air pressure sensor. “Operators will be able to start, stop, increase and decrease the throttle, and divert from mix to field, whilst also being able to monitor the engine for low oil pressure, high coolant temperature, and low coolant level. This will help to avoid costly downtime and it also gives the operator more data and control,” says Mr Baker. The Teletram remote is controlled using one mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet. Multiple pumps can be monitored and adjusted from the tractor cab or can be handheld at the slurry source. “Our contracting division has been testing four controls since we started development three years ago and we recently sold the first commercial units to operators in Scotland and France,” explains Mr Baker.

machinery Merlo UK expands its green network further Merlo UK has developed its GREEN NETWORK further by adding a new dealership located close to Great Yarmouth on the beautiful East Norfolk coast. SAS Agri is a family business owned and run by Richard and Emma. In March 2020 Richard and Emma purchased SAS Agri from its founder Alan Suffling, who founded the business back in 2000. Alan has built an excellent reputation within the agricultural world for his knowledge and experience of agricultural machinery, Alan continues to work with Richard and Emma providing guidance and imparting his vast industry knowledge. Richard and Emma made the decision to purchase the business as they recognised the need to continue to provide specialist independent service of both new and used agricultural trailers, tankers and spreaders. Richard and Emma are genuinely passionate about the SAS brand and ensure they always provide excellent customer service to all customers.

Kuhn extends large capacity diet feeder range KUHN Farm Machinery has extended its range of diet feeders with cross-conveyor feeding with the addition of triple vertical auger models. The Euromix 3 CL series includes four models with hopper capacities of 28m3, 33m3, 39m3 and 45m3. The three vertical augers, along with the polygonal shape of the hopper interior, are specifically designed to achieve rapid break-up of whole bales. Augers are designed with a continuous spiral and are fitted with seven knives with 146

machinery asymmetric teeth that have a self-cleaning effect. The auger knives work against two counter knives for faster chopping and optimum mixing. All Euromix 3 CL models are included with an anti-overflow ring, increasing the height of the hopper to help prevent the loss of coarse and fibrous fodder during the chopping phases.

Feed distribution is via a large clearance hatch to the right or left of the machine and a broad cross-conveyor with a hydraulic motor at each end. The PVC belt structure of the conveyor ensures a quiet and efficient feed-out and easy maintenance. Rear discharger is also an option, to the right or left of the machine.

Euromix 3 CL models have programmable weighing as standard, allowing pre-set mixing times, storage of ingredients and rations in the system memory, and the accurate control of rationing. Kuhn’s Intellimix advanced mixer control system is an option on all models. A recipient of a silver award in the Livestock Innovation category at LAMMA

in 2020, the system works via a continuously variable transmission that is integrated into the tractor controls through ISOBUS. This allows a reduction in start-up torque by up to 50% and – through automated changes to auger speeds in response to loading – optimises the use of power throughout the mixing and feeding process.

Comvex group becomes new Farmtrac dealer Comvex Group in Sunderland, long established UK experts in plant machinery, has become the latest Farmtrac dealer after seeing the brand’s electric tractor tested on BBC’s Countryfile and being impressed. Catching the eye of Robert Llewellyn and Adam Henson, the FT25G electric tractor was referenced as “amazing” and “incredible” on many occasions in the programme as it was reviewed and put through its paces. Comvex’s managing director Darren Ord explains: “I first heard of Farmtrac when it was featured on BBC’s Countryfile and was immediately intrigued. The electric model is an incredible piece of kit and it really piqued my interest in the brand. “It made me want to discover more about the rest of the Farmtrac range,” says Darren. “And I wasn’t disappointed. The diesel models have proved to be great as well. The whole range offers solid tractors that are great value, and sales are booming. In fact, I’ve sold


three Farmtrac tractors just this morning!” Farmtrac’s comprehensive and innovative nine-strong smart-looking 22-113hp tractor range is powerful and versatile enough to tackle a wide range

of jobs, from ploughing, seeding and fertilising, to cultivating, harvesting and transporting. The perfect and practical solution for most small, mid and heavy-duty tasks across farms, equestrian centres, large estates and grounds.

A robust warranty supports the range giving customers significant peace of mind, and is supported by Reesink UK, a distributor renowned and trusted for its servicing, maintenance and back-up.

machinery CLAAS launches the “Future Factory” in Le Mans The CLAAS tractor factory in Le Mans, France – the “Future Factory” – has officially started operations following three years of modernisation. Drawing on state-of-the-art digital technologies, the production facilities set new standards. CLAAS gave the go-ahead for its latest major investment in Le Mans back in 2017. Investments totalling 40 million were primarily spent on a complete renewal of assembly equipment and digital transformation of the plant. This brings the total investment in Le Mans, the development centre in Vélizy and the test and validation centre in Trangé to around 80 million since the acquisition of Renault Agriculture in 2003. “Our completely refurbished plant in Le Mans raises the bar for the production of premium and connected agricultural tractors”, says Thomas Böck, Chair of the CLAAS Group Executive Board. “We have therefore opened a new chapter in the continued growth of our global business.” Back in 2019, the modernisation efforts were identified as a lighthouse project in France and labelled a “Showcase for the Industry of the Future”. Modernisation of the plant creates entirely new opportunities for the manufacture of increasingly complex and individually configured tractors. This involved a complete rethink of many complex processes – especially in the area of in-house logistics. The use of cuttingedge virtual reality technologies enabled digital simulation of all processes during the factory planning stage, even for tractor models that have not yet entered production. Innumerable options were acted out using 3D animations and VR goggles in order to play through all

stages of assembly, from the powertrain to the finished and tested tractor. Any necessary structural changes were therefore identified early on.

The introduction of automated guided vehicles (AGV) made a significant contribution to the automation of production. 40 of these driverless and fully

automatic carrier vehicles transport the tractors from the first to the last assembly station, and are capable of moving up to 20 tonnes at a time. This means



that they provide sufficient load capacity for all current series, as well as for future higher

performance models. In future, daily production will therefore be increased to as many as 60

tractors a day. Projected to the full year, this can lead to an annual production capacity

of more than 13,000 tractors compared to around 10,000 units today.

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machinery Tong invests in new paint facilities for the highest quality finish As part of an ongoing growth and development programme, Tong Engineering has invested in the latest powder coating and shot blasting systems at its new manufacturing plant in Spilsby. Situated on the company’s seven-acre site, the first-phase building has been kitted out with a new powder coating spray booth, water wash extraction and a large drying oven, alongside a new shot blast unit to prepare materials prior to painting. Neil Martin, Operations Director at Tong Engineering, says “Our new metal-preparation and paint facilities form a key function within the new factory, and are already proving to drive efficiencies. The advancements in application methods, temperature


machinery control and cycle-time have developed significantly, ensuring that the process is not only more efficient, but the appearance of the end product is consistently to the highest standards in paint durability and finish.” The new shot blasting unit uses a powerful technique to clean the metal’s surface and create a quality finish which guarantees optimum adhesion of paint. This steel preparation process is the first stage of a 3-part paint system at Tong, in which metal is first shotblasted, followed by the application of a durable rust-inhibiting primer which is then finished with a premium quality top-coat, before it is cured at high temperatures. “The spacious new drying oven can accommodate large equipment modules with a much higher bake temperature than our previous system,” explains Neil. “It also delivers a fast bake-cycle which means much quicker turnaround of the complete painting process.”


The new ZA-X and ZA-M mounted spreaders from Amazone Amazone’s new ZA-M 02 and ZA-X 03 mounted spreaders can now be specified with the EasySet 2 in-cab terminal. This electric control unit enables a constant application rate to be maintained irrespective of forward speed as well as offering many other easy-tooperate functions and comfortable setting options. In addition to this, both spreader models boast a new look. With EasySet 2, Amazone offers an attractively-priced solution for automatic spread rate regulation at varying forward speeds for the ZA-M and, for the first time, the ZA-X. In this respect, the size of the apertures are adjusted

machinery by automatically setting the shutter position in such a way that the application rate always remains the same. This means that the operator is not forced to maintain a constant forward speed but can speed up or slow down depending on the size of field and the ground conditions. The operator has the option of using an X-sensor (counting pulses), a signal cable (transmission of the tractor speed) or a GPS antenna to determine or transmit the speed signal. EasySet 2, in conjunction with the electric shutter control, has the added advantage that the application rate can be adjusted very precisely and on the move, in order to avoid wastage, save costs and protect the environment. The desired application rate is simply entered into the in-cab terminal to the exact kilogram and this can be easily increased or reduced from the cab on both sides or either side during the spreading process. This also applies when carrying out side, border and water course spreading.

Kverneland extends area for C&O Tractors Kverneland’s dealer network continues to go from strength to strength, and the latest change is that of more area for C&O Tractors, this time through its Blandford Forum, Dorset depot. This new announcement means that the full range of Kverneland implements is now available from all four of C&O’s depots – Blandford, Wilton, Funtington and the Isle of Wight. “Since we welcomed Kverneland back to C&O firstly at Funtington in 2017, and subsequently on the Isle of Wight and Wilton, it has been an aspiration to be able to offer this premium brand to all of our customers,” said Andy Coles, C&O managing director. “And following detailed discussions with Kverneland, I’m now proud

to announce that our Blandford depot will also sell Kverneland.” “This is fantastic news for the company and for our customers,” he said. “Supplying the full line of Kverneland machinery and parts

across the whole C&O group will enable us to have a focussed approach, offering an increased range of machinery for our customers while expanding our stock and supply of Kverneland original parts.”



Call for entrants: Scottish Arable Farm of the Year Award

The AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year Award, revived for 2021 following a lockdown enforced absence last year, is now open for nominations and entries. The award, first made in 2017, has traditionally looked for entries later in the summer, with on-farm assessor visits taking place in October. This year, however, organisers have decided to open up the award earlier, so that farms that have made the final shortlist can be visited preharvest. AgriScot Director and Arable award convenor, John Kinnaird, commented: “We are absolutely delighted that we are once again able to run the Scottish Arable Farm of 154

the Year Award. It is great to be working alongside Chris Leslie at AHDB as facilitator and SoilEssentials, our sponsor, to launch the 2021 award.” “We are now calling for nominations and entries over the next month or so, and our assessors aim to then produce a short list of three farms to visit in July. This timing is new for 2021, but we believe it gives farmers a better opportunity to show crops and farms looking at their best at a potentially less busy time of year.” “Previously, the Scottish Arable Farm of the Year award has gone to farms in Aberdeenshire, Ross-shire and Fife. We are very keen to encourage other farms

in those areas to put themselves forward, or indeed to hear from agronomists, machinery suppliers, and others – anonymously if necessary – who wish to nominate their customers, clients and neighbours as deserving of the 2021 title.” “I am also doubly keen to hear about worthy farms of the year in the renowned arable areas in the south of Scotland, surely there are more than a few. That said, our task is not to reward the best farms with the easiest soils and friendliest climates; what we are looking for are farms demonstrating that they are doing their very best with what they have!” John Kinnaird will be joined by John Weir, from 2019

Scottish Arable Farm of the Year, Lacceston in Fife, to assess this year’s entries. The roll call of the previous arable farm of the year award recipients represents a fair spread of the arable areas of Scotland: • 2017 South Redbog, Strichen, Aberdeenshire • 2018 Rhynie House, Tain, Ross-shire • 2019 Lacesston, Gateside, Fife If you wish to enter or nominate a farm please email to request an entry form. Please note the deadline for submissions is 28 June. The awards will be presented as part of AgriScot on 17 November

events Details and Online Portal Announced in Advance of Agri-Expo 2021 Harrison & Hetherington’s Annual Livestock Showcase in October launches new Website Portal, with everyone involved invited to book their place and save the date. Unlike so many other largescale events across the country, this year’s Carlisle’s Borderway Agri Expo has been given the green light to go head on Friday 29th October. To give visitors and exhibitors virtual access in advance to everything but the day itself, Harrison & Hetherington, organisers of Borderway Agri Expo, have today launched a new website portal. As the UK’s leading winter livestock showcase, the organisers are now inviting people to enter livestock and are looking to hear from businesses and contributors keen to be involved. Exhibitors can download all livestock exhibitor, trade stand and sponsorship packs, and upload details electronically. As COVID-19 precautions will still be a part of our lives, visitors are also required to register their attendance in advance for tracking purposes. The team behind the event are already planning the detailed program and features for this year, and the new website will provide all vital information and updates. This will include the newly introduced requirements for registration. With almost 100 livestock classes, 5 breed society shows, a trade showcase with over 150 stands and live demonstrations, the return to normal ofBorderway Agri Expo will be one of the most looked forward to livestock events in 2021. Once again, like many other UK events, Borderway Agri Expo was under threat this year due to the on-going effects of the COVID-19 lockdown. Concluding that it will be safe to go ahead, Harrison & Hetherington will conduct the event under the

Heather Pritchard

relevant Government guidelines in place at the time. Scott Donaldson, Harrison & Hetherington’s Managing Director, highlights the importance of the dedicated new website in ensuring success and safety on the day: “A website is often seen as an add-on, though the new Borderway Agri Expo portal is certainly not. It will be key to ensuring everyone’s safe access, as well as keeping people up to date on information as to what they will be able to see and experience. In launching a new portal, we are simplifying the processes for everyone, and of course at the same time, helping the environment by not using excessive and unnecessary print materials.” Showcasing some of the very best beef cattle and sheep from all corners of the UK,

Borderway Agri-Expo, now in its 14th year, has become one of Great Britain’s largest and most prestigious winter livestock events. A key date in the diary of livestock farmers, Scott is delighted that they have been able to give the go ahead: “This is a very important event for the livestock industry and agri-businesses, which over the years, has grown from strength to strength and we do not want to lose momentum. The livestock shows, sheep, cattle and pedigree exhibitions gives the opportunity for people to see what I believe is some of the very best livestock in the world. Like so many others, last year’s cancellation was a huge disappointment, and we are absolutely delighted that this year the show can go ahead. “Already from the feedback we have received from our

exhibitors, stand holders and sponsors, many people are very keen to be involved once again. Now with this portal launch, they can officially book their place and save the date!” This highly acclaimed livestock event regularly sees in the region of 900 head of livestock being shown and attracts thousands of visitors. Representing all sectors of the industry, for many of the 150 regional and national businesses and exhibitors in the trade show, this will be the first opportunity for some considerable time to highlight current livestock trends, equipment and technologies, as well as a chance to meet colleagues, friends and potential customers. For more information on Borderway Agri-Expo, please visit: 155


Perth Show hopeful of stampede of online entries * Entries invited as annual agricultural showcase goes virtual * Live judging of video entries streamed online * Livestock set to “compete with the best” Entries are about to open for this summer’s virtual Perth Show as the annual agricultural showcase takes its celebration of the best in the farming sector online. The festival of farming is going virtual for a second year in the wake of Covid restrictions. But as horse and livestock owners from throughout Perthshire and beyond line up to compete in more than 60 online classes, organisers are confident the competition will be just as serious - and the standard just as high - among virtual rivals. Entries open on Monday, June 21, and close on Saturday, July 31, with video clip submissions invited across 63 classes. Perthshire Agricultural Society Chairman Mark Mitchell explained that organisers were keen to put on a top show despite the limitations. “We have been planning for this since February,” he explained. “Initially we were planning for both a physical and a virtual show to cover all bases. When it became apparent that we would be unable to stage the popular two-day showcase on Perth’s South Inch, we concentrated on making the virtual show the best it could be.” Last year’s virtual show attracted over 240 entries and Mark is keen to build on that success, with the supportive backing of several local business sponsors. “We intend to create a bit of an atmosphere and excitement by having live stream judging 156

Perthshire Agricultural Society Chairman Mark Mitchell

carried out on show day Saturday, August 7 - with online viewers able to witness live appraisal of the entries as they are watched by our expert judges. “This judging will all take place at the Perth Show office in York Place but we hope to have a symbolic ‘launch’ at the South Inch to start the day’s

proceedings before the action switches back to HQ.” Mark explained that the South Inch might also be the setting for a live streaming of the presentation of Long Service Medals later that day. “Although the South Inch will again be devoid of the thousands of visitors, livestock and trade stands which

traditionally feature on the first Saturday of August, we wanted to have some symbolic presence there which others could watch online,” said Mark. Competition sections to watch on the day include those featuring horses, cattle, sheep, donkeys, private driving turnouts and goats. “Online viewers will be able to see all their favourites,” said Mark, “from the magnificent heavy horses in their full harness to the delightful tiny Shetland ponies and the enchanting pygmy goats to the glorious Highland cattle. “We even plan to hold a Parade of Champions with the section winners competing for the Show’s top title of Supreme Champion,” he added. “And the viewing public will be able to have their say as well with a People’s Champion of Champions being decided by public vote.” Perth Show looks set to attract competition from further afield than usual on the virtual platform. “Without the need to transport livestock long distances, owners and handlers from all over the country can compete at Perth Show - perhaps for the first time,” said Mark. “A lot of work goes in to getting an animal show-ready and we want to provide them with a platform to showcase their livestock and compete with the best. “The agriculture sector hasn’t stood still during the pandemic,” added Mark. “Far from it.


Farmers have been working flat out to keep the country fed and our crops and livestock tended and cared for. “It’s been a busy and challenging time for everyone and we just want to put a bit of fun and competitive edge back into things with our virtual Perth Show.”

Entries are invited from Monday, June 21, through the Perth Show website at: www.perthshow. Entry is free and prize money will be awarded.


clothing New ‘made tough’ range of weatherproof workwear for outdoor workers The Betacraft range of weatherproof workwear – including the ISO-940 rainwear range - is now available in the UK from Dairy Spares. Designed in New Zealand, clothing items are ‘made tough’ to provide long-lasting protection for those who work outdoors. Men’s and women’s clothing are individually styled to assure a comfortable fit. Betacraft’s ISO-940 rainwear range is made using fabrics with a high denier rating to resist abrasion and rip-stop thread for added protection. The range is breathable but also 100% waterproof thanks to an advanced coating on the outer fabric and the seam-sealing of all seams and stitching. The range features items styled for both men and women, and includes parkas, fleece-lined hurricane jackets, over-trousers, and adjustable bib over-trousers. Women’s clothing is available in sizes 8 – 20, and men’s, in sizes S to 5XL. Also available through Dairy Spares are Betacraft’s ranges of water-resistant fleeces, Techniflex rainwear which is 100% waterproof and breathable, plus the Technidairy range made

of material with resistance to the acids encountered in the parlour. Betacraft is a New Zealand family business which has been manufacturing high-performing outdoor clothing for farmers since 1952. Its mission is to provide long-lasting workwear

for ‘outsiders’ which it defines as ‘the farmers, the fishers, the sailors, the hunters, the workers and the adventurers’. The ISO-940 parkas retail at £166+VAT and over-trousers at £124+VAT for both the men’s and women’s styles.

More information on the rest of the Betacraft range can be found at www.dairyspares. Alternatively, contact Dairy Spares on 01948 667676, or email info@dairyspares.

ECHO tools up with accessories and PPE ECHO Tools UK has introduced a new catalogue of its comprehensive accessory


and PPE ranges. Safety is always paramount when using power equipment and a good

place to start is with protective clothing. Professional safety gear is essential for protection and comfort whilst working and ECHO offers two series: Performance Series and ProTech Series. Both have been designed for the professional market and as such are also suitable for domestic users. Performance offers two styles of chainsaw trouser, both featuring six layers of blocking material for protection against accidental chainsaw contact. The chainsaw flex trousers have Polyamide and elastane for high flexibility

and comfort, with Pezaflex aqua waterproof reinforcement for weather protection. High visibility with reflective elements is common to the chainsaw and brushcutter trousers in the Pro-Tech Series while being lightweight yet highly protective in extreme weather conditions. Heavy-duty gloves, chainsaw gloves, a multi-purpose helmet, protective sleeves and braces complete the PPE line-up. You can also visit https://www.

RuralArt featuring Mary Ann Rogers With the warmer weather, longer days and freedom to get out and about, what could be nicer than a browse round an art gallery, a country walk then a well-earned tea and cake in a local café? Give yourself plenty of time for a visit to Mary Ann Rogers Gallery, which is a stunning purpose built studio/gallery, leading into the house which is hung throughout with original paintings. There is also a print gallery, with beautiful cards, stationery, tableware and bespoke gifts for all occasions. Award winning artist, Mary Ann Rogers, paints her way through the seasons. Her understanding and intimate knowledge of her subjects shines through her work. Mary Ann works exclusively with pure pigment watercolour, using surprisingly large ‘one stroke’ brushes which produce strong, colourful, bold paintings. During the periods on lockdown, when the gallery was closed, Mary Ann demonstrated her painting techniques, along with daily garden/animal/family updates on daily ‘live’ videos on social media, which gathered quite a following. They have been posted to her YouTube channel for posterity or maybe just curiosity! When not painting, Mary Ann can often be found swimming up and down the rivers and lakes of Northumberland all year round, or competing on her horse, Harry. Helping out on the neighbouring farm during lambing time, shearing and lamb sales keeps her eye in for the sheep paintings, and the fat cattle grazing next to her studio window provide plenty of inspiration, as do the dramatic skies and landscape of her native Rede Valley.

From 14-29th August, Mary Ann is holding her annual summer exhibition, with a weekend of celebration on 14th & 15th August, check out the website for further details Telephone. 01434 270216


Claret red velvet Outlander coat embellished with gold embroidery and tartan frill cuff Weathered Gunn Trousers Weathered Gunn bespoke shoes Velvet hat with tartan trim and gold embroidery

My grateful thanks to Cardney Steading and Twenty8 Media Photography.

Bespoke Bride Silk tulle layered skirt Dupion silk camisole Weathered Mackay tartan Outlander jacket with embroidery Tartan headpiece with tulle and feathered embellishment Weathered Mackay bespoke shoes

Pink power woven silk dress with ruched cummerbund and sleeves Bespoke silk shoes Sinamay hat trimmed with silk Satin gloves

Blues & Browns was established in 2002 by Kairen Alexis Ruse to pursue her creative passion for design, which she discovered during her early acting career within the world of theatre and television. It was here she fell in love with the artistry of the costume department. The ethos of Blues & Browns is quite simply to make beautiful bespoke clothes for women by women. Within our Design Studio and Workroom we have the ability to provide one to one appointments, a vast selection of fabrics to choose for your outfit and an in-depth discussion as to the style required. With measurements taken we then create your unique and perfectly fitting outfit for any occasion including the shoes and hat made in collaboration with fellow artisans. We also recognize one of the issues in society today, is the throw away culture, where trends change faster than ever before, increasing worldwide mass manufacturing with the resulting detrimental impact on the environment. Blues & Browns can proudly say we have always manufactured our garments in Scotland and it is now more important than ever that we help promote the idea of buying high quality garments made in the UK, over cheaply produced offshore clothing. As a business, we are proud of our Scottish heritage and only use the finest quality tartans and tweeds woven in Scotland. 2021 has been a year for making big changes at Blues & Browns, with our new website and two new Collections. Tartanology and Inspired by Olivia are both available “off the peg”. The Inspired by Olivia Collection was created as a tribute to Kairen’s cousin Olivia de Havilland who was one of Hollywood’s legendary actresses, known not only for her sophisticated style but for her strong belief in equality, having stood up against the male dominated world of 1950’s Hollywood and won! The Inspired by Olivia Collection represents Kairen’s vision of classic design and Hollywood glamour. The Tartanology Collection is classic tailoring in three stunning tartans. We want to encourage women to show their full potential, and that is why it is so important that we take the time when creating a bespoke outfit at Blues & Browns Design Studio and Workroom, we talk through every aspect of our designs and fabric choices, along with fittings to make sure our clients leave with the outfit of their dreams. Appointments can be arranged face to face or via Zoom. Telephone +44 (0)1738 626526 19-21 South Street, Perth PH2 8PQ, Scotland


$AN 7ITHALL The Border Union Agricultural Society has announced the appointment of Dan Withall from Kirk Yetholm near Kelso as its new Executive Director. Dan joins the Society following 20 years with The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo where he initially held a commercial and business development role before becoming the organisation’s Estates and Sustainability Manager with responsibility for a series of multi-million-pound projects. He has a deep understanding of the Scottish events industry with expertise spanning event planning and budgeting, crowd management, security, health and safety and sustainability.

*IM -ASON Scottish Agronomy has appointed Jim Mason of Denbrae Farm in North-East Fife as Chair of its 12-strong board. The farmer cooperative, which offers independent agronomy advice based on over 20,000 cutting edge trials plots, has more than 250 members from arable and potato enterprises across Scotland, as well as industry associates. Following three years as Vice Chair, Mr Mason takes over from Thomas Pate of South Powrie Farm, near Dundee. Growing cereals, potatoes, onions and broccoli across owned, rented and contracted land in Fife, he brings with him 15 years of board experience with East of Scotland Growers (EOSG), four years as Chair.

"RYAN 'RIFlTHS Having come to the end of a successful Chairmanship of the National Sheep Association (NSA) at the beginning of the year, North Devon sheep farmer, Bryan Griffiths, has now been announced as a new Vice President of the association. Following a recent NSA Board meeting, Mr Griffiths was invited to become Vice President in recognition of the hard work and commitment he has shown to both NSA and the wider sheep industry, especially over recent years when the UK sheep sector has found itself in a time of uncertainty with concerns over future trade and changes to agricultural and environmental policy.

/LIVER "EEKES Kubota (UK) Ltd has appointed Oliver Beekes as Tractor Business Unit (TBU) dealer manager for agricultural and ground care machinery ranges for the south and south west of England. Oliver is clearly passionate about farming and machinery. He graduated from Harper Adams University with a degree in agricultural machinery, and with time spent with another manufacturer, he brings with him considerable experience as a product specialist and, latterly from his most recent role, as a territory manager. 162

Page Turner’s

BOOK REVIEW An Eye on the Hebrides: An Illustrated Journey by Mairi Hedderwick

On a chilly morning some thirty plus years ago, Mairi Hedderwick, famous for her Katie Morag children’s books, took off on a sixmonth solitary journey through the beautiful archipelago that forms the Western Isles. Her children were fully-grown and she was feeling the pull of the islands, a pull she has felt throughout her life. She left home in her aged VW camper van and over the next six months or so, covered ‘40 islands, 750 sea miles, 4500 land miles’ and experienced ‘30 boats, innumerable breakdowns – mechanical and spiritual, four very big storms, barely-contained sea-sickness, sunstroke, millions of midges the size of eagles and far too many soul-searing sunsets.’ On every day of that journey of self-discovery Hedderwick wrote and sketched and painted – to the point of exhaustion. She was recording the people she encountered along the way and found that, through their generosity of time and support, she had not only an eye on the Hebrides but an ear too. With her beautifully familiar artistic style she captured the wildlife, the way of life, the constantly changing skies and the tumultuous seas – and was as entranced by the hens as the rare breed cattle, the dyed sheep’s wool on Harris, the seagulls and the geese, the sheep

dogs ready for the trials and the tiny lambs in their first drenching by the island storms. The sketchbooks and notebooks were first published two years after the adventure came to an end as ‘An Eye on the Hebrides: An illustrated Journey’. This month, Birlinn reissues the book in a handsome new edition, illustrated throughout with the author’s full colour watercolours and delicate sketches. This book is uplifting in these difficult times, inspirational for all who dream of island life and adventure but also of returning home wiser and perhaps a little more selfsettled. Through word and image Hedderwick captures a remarkable moment in time in the life of the Scottish islands. It is a moment to be treasured for the generations who will follow. Last year Mairi Hedderwick suffered a stroke and through the various Covid lockdowns of the last 15 months has concentrated on healing. She was left with Aphasia, a complex communication disorder, but is now recovering with the support of family and friends. An Eye on the Hebrides: An Illustrated Journey by Mairi Hedderwick is published this month by Birlinn Ltd (£12.99 pbk)