Farming Scotland Magazine (March - April Edition 2022)

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

Tuathanachas Alba


Articles Grass Harvesting Hire a ‘Lawn-Mooer’ Lake District Farming Fund Campsite Planning

Balers & Bale Wrappers Sprayers Agricultural Tyres In Focus Bowbridge Alpaca Farm UK Plastic Packaging Taxare you ready?

Our Farm Shop Cranstons, Penrith

Meet the Producers It’s a SHORE Thing

New to Market Spread-a-Bale

Travel Scotland In and around Cupar, Fife

Made in Scotland A Garden of Grains



April 2022

Farmhouse Kitchen • Scottish Country Life Women in Agriculture • The Northern Isles Beatha an Eilean • Flavour of Scotland Book Serial Part 2 including our regular news areas and columns



April 2022




Made in Scotland

26 30 51


Agricultural Tyres Sprayers Balers & Bale Wrappers

Articles 18 25 48 70

Grass Harvesting Hire a ‘Lawn-Mooer’ Lake District Farming Fund Campsite Planning

Our Farm Shop 16

Cranstons, Penrith

Flavour of Scotland 20


Red Meat, Bernese & Barley

Greek Poultry Farmers Invest In Biogas Plants

112 Meet the New Chair


News Areas


Farmhouse Kitchen 71

Wendy Barrie’s Steamed Bramble Sponge

Meet the Producers 72

It’s a SHORE Thing

Northern Isles 74

Stories from Orkney & Shetland


Life on the Islands

Scottish Country Life 105 With Linda Mellor

Travel Scotland 106 In and Around Cupar, Fife

In Focus 28 68

A Garden of Grains

Beatha an Eilean

World Farming 24

Women in Agriculture

New to Market

Champion Butchers

Food & Drink

Bowbridge Alpaca Farm The UK Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) - are you ready?

All Editorial & PR enquiries EDITOR Athole Murray Fleming Tel. 01738 639747 E-mail:


Book Serialisation 108 Part 2 of Native: Life in a vanishing landscape

All Advertising & Editorial enquiries ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Athole Murray Fleming Tel. 01738 639747 E-mail:

6 39 43 46 77 88 90 94 95 100 110 114 132 137

Arable & Root Crops Environment Renewable Energy Science & Technology Livestock Dairy Sheep Pigs Estate Forestry People Machinery Finance People on the Move

Columns 6 11 15 21 23 40 42 43 47 78 87

Editor’s Bit R.S.A.B.I. James Hutton Institute Scotland the Brand Scottish Government Farm Advisory Service Farming for the Climate Scottish Renewables NFU Scotland Quality Meat Scotland The Vet

ADVERTISING MANAGER Barry Tweed Tel. 01475 910153 Email:

107 89 91 93 97 99 109 113 138

Scottish Dairy Hub National Sheep Association Crofting Scottish Land & Estates Conservation Matters Scottish Forestry Southern Belle The Book Shelf


136 Order your own copy here.

Next Issue Out in May. Featuring Royal Highland Show, Scotsheep, Game Fair, Milking & Dairy Equipment, Shearing, Farm Security and so much more! See our website for details. www.farmingscotlandmagazine. com

Advertising & Editorial Enquiries Please call 01738 639747 or email

COVER IMAGE: Croft at Loch Shieldaig on the Applecross Peninsula, Scotland. By Helen Hotson.

ADVERTISING MANAGER Trevor Knights Tel. 01738 447378 Email:

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Christina Fleming Email: COPYRIGHT This publication has been produced and published by ATHOLE DESIGN & PUBLISHING LTD who are the copyright owners. No reproduction, copying, image scanning, storing or recording of any part of this publication without the permission of ATHOLE DESIGN & PUBLISHING LTD. Contents disclaimer: FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE is not responsible for any factual inaccuracies within press information supplied to us. Any concerns regarding such matters should be directed to the supplier of the materials. FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE is designed, produced and published by Athole Design & Publishing Ltd., Tolastadh, 18 Corsie Drive, Kinnoull, Perth, Scotland PH2 7BU. Tel. 01738 639747 est 1994

ISSN: 2041–918X


arable & root crops New YEN data suggests how to editor's grow more than 7 t/ha beans bit

The freedom of Spring

As I am writing my little column, the snowdrops are visible from my office chair and the promise of spring is in the chilled air. Four seasons in one day is the norm right now, but the hints of better days to come are now visible. Better days to come? Our personal freedoms are hopefully improving as we move towards a greater level of public immunisation from this dreadful pandemic. In Scotland we are taking what I believe to be a wise route based




a mask on for a few minutes in an enclosed space is easy and should continue until the ‘numbers’ are very low and spread is reducing. We live in hope! On the farming side of things, spring of course brings great expectations, new life in the fields and new ambitions for the coming year. I wish you all more freedom this springtime, and may your fields be filled with life and abundance. Let us all hope for a good year for our farmers everywhere.

Slàinte, Athole.


New data analysis has highlighted key factors associated with high-yielding crops in the Bean Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) 2021, in which one in 10 bean crops yielded over 7 t/ha. The YEN programme has highlighted factors not previously recognised as important for achieving good results including shoot height and size, and seed size. This is in addition to the importance of large, well-podded plants with many seeds per pod. Such crops can be achieved by maximising light capture and avoiding stress during flowering and during seed fill. As expected, higher yields were associated with good pest and disease control, early sowing, longer season length, and late harvesting. Nutritionally, potassium inputs and seed status appeared to play an important role; soils with a low phosphorus index were also associated with low yields. Agricultural and environmental consultancy ADAS and the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO)

presented results from the network’s third year in a webinar held last month, and they have now published their findings in an online report. PGRO Chief Executive Roger Vickers said: “Data collected during 2021 has shown growers the components which associate positively with yield. Through this network, bean growers know where they are going by benchmarking their crops for nutritional, physiological and quality parameters.

“The larger the group of participating growers and the more real farm data we can analyse, the greater the validity of our conclusions. The Bean YEN is now entering its fourth season and I am delighted that entries are increasing each year.” ADAS Physiologist and Bean YEN Manager Thomas Wilkinson said: “As the network expands and our knowledge grows, we’ll look for seven-tonne crops to become more common.

Irish farmers gain new spring herbicide for oilseed rape Oilseed rape growers in Ireland have a new spring herbicide at their disposal. Korvetto, from Corteva Agriscience, has gained approval for use in the country following a UK launch two years ago. Containing Arylex active in formulation with clopyralid, Korvetto targets the ‘red-faced’ weeds which can emerge above the crop. It has excellent activity on a broad spectrum of problem

weeds that steal yield and cause issues at harvest time, with robust control of cleavers, mayweed and, in particular, thistles. “Even farms which apply good autumn herbicide programmes in a timely manner will usually face a late winter and early spring-germinating broadleaf weed burden” said Liz Glynn, Corteva’s Field Technical Manager for Ireland. “Korvetto will be a good option for Irish farmers because it will control many of the weeds

found in oilseed rape crops as daylight hours increase and temperatures rise.” Corteva’s Galera (clopyralid + picloram) has played a leading role in most spring-applied oilseed rape herbicide programmes on Irish farms for many years. But Liz says Korvetto represents a step-change in performance. She said: “Both contain clopyralid, but Korvetto is significantly beefed up by the

arable & root crops

inclusion of Arylex – the unique herbicide molecule which is used in many of Corteva’s products, such as Belkar. “The inclusion of Arylex allows farmers to cover a wider spectrum of weeds while gaining a higher level of control.” The application window for Korvetto is 1 March through to growth stage BBCH50 (flower buds visible above the crop). An aquatic buffer zone of five metres is required, and the

application rate is 1l/ha. The product can only be used once per crop. Strong oilseed rape prices and the launch of new, highyielding varieties such as Pioneer’s PT303 Protector Sclerotinia have driven an increase in the planted area of oilseed rape for 2022. Prices of delivered oilseed rape in the UK were quoted at £510.50/t in January*.

Multi-site fungicide provides reliable return on investment through proven yield improvements New field trials carried out by ADAMA have shown that the inclusion of the multi-site fungicide folpet in spring spray programmes contributes to yield improvements of up to 0.6 t/ha in winter sown wheat and barley. “Beyond the use of resistant varieties and delaying drilling to reduce disease pressure, the overarching key to effective disease control in cereals is to stay ahead of infections,” explains Andy Bailey, Fungicides Technical Specialist for ADAMA in the UK. “This is best achieved by applying a diverse range of

arable & root crops fungicide modes of action, with a multi-site such as Arizona (500 g/l folpet) included at the appropriate timing(s) to add an extra layer of disease control, protect single site

actives from resistance and boost the crop’s yield potential by maintaining green leaf area for longer.” Field trials carried out by ADAMA between 2018 and

2021 have shown that the inclusion of Arizona alongside single site fungicides enables wheat and barley crops to stay ahead of key diseases including

septoria and rhynchosporium (as well as providing valuable protection against ramularia) and ensures each successive leaf stays greener for longer.

How to achieve high biomass when crops are waterlogged

Biomass is vital for achieving high grain yields in your cereal crops. When waterlogged conditions occur, as we’ve experienced this winter, nutrient deficiencies can result due to the root-system damage. This means a limiting of early spring growth and development, reducing the number of tillers produced. How then can we help support the foundation for high biomass establishment?


According to Natalie Wood, Agronomy Operations Manager at Yara, we can take action to foster a robust population of main shoots and tillers, which will in turn benefit biomass. “The tillering phase commences after leaf 3 is fully expanded,” says Natalie. “This generally finishes when the ‘doubleridge’ stage of development is reached, usually by mid-March.

Appropriate use of inputs can manipulate the final number of tillers – especially crop nutrition.” Why is this necessary? Because the root structures of waterlogged crops are compromised – when the roots are damaged or smaller than usual, this means they struggle to scavenge what nutrients may remain the soil.

Phosphate, which is vital for root growth, is unavailable at soil temperatures below 8°C for example. “As little to no P is available in the soil during early spring, fresh applications become even more important,” says Natalie. “Solid P applications are somewhat inefficient. Foliar P applications should be considered as an early option.”

arable & root crops A world first – Foliar fertiliser manufactured from recycled batteries ZM-Grow is the first zinc and manganese foliar fertiliser to be made from used alkaline Registered and approved for use in the UK for both conventional and organic farming systems, ZM-Grow is distributed by Hutchinsons crop production specialists as part of the company’s growing range of low-carbon nutrition products. “This is a really exciting product and is branded as a circular economy fertiliser by its clean-tech, Finnish manufacturers Tracegrow,” says Tim Kerr, Hutchinsons fertiliser manager. “Put simply, Tracegrow has developed an innovative technology to extract, purify and

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reuse the Zinc and Manganese from alkaline batteries - up to 80% of the trace elements found in alkaline batteries can be reused.” “ZM-Grow ticks all of the pertinent boxes for sustainability, offers a reduced carbon footprint whilst also providing a high quality, effective micronutrient foliar fertiliser that meets a valid need by UK arable growers,” he says. “ZM-Grow is a sulphatebased concentrate containing 60g/l Zn, 67g/l Mn and 75g/l S. We know that balancing micronutrition can help improve Nitrogen efficiency and ZM Grow can make this difference, at a time when nitrogen prices are at an all-time high.” Hutchinsons have been trialing and distributing the product for the last two seasons and grower feedback has been very positive. “The recommended rate is 2-3 litres in 200-400l water. In our trials we have found it to be chemically stable, and have had no issues with mixing. It flows smoothly though filters and spray nozzles and doesn’t block them up.”

Flexible contact herbicide provides a clean start in potato crops Potato growers can create a clean start to crops by switching the foundation of their broadleaved weed control plans to Shark (carfentrazone-ethyl). But, as with diquat, timing is key to success. Capable of controlling weeds typical of a broad range of potatogrowing soils and regions, Shark is highly effective when used either alone or in in a mix with other residual herbicides when applied just prior to crop emergence, says Jeff Fieldsend, Commercial Technical Manager at FMC. It is recommended that Shark is applied at 5-10% emergence (5% emergence on early varieties and 10% emergence on maincrop varieties) but operators should be cautious when it comes to timings, warns Jeff. “While application at 5-10% emergence is attractive in terms of timing flexibility, it is best to use the product as soon as the weed flush has developed and not risk applying too late, crops are moving very quickly around this time and late applications can knock them.” Agronomist Rob Ramsey reports; “Shark has been a reliable diquat replacement for my customers, and we’ve seen good results from well-timed applications, with the crop coming back strongly even when 5-10% has emerged, so there is a fair window of application, much like there was with diquat.” Trials conducted by FMC and AHDB have proved that Shark is extremely crop safe when applied at the correct timing. However, if application is delayed onto emerged potato plants greater than 5-10%, necrotic spotting will occur, which will be quickly outgrown leading to no long-term effects on vigour or yield.

New RSABI Chief Executive reflects on first weeks in post By Carol McLaren The new Chief Executive of RSABI is Carol McLaren, who last month took up the position with the charity which supports people in Scottish agriculture. Carol grew up on a family farm in Perthshire and is well-known in the farming community, having previously worked as an agri-journalist, for whisky companies Edrington and Diageo, and for Quality Meat Scotland. “After just a short time in my new role, I am already incredibly proud of the excellent work being delivered for the industry by our dedicated team of staff, trustees and volunteers,” said Carol. “When you contact RSABI you will find the response is always compassionate, and understanding, and for those in need of help, our team of case officers will find

Carol McLaren

a way to make life feel less overwhelming.” Carol added that what is also evident, and hugely valued, is the extent of the support from the Scottish agricultural community. “Whether it is taking part in a fundraising challenge, becoming a member of RSABI’s supporters’ schemes or a trustee on the board, the goodwill from

those in the industry is greatly appreciated”, she said. “We’re preparing to enter a milestone year for RSABI – our 125th anniversary – and we will be asking for the agricultural community’s continued support to raise awareness of the work we do and to encourage people who need support to get in touch with us. “There will be times of change in the years ahead and it is vital that people know, whatever is around the corner, RSABI is here for them, as we have been for 125 years. “Our service is always confidential, always friendly, and always understanding so if you are in difficulty, or worried about a friend, family member of neighbour, please share our number or contact us on 0300 111 4166. Don’t hesitate.”

RSABI’s helpline is open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm on 0300 111 4166. Visit for more information on support provided.

arable & root crops Tong raises the bar for big bag filling with the new JetFill for 2022

“Shark is particularly effective on a wide range of broadleaved weeds, notably polygonum species, cleavers, annual nettle and speedwells up


to the young plant stage when applied at 0.33L/ha rate, with excellent activity being observed within 2-3 days following application.” Jeff adds.

Tong is pleased to announce its first new product development for 2022 with the launch of the new edition JetFill big bag filler. “The JetFill has always been a popular machine in our home and export markets,” says Charlie Rich, Sales Director at Tong Engineering. “With this in mind, the new JetFill has been carefully fine-tuned to incorporate enhancements to the machine’s proven design, as well as the introduction of the most advanced controls. These developments combined have

allowed us to really streamline the performance of the JetFill, making it even easier to use and more efficient than before.” The JetFill is Tong’s highest capacity big bag filler which offers automated and gentle big bag filling. Capable of filling up to 40 big bags per hour, the new model for 2022 is designed to handle a wider range of bag sizes up to 2700mm high. Designed with throughput and careful handling at the fore, the JetFill features two bag-lifting platforms to which empty bags are

arable & root crops presented on a pallet. The uniquely designed bag frame allows the machine’s bag-holding arms to be lowered for easy attachment and the bag platform automatically raises the empty bag to the reversible feed conveyor. The new model features an enhanced bag frame design which ensures the raised position of the bag platform is even closer to the feed conveyor to guarantee the gentlest transfer of crop. “The new JetFill has already received lots of interest from customers that we’d been working with towards the end of last year and were able to give them a preview the new advancements,” explains Charlie. “We’ve subsequently specified the machine within their turnkey projects, and are delighted that as a result we have already have received multiple orders for the new model worldwide, including in the USA, Canada and Turkey. The new model is designed in a way that makes it very easy to be

disassembled for transport, and re-assembled and commissioned

very simply too, making it the ideal bag filling solution for

vegetable producers of all sizes worldwide.”


arable & root crops Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) is becoming a big problem in Scotland, and big problems need bold solutions writes NFU Scotland Vice President Andrew Connon in his latest blog

In it, he outlines calls from NFU Scotland’s potato working group for legislative change to prohibit potatoes from being grown more than one year in six in any piece of land. Andrew recognises that this is a big ask but, with PCN already infesting 13 percent of land used for growing potatoes and bulbs (and doubling every seven to eight years) then stronger measures must be considered. Andrew writes: “If PCN spread is allowed to continue, losses of £125 million are predicted by 2040, and this figure excludes job losses and impacts on exports and the wider GB 14

food industry. If trends continue it could mean the end of seed potato and bulb production across the whole of Scotland by 2050.” Plant health has been identified as the potato working group’s biggest priority, and the working group are lobbying for changes to cement Scotland’s reputation as a high-quality potato producing nation. The working group have agreed the best way to tackle the PCN problem quickly is through legislation. NFU Scotland is engaging with the wider potato growing membership to understand the impact of this change, explore

how legislation could change, and identify exactly what sort of change is needed, recognising the impact that legislation could have on land availability. He writes: “As PCN populations increase, the supply of suitable land is reduced, increasing its rental value. In turn, high rental values incentivise shorter crop rotations, increasing PCN populations. This vicious circle makes the PCN problem worse. Short-term high rental income outweighs the longerterm benefits of reducing PCN populations, particularly when those renting the land out do not have potato enterprises

themselves. A big problem like this needs a big solution – legislation change. “In the longer term a legislation change will result in a growing, rather than shrinking, area of PCN-free land to grow potatoes. As the market for PCNresistant varieties grows and other actions are put in place, PCN levels will fall more quickly. In the longrun potato growers throughout Scotland will all benefit from this change, and Scotland will maintain its reputation for high quality food and farming.” Read the full blog at: https:// aspx

Trials data shows impressive yield advantage for UnivoqTM fungicide

Univoq, the new cereal fungicide from Corteva Agriscience, has shown it delivers an average yield benefit of 0.25t/ha over Revystar® XE. Across 36 sites in England and Scotland, Univoq outperformed the previous market standard in more than 80% of trials*. The uplift in yield from using Univoq is calculated to be worth £50/hectare to growers. Mike Ashworth, Cereal Fungicide Category Manager for Corteva, said: “2021 was a high disease pressure year, and we know that Univoq’s major strength is septoria control, so it gave the fungicide the chance to really show what it is capable of. “We have seen this excellent yield response from Univoq for many years, so this is not a surprise, but the data presented from last year’s harvest shows a clear advantage which can be directly linked to a greater return on a grower’s investment.” The trials work compared Univoq applied at 1.25l/ha to Revystar® XE at 1l/ha – rates which are comparable in terms of the cost to a grower. In six of the 36 trials, Revystar® XE delivered a higher yield than Univoq, but at all other sites, Univoq came out on top. In two cases, Univoq out-yielded Revystar® XE by more than 1t/ha. Overall, the mean difference between the two products was 0.25t/ha. Mike said: “Growers want reliable, robust chemistry which controls key diseases in order to maintain green leaf area, allowing the crop to fulfil its yield potential. When the disease came in 2021, Univoq delivered.

UK’s first measurements of nitrogen added by legumes to a crop production system The potential of grain legume crops such as faba beans to harness the nitrogen present in air into biologically useful forms is well known, but how much of an opportunity does it present for farmers wanting to pursue net-zero agriculture? A research team from the James Hutton Institute has recorded the first UK-wide measurement of nitrogen added by faba beans. The study focused on a range of production systems, including the use of longterm crop-rotational data from the Institute’s Centre for Sustainable Cropping (CSC). The team found that beans can incorporate more than 400 kg of nitrogen per hectare due to the symbiosis between legume crops and soil bacteria, which allows them to harness naturally occurring atmospheric nitrogen and negate the need for added synthetic nitrogen fertilisers. The crops also provide nitrogen to the production system after harvest and the residual stems, roots, and pods decay into the soil as a natural fertiliser, and general soil improver. Prof Euan James, coauthor of the study, said: “These results are a first for Scotland and the UK and demonstrate that in addition to their value as a high-protein crop, beans can be used

to help reduce costly and environmentally damaging fertiliser nitrogen inputs into arable systems. “This demonstrates the huge potential grain legumes such as faba bean could provide in achieving zerocarbon agriculture, as well as meeting Scotland’s ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.” Dr Pete Iannetta added: “The ability of beans to fix nitrogen from air presents an opportunity by which the environmental damaging impacts of excessive synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use may be avoided. “We are fortunate to have the incredible long-term whole-system datasets of the CSC. This, allied to a fantastic

team of collaborators from across the UK, including farmers – has allowed us to achieve a strong foundation for future environmental impact assessments.” The CSC was established in 2009 to design an integrated cropping system for multiple benefits and test the long-term impacts on biodiversity and wholesystem sustainability. For more information, including a virtual tour, visit csc.hutton.

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.

O U R FA R M SHOP A family run butchers for more than 100 years, Cranstons are passionate about offering the highest quality local meat and produce for their discerning customers. Cranstons Food Hall is a real mecca for northern food lovers offering Cranstons own delicious butchery, deli and takeaway food plus complimentary food and drink from scores of Cumbrian producers, all in attractive displays. It’s loved by Cumbrian locals and visitors alike.

Cranstons, which was established in 1914, has evolved from a travelling butcher’s shop, to a high street butchers, and is now known for its large local produce Food Hall’s. Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall in Penrith is Cranstons flagship site, they also have three other Food Hall’s in Northern Cumbria, two traditional high street butchers shops and a growing online presence. Alongside Cranstons renowned butchery and delicatessen goods their food halls (the companies butchery centre and kitchens produce over 200 16

products daily) sell food and drink from more than 50 Cumbrian producers, making them destinations for anyone interested in the county’s food scene. Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall which is conveniently located two minutes from Junction 40 of the M6 in Penrith was opened in 2003 and expanded in 2009 with 40% more retail space and the addition of a large cafe. It is open 7 days a week 8am-6pm and serves over 6000 customers a week. Cranstons buys the best beef, pork and lamb from farms within

a 30-mile radius. Cranstons have always championed traditional butchery skills and old-fashioned standards of customer care. The Food Hall team are really friendly and have a huge amount of foodie expertise. The 6 strong butchery team have over 100 years butchery experience and are happy to advise you on the best cut of meat, how to cook it and what local produce to serve it up with. Cranstons is best known for its sausages, in particular the iconic uncoiled Cumberland sausage with its high pork

content and distinctive seasoning. Cranston make over three miles of Cumberland sausage a week! Cranstons also specialise in dry ageing beef (they have a specialist humidity controlled ageing chiller), dry curing bacon and making traditional pork and meat pies. They hold a string of Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Awards for their bacon and recently picked up a trio of Great Taste Golds for their beef products- Rare roast beef, Beef Wellington and Steak pies. In recent years the Food Hall has also become known for takeaway food too. The busy production kitchen produces fresh salad bowls, baguettes and fresh cream desserts and customers can help themselves from a huge salad bar featuring seasonal salads from fruity wild rice to sun blush tomato orzo. Cranstons huge craft butchery range and the fact they produce so many delicatessen and fresh lunch

Our Farm Shop items makes their Food Hall’s an exciting place for foodies. They aim to be an anti-dote to the generic supermarket shopping experience through their commitment to local sourcing, huge bespoke product range and old-fashioned approach to customer care. Cranstons buyer Caroline Dinham works closely with local producers as the Food Hall is keen to support Cumbria’s thriving artisan food scene. Caroline ‘’ Cranstons are really lucky to be able to work with a huge array of talented local producers, making everything from ice cream and chutneys to nut butters and Skyr yoghurt. Our local gift hampers are a popular choice with visitors looking to take home a taste of Cumbria’ On entering the Food Hall your eye is immediately drawn to a huge range of Cumbrian products – from ‘Home Grown here’ local vegetables and fruits to ambient goods from local bakers, confectioners and sauce makers. Customers can grab everything they need to make a full meal with Cranstons meat and also choose a bottle of wine or local ale to accompany their meal.

At the heart of the shop you will find raw butchery counter featuring Cranstons specialist butchery ranges from dry cured bacon to speciality sausage, expertly dry aged beef, local lamb, pork and chicken. The counter has a large section devoted to oven ready meals and Cranstons butchers work behind the counter offering specialist advice and cut to demand steaks and joints. Cranstons butchers are renowned for their Christmas creations -- think festive wellingtons, giant sharing sausage rolls and expertly prepared stuffed poultry and also for their Barbecue counters packed with king kebabs, marinated steaks and succulent burgers. Next to butchery counter you will find Cranstons deli packed with artisan pies and sausage rolls, roast cooked meats and salads all made on site. Next to the deli is a self-serve salad bar and a hot counter which featured hot breakfast rolls and hot lunches, it’s popular with local office workers, tradesmen and school children. The busy hot food counter is much loved by locals. It serves a top notch hot meat butty

and a series of daily specials including the ”Cranstons Big Foot Cumberland Baguette”, an imperial foot of Cumberland served in a baguette with local tomato chutney which has developed a bit of a cult following. This year has seen Cranstons develop a new bakery on site, the bakery supplies both the café and the Food Hall with fresh traybakes, scones and cakes. Rob McManus Food Hall Manager said, “Cranstons moving into bakery is a new initiative and is proving a hit with customers. We are always trying to think of new ways to develop and it is great to see people picking up freshly baked cakes when they pop in for butchery and delicatessen goodswho doesn’t love a freshly baked scone?’’ The new bakery also supplies the Food Hall’s large first floor café. ‘’ Café Oswald’s is run by Cranstons and show cases the best of the food hall below.

Open 7 days a week - the stylish space was completely refurbished during lockdown and is a ‘must visit’. Serving a classic Cumbrian style menu using quality, local ingredients as well as many of Cranstons own award-winning products. The most popular dish? You guessed it The Cranstons Full English featuring Cumberland sausage, dry cured bacon and black pudding made on site. Cranstons has been part of the Eden Valley community for over 100 years and the company continues to support local charities and community groups generously. Cranstons regularly hosts Young Farmer groups for behind the scenes Food Hall evening tours. During covid a car park collection service was set up to help vulnerable customers. Dave Dobson, Assistant Manager said,: “Cranstons is a well-loved community business and we are fortunate to have the loveliest customers. It’s a real joy to be part of the hard working team here at the Cumbrian Food Hall, serving customers tasty food and show casing Cumbria’s amazing food scene. It’s very simple, we are passionate about great meat and really good food’.

For opening times and more information:



Grass harvesting key to add plant efficiency

Cropping at 1,652ha Savock Farms in Aberdeenshire has changed significantly in recent years to provide feedstocks for a 2.5MW anaerobic digester that came online in 2018. Rye, triticale and specialised grassland leys have come into the rotation, for the primary purpose of fuelling the AD plant. These now make up around 60% of the farmed area, with the remaining 40% continuing in conventional arable production. Harvesting the rye and triticale has required investment in a selfpropelled forage harvester with a dedicated header, whilst the biggest changes in the machinery fleet have been necessary for making grass silage from the 400ha of grassland. “We had no grass machinery at all before we had the AD plant,” explains business owner Andrew Booth, “but its important that we have full control over the process of silage making and hence we’ve bought all the equipment we need. “Running the AD plant is all about maximising the efficiency of gas production, and that’s dependent on the quality of the feedstocks. In the case of the grass silage, we want the best quality material possible, so cutting at a time of day – usually between 10am and 4pm – when the sugars are at their highest is important.” 18

With grass leys potentially cut three or four times in a growing season, the aim is to be able to operate at a capacity of around 100ha/day, thereby cutting grass as close as possible to optimum maturity and ensiling the crop quickly at the target dry matter of around 30%. In order to fine-tune cutting and harvesting timing, Andrew uses his own in-field moisture level tester to obtain an instant analysis of crop condition. Taking 10g samples of fresh grass for analysis in this way provides the all-important indication of what’s happening in the field. Andrew’s strategy has been to buy machinery, as far as possible, from a single specialist manufacturer, and through a local dealership that can provide any necessary backup and prompt supplies of parts. Ravenhill Tractors, with a main depot based at Dyce, Aberdeen, and longstanding Kuhn dealers, offer the ideal solution. “One of the challenges we face when buying machinery is the amount of change there is in the industry, with companies regularly being bought-out or amalgamated,” says Andrew. “That can bring some uncertainty, with things like the continuity of models and the availability of spare parts, so we thought long and hard before deciding on our grassland machinery.

“We’ve gone with Kuhn because they are a primary manufacturer with a good reputation for strength and reliability, and with a long history in hay and forage equipment. Ravenhill Tractors is a company we know well, who have been Kuhn dealers for a very long time, so this was the right option for us.” To create enough mowing capacity, the Savock Farms fleet includes both triple-gang and frontand-rear mounted disc mower conditioner units, these providing 9 metre and 6 metre cutting widths respectively. Including Kuhn’s patented OptiDisc cutter bar and Protectadrive gear train safety system, the units offer the important combination of mowing efficiency, manoeuvrability and reliability, whilst the steel flail conditioning units have widely adjustable intensity to allow for a range of field conditions. “We have some older grassland and as well as newer leys that are comprised of varieties selected specifically for AD,” says Andrew, “and the weight of crop and conditions can also vary, so it’s important to have the potential to adjust the conditioning intensity.” With optimum crop conditioning, tedding out is rarely required, so – after a period of wilting – the mowers are usually followed by the grass rake. Again, choice of machine has been critical in helping to maintain

overall operational efficiency, with Andrew opting for a Kuhn GA 15131 Gyrorake. This four rotor hydraulic drive machine has a variable operating width, from 9.5m up to 14.7m, and can produce a swath width from 1.4 to 2.5m, with full control through the ISOBUS on the tractor. This ability to adjust the machine according to conditions is another key point in maintaining field efficiencies. “We want to provide a constant feed into the chopper, so a consistent presentation is important to minimise the passes across the field and maximise field efficiency,” adds Andrew. “The four rotor rake has the capacity and flexibility that we need to optimise performance.” The grass is picked up by an 850hp Fendt forage harvester, operating as close to a 6mm chop length as possible to maximise performance in the AD plant. With high quality ensiled grass used alongside rye, triticale and farmyard manure from the farm’s intensive beef finishing enterprise, feedstocks are entirely home produced and – when used in the correct ratios – ensure the best possible gas outputs from the AD plant. It’s the details in the production and use of feedstocks that can make all the difference to plant performance, and that’s critical when payments are based on a fixed price contract for gas output.


Butchers crowned as Scottish Champions

Slice Sausage Champion 2022

They are the traditional butchers’ staples that have fuelled generations of Scots over the centuries. And now the industry has crowned three new kings of the classics as the national Scottish Champions for square sliced sausage, black pudding and beef link sausages are announced in the Scottish Craft Butchers Awards 2022. Delighted Culloden butcher Ali Paul, who has been in the trade for 45 years, lifted the honours for the square Sliced Sausage (or Lorne) with his team at A & I Quality Butchers. And he likened his success to an athlete winning gold at the Olympics. “I don’t think people realise what a significant thing this is for a butcher,” he said. “Sliced sausage is one of the pillars of the butchers trade and to be judged the best in Scotland is absolutely thrilling - it’s a huge achievement.” Ali is keeping the secret of his success close to his chest but explained that locally-sourced quality beef, combined with the 20

Link Sausage Champion 2022

correct ratio of fat, rusks, water and seasoning, produces his national winner. “We’re making around 50 bars of 20 slices each week,”he said, “but I expect we’ll have to increase production to cope with the rush of customers a national title invariably brings.” And Ali dedicated the championship to his 16-strong team who he claims “pulled out all the stops” to ensure the community was fed during the Covid pandemic. “We went from delivering 30 orders a week before the crisis to 300 orders a week throughout,” he said. “We refused no one and the staff were fantastic - they just dug in and got on with it. “To be crowned Scottish Champions for our square sausage is something they can all take pride in, knowing it’s just reward for a job well done.” Meanwhile, the Black Pudding national title heads back to Wemyss Bay where butcher Nigel Ovens at McCaskie’s welcomed its return after 18 years with unrestrained delight.

Black Pudding Champion 2022

Having lifted the championship in 2004, Nigel went on to be runner-up in 2012 and West of Scotland regional champion in 2014 and 2016. “We worked really hard to perfect the recipe and give us a fighting chance to bring the championship title back to McCaskie’s,” said Nigel, who learned of his success on his 45th birthday. “This is just the best birthday present ever,” he said. “I feel amazing - we’re so pleased and thrilled to have regained the crown. It’s a fantastic lift for us

all at the start of another year. “Black pudding is one of the most important butchers’ traditional staples in Scotland and it’s now evolved into a gourmet ingredient in fine dining establishments as well as on our family breakfast tables. “When I joined the family firm our black pudding was terrible. It was the first thing I changed and it became a passionate crusade on my part to transform the recipe into something special. Now we’re producing up to 1,000 lbs of black pudding each week to supply customers all across the UK.

FLAVOUR OF SCOTLAND “To lift the national Scottish championship twice is just fantastic - we really feel the title’s back where it belongs.” Only one other knows the secret recipe for McCaskie’s championship-winning black pudding - trusted butcher colleague Billy McFadden. “We’ve shed blood, sweat and tears to perfect it,” said Nigel, “Billy is the only other person I trust with the recipe, ensuring consistency and quality never falters.” In Arbroath, staff at the newly-crowned Scottish Beef Link Sausage Champion 2022, D H Robertson, were overjoyed with their success. Owner Steven Bennett revealed that the championshipwinning sausage that had lifted top honours was a recipe never entered for competition before. “We’ve been working on an old recipe that I was given when I was an apprentice,” said Steven, tweaking and perfecting it over time. “We entered it for the championship in hope rather than expectation and we’re absolutely overwhelmed to emerge as champions - it’s just fantastic. To know we make the best beef link sausages in Scotland takes a little bit of getting used to but we’re thrilled to bits.” Steven praised his young apprentices who have been in charge of the sausage development and production. “The pressure is now on to make sure we produce plenty beef links to let everyone taste the best in Scotland,” he said. “We will be ensuring we don’t let the quality slip.” Pork and beef links account for a large part of D H Robertson’s business, using locally sourced top quality meat and hand made at the shop. “Our customers will be thrilled at our success,” said Steven. “They’re very loyal and supportive and the touching feedback we receive when we do well is just amazing.

“A Scottish Championship for a core product is hard to beat so we’ll be dining out on this for a long time to come.” Sponsored by the Scobie and Junor Group (sliced sausage), Scotweigh (black pudding) and Lucas Ingredients (beef link sausage), the Scottish Craft Butchers Awards 2022 attracted hundreds of entries from all across Scotland. Scottish Craft Butchers President Tom Courts said the standard displayed in the competition typified the quality produced by craft butchers in every part of the country. “It’s great to see butchers vying for the accolades again after Covid,” said Tom, “and we’re seeing the very best of the best take this year’s championships. “It gives a butcher a great lift to know his products are judged to be the best in Scotland and customers can be assured that the championship-winning product they buy across the counter at these butchers is exactly the same as those that secured the judges’ vote in the competition.” NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy and Chief Executive Scott Walker had the privilege of judging the championship final. Speaking afterwards, Mr Kennedy said: “Scotland’s craft butchers have an incredible reputation for producing high quality, innovative products and getting to taste the very best the nation has to offer was an honour for us both. “The nation’s butchers remain huge and loyal supporters of our red meat sector and their role in relaying to the public our fantastic story on local, sustainable, welfare and environment-friendly beef, lamb, pork and chicken is pivotal. It is no surprise that consumers have increasingly turned to butchers throughout the pandemic for reassurances on where their meat comes from and how it has been reared. “And with such high-quality products, like those that made it to the final, the future for Scottish Craft Butchers is assured.”

Scotland The Brand

Sustainably Scotch By Ruth Watson Sometimes, smaller is better. As farmers look at the changing market around them, there is a growing movement towards

sustainability rather than growth – both economically and physically. For several decades the move towards large continental breeds has seen our fields filling with feed-hungry giants, the return they promise off-set by the extra cosseting they need to fulfil their growth potential. No wonder, then, that more in the sector are looking again at our native breeds – and finding a strong market for distinctive meat with clear provenance. MacDuff 1890 is a meat wholesaler working with a producer group of farms across the Borders and the South-West of Scotland to ensure provenance, quality, and sustainability are key selling points as they supply up-market outlets for customers looking for something special. “Sustainability is key,” Andrew Duff explains. “Scotland is one of the most sustainably-producing countries in the world. Native breeds thrive out on the Scottish hills, they are great for biodiversity, and give us a different quality of product

than you get from the continentals.” It is this quality product from grass which gives natives the edge, in Jock Gibson’s opinion. His parents bought Forres-based Macbeth’s butcher shop to give them an outlet for their breeding herd of Highland cattle. A farmer with a high street outlet, he provides customers with a farm to fork experience they keep coming back for. “There is a clear demand for provenance. People who know their meat appreciate the terroir which comes from native breeds. The eating experience on a native breed is better overall because the carcass size is kept down. The yield isn’t as good from a native breed and in an auction ring they are grossly undervalued, but a Belgian Blue or Limousin is just too big to sell in a butcher’s shop and the Highland produces fantastic beef.” As farming faces the challenges of Brexit, rising costs, and changing markets, our native breeds might be the answer many are looking for. Ruth Watson is the founder of the Keep Scotland the Brand campaign.

food & drink Rural Affairs Minister launches new guide to cooking with red meat A new cooking guide has been launched by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon MSP, to support customers to confidently choose and cook with different cuts of Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork. The 2022 edition of the Scotch Butchers Club Steak Guide, which aims to encourage customers to talk to their local butchers about different cuts and recipes, was launched today at Bruce Brymer butchers in Brechin. The guide, named ‘Let’s Talk About Steak’, is now available from over 270 independent butchers that are members of the club which is managed by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). For more information on Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork, or to find out where to pick up the guide from your local Scotch Butchers Club Member, visit

Red wine and berries could improve life expectancy for those with Recent research has found, for the first time, that people with Parkinson’s disease who eat more flavonoids—compounds found in foods like berries, cocoa, tea and red wine—may have improved life expectancy compared to those who don’t. The research followed up over 1,200 people who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and showed that those who ate more flavonoids in their habitual diet had a lower chance of dying than those who consumed few flavonoids. Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and currently there 22

is no cure. More than 10 million people worldwide are living with the disease. The disease is caused by the brain not making enough dopamine and leads to tremors, stiffness and problems with balance. Before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, participants who ate more of some flavonoid classes, including the anthocyanins (responsible for the red/blue colour of fruit) and flavan-3-ols (in tea, cocoa) had a 31-34% lower risk of dying than those who rarely consumed these flavonoid sources. The effects were more pronounced in men than in women.

food & drink LG Diablo delivers for distillers

Protecting our environment

By Mairi Gougeon

LG Diablo could become the number one spring barley variety in Scotland in the next two to three years, if it maintains the strong performance seen so far on-farm and throughout the malting process. That is the view of Bairds Malt commercial director, Eddie Douglas, who has been impressed with the variety’s consistent quality and good yield potential, even when it is grown further north in the UK. “We were initially wary of LG Diablo’s slightly later maturity, so in the first year, limited our area to the Lothians and Borders region, before trying it in Aberdeenshire the following year. It performed well in both areas; so well that the variety now makes up 50% of the volume at one of our intake points

in Aberdeenshire, and last harvest we saw good crops from as far north as the Moray Coast.” Looking back, he notes that Optic’s maturity used to be deemed “too late” for Scotland, but it soon went on to become an established variety across the country. “LG Diablo’s later maturity is something to watch, but it shouldn’t be an issue. I could see it being the number one variety in Scotland within the next two to three years, if performance is similar to the past three seasons.” Indeed, Mr Douglas believes LG Diablo may have potential for growers even further north, into the Black Isle region, so will be trialling it at the Bairds Malt variety screening site near Inverness this spring.

Our vision for the future of rural Scotland is a positive one. We see our land managers and world-class producers thriving, while backing our worldleading climate change agenda and our response to the biodiversity crisis. We want to provide them with the help to do this. The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) was launched to promote land management practices which protect and enhance Scotland’s natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk and mitigate and adapt to climate change. AECS has provided almost 3,000 applicants with around £243 million since it launched. With the 2021 round, more than 600 rural businesses with projects that protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change will share £30 million. This funding for the sector has helped us restore and enhance nature through increased biodiversity, improved soils and contributions to mitigating climate change at the same time as providing high quality, locally produced food.

In October 2021, I announced the extension of the scheme up to 2024 with a new round opening in each new calendar year. Applications for the 2022 round opened on 24 January and will close on 29 April. Farmers and crofters can apply for support for conversion to and maintenance of organic land, alongside a suite of other measures aimed at promoting low carbon farming and protecting the environment. I’d like to thank those who have applied for the scheme and clearly understand the importance of doing what we can to mitigate climate change. AECS continues to play an important role in meeting these commitments and it also supports the ambition of doubling the amount of land under organic management, set out in the Programme for Government 2021-22. I would encourage people to apply for the next round of the scheme to continue this work. For more information on the scheme and how to apply search for AECS on https://


Greek poultry farmers invest in biogas plants from WELTEC BIOPOWER The German biogas plant specialist WELTEC BIOPOWER registers keen interest in its plant technology in Greece. In the past year, WELTEC expanded its market leadership in the southern European country by building four further projects and expanding three existing plants. Due to the great potential of organic residues to produce biogas and biomethane, especially in the north of the country, the climatefriendly energy source is playing an increasingly important role in the Greek energy transition. WELTEC BIOPOWER has so far been significantly involved in 17 of a total of 30 Greek agricultural and waste biogas plants. This is no coincidence, because WELTEC is an established technology and market leader there. One of these AD plants has been built in Megara, 30 kilometres west of Athens, in 2015. In the past year, WELTEC expanded this biogas plant and since March 2021 the plant is in operation with a doubled output of one megawatt. Around a year after the expansion, the operators’ résumé is consistently positive: “The plant was already running very successfully before the expansion. An above-average plant availability of 97 percent confirms that the extension with WELTEC was the right decision, ” says John Tetoros, the Greek WELTEC sales partner, from a conversation with the owners. 24

It was also crucial for the extension that a sufficient amount of substrates were available. The area around Megara is known for keeping chickens and the biogas plant is also on the site of a chicken farm with 20,000 laying hens. As a result, some of the input materials are permanently secured. In addition to the chicken droppings, roughly equal amounts of olive oil pomace, cattle and pig manure, as well as whey are used for energy production. Since the plant was enlarged, the daily amount of the substrate mix has risen to 190 tons. Originally the plant comprised a digester made of stainless steel with a volume of 3,993 cubic meters, a 530 kilowatt CHP and a storage unit. For the increased input volume, WELTEC BIOPOWER built another 3,993 cubic meter stainless steel digester with a height of 6.30 meters and a diameter of 28.41 meters. In addition, another pre-storage unit, a second 530 kilowatt CHP and an unpacking system for cheese and vegetables were installed. However, this unpacking system is only used in case of irregular deliveries of expired food. A solids feeder is not required since the pumpable substrates are brought into the storage units via a central pump block and then conveyed into the digesters. John Tetoros is proud of this special energy plant: “The plant in Megara is one of the most efficient biogas projects in Greece. Our

In the past year, WELTEC expanded this biogas plant and since March 2021 the plant is in operation with a doubled output of one megawatt. Around a year after the expansion, the operators‘ résumé is consistently positive

many years of experience and knowledge as well as the highly developed biogas technology from WELTEC are two decisive reasons. And the icing on the cake for the success of this plant is the strategically favourable location, the care of the operators and the use of the heat for stables and offices. So, it is hardly surprising that one of the two operators decided to build another biogas plant in Ritsona, 40 kilometres north of Athens. This is about to be completed and will go into operation in spring. Just like in Megara, only organic residues are used to generate energy in Ritsona. These plant projects are examples of circular economy thinking and the consistent use of existing waste. Konstantinos

Nikakis, board member of the Greek biogas operator association HABIO, emphasizes the importance of such projects: “Waste-to-energy plants are urgently required in the new energy age in order to minimize harmful carbon emissions and to achieve climate neutrality. In any case, the supply situation with substrates of animal and vegetable origin is very good; the potential in Greece is enormous. In addition, there is also vegetable and other recyclable waste. In view of this amount of raw materials, agriculture has very good prerequisites to make its contribution so that Greece can achieve its climate goals.” It is now up to the individual players to bring Greece into the new energy age.


Hire a ‘Lawn-mooer’ and save a cow’s life: The world’s first animal gardening service A cell-based milk startup has launched the world’s first animal gardening service, where ex-dairy cows can be hired as ‘Lawn-mooers’, maintaining people’s gardens by doing what they do best and eating grass. The ‘Lawn-mooer’ team is made up of ex-dairy cows who have suffered at the hands of the farming industry, but will now live a stress-free life grazing, whilst helping homeowners keep their gardens tidy. People interested in hiring a ‘Lawnmooer’ can apply for the exclusive service online, but they will be vetted and must agree to feed, water and provide accommodation to their new employee. Cell-based milk startup, Real Deal Milk, has launched the world’s first animal gardening service, where ex-dairy cows can be hired as ‘Lawn-mooers’, maintaining people’s gardens by doing what they do best - eating grass. The total number of UK dairy cows has already fallen from 2.6 million in 1996 to 1.9 million in 2020, that’s a 28% reduction.* But what is happening to those cows who are being retired from their duties? In a bid to save cows from the slaughterhouse, the company is calling on members of the public to ditch their FlyMo and welcome a ‘FlyMoo’ into their life. The idea behind the project is to raise awareness that a cow’s role in the meat and dairy industry is steadily declining, and in turn, we must protect and recognise them as living creatures who deserve to be cared for. As the ‘Lawn-mooer’ gardening service is an exclusive operation, potential customers will be strictly vetted to ensure they are suitable to receive the service. The cow’s future wellbeing is a non-negotiable priority. Those interested can apply to hire a ‘Lawn-mooer’

here: https://www.realdealmilk. com/moo The ‘Lawn-mooers’ will be delivered to vetted customers’ gardens where they can carry out the grass-eating service right away free of charge. Not only will they keep your lawn trim but their manure is also great compost. Customers will be expected to feed and water their new recruit, as well as being able to provide adequate accommodation. A ‘Lawn-mooer’ is not just for one afternoon of fun, customers must commit to employing their service for at least two years. With the price of milk so low, farmers drain dairy cows for every drop of milk to ensure profits are made. Therefore, cows often live in cramped and stressful conditions**. A ‘normal’ cow could live a happy life for at least 20 years, whereas the lifespan of a dairy cow is just six years***. The ‘Lawn-mooer’ service highlights the value of keeping an ex-dairy cow when their milkproducing capabilities have gone and encourage conversation about the life of a cow post-dairy farm. Real Deal Milk is a cellbased milk startup, founded by Zoltan Toth-Czifra. Real Deal Milk uses precision fermentation

and cellular agriculture in a lab to produce the proteins in dairy, casein and whey, so that cows are no longer needed. With the ability to help tackle climate change and end animal suffering, while providing a lower cost, healthier product; it ticks all the boxes and has been touted as the future of food manufacturing. Zoltan Toth-Czifra founder of Real Deal Milk said “Here at Real Deal Milk, our mission is to provide a sustainable solution to dairy manufacturing whilst protecting animals from unnecessary cruelty. Gone are the days where dairy farming was a

few cattle grazing in a meadow, only supplying milk to a family or two. The mass production of cows means that they find themselves in a cramped space, living under stressful conditions, so it’s time they went into retirement. “We’re going to be creating milk based products without the cows, which is great for the cows but it got us thinking… What will the ex-dairy cows do after? There’s going to be a lot of them, considering there’s nearly 2 million in the UK alone! So, we thought, why not let them do what they do best and graze all day?” 25

Agricultural Tyres

Stamp out soil compaction

Continental is working with several other leading agri businesses to raise awareness of soil compaction caused by heavy machinery and to highlight the simple measures that can reduce the problem. “The ‘stamp out soil compaction’ campaign has been launched to demonstrate how the right choice of tyres and maintaining tyre pressures can help to minimise soil compaction. Continental has also developed a mobile app to help operators choose the correct pressure for any given load,” says Continental’s agricultural tyre specialist, Richard Hutchins. Working with ADAS soil scientist John Williams,

Continental has highlighted that up to 30% of soils in the UK are severely degraded and that 39% of the cost attributed to compaction could be reduced by choosing the correct tyres and running machines at the optimum pressure for load. The first machinery test used a KUHN Optimer XL 5000 to show how reducing pressures by almost half the recommended road inflation reduced soil compaction and improved the operating efficiency of the tractor and the cultivator. On a stubble field, the rear tyres of a Fendt 720 were set to 9 psi and the front to 12 psi. “This is less than half what the

tractor could operate with on the road, and it demonstrates the difference needed to operate at the right pressure for load when using large implements,” he says. In contrast, the same tractor was also run at 21 psi in both the front and rear tyres. “The tyre slip increased dramatically when the pressures were increased, rising from below 10% to above 40%. The tractor was visibly struggling for grip and was leaving skid marks in the soil. A greater percentage of the overall weight was being applied to a smaller surface area which severely compacted the soil,” he says. The weight of farm vehicles and the tyre pressures chosen are a major contributor to soil compaction. Mr Hutchins suggests that increased axle weights, caused by heavy implements and more powerful machines, can be offset by tyres that can spread this weight. “Damage to topsoil is caused by incorrect tyre inflation, whilst compaction in subsoil is largely caused by increased axle loads. Calculating the correct pressure for load will minimise the impact farming has on both,” he explains.

To help operators, Continental has designed an app that calculates the correct pressure for load based on the type of tyre and the weight of the vehicle, including any implement being used. “The Agriculture TireTech app can be operated using both iOS and Android devices. It is free to download and easy to use,” he says.

Trelleborg and Massey Ferguson are Back on the Road for the European MF eXperience Tour 2022 Trelleborg is once again joining forces with Massey Ferguson for the European MF eXperience Tour 2022. The widely anticipated annual event bringing local experts and farm equipment directly to agricultural professionals will take off from Italy on February 15, before travelling to 8 other European countries making 24 stops. It is the fourth year for Trelleborg to take part in this exciting tour as a key partner, bringing Trelleborg face-to-face with customers across Europe. This tour stands out from more traditional events by bringing Trelleborg experts closer to end users and sharing knowledge. This includes the importance of correct 26

tire pressure, which is crucial not only for improving traction and grip, but also in reducing fuel consumption. During the tour, Trelleborg will showcase some of its newest solutions for agriculture, including the TM1000 ProgressiveTraction® tire with its extra-wide footprint for superior flotation, that minimizes soil compaction while maximizing comfort. Visitors will be able to try out this high-performance tire and see for themselves its enhanced traction with dual anchoring points, superb handling, extended tire life and reduced working time per acre. When it comes to delivering innovation in agriculture, Trelleborg

aims to be a trusted partner for its customers. During the MF eXperience Tour, customers will receive personalized advice on

how to make the most of their operations and see firsthand how to work together to forge a more sustainable future.


Bowbridge Alpaca Farm By Alison Johnson In 2012 I hadn’t even heard of alpacas; I am now, along with my husband, the proud owner of 51, with new babies (cria) due this spring and summer. We run Bowbridge Alpacas, an alpaca farm near Peat Inn in Fife, about a quarter of an hour each from St Andrews, Cupar and Elie. My husband had always wanted some land of his own and when he found 17 acres on a beautiful south-facing position with distant view to the Forth, he was keen for us to put in an offer. We couldn’t afford to just sit on the land and I had read, and kept, because I had been intrigued, an article about alpacas. I showed it to Paul and before I knew what had happened he had booked himself onto an alpaca husbandry course. We bought our land in 2013. If you can imagine a derelict field, that is what it was. We put in field

drainage and had it harrowed and sewn with specialized alpaca (17 different types of ) seed. We erected a large barn and had small paddocks fenced off – and we were ready to welcome our starter herd. We had chosen three pregnant girls with babies at foot and a gelded boy. Girls and boys (as they are known in the alpaca world) have to be kept separately. Since then we have bought alpacas in, sold pet boys and starter herds and bred our own cria. Alpacas are fairly easy to care for. They need unlimited access to hay all the year round;

L to R: Three best friends, Balthazar (fawn), Lughaidh (brown nose) Laurie G (white)


supplementary feeding to add the nutrients they would obtain on rocky ground in South America, but not on our lush pasture; an annual injection against the local clostidrial diseases; and top-ups of Vitamins A, D and E in the winter months. Alpacas have been bred for their beautiful, warm, soft fleece for 4,000 years. Native to, but not wild in, South America they are preyed on by, amongst other animals, kayotes, mountain lions and bears. Because of this they keep their babies high up in very strong, muscular stomachs, making it difficult to tell whether they are pregnant or not. The matings last around half an hour

and the boy sings – orgles - to the girl all the way through. The orgling, a most unearthly sound – induces the release of the egg,. Two weeks after the mating we bring the girl into a pen and introduce a stud to her. If she spits at him she’s pregnant; if she sits she wants to be mated again. We wear old clothes for the spitoffs for obvious reasons! Alpacas make good mums. There is typically just one cria; twin pregnancies tend to fail at around the seventh month and, fortunately are quite rare. In South America only around 30% of the babies survive; here things are much better, because of the care we give to newborns.

Laurie G - also nicknamed Elvis for his quiff!


They are vulnerable to infection, especially from the umbilical cord, so we spray it with iodine two or three times in the first 24 hours. They may have trouble regulating their body temperature and blood sugar levels so we keep them and their mums in our barn overnight for the first week or so and this allows us to weigh them every morning to ensure they are thriving. The births tend to be straightforward and we have rarely had to interfere. If the cria hasn’t been born before three in the afternoon, it won’t put in an appearance that day because in South America the cria needs be up and walking before nightfall. For the same reason the mums hold off until a fine day. The births are very exciting. Within half an hour the baby is sitting in the cush position next to its proud mummy and within an hour up and looking to feed. The pregnancies last eleven and a half months, give or take up to a month (Portia kept us waiting a very long time for little Pluto). So we breed alpacas for sale and for our own herd. We shear them ourselves and then the best fleeces are processed into beautiful wool from named alpacas. We sell hats, scarves and gloves we knit ourselves, and the wool, with our patterns if they are wanted. The lesser fleece is still beautifully soft so we use it for birdnesters and needlefelting kits, which we also make ourselves. We also offer Alpaca Experiences on our farm, where guests hand-feed the mums and babies. (One of the nicest things about alpacas is that the babies stay really cute until you get your next set of cria). Our visitors then do clickertraining with our pet boys and we give a brief demonstration of our training method, - “like magic” -, which works with the alpacas’ psychology as both prey and herd animals. Our guests then lead an alpaca around our obstacle course, and out into the paddocks with more obstacles, for our longer Experience. We finish with some craftwork and our visitors go away with their own wee alpaca (and usually

some alpaca purchases from our pop-up shop). We have worked hard to make the Experiences really enjoyable and we get great feedback and reviews. We offer private visits and work with all sorts of group, including those with special needs. We also offer husbandry course for people thinking of joining the alpaca world, covering all the things we wished we had known before we embarked on our alpaca venture. In these days of agri-tourism the addition of a group of alpacas to your farming enterprise can be a great asset – but be warned, alpaca farming can be addictive! For information: https://www.

Curious Balthazar and Laurie G with Denzel in the background

Lughaidh (Celtic spelling of Louie) with Bass Rock in the background



Sprayers… spreading it around! Latest news on spraying and fertiliser spreading technology

The new BorderTS boundary spreading system for AMAZONE ZA-TS and ZG-TS AMAZONE has developed the BorderTS deflector for the ZATS mounted spreader and the ZG-TS trailed spreader for even more precise fertilisation up to the field boundary when at those larger working widths. Unlike conventional deflectors, the BorderTS system is integrated into the software of the fertiliser spreader. The new deflector is used in conjunction with the disc-integrated AutoTS border spreading system and has a special baffle construction. High-precision boundary spreading has always been an important focus for AMAZONE. It became apparent very early on how much yield potential lies in the field boundary area and that savings on fertiliser could be achieved yet whilst protecting the environment. Border spreading systems like the Limiter help farmers

to switch between side, border, water course and normal spreading from the comfort of the cab. The advantage of AutoTS is very evident at larger working widths. A short spreading vane is activated in the disc-integrated border spreading system, so that the fertiliser is accelerated less and therefore is only applied across the required distance. AutoTS enables fertiliser to be spread much more effectively, right to the edge of the field, thereby achieving an additional yield of up to 17 % in this area, compared to conventional border spreading systems. Both the border spreading systems work according to the principle of fertilising from the first tramline to the edge of the field. To achieve even higher yields at the edge of the field, the new BorderTS deflector

can be used in conjunction with AutoTS. BorderTS spreads the fertiliser directly from the edge of the field to the crop. When doing so, the shutter nearest the field boundary is left closed. AMAZONE has specially developed the new BorderTS deflector for the TS spreading systems, so that, when used in

combination with AutoTS, can achieve excellent results in lateral distribution right to the edge of the field, without applying fertiliser across the border. This enables increased yields of up to 27% on the outer five metres of the field boundary area, in comparison with conventional border spreading systems.

Next Generation PWM System available from Chafer Machinery Chafer began fitting the first generation of Raven’s Hawkeye Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) system across their range of trailed and self propelled sprayers in 30

2019. Over thousands of hours the feedback from users is reported to be excellent, with every system performing reliably whilst offering improvement in spray applications.

Controlling each nozzle with an individual pulsing valve, PWM allows users to specify pressure, application rate and droplet sizing from the cab. These

are maintained regardless of forward speed to ensure precise targeted applications at all times. Built in turn compensation varies the output of each nozzle

Sprayers individually, preventing under and over dosing across the whole boom, while individual nozzle control ensures overlap is tightly controlled. The new “Hawkeye 2” builds on an already proven product, offering increased nozzle output, variable PWM frequency while further improving the system’s reliability and spray consistency. “None of these features were lacking in the first generation of Raven Hawkeye” states Chafer’s “Precision Farming Manager” Ben Bryant, “it’s great to see a company striving to improve an already excellent product”. These updates further increase the systems suitability to liquid fertiliser applications, with larger nozzle outputs allowing higher application rates and forward speeds. “Turn compensation, individual nozzle control and the rapid rate changes the system offers, make it perfect for applying liquid fertilisers,

giving a more consistent crop canopy with reduced lodging” says Ben. Hawkeye 2 systems were on machines delivered in the last quarter of 2021, with all future builds set to feature the new equipment. Chafer has successfully fitted Raven PWM to a range of other brands of sprayer, stating the ISObus ready nature of the system makes this a relatively simple process.

Fendt Rogators offer optimum weight distribution Operators looking to increase accuracy and improve manoeuvrability should be considering a Fendt Rogator this spraying season. The self-propelled Rogator machines are available in three

models – 645, 655 and 665 – and all are underpinned by the same one-piece chassis and driveline set up, as Sam Treadgold, Fendt’s Rogator sales engineer, explains. “The tailored single-frame chassis design has several

key advantages in the field,” comments Sam. “When the sprayer is loaded and the booms are unfolded, the machine registers a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, with the positioning of the engine and


Sprayers tank key to allowing the weight to be spread across the whole sprayer.” Benefits of the design include reduced soil compaction and the ability to always tread lightly in any conditions. Furthermore, as all the machines use the same layout, servicing and maintenance is also made easier. “The design of the tank has further advantages as it allows the Rogator to achieve a steering angle of 35 degrees and an inner turn radius of 3.14m, which increases manoeuvrability,” says Sam. “This means that crop damage is kept to a minimum with tighter headland turns easily achievable, which also reduces the need to reverse into

tramlines on awkward shaped short works.” The three Rogator models use the same Tier 5 six-cylinder Agco Power engine. Power outputs vary from 210hp – 307hp, while tank sizes start at 3,850-litres up to the biggest 6,000-litre unit. All sprayers use Pommier aluminium booms, with widths starting at 24m up to 39m. A 785l/min centrifugal pump is standard across the trio. “All models run Fendt’s HydroStat CVT, which is made up of a variable displacement pump and wheel motors to deliver the exact amount of oil depending on the ground speed and torque at any given moment. “This allows the speed of each wheel to be controlled

independently for automatic traction control and when run with the automatic engine RPM, which

Fast, precise high efficiency spraying with John Deere

John Deere’s sprayers are underpinned by a series of innovative technologies and productivity boosting features that are available on trailed and self-propelled models. For large capacity trailed models, the M900i and R900i series fit the bill. In crops ranging from wheat and barley to potatoes or vegetables, the M900i series offers three tank sizes from 4,400 to 6,200 litres and double or triplefold booms from 24 to 40 metres. The range is fitted with piston diaphragm pumps and manual solution controls with optional automatic filling or rinsing. 32

works like Fendt’s TMS system, it can help keep fuel consumption to a minimum,” concludes Sam.

The R900i series offers the same tank size range, plus a larger 7,500-litre model, all featuring the unique PowrSpray solution system. PowrSpray includes a self-priming centrifugal filling pump with an output of 1,200l/ min and spraying pumps of 750l/min or, optionally, 1000l/ min. Fully electronic controls provide R900i series sprayers with automated filling, agitation and rinsing systems, all operable from the tractor cab. All models are fitted with TerrainControl Pro and TerrainCommand Pro auto boom levelling technologies which

Sprayers keep booms at the right hieght above the target for maximum coverage and minimised spray drift. First-rate, consistent spray quality and optimised coverage all season is a given thanks to

fast, accurate rate control and individual nozzle control. Farmers considering a selfpropelled model will be looking at Deere’s R4140i (4,000-litre) or R4150i (5,000-litre)

machines. Built for high output, these machines feature the unique XtraFlex individual wheel suspension for a smooth ride at high spraying speeds. The QuadControl transmission

provides more performance and convenience thanks to a new cruise control function and individual wheel slip control.

Knight extends 1800 range to 5,000 litres Knight Farm Machinery is launching a new model in its 1850 self-propelled sprayer range. The 1850V features a 5,000 litre stainless steel spray tank and added under chassis clearance, yet still has a lower centre of gravity than its stable-mates. It achieves this via two changes: Firstly, the spray tank has been widened and extended downwards between the front and rear wheels, with the offside extension being part of the main spray tank. This new tank design comes with a single sump that assists the

washing out process as well as minimising the amount of residual liquid left in it when spraying has been completed. The nearside extension houses a separate, integrated 500 litre clean water tank, alongside Knight’s new, high efficiency circular easyclean induction hopper Secondly, the boom itself folds at a lower angle, this being decreased from 10 degrees to five degrees so that – in transport – the overall height of the machine has been reduced by around 50 centimetres.


Sprayers As well as reducing the overall height and lowering the centre of gravity, under chassis clearance has been increased by some 10 centimetres by extending the legs that house the wheel motors and fitting larger diameter tyres. The standard engine fitted is a 225hp Tier 5 Perkins, which powers Poclain MHP wheel motors. All wheel hydrostatic braking is used, with the addition of both hydrostatic boosted and dynamic foot braking for the front axle. With this system the front wheel motors are switched into low ratio when slowing down and - if required – the foot brake can be used to increase braking efficiency further. Knight has taken the opportunity to ‘face-lift’ the vehicle’s cab, installing a new front bumper that includes integrated front light pods and a new toolbox. Spray control is ISOBUS via a Muller terminal, with the company’s Fluid Control Pro system being fitted as standard.


Kuhn offers incentives for precision sprayer options KUHN is offering significant incentives to farmers looking to embrace more precision led spraying methods. Both the DELTIS and ALTIS mounted models and LEXIS and METRIS trailed sprayers will now be offered with GPS section control, boom assist, and five other options at a discount. “We want to incentivise precision farming methods that can reduce costs and increase yield. Therefore, KUHN now offers up to £5,000 of additional discounts on options for sprayers,” explains sprayer and non-inversion specialist Rupert Greest. Further options available include the new AUTOSPRAY droplet control feature, which

is unique to KUHN and enables adjustment of the droplet size from the cab. Also included in the scheme are automated filling and rinsing, BOOM ASSIST automatic boom height control, nozzle by nozzle shut-off,

automated steering axles and working lights. The options represent a move to compete with the functionality of self-propelled machines whilst offering the flexibility of having a tractor for

Sprayers the months when a sprayer is not needed. “The versatile, ISOBUS compatible, METRIS is compact with a hitch-to-axle length of 4.4 metres and the choice of 3,200 to 4,100 litre capacities. At just 3.35 metres high when specified with 36 metre booms it is easy to store, light to tow, and may represent a more cost-effective option to farms looking to move away from a self-propelled sprayer,” he saysFurther details on KUHN’s precision spraying equipment are available at whats-new-precision-sprayingat-your-fingertips.html.Current KUHN machine owners can also obtain information via the MyKUHN online customer portal. Farmers interested in taking advantage of the precision spraying discount scheme are advised to contact their local KUHN dealer.

Mazzotti gets Deere endorsement Following John Deere’s acquisition of Mazzotti in 2017, all models now carry the ‘Mazzotti by John Deere’ branding across the range of compact, light, front cab sprayers. Models are available with variable ground clearance, hydraulically adjustable tread width and an air assist spray system. 2021 saw the addition of a new compact high-capacity machine, the MAF 4080. This features a chassis with a longer wheelbase to enable the larger 4,000-litre solution tank to be carried, while maintaining the ideal 50/50 weight distribution achieved by the smaller MAF models. The existing MAF 2580 (2500-litre capacity), 3180 (3,000-litre) and 3580

(3,500-litre) models got multiple upgrades, including a new solution system, a new wider range of spray booms, John Deere spray controls and a new John Deere-sourced operator station.

The operator station has been designed for comfort and safety during long working days. A large glass area provides excellent visibility towards the crop and spray boom, while electronic climate control maintains a


Sprayers comfortable working environment. For 2022 larger 4240 (4,000-litre), 5,240 (5000-litre) and 6,240 (6,000-litre) MAF sprayers also use this new John Deere operator station.

A new range of MK spray booms from 24 to 36m wide, including a triple-fold 36/24m version, are now available for the Mazzotti MAF sprayers. Featuring a triangulated 3D steel construction,

and with the stainless-steel spray lines protected within the structure, they are built for durability and a long working life. Available in either three or fivesensor configurations, the NORAC

UC7 system offers automatic control of boom height, boom angle and boom variable geometry, precisely positioning the nozzles for optimum coverage and minimised spray drift.

McConnel unveils next generation Agribuggy sprayer Ludlow based manufacturer, McConnel has unveiled the next generation of its acclaimed, low ground pressure, self-propelled crop sprayer, the Agribuggy2 AB30. Redesigned from the ground up, the all new Agribuggy features a new Stage-V compliant Cummins engine, heavier-duty drivetrain and larger 3000-litres capacity spray tank for greater performance, durability, and output. With a ground pressure of just 8psi when the 3000-litre capacity tank is fully filled, the new Agribuggy AB30 remains the market leading light-footed sprayer that allow growers to confidently treat crops in challenging ground conditions and allows for safe, productive working, earlier and later in the year. Featuring a robust mechanical drivetrain, larger axles and all-wheel drive the AB30 offers safe, surefooted traction with the added safety of a mechanical HP24 gearbox and differential to arrest descent with engine braking – a reassurance not available with sprayers reliant on hydrostatic drives. The new OMSI drive axles provide improved traction and handling with a generous

750mm ground clearance when fitted with large diameter rowcrop wheels. Powered by a new, highperformance Cummins 3.8L 148HP turbo charged diesel engine, the powerplant is Stage V compliant to Euro emissions standards. Delivering 600Nm of torque at lower revs and utilising an intelligent engine braking system, the new powerplant provides responsive power and performance both on the road and in the field.

Further performance optimisation provides exceptional fuel economy. Average daily consumption is circa 70 litres/day, a saving of up to 65% compared to large hydrostatic sprayers. A larger 110 Litre fuel tank provides additional working range. To ensure fast, effective heat dissipation of the powerplant, high efficiency cooling packs featuring reversible fan drive provide efficient cooling at all temperatures and engine loads.

In the cab, operators enjoy further refinements including category IV active filtration system, cruise control and additional 4WS features for reduced fatigue. An updated cab instrument layout includes a high-definition 7-inch full-colour display and software to optimise accuracy & sprayer control. Other upgrades include a new hydraulic powered braking system for enhanced performance, and LS hydraulics providing greater capability at lower engine revs.

New range of self-propelled sprayers from Merse

Merse agriculture is delighted to introduce along side the existing range of Bargam and Dammann products the new 36

range of self-propelled sprayers that will be entering the market this year under the Merse logo. The finishing touches are being

applied to a new 3000litre 24mtr mechanical drive machine with heavy duty axles, 170hp Iveco engine a new style cat 4 cabin.

This machine boasts superior comfort from its fully hydraulic and pneumatic suspension on the axles and boom, the ride is outstanding

Sprayers and will cope with the worst of conditions whilst tall wheels, powerful transmission, powerful engine and only weighing 6300kg unladen allows it to travel earlier boosting productivity. Operator comfort is a big priority of the new machine as it needs to prove itself amongst other machines already on the market but with the layout of the cab components and the nicely laid out controls for the sprayer it should make a nice place for any operator to spend their day. There is also the option of fully hydrostatic drive to give additional clearance if required with heavy duty drive motors and antiskid units fitted these machines offer some of the best traction available from hydraulic drive. The new range of machines are available from 2000 to 5000 litres and 20 -36mtr booms in either steel or aluminium. Specifications of each machine can be tailored to the customers exact requirements, our demo

machine is fitted with a constant high pressure recirculation with 13 sections on air shut off. This may be fairly basic but it’s certainly proven in reliability.

We can offer more complicated systems with PWM or Alteks new smart spray if the customer is looking to keep up to date with technology. If you are looking

for a new machine and failing to tick all the boxes why not give the office a call to arrange a demo to see how it can improve your spraying routine!



Record Year for British Built Team Sprayers British Sprayer Company Team Sprayers have reported a record year of sales for their sprayers in 2021; their 40th year of business. Team Managing Director Danny Hubbard said: “It has been a very busy year for us, we have a seen a huge increase in sales from UK farmers, who are increasingly looking for British built machines. We manufacture all our sprayers on site in our Ely factory and have the ability to build bespoke machines for each customer. We can also work to shorter lead times as we are not reliant on imports. We are currently working to an average of 3 months lead time for our larger agricultural sprayers such as the Arian 2, so orders received now would be ready for the busy spring spraying season. We pride ourselves on providing an excellent back up service, we hold parts on site and

every sprayer we sell in Britain is delivered and commissioned by us, something that is harder for overseas businesses at the present time.” Team’s best selling agricultural sprayer is the mounted Arian 2, also the largest sprayer the company manufacture. Designed with excellent boom stability and efficiency in mind, the Arian 2 features a rotationally moulded plastic tank with sizes up to 1800L, a two stage control valve operation system designed to keep wastage to a minimum whilst optimising sprayer functions. The Arian 2 is available with a range of boom widths up to 24m, all built in steel tubular sections with a three dimensional structure designed to offer years of strength and durability. Lincolnshire sprayer specialist Colin Weightman of

Colin Weightman Services who are dealers for Team Sprayers said: “I recently sold an Arian 2 to a farmer who was looking for a bigger sprayer due to expansion. It’s a British built

sprayer with a rear folding boom and it’s competitively priced, which often surprises people. It’s simple to operate, robust and well built - it’s an easy sprayer to recommend.”

The Vicon iXtrack T4 and GEOSPREAD Hunniford Farms based at Craigavon, Northern Ireland, has recently invested in a Vicon iXtrack T4 sprayer and an ROXL GEOSPREAD, to improve accuracy and efficiency with sprays and fertilisers. Supplied by Genesis Distribution, Mr Hunniford says both are saving the farm money. “Application accuracy is on another level,” explains Victor Hunniford, who runs the business alongside his father Richard and brother Richard Jnr. With weigh cells, section control and ISOBUS connectivity, Hunniford Farms reckons that fertiliser spreading is as close as it gets, to being 100% accurate. “The spreader is plug-andplay, with all spreading data shown on my New Holland Intelliview display. It is seamless integration,” he says. His brother Richard Hunniford, agrees. “Fertilisers 38

have become so expensive, that we need to make every kilo count,” says Richard Jr (Pictured). “Our crops do look good.” Though the high praise doesn’t stop there. Hunniford Farms has also invested in an iXtrack T4 trailed sprayer, to replace a front and rear tank combination. “The Vicon sprayer is without doubt the best bit of machinery I’ve ever bought,” adds Victor. “We’ve gained an extra 1,000 litres of tank capacity, which means fewer fill-ups and more productivity.” “More importantly, the sprayer can be coupled or uncoupled in minutes, releasing a tractor when needed. This is easier than a front and rear tank combination which, once on the tractor, tended to stay on most of the year,” he says. With 400ha of arable cropping in a 15-mile radius of

its base, having a trailed sprayer with high stability for road transport, was important. “We travel around a fair few miles from the farm, and the sprayer tows as well as a trailer,” he says. “In-field, Vicon’s Boom Guide holds the 24m boom ontarget, while auto start-stop and section control reduces overlaps to a minimum.”

He says the IsoMatch joystick provides an easy method of control, and being an ISOBUS sprayer, plug-and-play simplicity puts application data on his tractor’s in-cab terminal. “The sprayer also tracks precisely with the tractor wheels, and the dealer’s knowledge and back-up is beyond question,” he says. “I’m very impressed with it.”

environment Rural affairs secretary sees vision of climate-positive, futuristic farming The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon MSP, got a vision of climate-positive agriculture and future farming technologies when she visited the James Hutton Institute in Dundee. Ms Gougeon heard about Hutton plans for a Potato Innovation and Translation Hub in Invergowrie. The hub is envisioned as a collaborative partnership of researchers, knowledge brokers and commercial company: a centre for research and translation of innovation to accelerate the adoption of new knowledge and techniques from field to fork. The Cabinet Secretary heard in detail about the Institute’s Climate-Positive Farming work at Glensaugh Farm, near Laurencekirk. Climate-positive farming is a transformational approach that achieves netzero or even negative carbon emissions, that also protects and enhances a farm’s natural assets and ensures long-term financial sustainability of the farm business. As part of her visit, the Cabinet Secretary toured the Future Farming Hub established by farming technology company Liberty Produce and agritech centre Crop Health and Protection (CHAP), as well as Intelligent Growth Solutions’ Crop Research Centre, both located at the Hutton Dundee campus. Cabinet Secretary Gougeon said: “It is great to get a chance to see some of the innovative

work happening right here in Scotland. As we continue to journey to more sustainable farming, we can learn from the measures taken here which could ultimately help us make better use of our land. It’s an exciting road ahead and I’m so proud of all of the hard work that goes into the range of activities happening at the James Hutton Institute campus.” Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, added: “It was a pleasure to meet the Cabinet Secretary and colleagues and acknowledge the great support from the Scottish Government for the many exciting things happening at the Institute just now.” Alexander Giles, Commercial Director at Liberty Produce, commented: “We were delighted to welcome Ms Gougeon to our Future Farming Hub and have the opportunity to brief her on Rural affairs secretary sees vision of climate-positive, futuristic farming plans to ensure Scotland becomes a centre of excellence in this rapidly growing sector.”



Methane production and what can we do about it?

Depending on body size and nutrition, dairy cows can produce up to 500 litres of methane (CH4)/day, contributing between 4550% of a dairy farm’s carbon footprint (CFP). Methane mainly comes from enteric fermentation, the natural process of fibre digestion in the rumen. Measures to reduce total CH4 emissions, as well as per kg of milk, include: 1. Forage quality – the higher the better. Higher D value (digestibility) forages have a lower fibre content, meaning less CH4 production during rumen fermentation. They also enable higher intakes, leading to more milk output and so less CH4 per kg of milk. Cutting date will have the biggest influence on forage quality. 2. Increase concentrates – feeding more concentrates in place of silage will reduce CH4 production. Concentrate type is also important as those with a higher NDF (fibre) content e.g., sugar beet pulp and soya hulls, will produce

more CH4 than starchy, lower NDF cereals and some protein sources. A milk yield response is also likely, again reducing CH4/kg of milk. 3. Age at first calving – this can have a significant impact on total herd emissions as dairy heifers will be producing CH4 but have no milk output to spread emissions over. Research by AFBI showed that reducing calving age of heifers from 27 to 24 months reduced the CPF by 7% for a typical moderate input herd in Northern Ireland. 4. Replacement rate – reducing the replacement rate means less heifers are required to maintain herd size. Longevity also improves as a typical 33% replacement rate means a cow lasts for three lactations, but this increases to five lactations with a 20% replacement rate. Focus on health and fertility to reduce replacement rate and heifer requirements. Not only will these improvements reduce a farm’s CFP, but they should also bring financial benefits.

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.

LEMKEN conducts carbon farming research project

LEMKEN has developed the concept of a Carbon Farming Plough in collaboration with the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF). The ZALF research work on yield and climate effects of partial deep tillage are funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. LEMKEN will use this research to create an implement for carbon enrichment in arable soils that is ready for series production. This plough is intended to be used for meliorative tillage, i.e. to break up compaction and improve the soil as a result. The implement features bodies which plough at alternating depths to create wells below the tillage level in every other furrow, which are then filled with humus-rich topsoil. Analyses of historical trials conducted by the ZALF have shown that more than half of the humus introduced in this manner is retained to secure the long-term storage of CO2 in the soil. The lower soil layers with little humus which are ploughed up in the process are mixed with the topsoil and form new humus-

rich topsoil within a matter of only a few years, as carbon is introduced from crops. Overall, the humus content of soils tilled in this manner therefore increases, and soil fertility improves. At the same time, this sustainable soil improvement creates up a new business model in the form of carbon farming. Breaking up compacted soils while also introducing humus-rich topsoil into wells allows plant roots to grow into deeper soil levels and access the water and nutrients retained there. This approach can increase yields by up to five per cent even in the first year. This effect was established as early as in the 1960s and 1980s and has been confirmed by recent field trials conducted by the ZALF. The method can be repeated diagonally to the main direction of work after five to ten years. In addition to the above benefits, this new carbon farming technology also opens up new income streams for farmers in the form of trade in CO2 certificates. A potential future tax on CO2 emissions is therefore avoided, and the competitiveness of agricultural businesses is improved.


Elrick Prize recognises work to improve sustainability Alex Pirie has been awarded the inaugural Elrick Prize in recognition of his work to improve land sustainability A new annual prize has been created by SAC Consulting – part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) – in memory of Senior Consultant Gavin Elrick. Gavin, who was part of SAC Consulting’s Environment Team, helped Scottish agriculture become more sustainable by sharing his vast knowledge with farmers and crofters across the country. His untimely death in November 2020 came as a shock to colleagues and the wider rural community.

The inaugural Elrick Prize has been awarded to Consultant Alex Pirie in recognition of his work to improve the sustainability of land use. Alex, who is from a dairy farming background near Campbeltown, is already well regarded across the business and with many farming stakeholders. He was nominated by Principal Consultant Chloe McCulloch and seconded by Regional Development Manager Raymond Crerar.


environment Chloe said: “The work Alex has done in supporting the Net Zero Arran group has been inspiring. His ability to attract influential stakeholders and policy makers and explain the impact of the group will increase the opportunities for others to participate in this type of activity in future. “He should also be recognised for his work with the Agri Environment Climate Scheme. He brings a genuine enthusiasm, coupled with creativity and significant skill, and I am in no doubt there are sustainable management activities that are only happening today because Alex stepped forward to take

on a really challenging job in designing and delivering a fundable application. “Finally, on a personal note, Gavin may have been employed by SRUC as a consultant, but he was also an advisor of the old stamp, motivated by supporting farmers, friends and colleagues, and his industry. I see similar qualities in Alex and therefore this nomination is truly fitting.” Alex said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be nominated for the first Elrick Prize. “It is a superb way to recognise Gavin’s outstanding contribution to the industry and the way in which he conducted himself.”

Ten new innovative research projects announced by AHDB and BBSRC Ten new projects to help UK farming transition to net zero and become more sustainable have been formally announced by AHDB and BBRSC this week. The projects aim to address challenges affecting the sector, as identified by farmers, and will be carried out by some of the country’s leading agriculture and bioscience experts, at highly esteemed institutions. James Phillips, Senior Portfolio Manager for Agriculture at BBSRC says “We are excited to partner again with AHDB to invest in research that is directly informed by the needs of farmers. The projects are supported by £0.5M of funding and will develop novel solutions for a more sustainable agriculture”. Dr Amanda Bennett, Environment Scientist at AHDB says “Agriculture will be instrumental in reducing the impact of climate change by cutting 42

greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon storage. These new research projects will provide much needed progress in scientific knowledge on how farming can reach net zero by 2040.” The 10 projects cover five distinct topics: technology, regenerative agriculture, soil health, improving livestock farming systems and, looking to the future, development of new resistance mechanisms. Three projects aim to develop innovative new technology; Dr Joe Roberts at Harper Adams University will develop a new smart monitoring tool for improved night-time monitoring of vine weevils. Dr Martin Blackwell at Rothamsted Research will develop a new field test kit to measure soil phosphate, and Dr Matthew Tinsley at Stirling University will develop best-practice for tank-mixing biopesticides.

It’s an ill wind

By Rebecca Audsley, Principal Consultant, SAC Consulting Farmers have always worked with the weather, but our changing climate adds another layer of complexity to deal with. At time of writing, Scotland had seen four named winter storms in the space of three months, resulting in significant damage to buildings, forests, power and telecoms infrastructure, travel disruption, and also, sadly, loss of life. The first of these named storms, Storm Arwen in November 2021, left substantial damage in its wake to forests and woodlands in Scotland. Estimates suggest approximately one million cubic metres of timber was blown over, with the impact further exacerbated by early 2022 storms Malik and Corrie. Generic guidance messages such as conducting tree safety surveys to identify and prune/remove problem trees prior to storms occurring, still hold, and could reduce the risk of future damage, but what to do when faced with significant tree loss due to windblow on your land? SAC Consulting’s Senior Forestry Consultant Ben Law advises that safety is the priority; trees affected by windblow are inherently dangerous, and sometimes have the added danger of bringing down utility lines. Damaged power cables can be re-energised without warning or remain live, and high voltage can arc significant distances. If you see damaged utility lines (even if these appear “dead”), call the electricity emergency number 105 and remain at a safe distance. Storm damaged

trees are often under significant compression or tension forces, entangled in other blown trees and may contain suspended debris, further creating a hazardous situation. Removal of windblow should only be undertaken by trained, experienced and insured operators, so seek professional assistance. Ben also notes that Felling Permissions are still required for windblown trees in Scotland; Scottish Forestry fast-tracked approval for windblow caused by Storm Arwen, mindful of the need for urgency when salvaging timber before it degrades beyond merchantable condition. With climate change projections suggesting an increase in ‘extreme weather event intensity’, alongside milder and wetter winters and hotter and drier summers, it might pay to consider how we can better prepare. For more information, see our Adaptation to Climate Change pages at www.farmingforabetterclimate. org/adapting-to-climatechange and on our social media @SACFarm4Climate. Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service (FAS) at www.fas. scot has more information around the impact of storms on our woodlands and links to Scottish Forestry guidance.

To find out more about carbon auditing, practical ideas to reduce emissions from your farm, and to read about what other farmers have done, visit find us on Facebook and Twitter @SACFarm4Climate #26days26ways

renewable energy

Scottish Cluster support Investment in carbon capture project announced Financial backing of up to £80 million is being offered to help the Scottish Cluster carbon capture project accelerate its effort to help Scotland’s just transition to net zero. The investment would come from the Scottish Government’s Emerging Energy Technologies Fund. It is proposed to help work with UK Government support to develop “three CCS clusters for the price of two” and grant the Scottish Cluster clear and definitive Track-1 status in its carbon capture sequencing process. Energy Secretary Michael Matheson met virtually with UK Government’s Minister for Energy Greg Hands on Thursday, setting out the funding offer and pressing the UK Government to provide certainty for the Scottish Cluster. Mr Matheson said: “The UK Government’s decision not to award the Scottish Cluster clear and definitive Track-1 status is a serious mistake which shows a clear lack of ambition and leadership on climate change.

“Delaying or halting the deployment of the Scottish Cluster has serious consequences, including jeopardising the industrial decarbonisation of Scotland and our just transition to net zero, creating an un-level playing field across the UK, and endangering Scottish and UKwide net zero targets. “That is why I am announcing that we stand ready with up to £80 million of funding to help the Scottish Cluster continue and accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technology. “Unfortunately we do not hold all the necessary legislative and regulatory levers needed to support the Scottish Cluster, as they are not devolved. We cannot simply go it alone with our funding. Our offer of support is therefore made on the basis that the Scottish Cluster is given certainty of its due status within the UK sequencing process, and I once again urge the UK Government to provide this certainty for the benefit of our energy sector and for our ability to deliver a just transition to net zero.”

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out May 2022 Subscription details on page 136

Planning reform By Mark Richardson, Senior Policy Manager

Scotland’s planning system decides what gets built, where and, crucially, how quickly. While it may not be glamorous, it’s a process which is a vital part of our economy, keeping the wheels of sustainable development turning. Scotland’s target of netzero carbon emissions by 2045 means we need to start accelerating the rapid progress we’ve made to date on cleaning up our energy sector. For many years, our industry has often been hamstrung by delays and inconsistency in the planning system. Recent reforms promised to put an end to those problems, rewriting “the long-term strategy” of planning in Scotland to meet “the overarching goal of addressing climate change”. Sadly, the wording of the draft National Planning Framework 4, currently being scrutinised in the Scottish Parliament, falls far short of that impressive goal. In its current form, NPF4 will actually hinder our transition to a renewables-led energy system.

Redrafting is essential to ensure that these planning reforms create the consistency, certainty and speed of decision making needed to achieve a net-zero-driven planning system which can respond to the climate change and nature recovery agendas. Clear guidance is needed from government to direct all planning decision-makers to radically reform their approach to the planning balance, placing climate change and nature recovery at the heart of all decisions – and at the top of their priorities when making decisions on renewable energy projects. The Government must also ensure that these planning reforms are able to deliver the levels of renewable energy deployment needed to achieve net-zero. At the moment, many of the changes proposed actively undermine the renewable energy consenting process. Without significant redrafting of this blueprint for planning, we risk missing not only our climate and nature recovery targets but the chance to rejuvenate many parts of rural Scotland which are desperate for investment.


Made in Scotland

A Garden of Grains By Wendy Barrie

Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife Director of Scottish Food Guide What do Shetland, Grimsay, North Uist, Fair Isle, Luing and Dalarna have in common with Ardross Farm? They are the origins of the grains planted by a Swedish farmer in a Scottish walled garden near Elie. Bosse Dahlgren has farmed regeneratively all his working life in Sweden until he settled in Fife in 2013 at which point he had to make do with our diminutive kitchen garden but was undeterred. Having always run a mixed farm with heritage breeds and grains he wanted to see which interesting grains could work in the Scottish

Bosse scything ar Ardross


climate – after all it seemed pretty Nordic – so he set about growing a small patch of an old variety of spring wheat from his mother’s homeland of Dalarna, in the heartland of Sweden. His first batch of Dalarna spring wheat worked well in its new home, the 1½ square metre bed yielding sufficient grain for two delicious loaves and seed saving for the following year. A chance conversation with the Pollocks at Ardross brought about the loan of a table-top mill to make flour. Meanwhile over in the Hebrides there was an interest

in producing local milk and an invitation extended for Bosse to visit and offer advice whereupon he met farmers still growing old grains - but for feed not focaccia - that sparked his interest. He returned to the mainland with a wee bag of seeds. The following year we visited Mary Braithwaite on Luing who

Wendy binding stooks at Ardross

had achieved a gold award in the Scottish Bread Championship at the Royal Highland Show. She too is interested in heritage grains and had been given a mixed bag from a farmer, straight from the land, that she kindly donated to Bosse. Now there was no stopping him from his mission! Day after day he sat sorting out grains – a task akin to a

10,000 piece deconstructed jigsaw with little heaps of white oat, black oat, wheat, bere and rye taking over every available surface in the house. With far too much for our raised beds, Bosse continued with his Dalarna wheat, now eight years acclimatised, and pondered over his next move. There have been Pollocks farming in the East Neuk since 1870 and in 1968 they settled at Ardross. A forerunner in farm diversification and keen to distance themselves from the increasing pressure of supplying supermarkets and rising fuel costs, Rob and Fiona Pollock opened their farm shop in 2005 and since then have been recognised with nationwide awards, the most recent being 2021 Winner of the Best Farm Shop & Deli in Scotland in the Great British Food Awards. It has been a family affair with their three daughters from day one: rearing and selling pasture fed beef and lamb, growing a fantastic array of vegetables, and producing bakes, ready meals and fabulous steak pies from their onsite kitchen. Folk come from far and wide to buy flavoursome food with provenance from these Fifers, now also with a local home delivery service alongside call and collect. Over the years I have brought many visitors and chefs to meet the family including Paolo Di Croce, Secretary General of Slow Food International and a group from Les Dames d’Escoffier USA. Food tourism at its best, exemplifying not only our produce but also our Scottish warmth and hospitality,

Home baked rye crispbreads

something money can’t buy. In 2019 Rob passed away suddenly after a short illness, a heart-breaking loss for the family. Their family bonds gave them the strength they needed: Nikki predominantly on the farm shop side, Claire now the full-time farmer, Fiona in charge of the kitchen and school teacher Tara a welcome support whenever she can – and everyone mucking in as needs arise. With so many plates to spin it was no surprise their walled garden was lacking a wee bit tlc so when Bosse and I were recounting his grains project over a coffee one day, they kindly offered us the space to follow his dream and discover together what would grow well in Fife. It was a perfect fit so Bosse starting digging! Much of Scotland’s grain is used for whisky or feed production with little processed for the kitchen other than by a few specialist growers and millers so Bosse was intent on acclimatising his grains to see what could grow successfully with good flavours. Through his many Swedish contacts he had visited producers and attended events where a range of pure grains were made into breads for comparative tastings, spanning from mild subtle favours to robustly spiced dough…all from the humble grain. Buying a loaf is so ubiquitous, a humdrum daily event, and although many folk have become home bakers since lockdown there is still largely a lack of appreciation regarding the effort that goes into growing its main constituent. Soil quality and type, temperature and

rainfall, sheltered and exposed landscapes, all affect which grain can be grown where. Thereafter it still needs cut, threshed, cleaned and milled, all without destroying its natural flavours and nutritional value. There are huge variations within Scotland alone and what works in one region gives no guarantee it will work elsewhere as our ancestors knew only too well. As Bosse dug and composted the walled garden throughout spring it had a certain ‘secret garden’ feel to it as pigeons, robins, partridge and tits all took an interest and Claire’s beehives buzzed in a crescendo as the days grew warmer. About this time, Barkland Croft on Fair Isle posted a photo of their last harvest and the old stooks caught my eye so I contacted her to see what was growing. Shetland oat. How exciting. Could they spare a wee envelope? Sure enough the postie delivered a sachet from Fair Isle and another grain was added to Bosse’s collection. He now had Hebridean black and white oats, Hebridean bere, Shetland black and white oats, Hebridean rye and Dalarna spring wheat. Come early summer, green shoots appeared and hoeing became essential to rinse weeds. There was no knowing how fertile the seeds would be. Some had been in a box for several years however as spring turned to summer they all grew high and healthy, waving in the fresh sea breezes, taller than modern varieties but sturdy and strong complete with nesting partridges hidden in their midst. By harvest time there was much interest in what was happening ‘over the

Dalarna home baked rolls

wall’ so a few open evenings were arranged on Thursdays to coincide with late night shopping. We had a lovely turnout of interested Ardross customers, keen to learn more about our food heritage and where the seeds had originated. By August it was time for scything – definitely Bosse’s favourite part – and the swish of the blade became a daily occurrence. I was taught the art of binding bushels and the sight of the walled garden filled with golden stooks brought a deep sense of satisfaction and joy to us all. Bosse’s threshing raised some smiles, with his homemade gadget and threshing by hand – but it worked. A bonus delight was the quality and colours of the straw – a veritable rainbow ripe for a craft enthusiast. By this point both Nikki and I were hoping for some flour to bake with but seed saving was the main objective for year one although we were ‘allowed’ a little wheat and rye to experiment with. Their dainty mill worked a treat and the results were really delicious. There is also sufficient bere although we have yet to process it. The oats need to multiply further, besides which we need to find someone to help us de-husk such small quantities so that’s work in progress. Bosse is now digging down a seasoning of local seaweed before the process starts again and we are all looking forward to following his progress in 2022. There is much interest and great potential in Scottish grains and perhaps at some point the outer isles may also bring back the grains - along with the dairy - as the more high quality food we grow, the better it is for our local food systems, our health and our planet. For too long we have ignored our indigenous riches in favour of imported grains, developing kilos rather than flavours and grains have an important role to play in our Good Food Nation. Wendy is married to Swedish environmentalist, Bosse Dahlgren, heritage farmer & genebank specialist. Together they have written a book to be published later this year. 45

science & technology

HORSCH launch HorschConnect – digital intelligence for farming HorschConnect is a new product family from HORSCH that aims to make the exchange of data between machine and customer as efficient as possible, as well as to link customer, dealer and HORSCH in a better way. Whether locating the current position of the machine in the field or controlling a seed drill with an app, this can be carried out with HorschConnect. HorschConnect focuses on the benefits of connectivity and digitalisation. It includes the increasing digitalisation of HORSCH machines, using apps like MobileControl app to control the machine via a smartphone or the HorschConnect Telematics Portal to record telemetry data. HorschConnect optimises the flow of information to ensure customers are better informed. Using HorschConnect, a farmer can see machine information, such as operational speed or the application rate, in a user-friendly format. Instructions can be sent to the machine to optimise working processes and increase efficiency. Remote diagnostics of machine information and error messages allow for a proactive and targeted service. The MobileControl app allows the comfort and convenience of controlling the machine via a smartphone and is designed to make work easier. For example, a machine can be calibrated quickly and intuitively via the app and all the product information is available to hand. Using an integrated WLAN and GPS modem, the SmartCan hardware solution connects 46

the machine to the internet or a smartphone. An integrated memory card guarantees an additional data back-up if there is no mobile network coverage. HorschConnect is available across the full HORSCH seed drill and sprayer ranges and will be compatible with other

external systems in the future. HORSCH is not creating an isolated solution but will focus on compatibility and connectivity to other control systems and telemetry. This will create a significant step forward in digitalisation, automation and improved productivity.

44-function joystick extends Topcon’s precision agriculture range

Topcon Agriculture has added a 44-function, fully ISOBUS enabled joystick controller to its expanding line-up of precision farming kit. Available in the UK via LH Agro, the JS-20 joystick enables users to intuitively programme and control a wide variety of ISOBUS implement functions including the full array of Horizon UI functions (Topcon’s in-house User Interface software). “The new JS-20 has been designed to improve operator comfort and efficiency, and is compatible with Topcon’s own X-series of consoles as well as all third party control panels and implements with ISOBUS auxiliary (AUX-N)

functionality,” explains Richard Reed, Managing Director of LH Agro, Topcon’s preferred distributor in the UK. The joystick is equipped with 11 IP64 rated task assignment buttons (protected from total dust and water spray ingress) which can be controlled in up to four working modes each of which is identified by a coloured LED on the upper edge of the button panel. “Switching between the four working modes is a simple onebutton operation which gives operators quick access to a total of up to 44 programmable implement functions,” Richard adds. “The additional trigger style button also enables users to quickly eliminate mis-commands thereby ensuring

the implement in question remains on task at all times.” More information about the Topcon JS-20 joystick is available from

New R&D model launched by Fera

Fera has launched a new R&D model to support continued research, innovation and knowledge transfer across the agrifood sector. Enigma has been established to find end-to-end solutions to

pertinent industry challenges. Speaking at the launch of Enigma, Guy Thallon, strategic business development manager at Fera, said this was an exciting initiative for the business at a time of great change for agriculture.

“There is no getting away from the fact that the pressure on global food systems is intensifying. The global population continues to increase, and the risks associated with a changing climate become ever more pressing. Our food

NFU Scotland

production systems must therefore be robust to withstand this challenge. “However, there are still huge gaps in R&D across the agri-food sector and this is what Fera want to help address through Enigma projects,” he adds. Mr Thallon explains that knowledge exchange between Fera scientists and industry partners is a crucial element of Enigma to strengthen the connection between science and practical implementation. “Collaboration is key to the success of these projects. At Fera we’re fortunate enough to have access to a team that deliver worldclass science and have a strong alliance with leading organisations internationally that can deliver innovation. “It’s this knowledge, experience and expertise that we want to share with industry partners we work with to help build sustainable food production systems that are truly fit for the future,” he adds. The first Enigma project to launch, which will be cofunded by industry partners, will investigate Wireworm, a pest that affects potatoes and carrots, and increasingly other crops such as cereals, field beans, sugar beet, onions and maize. “The pattern of wireworm damage is changing, however the industry is yet to understand why and how these damage patterns are altering,” explains Larissa Collins, principal scientist of Enigma one and entomology team leader. “Fera has identified that R&D is required to understand in greater detail the lifecycle of wireworm to enable producers to successfully use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to control the pest. Further research into the identification of wireworm species is also required. “We are therefore putting a call out to aligned industry partners who would be interested in co-funding this project or future Enigma projects to start moving the needle in vital research areas,” concludes Ms Collins. Find out more about Enigma: enigma-research-model

Setting the record straight!

I am pleasantly surprised how little I noticed Veganuary this year writes NFU Scotland’s Livestock and LFA Policy Manager, Hannah Baker Yes, there were the inevitable inaccurate tweets and messages that we strove to correct, and the misleading information that we had to provide a balanced viewpoint for. But overall, it felt a lot quieter than I expected. This was Veganuary’s 9th year after it launched in 2014, and it is reportedly growing in success. However, even growing in success, it represents a small proportion (less than 1%) of the population and the majority of those supporting Veganuary are already vegan (as Professor Jude Capper points out, it’s just January for them). Undoubtedly this year has seen an increase in the numbers signing up, and the vegan options being offered by restaurants and take aways has grown again. Yet is this a reflection of the success of the campaign itself, or a broader reflection of the fact that vegetarian and flexitarian diets are an increasing trend regardless of this campaign? I don’t think anyone reading this would believe that the country eating “plant-based” would solve our climate change problems. Veganuary itself occurs in January - one of the worst months for the UK weather wise and a time when we do not have a lot of seasonal produce. The timing of

Hannah Baker, NFU Scotland’s Livestock and LFA Policy Manager

Veganuary encourages participants to buy food that is often highly processed and made from imported raw ingredients. This is one of the things that confuses me about the campaign, the almost blatant disregard for a healthy diet. The products that thrive in Scotland under the mantle of Veganuary are almost all junk food – this year’s new offerings included the McPlant Burger (McDonalds), the Tu’NAH Sandwich (Starbucks), and the PepperoNAY Pizza (Dominos) to name a few. All these products are a synthetic attempt to mimic real meat, rather than championing some seasonal vegetable or plant centerpiece. That is hardly an environmental triumph, and the health benefits are similarly dubious. What we need to do is encourage greater thought about what we are eating and where it comes from - a

proper understanding of what Scotch red meat production entails and the benefits it brings to the country. This is the approach that QMS (with ADHB and HCC) have taken. Rather than attacking Veganuary head on they produced a campaign focusing on positive messages about red meat. It tackled some of the myths and presented the facts, with a particular focus on climate change and the importance of red meat in diets (especially for young women). If you haven’t had a chance to have a look I would urge you to do so, and to share the messaging as far and wide as you can throughout 2022: https:// sites/default/files/january_ toolkit_2022_medium_ resolution.pdf. Sadly, it sometimes feels like conveying the truth about our industry is like pushing water uphill, but that doesn’t mean we should stop! I come back to “locally sourced” and “in season” produce as the answer to almost every question around diet that there is, be that health, climate, welfare, or sustainability – and in Scotland our red meat ticks all those boxes. Now we just need to champion that, take pride in our industry, and continue to take steps to make it even better.



Lake District farming fund success – with more to come in 2022 Almost £600,000 has already been allocated in the Lake District as part of a national grants programme to help local farmers and landowners adapt for the future, become more resilient and deliver bigger and better outcomes for the environment, people and place. The three-year Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme was launched last year by the government (Defra) and is being managed locally by the Lake District National Park Authority. Lake District farmers and landowners are being offered funding for a variety of projects under the four themes: climate, nature, people and place. The Farming in Protected Landscapes Panel has already approved 25 applications since the programme launched in June 2021, and the Authority is now preparing for applications for the second year of funding from April 2022, with further funding available through to March 2024. The Lake District National Park Authority’s Farming Officer, Andrea Meanwell, said: “The range of creative, innovative and pioneering applications we have received so far has been fantastic. There are so many great ideas out there to benefit the climate, nature, people and place in the Lake District, and our job is help local people bring them to fruition. We can’t wait to see the successful projects who have already received funding progress on their journey, and we’re looking forward to seeing what funding applications come in next. “Before applying, please contact our team to informally discuss your ideas, our contact details and full details of the programme are available on” 48

Nibthwaite Grange, near Ulverston, barn before work commenced

Nibthwaite Grange: with the help of funding from the Lake District’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, the barn was renovated into a store room for the new tweed project


Courtesy of James Rebanks, shows Maria Benjamin of Nibthwaite Grange with wool which is being made into Lake District Tweed

One successful application is Ullswater Community Interest Company, for the creation of nature corridors. Their project is working with local farmers to connect, expand and improve habitats by creating a series of wildlife corridors. As well as having this focus on nature and climate the project creates an opportunity for the community to work, as much of the work is done with volunteering, building pride in place. West Lakes Community Interest Company received funding for a ‘Farmer Led Nature Recovery’ project. The

money is helping them with scoping studies, in preparation for landscape-scale projects. This will include engaging with farmers and commoners, collecting data on the natural environment with carbon audits and habitat surveys, and mapping and recording these. The Fell Pony Heritage Trust has also successfully secured funding. The Trust is dedicated to protecting the fell ponies’ traditions and supporting the hill farmers that maintain these upland herds in Cumbria. This year FiPL funding has been able to contribute to the cost

of the Trust employing a part time administrator to work on developing the Trust’s activity to achieve its aims. Nibthwaite Grange Farm has secured funding for the development of a new local tweed. This project aims to connect people to the history and culture of wool production in the Lake District. They are developing 13 tweeds, aligned with the 13 valleys of the Lake District, using wool sourced from each local valley. FiPL funding is helping them with the first four valley tweeds of Coniston, Windermere,

Ullswater and Ennerdale. Not only does this project build on Lake District Traditions but it supports farmers, offering them a good price for wool and 10 per cent of the profit from sales. Through the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme, the Lake District National Park Authority wants to continue to work with farmers, landowners, communities and businesses to balance sustainable, productive, and profitable land management choices to address and adapt, and recover from the threats facing farming, nature, climate and communities. 49


to market

Driving for increased efficiency saving, time, labour and straw Straw spreading machine, Spread-a-Bale has cut straw usage by up to one third and made savings sufficient for the system to pay for itself in less than one year according to Scott Barbour, who together with his father, Robert and brother, Graham run a 600 cow suckler finishing enterprise, near Jedburgh. “Our Spread-a-Bale Midi is a good piece of kit, and one we wouldn’t be without,” he says. “We overwinter 1,800 head of cattle on four different farms, and we are using over 4,000 rectangular bales throughout a year. A third of the straw is homegrown and the rest bought in the swath and baled away from home. “Until 12 years ago we used to spread the straw with a frontend fork lift and it used to take all day, three times a week. Nowadays, the straw spreading time has been reduced to approximately 16 hours a week, that’s a considerable labour

Scott Barbour


saving. We are also making straw savings of between 25% and 30% thanks to the machine’s spreading rotors. They accelerate a mass of straw in order to throw it the full width of the pen without chopping it, consequently, longer straw makes for a longer lasting bed. “The alternative mechanisation would have been a chopper blower, however we don’t like chopping straw, it makes a mess. We like to keep things tidy,” Scott explains. “Compared to a straw chopper, Spread-a-Bale generates minimal dust; the straw comes out of the machine, lands on ground without being blown into the rafters and accumulating outside the shed providing an opportunity for vermin. Minimal dust also makes for all round better animal welfare.” County Down beef producer, Geoffrey Rodgers says: “Our Spread-a-Bale is one of those pieces of kit I wouldn’t be without. Bedding up time has

been reduced over our sixmonth winter from two hours to 20 minutes a day - a massive labour saving that’s enabled the machine to pay for itself within two years. “Added to that, we’re making 30% straw savings worth up to £80 a week,” comments Geoffrey who manages a 30-cow pedigree herd of mixed Continentals and 85 sucklers near Ballynahinch, and annually makes 400 round barley straw bales. “The machine is reliable and makes for a safer environment. I no longer have to get in the pens to manually shake out the straw with a fork. And unlike other machines that shred straw, it creates minimal dust and the risk of flying stones has been eliminated. Furthermore, we’ve reduced daily requirements from two to 1.5 round bales since the machine enables me to manage the amount of straw spread as well as achieve a nice even spread.”

Geoffrey Rodgers

These findings are consistent with feedback from other livestock farmers, says former dairy producer Michael Hughes who invented, developed and patented Spreada-Bale. “Farmers are commonly reporting up to 50% straw saving over manual spreading with square bales and up to 35% for round bales. They are also reporting making time and labour savings of up to 75%; one 600kg rectangular bale can be spread in 45 seconds,” he says. “The mechanism’s ability to minimize dust is contributing to reducing health risks for both farmers, operators and their livestock, whilst it also offers improved welfare. Furthermore, the entire system has a much reduced carbon footprint over any other mechanised system. Added together and Spreada-Bale is improving livestock farmers’ business efficiency - the machine is lowering their system’s overall costs and contributing to a competitive advantage.”

Balers and Bale Wrappers

The latest news on

Balers and Bale Wrappers New Case IH LB436 HD baler The first large-format “High Density” LB436 HD balers from Case IH have completed their first season on farm, impressing operators with their speed and bale quality. Ideal for largescale farmers and contractors, this baler is designed to provide high-performance baling of more than 40 tons per hour and to pack 500kg into each bale in all crops. A patented two-speed mid-gearbox will speed up the PTO in two stages from 1000 to 1445 rpm and allows smooth startup with 240 hp tractors. It also features automatic declutch in case of overload. The pick-up bar with a working width of 235 cm, 5 tine bars and perfect bale tine distribution, reliably and cleanly picks up the swath even at higher speeds. An automatic lubrication system minimises downtime and maintenance

work and the dust-proof twine boxes are large enough for 36 spools of twine. Reinforced plungers, TwinePro twin-knot technology as standard, and a hydraulically suspended, steered tandem chassis all increase the efficiency of the baler and set standards in bale density and ground speed. Case IH also continues to offer the LB4 XL series with 4 models available, producing bales from 80x70 TO 120x90 CM. In the round baler market, Case IH offers a variety of products including the RB545 model producing bales of 122125 CM. The RB545 can be supplied with or without the silage pack wrapper which features a tandem axle and wider tyres to minimise ground compaction.

The chopping system comes with up to 20 blades, while the dual pre-wrapping system means bales can be pre-wrapped with either plastic film or net, depending on preference. The RB455 and RB465 models offer high-capacity variable chamber baling with Feeder, Rotor Cutter and

Overshot versions. All feature durable endless belts and the 1.3m wide Edge Wrap duckbill netwrap system to produce uniform-density, clean-edged bales. Finally, the RB344 produces bales of 120x125 cm and is ideal for farmers that prefer independence at an affordable price.

chains. The oil lubricating the chain is pumped from the large

storage tank by an adjustable eccentric pump. Lubrication is

New heavy duty Rollants from Claas The latest Rollant 540 and 520 fixed chamber round balers have been completely redesigned and include new rollers, a stronger chassis, a new drive concept and ease of maintentance, all ensuring high performance, excellent reliability and a long service life. Both Rollant balers produce a 1.25m diameter bale, the Rollant 520 bale being 1.20m wide and the 540 bale 1.22m In the fixed chamber, the Rollant 540 has 15 newly redesigned rollers all made from 4mm thick steel and the Rollant

520 has 16, of which eight are made from 3-mm-thick sheet steel, and the other eight from 4-mm-thick sheet steel. The ribbed profile of the rollers ensures precise rotation of the bale, even under moist conditions. Storage and power transmission functions are performed by the heavy duty stub shafts that can be individually replaced if necessary, like the rollers themselves. The rotor, main drive and tailgate rollers are fitted with Zubakki 1.25-inch (Rollant 540) or 1.00-inch (Rollant 520) drive


Balers and Bale Wrappers not tied to throughput – the oil is distributed as needed, precisely on the chain link pivot points. The baling pressure is controlled via the horizontally mounted tailgate closing rams. For maximum bale density, pressure of up to 180 bar can be applied to the rams. Optionally available is the MPS II system. With this system, three of the compression rollers pivot into the chamber for additional bale compaction, early bale rotation and a perfectly uniform bale shape. Both the ROLLANT 540 and 520 balers are available either with the ROTOCUT chopping system or with the ROTOFEED feed rotor. The ROLLANT 520 is also available with an assister feed rake. The crop is picked up cleanly and efficiently with a 2.10-m-wide controlled pick-up (1.85 m on the RIOLLANT 520 with assister feed rake). A crop guard is available as optional equipment.


Film binding increases versatility of Fendt Rotana combi balers Film on film binding is now an option on Fendt’s Rotana fixed chamber round baler combination machines. Traditionally a net only machine, the Rotana 130F Combi now features both film and net binding options and the operator can easily switch between the two products in the field. The innovative film binding technique means farmers only have one waste product to dispose of when opening the bales. To switch between net and film, the operator alters a setting on the in-cab terminal to bring the two clever merging arms into work. These open the

plastic film on entry to the 1.25m chamber to spread it across the full width of the bale for complete coverage. Conversely, when the bale is finished, the merging arms retract and gather

the film into a bunch making it easier and quicker for the knife to cut a reduced film surface area. Three 1,380mm-wide wrap or net rolls can be stored on the

Balers and Bale Wrappers Rotana 130F and the Easy Load System reduces manual handling associated with loading rolls. The system features a diagonally folding arm for the operator to load from ground level, before

lifting the arm back up and into the support for delivery into the chamber. The chamber itself features 18 PowerGrip steel rollers to guarantee consistent

compression throughout the bale formation, regardless of the crop. There is also a locking latch on the rear door to ensure it closes fully and bale compression isn’t affected.

Other benefits of film binding include added protection against frost damage during storage. Demonstration Fendt Rotana 130F Combi units will be running in the UK throughout 2022.

John Deere’s C441R with film-on-film binding Developed to meet the highcapacity requirements of contractors and larger livestock farms, Deere’s C441R premium wrapping baler incorporates a heavy-duty drive system rated at up to 210hp with 1,000rpm PTO. The 18-roller bale chamber has a 121cm width, and a transport table system allows one bale to be held while the next bale is being formed before ejecting both at the same time. This saves time, simplifies bale collection logistics and accelerates harvesting. And it’s fast - the wrapping arm works at 40rpm. A big advantage of the C441R is film-on-film wrapping, allowing farmers to unwrap a bale in frosty conditions effortlessly,

and there’s no need any more to separate film and net for waste disposal. It’s an all-rounder, able to perform in both heavy, wet grass crops and dry straw, producing bales with consistent density and shape in all crop types. Operators can choose from 2-metre or optional 2.2m pick-ups, feeding a high capacity MaxiCut HC rotor with 13 or 25 knives. The baler also incorporates a full width parallel drop-floor system operated from the tractor cab, which enables blockages to be removed instantly. The machine is available with a single axle as standard or with an optional tandem axle chassis for improved stability.

Krone VariPack belt baler

Scotland’s livestock and arable farmers historically faced with the challenge of producing a high quality, dense and dry bale of straw, hay, haylage have seen excellent results at demonstrations last year, where Krone’s VariPack XC 165

Plus baler was employed. The machine has also been tested in higher moisture crops, including silage, very successfully. The VariPack belt baler is a new segment of the market for Krone in Scotland and it offers increased output and density


Balers and Bale Wrappers over the Comprima models. Its belt chamber has three smooth belts that efficiently form dry crops into high-density bales even when conditions are not perfect. Standard on this baler is the EasyFlow pick-up that has very few moving parts, which helps reduce wear and tear, especially in difficult conditions and at high work rates. Designed with minimal working parts, EasyFlow pick-up has special strippers that ensure the right angle and length of cut is achieved. The 6mm thick tines are mounted with large coils that make them robust and hard wearing. Options are available on the pick up for the VariPack with either integral feed rotor or integral rotor cutter with 26 blades, with the versatility to alter blade numbers in work from 0/13/13/26 to give cutting lengths of 84mm or42mm. Blade groups on the VariPack XC Plus can be selected directly from the cab, and blockages can be quickly and simply removed by dropping the floor. This baler also has an easy to operate and reliable twine/net film wrapping system. The net chute folds out and into position so the roll is easily transferred to the cradle. Spare net and twine rolls are stored on the machine to keep going on long working days.“Often with limited time to gather up a crop into bales due to the challenging weather in Scotland, the speed of the baling operation is critical,” says territory manager Ian Brydson. “VariPack XC Plus meets these demands easily but it is also able to produce a high-density bale, which puts this baler into a bracket of its own. The quality of each bale is not compromised by the need for speed or the working environment. The Varipack baler is recognised as an extremely attractive option for Scottish farmers and contractors.” 54

Kubota round balers go heavy duty Kubota has expanded its round baler line-up range with the introduction of an all-new, high capacity fixed chamber baler, called the BF3500. Replacing the previous BF3255 model, the new BF3500 has been engineered for use in heavy silage conditions. It gets an 18-roller bale chamber, with two rollers located in the base of the chamber to give additional support with heavy, wet silage bales. Bale density is managed by a hydraulic density system, designed to ensure consistent bale quality in all crop conditions. A new 2.3m wide pick-up, designated XL+ has also been

introduced and incorporates an extensive series of upgrades. An extra tine has been added on either side, increasing the working width

by 10cm; a new five-bar tine reel incorporates a cam track located at both ends, while each tine bar is supported on four bearings.

Kuhn opens new square baler finance scheme Kuhn Farm Machinery is offering a new 0% finance deal on its range of square balers with a scheme that will run until the end of April 2022. The 3-year 0% offer can be used against 50% of the list price of all Kuhn square balers, SB models. This includes the Kuhn SB 1290 iD baler which features the patented TWINPACT double plunger system. TWINPACT increases the force applied to the surface of the bale to produce denser bales using a machine load comparable to a conventional

baler with the traditional single plunger design. The finance scheme requires 1+3 annual payments and is open to all business users. KUHN Finance can also offer tailored finance plans, making KUHN

equipment affordable for any farming cashflow. Kuhn Finance is a partnership between Kuhn Farm Machinery and De Lage Landen Leasing Limited. Further details are available from Kuhn dealers.

Balers and Bale Wrappers

MF RB 3130F Protec and MF RB 4160V Protec The MF RB 3130F Protec and MF RB 4160V Protec balers combine all the benefits of the MF fixed and variable chamber balers with the addition of an integrated, specially-designed wrapper device for fast, non-stop baling and wrapping on the go. MF RB Protec balers use a camless pick-up for high speed feeding with low maintenance requirement. The pick-up system has five tine bars with each one being spaced just 64mm apart, providing higher capacity and a smoother even feed at high speed. Two large capacity 25cm diameter feeding augers direct

crop to the centre to create the best bale shape.


AGRICULTURAL SERVICES LTD. Main Dealers for John Deere Balers

The 18 Special Powergrip rollers in the fixed chamber design ensure constant grip for best bale shape and appearance, enhanced by mechanical tail gate locks with pressure sensors on both sides to help maintain bale shape. Left-right indication allows the operator to monitor the outer layers of bale via the in-cab screen. The improved fixed chamber has a spiral-type design with slightly reduced diameter at the front thus improving feeding and bale rotation, increasing

density and net grip when wrapping. Designed for optimum performance, Xtracut models can be equipped with 13, 17 or 25 knives. Cutter units are fitted with the longest knives on the market, ensuring that no material will pass through uncut. Xtracut 17 and 25 versions feature two sets of hydraulically operated knife banks controlled from the cab, allowing the operator to choose a single knife bank, both knife banks or the disengagement of all knives for ultimate flexibility.


D-K-R AGRICULTURAL SERVICES LTD. Westfield, Coulter, Biggar, Lanarkshire ML12 6HN Tel. 01899 220897 • FAX. 01899 221413 E-Mail: dkrcoulter@hotmail-com


McHale have developed the ISOPlay terminal software in a way that allows full ISOBUS compatibility, but also benefits the McHale proprietary auto-switching camera functionality (as used in the existing iTouch terminals). Autoswitching of cameras makes the baling process easier for operators and also reduces the in-cab clutter as a second camera monitor is no longer required. McHale ISO-Play terminals also benefit from full ISOBUS

AUX-N compatibility. Commonly used machine functions can be assigned to an Auxiliary key on the terminal, assigned to the tractor ISOBUS joystick, or assigned to an aftermarket ISOBUS joystick. For the coming season, McHale are offering ISOBUS and ISO-PLAY terminals as an option on the following machines; McHale V6750 Variable Chamber Baler McHale V8950 Variable Chamber Baler

Balers and Bale Wrappers McHale Fusion 3 Pro Integrated Baler Wrapper McHale Fusion 3 Plus Integrated Baler Wrapper McHale ISOBUS machines can be plugged into any ISOBUS tractor connection and operated via the tractor’s own terminal in the cab. Alternatively, with an ISOBUS tractor the operator can use a separate ISOBUS terminal. The machine is connected via the tractors ISOBUS connector which eliminates large cables

being routed through the back window of the tractor cab. If the customer wishes to operate an ISOBUS controlled machine with a tractor that is not ISOBUS compatible, they can do so through the McHale ISO-PLAY 7 console, equipped with its 7” screen or the larger, 12” screen on the McHale ISOPLAY 12 console which is also available as an option. An additional tractor wiring loom is required to do this.

Roll-Belt balers from New Holland New Holland has led the RollBelt baler segment for over 25 years, and has introduced a string of pioneering firsts that have revolutionised the way variable chamber balers operate today. Over 275,000 Roll-Belt balers


are working around the globe in the expert hands of farmers and contractors to bring the harvest home. The latest generation is set to redefine round baling with advanced Roll-Belt technology that can improve capacity by

up to 20% and density by up to 5%. What’s more, operators can select between a 150cm or 180cm maximum bale size to suit their individual needs. The Roll-Belt baler will also captivate the eye with its distinctive sweeping

lines, which add a touch of class to every baling operation. Think variable chamber productivity. Think New Holland Roll-Belt baler. Capacity has been increased by up to 20% thanks to the redesigned pick-up.

Balers and Bale Wrappers Just imagine clearing every field 20% faster, or doing 20% more work every day! This higher throughput means more crop is baled at optimum conditions. The feed assist roller makes all of this possible, funnelling crop into the rotor even more efficiently. Seconds have been shaved off already impressive wrap times to get you back to baling even more quickly. The Roll-Belt guarantees top drawer bale quality. Always. An all-new moisture sensing system, which uses two discs on either side of the bale chamber to calculate average moisture, enables operators to respond, in real time, to changing baling conditions. Bale shape sensors on either side of the chamber provide instant feedback to the operator so that they can adjust their driving pattern to make perfect shaped bales. Operators can select how


dense a core they require. In-cab density adjustment allows the operator to customize the core

and outer density of the bales to suit their preference. Softer cores are perfect for easy feeding and

when the bale needs to ‘breathe’ whereas a firmer core makes for excellent storage and handling

Balers and Bale Wrappers properties. Furthermore, uniform wrapping completes the package. The Roll-Belt baler belongs in the field, and efficient servicing and maintenance means your baler will spend more time in the field, earning its keep, as opposed to being kept. The one

piece side and front shields mean operators have unfettered access to all service points and moving parts to keep the baler in tip-top condition. All service points can be reached from the ground and additional net storage enhances baler autonomy.

The new IMPRESS 3000 from Pottinger

Five years ago, Pottinger successfully launched its IMPRESS round baler, which was developed entirely in-house. The IMPRESS has undergone a facelift and now appears in a fresh design with a new name and even more intelligent details. The basic range still includes two fixed-chamber IMPRESS 3130 F MASTER and IMPRESS 3130 F PRO balers, as well as three models each for the variable-chamber balers. The IMPRESS 3160 and IMPRESS 3190 are available in the V version without a chopping system, V MASTER with a 16-knife chopping system and the V PRO version with a 32-knife chopping system, load sensing, ISOBUS control and numerous automatic functions. The product range is rounded off with three baler & wrapper combinations: IMPRESS 3130 FC PRO fixedchamber with a bale diameter of 1.3 metres, IMPRESS 3160 VC PRO variable chamber up to 1.55 metres and IMPRESS 3190 VC PRO variable chamber up to 1.85 metres. Bales with a 62

diameter of up to 1.5 metres can be wrapped. A central element is the completely new binding unit. The feed and tension of the binding material is now regulated from outside the baling chamber, not by the core of the bale.This means that rolls of material can be used regardless of the condition of the core. The maximum width of the binding material is 1,400 mm. The baler can be equipped for film & film binding using a tail binding unit. An optional LED lighting package for all PRO models ensures optimum illumination of areas such as the pick-up and bale ejector and wrapper platform. LED strips with switches are installed under the side panels for maintenance work and changing rolls of film etc. The new IMPRESS PRO generation also sees the introduction of the new POWER CONTROL 3.0 terminal. This enables the direct selection of functions using membrane keys and the input of parameters using the 5” touch monitor.

Balers and Bale Wrappers

Vicon reveals Plus-series variable chamber balers

Vicon’s latest RV5200 series variable chamber round balers offer lower running costs with improved output. Identified by the Plus-series designation, the updated RV5216 and RV5220 models are available withaps, while the press’ side support arms have also been strengthened and incorporate improved limit stops. Enhanced protection against crop wrapping is also provided for the bearings, which have now been mounted inside the roller crop press. Up front, the 2.2m pick-up reel - which features twin-cam tracks and five tine bars - has also been improved. It now features 10mm longer tines and


Balers and Bale Wrappers wider stripper plates to improve cleaning in wet crop conditions. The pick-up drive chain has also been increased in size for added durability. The driveline has received attention and is now equipped with long-life HBC specification chains providing higher fatigue strength and increased wear resistance, compared to conventional chain. The bale chamber has not escaped attention either, with a new design of idler rollers which benefit from a 45% increase in bearing diameter, along with larger internal grease capacity and improved shielding. The idler rollers also gain a continuous central shaft, which adds rigidity.



Zetor MetalFach Balers Offer an economical alternative

Zetor UK are now offering a keenly priced alternative round baler to the “Higher Spec”

competition. The fixed chamber MetalFach Z562N Round Baler offers the end user a familiar and

reliable machine at a fraction of the price of the high end options. The standard specification of the

Balers and Bale Wrappers MetalFach Z562N 4’x4’ baler includes 16 Rollers, Net and Twine Tying, Crop Feed Rake to the chamber, Wide Pick-up at 1.8m, LGP Tyres, Drive Chain AutoLube, Bale Kicker and Wide Angle PTO. The design of the machine will be familiar too many farmers and operators as it is based on the well proven ‘Welger System’ machine from the late 80’s and early 90’s.

“We have been importing and selling these machines for more than 4 years now with sales numbers increasing year after year”, Hamish Watson (Area Sales Manager for North & Scotland). “With their easy operation, minimal power input and single hydraulic line, this baler is ideally suited to smaller farm operations and users who do not want or

need High Spec machines. It is an ideal alternative option for those customers who are in the market and would be looking at a second hand baler. You usually find the Z562N is cheaper than many of these used machines and comes with a full manufacturer warranty.“ Sold as an additional range of machinery through the UK Zetor dealer network, the balers

along with a range of other selected MetalFach grassland machinery (Drum Mowers, Tedder’s and Rakes) plus a variety of loader attachments. Speak to your local dealer to day or contact Zetor UK direct on 08006771414 or to request more information or availability.

Professional Quality from Silotite As part of its mission to continually improve efficiency, ease of use and sustainability, Silotite have announced a major investment in their Professional Range of bale wrapping films. Silotite1800 is perfect for both round and square bales and can be used on any type of crop and bale wrapping machinery. With its 1800m length, users get up to 20% more bales per reel. The innovative sleeve packaging offers significant advantages, being lighter than the standard cardboard box, there is a reduction of almost 20kg in packaging material used on every pallet. Cardboard also takes up a lot of space on the pallet. By using sleeve packaging, we can add an extra 300m of film on each reel. Along with time savings, Silotite1800 means there is 20% less handling, transportation and storage space required. Its unique sleeve packaging means that there are no bulky boxes to handle, and recycling is easy, as

the packaging is made from the same film as the bale wrap. No separating of recycling materials is needed. Another advantage of the sleeve packaging is that the reel is more protected when it is stored on the baler. Silotite1800 also works in combination with Baletite baler film, meaning even

more versatility. Baletite baler film ensures round bales are compact and denser, providing an enhanced oxygen barrier that discourages mould growth. Baletite also benefits from the sleeve packaging, for ease of use when handling.Baletite and Silotite1800 combine to make up the film & film wrapping system

that has been proven to provide an efficient and enhanced wrapping system, along with superior silage and easier feed out. Baletite peels cleaning from the bale surface as no fodder can be enmeshed as it can with net wrap. Whether feeding out manually or mechanically, Baletite makes the process easy and fast.



Coming to a farm near you – The UK Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) - are you ready? This April the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) will be introduced, with the aim of promoting increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste to support higher demand for recycled plastic. This will divert it away from landfill or incineration and support the transition to more sustainable consumption. Many agriculture, food and farming enterprises will be affected, so it is important to understand how the tax could affect businesses, what it could cost and how to prepare for it.


What is the Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT)? The tax will apply to plastic packaging designed for use in the supply chain and single use consumer packaging. Packaging covered by the tax includes products which enable goods to be contained, protected, handled, presented and delivered. For example: shrink wrap, plastic labels, reusable plastic crates and FIBC bulk bags. For the purposes of the PPT, plastic means a polymer material

to which additives or substances may have been added. If a plastic packaging component is made from multiple materials but contains more plastic by weight (including additives which form part of the plastic) than any other substance, it will be classed as a plastic packaging component for the purposes of the tax. PPT will also apply to polymers which are biodegradable, compostable and oxo-degradable, meaning ‘greener’ packaging will not automatically be exempt.

However, it will not apply to any plastic packaging which contains at least 30% recycled plastic, or any packaging which is not predominantly plastic by weight. It will be applied to plastic packaging entering the UK market whether manufactured in, or imported into, the UK. Who will be affected by the Plastic Packaging Tax? UK plastic packaging manufacturers, importers, business customers of manufacturers and importers, and consumers who


buy plastic packaging or goods in plastic packaging in the UK will all be affected. The Plastic Packaging Tax will be felt in many sectors of the UK economy. The tax has been set a rate of £200 per metric tonne on plastic packaging placed onto the UK market which contains less than 30% recycled plastic content. There will be an exemption for manufacturers and importers of less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging per year. There are a limited number of plastic products which meet the definition of plastic packaging but are excluded from the tax. They include products which are designed to be used for long-term storage, are an integral part of the goods (this does not apply to ready meal trays) or are reused for the presentation of goods. The taxable business is the one that completes the ‘last substantial modification’ to the plastic packaging component. If the last substantial modification is made at the point where empty packaging

is filled with product, then it will be the last substantial modification prior to this. Due diligence will need to be carried out at the tax point. If a business buying plastic packaging components believes the tax should have been paid by a supplier and it is not clearly shown on invoices, that business may be subject to secondary liability. So, make sure the Plastic Packaging Tax is itemised on invoices from suppliers where they have made the ‘last substantial change’. Taxable businesses will be expected to hold detailed information on packaging components which will likely include total weight of plastic packaging, weight of plastic packaging incorporating at least 30% recycled plastics and formulas for plastic packaging to evidence which components are subject to taxation. Businesses may also be expected to carry out due diligence on their supply chains to increase transparency in the production

of plastic packaging material and ensure tax calculations submitted to HMRC are accurate. Advice on preparing for the Plastic Packaging Tax: Managing the tax liability on plastic packaging is key to supporting your profitability. As farmers you are quite often the start of the food chain, so passing this cost on will be challenging. Review your packaging and measure your usage of packaging components which meet the criteria for taxation. Start talking with your supply chain, customers and tax advisors, and begin collaborating ASAP to make sure you can all meet your due diligence requirements and control your tax liability. The new tax may be the prompt your business needs to switch to more environmentally friendly materials helping your ESG strategy. How can we help? NNZ/LBK have been readying to help you mitigate the impact of the PPT. As a packaging network

we focus on sourcing the right solutions for your business. We search high and wide to solve some of your biggest packaging challenges. One solution we are excited to share with you is the development of our rPET FIBC bulk bags. FIBC’s are traditionally made using virgin PP (Polypropylene) and will be affected by the PPT. With this in mind we have been working with our suppliers on some solutions. Our rPET FIBC’s will help you meet the recycled content requirements of the PPT. They offer the sustainable alternative to virgin PP FIBC’s and are certified, made from 96% recycled PET, are recyclable. They originate from a fully certified production facility with EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) approval in progress. They also help boost the circular economy by increasing the recycled content of material in circulation. There are different sizes of FIBC’s in stock for you to trial.


Article welcomes Scottish Government announcement on planning control

Scotland’s rural economy is to receive a shot in the arm this year as the Scottish Government extends its relaxed attitude towards planning control. The government has announced it will continue to encourage planning authorities not to take action over temporary breaches of planning controls by businesses recovering from the COVID pandemic, until September 2022. The move enables farmers, landowners, and other rural businesses to set up pop-up tent campsites throughout the holiday season for longer than the prescribed 28 days without planning permission. Temporary campsites enable farmers to generate thousands of pounds in extra revenue from the growing trend in staycations while supporting the wider rural economy as holidaymakers spend in local pubs, restaurants, and shops. The move also means holiday parks can stay open for longer than the traditional season and bodies such as The Highland 70

Council and South Ayrshire Council can continue to allow car parks and other appropriate locations to be used for overnight motorhome stops. The creation of these ‘aires’, as they are known in Europe, helps to mitigate the impact of increased holiday traffic in areas that have become increasingly popular without the need for permanent infrastructure. France already has more than 6,000*. Dan Yates, founder of – the UK’s leading outdoor accommodation booking platform – welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government. The Westminster government, by contrast, ended an extension to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) enabling farmers and rural businesses south of the border to operate pop-up campsites for 56 days per year, on December 31st, 2021. Mr Yates said: “The Scottish Government clearly recognises the value of agritourism to the rural economy and has extended the relaxed attitude to planning

control to facilitate a muchneeded economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. “The move is not only likely to benefit individual farmers and rural businesses by adding thousands of pounds of revenue to their bottom line, the benefit will also be felt by other local businesses and rural communities as a whole over the course of the summer. “This is a very positive move by the Scottish administration and one we are delighted they have taken.” Pop-up campsites are the quickest and easiest form of farm diversification at their most basic, requiring only running water and a toilet block to function. They are also among the most lucrative, with figures from showing a small site generates on average £12,500 of extra revenue across a holiday season, with many taking more than £50,000. Pitchup’s best performing farm-based campsite last year took a total of £117,000.

Mr Yates added that the announcement was also great news for holidaymakers, who had the opportunity to explore new and remote parts of the country while remaining confident accommodation would be available. “Last year, campsites popped up at a whole host of locations across the country ranging from livery yards and orchards to country parks and estates,” he said. “The extension means more rural businesses will be able to get on board and provide a broader range of locations and experiences for visitors to try. The move is a win for farmers, rural businesses, the rural economy and the thousands of visitors Scotland attracts each year.” Any Scottish farmers or landowners interested in setting up a pop-up campsite for the 2022 season can find out more at and or phone 0203 743 9975.

Steamed Bramble Sponge By Wendy Barrie Photograph © Wendy Barrie

Ingredients: 225g flour 2 tsps baking powder 225g softened butter 5 eggs 225g soft brown sugar 3 tbsps bramble jam (blackcurrant jam or syrup are tasty alternatives) Method: • Butter a large steamer basin. • Place jam into buttered base of bowl. • Place remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth and glossy with a dropping consistency. • Spoon mixture over the jam. • Cover with a double circle of baking parchment and the lid. If you do not have a lid then cover with foil and tie firmly in place. • Place bowl on a trivet (or an old plate) in a large saucepan and fill half way up with boiling water from the kettle. • Steam for 2 hours, making sure you keep topping up the water. • Carefully remove bowl from pan, gently loosen the sponge edges then turn out onto heated plate. Serve with double cream. Equally delicious the next day. Serves 6-8

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.


meet the producers

It’s a SHORE Thing By Janice Hopper

SHORE has been growing, harvesting and processing its Scottish seaweed since 2016, working to create an edible seaweed industry in Scotland that’s sustainable, positive for the coastal environment and beneficial for local rural communities. Today it produces a range of chips, clusters, pestos and tapenades that can be purchased across the UK.

Founded by Keith Paterson and Peter Elbourne, the inspiration for the business was looking for sustainable foods that could be grown and harvested in Scotland that met the increasing consumer demand for heathier, plant-based diets. The duo hit on seaweed as it requires zero input to grow (no land, fresh water, feed or fertilisers) and soaks up oceanic CO² in the process.

The pair’s seaweed vision was always to combine wild harvesting alongside farming, so the first step was to find the best place in Scotland to harvest and grow quality seaweed. Peter, a marine ecologist by training, led a team of scientists scouring the coastline for locations. The search led to Caithness, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea. SHORE

Keith Paterson


secured harvest licences with landowners that include strict quotas regarding how much seaweed can be picked every year. They are now licenced to harvest seventeen different types of seaweed, using over a dozen separate sites a short journey from the company’s factory in Wick. The first harvest took place in March 2016. The team grows, forages and hand-picks a range of low shore and high shore seaweeds all year round in all weathers, including sea spaghetti, Atlantic wakame, kelp, sugar kelp and toothed wrack. One of their key species is dulse - a small, dark red seaweed that grows rapidly in the autumn. SHORE’s research into seaweed farming also started in 2016, incorporating trials with the Scottish Association of Marine Science. The farming focus is on selected species of seaweed that are in high demand yet more difficult to harvest from the wild, which means that farming and wild harvesting will continue side by side. Ropes are seeded in the autumn, yielding two-metre long plants in the spring. SHORE harvested over seventy tons of seaweed in 2021 and are aiming for one hundred tonnes in 2022.

After harvest, the seaweed is sorted, washed and dried at low temperatures to preserve its nutrients back at the Wick factory. It’s then milled to a range of sizes and stored for year-round supply. The factory processing sounds like a well oiled machine but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. One of SHORE’s early production challenges occurred with their first harvest in 2016. The day’s haul was confidently loaded into the drying chambers, but the team returned the following day to discover damp seaweed. So began the journey of perfecting the art of seaweed drying! Getting the drying time right and constantly improving efficiency is essential to maximising output and keeping up with increasing demand. Another challenge is timing and weather. Each seaweed has a season; some species can be harvested for perhaps six months of the year, but most are in peak condition for a couple of months. The harvesting team have to schedule their work around the tides, planning months ahead around the strong spring tides when the lowest rocky shelves are exposed. It’s clear that SHORE’s team must know the terrain, the tides, the wildlife and different seaweed species exceptionally well. As well as health and safety regarding themselves and their colleagues, the team is trained regarding local wildlife and wildlife codes. SHORE also monitor their harvesting sites to manage local plant diversity and maintain sustainability. And what about the product itself? How does a batch of dried seaweed transform into a tempting product that graces health food shops across the country? The team started with research, initially finding out that consumers were interested

in seaweed as an ingredient, but a lack of understanding of how to cook seaweed created a large barrier to buying it. The mission became to use seaweed to benefit foods that consumers are familiar and comfortable with, such as snacks. The team’s research discovered that 74% of consumers would be interested in buying a mainstream seaweed snack. Not only has the UK notably high snack consumption levels, but consumers are constantly seeking new flavours, plus there’s been a boon in healthier plant-based snacks. The health food market is flourishing and seaweed taps into that consumer base because it’s rich in antioxidants, iodine and prebiotic fibre, plus it’s low in fat. After the research was complete, it was a case of nailing the finished product. SHORE embarked on nine months of recipe work and ‘trial and error’ to get the flavour right; finding the right balance to highlight seaweed’s ‘umami’ flavour, without it being ‘fishy’. Packaging, product design, distribution and marketing were also part of the process. The SHORE product range was launched in late 2020, with the chips available in Coop and Sainsbury’s in Scotland, and the pesto and tapenades distributed to health stores, delis and farm shops. Securing a listing for SHORE’s chips with Holland & Barrett was one of the team’s biggest successes to date. Today, the team supply seaweed to other food and drink manufacturers in Scotland for biscuits, seafood and gin, and the company is in talks with UK-wide supermarket chains about stocking the range this year. As well as expanding production at Wick, there are plans to increase farming activity in the coming years.

Courtesy of Glen Minikin

meet the producers

Peter Elbourne with Mike Harper and Paul Henderson

Kyle Macleod harvesting seaweed

Handful of Seaweeed

So after a truly intense few years, how do the team relax and treat themselves? Apparently Peter enjoys the heat of the Sweet

Sriracha Chips washed down with an ice cold beer, and Keith savours Lightly Salted Seaweed chips with a G&T. Cheers!

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.



Orkney digs deep as charity tractor run raises over £50k By Ethan Flett and Sarah Sutherland A Christmassy cavalcade that set Kirkwall aglow has brightened winter spirits, raising more than £50,000 for two Orkney charities. The money raised from the Christmas Tractor Run is being donated to CLAN Orkney and the Orkney MS Therapy Centre — and so far, the generosity of the Orkney public and beyond has demolished the original £4,000 target. As The Orcadian went to press, donations via the online JustGiving page was closing in on £41,000. But this figure, combined with over £8,000 in Gift Aid and a further £1,300 raised by Friends of Stoneworks Orkney, has seen the total breaking the £50,000 mark in an astonishing show of support. In addition, cash and business donations are still to be added. The success of the tractor run — held on Wednesday, December 29 — and the outpouring of donations and support for the fundraiser has been astounding. Steven Sinclair, who jointly organised the run alongside Graham Nicholson, said: “It’s been absolutely unreal. We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with the generosity of the Orkney public.” Under normal circumstances, a troop of tractors tearing through town might have raised a few eyebrows — or even prompted a 74

few phone calls to the authorities — but not so for this fundraising spectacular. Instead, the convoy of 158 agricultural vehicles was met with much fanfare, as spectators lined streets and stood in awe on doorsteps to greet the seasonally decorated procession. Mr Sinclair, from Sandwick, spoke immediately after the event, which even attracted air time on national media. He said: “We can’t put into words how chuffed we are to see the community turn out, to see the community donate, and to see so many folk here.” Mr Nicholson added: “I think the idea was just to put on something to raise morale, and to be good PR for farming. It wasn’t a case of what we could do to raise a lot of money for charity. That was basically a sideline.”

Seeing the money stream in was a spectacle in itself for the pair, as the Orkney public dug deep and helped to completely obliterate the original modest £4,000 target. Mr Nicholson said: “On the night, when we got round the Peedie Sea, we stopped there and we had a look online and we were up at £12,000 then. “It was like, ‘holy, how did we get that?’ Coming up to the ’Hope, it was about £19,000. I thought if we could get to £20,000 before we get to bed. By the time we got home, it was over £21,000. It just kept climbing.” Fundraising efforts were aided by Friends of Stoneworks Orkney, enabling the collection of Giftaid as well as standard donations. Commenting on the success of the tractor run, CLAN

Orkney’s area manager, Karen Scott said: “Every charity has been struggling this last year and a half, so this is a fantastic, fantastic boost to CLAN. “Ten times more than what they’d hoped to raise is just a phenomenal amount of money and we absolutely appreciate the work of the farming community that went into organising such a fantastic boost to the whole community to see.” Shirley Miller from the Orkney MS Therapy Centre expressed her gratitude to all those involved. “It’s absolutely fantastic,” she said. “I don’t think anybody was expecting to raise that amount of money. “I will say on behalf of the Orkney MS Therapy Centre, we’re delighted that the farmers thought of us as a charity to give to.” On the charity’s plans for the funding, she thought that it would go towards the general running costs as well as some new exercise equipment, which the service users will be able to benefit from once the centre reopens. Organisers of the Orkney Tractor Run have since received an official motion of thanks from the Scottish Parliament for their efforts, and have shared plans to repeat the event in years to come.

Agnes Leask (1934 – 2021) A well known character in the crofting world has been lost with the death of Agnes Leask, of Cott, Weisdale. The 87-yearold was a highly skilled crofter and dog trainer. A one time president of the Scottish Crofter Union, she was awarded a BEM for services to crofting in 2013. Here, fellow crofter Jackie Syme remembers her. I first saw Agnes Leask in 1995 at the Shetland Dog Club, not long after I moved to Shetland. Despite our very different backgrounds, we soon became firm friends until her death just before Christmas. Agnes was very good at training sheepdogs to work and helped me to train my young bitch, and several subsequent dogs – two of which were bred by her. She usually liked to take her sheepdog puppies to the club for socialisation and obedience training. As a newcomer to crofting I found her tales of the old crofting ways fascinating. But I quickly found that, while Agnes had the greatest respect for the old ways, she was very forward thinking and never afraid to try something new. She was an enthusiastic participant in many of the schemes aimed at bringing money into crofting. Agnes was a great help to me and, one year, actually gave me a Shetland ram as a Christmas present. He was a very good ram and still whole mouthed when he died at 11 years old.

Agnes was passionate about the native Shetland breeds and her family had owned Shetland house cows. She had advocated not selling Shetland pony breeding stock outwith Shetland, except in special cases. She thought that, by following the example of the Icelandic pony breeders, it would help maintain the purity of the breed. Agnes was a very active member of the Scottish Crofter Union – later the Scottish Crofting Foundation – and was the Shetland president for many years. Of course, she got me involved, and I attended several conferences. She was never afraid to stand up and question eminent political figures. Agnes seemed to know absolutely everyone and introduced me to quite a few of the politicians. In one amusing incident, Struan Stevenson MEP approached SCF lobbyist Norman Leask in Brussels and asked after Agnes, and if she was still showing her dogs. Apparently, he’d been canvassing in Shetland and called at her house in Cott, Weisdale. He knocked and a voice shouted for him to come in. He entered and saw no-one, but the voice said that she was in the bathroom, and he was to come straight in. Mr Stevenson did so, with some trepidation – only to find

Agnes bathing a dog for a show. The gist of the conversation that followed was that he needed her vote, and she needed a hand to wash the dog. Both parties got what they needed. Agnes was very keen to point out that historically women were more involved in crofting than the men, who often worked away. This was not the case throughout the crofting counties. Agnes was awarded the BEM in 2013 for her services to

crofting, and I for one was very proud of her. Surprisingly, Agnes never learned to drive, but she and her husband Davy were well known around Shetland in their Reliant three-wheeler. When Davy gave up driving a young friend of mine bought it. It was put up to the Aith garage to see what it needed for its MoT. It needed some welding to the chassis, but unfortunately the fibreglass body caught fire and the old Aith garage burnt to the ground.

In association with Tel: 01595 742000 Tel: 01856 879000


Beatha an eilean Na tagraichean airson Coimisean na Croitearachd By Murray MacLeod Tha Coimisean na Croitearachd air fhoillseachadh cò iad a bhios a’ seasamh anns na taghaidhean. Tha sia sgìrean ann gu lèir - na h-Eileanan an Iar, Sealltainn, Arcaibh is Gallaimh, a’ Ghàidhealtachd an Ear, an iardheas dhen Ghàidhealtachd agus an iar dhen Ghàidhealtachd - le 18 tagraiche, a’ ciallachadh gum bidh taghadh anns gach sgìre. A thuilleadh air naoi coimiseanaran air an taghadh, tha cuideachd triùir eile air an taghadh le Riaghaltas na h-Alba, a fàgail naoinear air a’ bhòrd-stiùiridh uile gu lèir. Feumar croitearan an taghadh a dhèanamh ron 17mh Màirt tron phost. ‘S iad na coimiseanaran agus na sgìrean: Na h-Eileanan an Iar; Iain MacIomhar is Iain MacAmhlaigh - Sealltainn; Donnchaidh Mac Illebhàin, Anndra Holt is Laurine Manson - Arcaibh is Cataibh; Dòmhnall Dòmhnallach, Peadar Stiubhairt, Daibhidh MacGriogair - a’ Ghàidhealtachd an Ear; Coinneach Hardie, Rod MacChoinnich, Eardsidh Mac an t-Aba is Raibeart Meeres - an iar-dheas dhen Ghàidhealtachd; Cailean Ceannadach, Uilleam Neilson, Craig Ward - an iar dhen Ghàidhealtachd; Gordon Drysdale, Màiri NicChoinnich, Marjory Robasdan. Tha cuid dhe na h-ainmean sin glè inntinneach, gu sònraichte Cailean Ceanndach, a chaidh a thaghadh mar neach-gairm air a’ Choimisean rona seo ach a bha gu math connspaideach fhad ‘s a bha e ann. Thuirt Mgr Ceanadach nach fhaodar comataidhean baile an 76

airgead a tha iad a’ toirt a-staigh - gur bi cò às a tha e tighinn - a chaitheamh ach air gnothaichean timcheall air àiteachais. Chur sin an fhearg air gu leòr, gu h-àraid anns na h-Eileanan an Iar, agus na comataidhean ann an sin gam faicinn fhèin mar phàirt chudromach dhen choimhearsnachd fharsainge. Bha cùisean gu sònraichte connspaideach ann am baile Col Uarach ann an Leòdhas far a nochd an duilgheadas sa chiad àite agus far na chur Mgr Ceannadach clèirc a-steach e fhèin son feuchainn ri cùisean a rèiteach, an aghaidh tol a’ mhòr-chuid, agus ‘s ann a chaidh cùisean buileach nas miosa a-thaobh àimhreit is droch fhaireachdain an uairsin. Mu dheireadh, bha mòran, coimiseanaran nam measg, ag iarraidh air Mgr Ceannadach a dhreuchd a leigeil dheth, ach dhiult e, agus rinn e gearrain oifigeal mun Riaghaltas agus ministear nan cùisean dùthchail aig an àm, Fearghas Ewing. Sheas Mgr Ceanadach anns na taghaidhean an turas mu dheireadh còig bliadhna air ais, ach cha d’fhuair e a-steach agus, a-nis, tha e seasamh a-rithist. Cuideigin eile a tha glè inntinneach, ‘s e Rod

MacChoinnich, a bha na neachgairm rona seo e fhèin mus do sheas e sios an-uiridh. Bha sin ma choinneimh draghan ann an aithisg le Buidheann-sgrudaidh na h-Alba a thog ceistean gu math bunaiteach mu mar a bha a’ Choimisean air a ruith. Ged nach robh an aithisg air a thighinn a-mach gu poblachd, thatar a’ tuigse gun robh Mgr MacChoinnich gu math draghail nach robhas a’ deiligeadh luath gu leòr le na draghan a bhathas a’ togail innte, gu sònraichte mar a bha cus buaidh aig an Riaghaltas air mar a bha a’ Choimisean air a’ ruith bho là gu là agus cho slaodach ‘s a bhatar a’ dèiligeadh le cùisean. Eu-coltach ri Mgr Ceanndach, bha agus tha meas mòr air Mgr MacChoinnich agus e ag obair aig margaidh-sprèigh Inbhir Pheotharain. ‘S ann anns na h-Eileanan Siar a tha an àireamh chroitear as motha agus, le sin, ‘s dòcha g’eil e ruideigin tàmailteach nach eil ach dithis a’ seasamh ann an sin, gu sònraichte nach eil duine sam bith ann bho Uibhist is Barraigh - sgìre far a bheil croitearachd gu math cudromach a-thaobh na h-eaconamaigh agus a’ choimhearsachd. Chaidh a ràdh rona seo gum

bu chòir dha dithis coimiseanar a bhith a’ riochdachdadh nan Eilean Siar leis cho cudromach ‘s a tha croitearachd dhan àite, aon a bhios gu sònraichte a’ coimhead ri Uibhist is Barraigh. Ach, aig an ìre sa, chan eil cail a choltas gun tachair sin. As bi cò a theid an taghadh aig a’ cheann thall, tha obair mhòr man coinneimh an dèidh do chomataidh de bhuill parlamaid droch chàineadh a dhèanamh air a’ bhuidheann, gu sònraichte a-thaobh mar a bha cùisean air an stiùireadh agus an càirdeas eadar an àrd-oifigear agus na coimiseanaran. Thuirt àrd-oifigear a’ choimisean, Uillean Barron: “Tha e na thogail mhòr gu bheil uimhir a dhaoine air a thighinn air adhart airson na taghaidhean. Tha sinn dol a dh’fhaicinn farpais anns gach sgìre agus ‘s e rud math dha-rìribh a tha sin.” Theid na taghaidhean a dhèanamh tron phost agus thèid an cunntadh a dhèanamh air an 18mh dhen Mhàirt. Tha a’ choimisean cuideachd air innse gu bheil iad air luchdobrachd a bharrachd fhàstadh airson cuideachadh leis an obair rianachd agus dèiligeadh leis na tha de thagraichean bho chroitearan a’ feitheamh riutha. Bhathas a’ cur as leth na buidhne cho slaodadh ‘s a bha iad a’ dèiligeadh le leitheid - fiù ‘s rona am pandeamaig - agus bhon uairsin tha cùisean air fàs nas miosa. Ach, a rèir Mgr Barron bu chòir dhan luchd-obrachd a bharrachd a tha seo cùisean a chuideachadh gu mòr.


Caly continue to invest

Caledonian Marts Ltd is set to continue its recent round of investment and expansion Phase 3 of a capital expenditure programme – which included £250k of investment in market facilities and improvements – has recently been completed. Further investment in new staff is now planned, to handle increasing throughput in both livestock and plant auctions at the firms Stirling Auction Centre. Managing Director, John Kyle explained more: “Our most recent round of capital investment, which, like previous rounds, has been funded entirely from profits generated by the business, has focused on the construction of a new secure storage shed to house valuable sale lots of plant and equipment, new road surfaces at the mart entrance and a liveried van fleet to support our Caledonian Specialist Auctions division.” “We have also invested in our people, recruiting new auctioneering and front office staff who have been great additions to the Mart. We are now looking to grow our team further with recruitment of a senior auctioneer, two trainee auctioneers and a Plant & Equipment Manager.” “Auctioneering is very much a people business, and enhancing

our team, bringing new members on board will ensure we can continue the first-class service levels we are proud to deliver for our clients.” “We are also delighted to announce that Oliver Shearman will be promoted to a new role of Head of Livestock. Oliver is a real asset to our team and our farming customers, and it is great to see him progress into this key position.” “I am proud to have presided over a seven-year period of investment and expansion which has delivered results unprecedented in the long history of Caledonian Marts.” “As my own retirement age approaches, I had some decisions to make personally. The Directors have asked me to stay on as Managing Director and I am very keen to do so. However, I am keen to allow others within the firm to enhance their own responsibilities and I have therefore decided that as of 1st May 2022 I will take a slight step back and work a three day week, focussing on sale days.” “I will welcome a bit more time to develop my outside interests whilst retaining and focusing my working time on where I can add most value.”

Allflex Livestock Intelligence launches subscriptionbased version of its SenseHub monitoring system

Allflex Livestock Intelligence has announced the launch of a subscription-based version of its popular SenseHub beef and dairy cow monitoring solutions. ‘GO’ is a simple and affordable subscription which enables farmers to utilise

Allflex Livestock Intelligence’s SenseHub monitoring system with zero upfront costs. The subscription service gives users access to all the necessary SenseHub equipment, installation, tags and applications for a single monthly fee and 77

livestock Nutrition: what would Goldilocks say?

By Eilidh Corr, Animal Health and Welfare Specialist at QMS As the days get longer and lighter, thoughts turn to lambing and calving preparations. There’s a lot to consider – we all know that it helps to have products, equipment, and handling facilities ready to avoid problems, and to make it easier to tackle any which do arise. However, one of the biggest factors to success is something you do for your stock every day, right now: feeding. What matters most is feeding them “just right”, in the words of that fussy fairy tale character, Goldilocks. Getting nutrition “just right” has many benefits, some of which you will see and some which are hidden. At a basic level, appropriate feeding helps pregnant animals to maintain the optimal body condition, so they are fit to give birth and produce milk. But beyond

this, getting the nutritional balance right can support the production of rich, good quality colostrum, promote vigour in newborn lambs and calves, and helps to avoid disease pitfalls such as milk fever, twin lamb disease and slow-calving syndrome. Correct nutrition will result in fewer interventions at lambing or calving, improved neonatal survival and better overall productivity, both saving and making you money. So how do you know if you’re getting it “just 78

right”? You can’t tell by eye, unfortunately. Some problems won’t become apparent until it’s too late, and even animals with correct body condition scores could be experiencing hidden deficiencies. In the same way as you don’t know how hot your porridge is without testing it, some quick blood samples are necessary to determine whether nutrition is hitting the mark for your stock.

illness, such as twin-lamb disease. Sometimes the results might hint at other problems which should be investigated further, such as Johne’s disease or liver fluke. And finally, it will tell you if these animals are at risk of mineral deficiencies which could put them at greater likelihood of experiencing birthing difficulties, staggers, or milk fever. Your vet might also suggest other tests, such as trace elements.

Which animals should be sampled? Choose animals in a range of body conditions to represent the group. In sheep, blood sampling six-to-ten twin or triplet-bearing ewes per group is enough. If they aren’t scanned, avoid sampling animals in their first pregnancy. In cattle, sample at least six cows per group.

What should I do about the results? Hopefully the testing will confirm that all is well, but if the results do highlight any problems, then by sampling at this stage you still have time to act to reduce any impact on calf or lamb health. It’s important to discuss the findings and necessary action with your vet and/or

nutritionist. You should take account of other information such as condition scores, forage analysis, parasite status and the presence of disease. Don’t forget to consider how feed is presented, and whether all the animals can access it, too – something as simple as insufficient space at a What will testing tell me? feeder can have a big effect Firstly, testing will tell you if on nutrition as pregnancy there’s enough protein and progresses. energy in the diet. This will With input costs on the highlight whether the group increase, can you afford not are to related to get nutrition “just right”? When should I sample? Sample two-to-four weeks before lambing/calving. Don’t sample immediately after feeding concentrates, or after a period of feed restriction – think about this if you need to pen animals for sampling.

allows full flexibility to change or add to their system as their needs evolve. Customers can select either a two- or five-year contract and will receive equipment and software upgrades as and when they become available. The new subscription service is available for all SenseHub application plans (Starter, Advanced and Premium) and can be used to monitor multiple populations or groups of animals including cows, heifers and youngstock. GO also enables users to use a mixture of Allflex’s intelligent ear tags and/or neck collars. Crucially, the subscriptionbased service gives users access to priority-level service support, with customers also benefitting from a full programme of onsite and online training modules including regular webinars and on-farm support to ensure they are able to get the most from their system. All equipment is also covered by a continuous warranty which lasts for the full duration of the subscription. Commenting on the new package, Paul Mitcham, monitoring sales manager for the UK, says: “The new GO package highlights Allflex Livestock Intelligence’s commitment to provide a fully supported, service-based solution to herd improvement by offering beef and dairy farmers an affordable, simple and flexible route into the use of herd monitoring technologies.”

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out May 2022 Subscription details on page 136


Suckler producers maximise returns with Breedr

Breedr, the precision livestock network, has launched a new initiative to help suckler producers become more profitable and resilient at a time of intense change. SucklerClub brings together a calendar of free webinars in conjunction with AHDB, an A3 wall planner, technical guides and benchmarking, all designed to help farmers maximise returns. “Small management tweaks can add up to a significant improvement in fertility, productivity and profitability,” explains Ian Wheal, founder of Breedr. “Farmers are looking to futureproof their businesses and make them resilient to changing policies and international competition. We are passionate about improving their returns, which is why we’ve produced this time-saving suite of tools for everyone to use.” The team has developed a calendar of key tasks for both spring-calving and autumncalving herds, covering genetic and fertility objectives, calving and weaning tasks, and key performance indicator (KPI) goals. Farmers can then record individual stock information in the free Breedr app, which

produces a report detailing key metrics to give a deeper understanding of their business. Under the imminent paidfor Benchmark service, farmers can create enhanced reports to benchmark against both AHDB KPIs and other suckler producers, and use that information to improve future decision-making.

“We know from industry research that traditional cattle breeding programmes can take 10-15 years to reach maturity,” says Mr Wheal. “But by recording their herd performance throughout each breeding cycle, farmers can accelerate herd fertility, cow output and profitability.”

Farmers can join SucklerClub by downloading the free Breedr app at Breedr is also offering a 25% rebate on Tru-Test scales and equipment with its new Get Weighing Grant. For more information visit or call 01243 210286.

New report highlights how farms have embraced a legacy of change

The profound and lasting impact of the Monitor Farm programme on farm businesses and communities has been celebrated with the launch of the ‘Legacy Project Impact Report’. The report provides a snapshot of each of the legacy farms and highlights the key changes they have made in the 80

years following their time as Monitor Farmers. Influencing management practices, mindset and overall farm profitability since the Monitor Farm programme began in 2003, the Legacy Project, which is managed jointly by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Agriculture and

Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), revisited six of the participating farms again in 2021 and involved a series of virtual events. During the Legacy Project, each farm hosted ‘walk & talks’, webinars, Facebook live events and podcasts to update the farming community on their

progress. Carbon audits and an Integrated Land Management Plan also commenced as part of the initiative, and strategic operational and management groups were established to review and develop the key aims and objectives of the programme. Beef and sheep farmer Robbie Newlands, from

livestock Cluny Farm near Forres, Morayshire, explains: “Our original management group has continued to meet after the Monitor Farm programme ended eight years ago. “There’s a dozen of us and it is all very informal and has become more of a social group. We meet up when we can and

visit each other’s farms to look around to see what each of us is doing and offer advice and constructive criticism.” To read the full Legacy Project impact report and learn about the farmers and their projects, head to: https://www.monitorfarms.

Free test to tackle Mycoplasma bovis

Mycoplasma bovis is of growing concern to farmers and vets, causing widespread disease in the UK – but now they can access a free diagnostic support package to help tackle it. “M. bovis infection is now one of the most common causes of pneumonia in the UK,” says Graeme Fowlie of Meadows Vets. “It is often a primary invader but can be frequently under-diagnosed.” The disease can also cause arthritis, swollen limbs and mastitis. “Because it has no cell wall, it’s difficult to treat with antibiotics. However, control options are improving – so it’s important to identify whether M. bovis is causing a problem on farm.” The free package – Mycoplasma Assisted Diagnosis - launched by Meadows Vets in conjunction with Kernfarm,

Merlin Vets and Livestock Health Scotland, is an important step to help farmers to tackle this endemic disease. Three forms of testing are available: Bulk milk PCR, serology testing of home bred calves over five months old, and post-mortem lung tissue PCR. These samples will be processed at Biobest, Edinburgh. PCR tests are more likely to identify M. bovis than traditional culture, explains Paul Burr, lab director at Biobest. “With traditional culture, unless specifically requested, the presence of Mycoplasma may be missed or Mycoplasma growth overwhelmed by other bacteria. PCR tests can make it quite simple to find Mycoplasma in addition to other bacteria without complex culture requirements. “In our laboratory we find M. bovis in approximately half of all

livestock our respiratory PCR multiplex tests; it is far more prevalent than many vets previously thought.” The bacteria can often be the cause of ‘grumbling’ problems in herds such as pneumonia, mastitis and joint ill, says Mr

Fowlie. “I can assist vets to select which test will be most suitable for a particular situation. This will allow them to identify clients with problem herds.” International Animal Health Journal recently published a

paper by Mr Fowlie which tested the vaccine on several farms in Scotland. It found that vaccinating calves against M. bovis significantly reduced postweaning mortality and antibiotic use compared with controls.

For more information visit mycoplasma-bovis-one-shot or contact Graeme Fowlie on 01651 872481 or thevets@

Police Scotland, NFU Scotland and rural organisations combine forces to highlight new legislation to protect livestock from dog attacks A campaign to protect Scotland’s livestock has been launched following new legislation which protects animals from dog attacks through a range of measures including updating the livestock definition, fines up to £40,000 and prison sentences for owners who let their pets worry, kill or injure farmed animals. SPARC, the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, is launching the Livestock Attack and Distress

campaign with the slogan: ‘Your Dog – Your Responsibility’ to educate dog owners about the new legislation plus, where applicable, use the new powers to report owners of dogs which attack livestock. The campaign was launched by SPARC at an event attended by SPARC members at the Pentland Hills Regional Park, near Balerno. The regional park is a popular location for dog walking and has unfortunately experienced

a number of attacks on farm animals in recent years. The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2021 came into force on 5 Nov 2021, following a successful Members Bill brought by Emma Harper, MSP, supported by SPARC, NFU Scotland and livestock owners after continued attacks on farm animals by out-of-control dogs. Under the new legislation, camelids such as llamas and alpacas, together with ostriches,

game birds and farmed deer are now protected plus the inclusion of the word “attack” is welcomed as this clearly reflects the more serious aspect of such an incident. The new law also includes provision to fine the owners of dogs that attack livestock up to £40,000 or even send them to prison. The campaign will run through the lambing season, when sheep and lambs are most vulnerable to attacks and will be then run again in the autumn.

Aberdeen-Angus tops BCMS registrations The Aberdeen-Angus breed has come out top in the BCMS 2021 registration results. With 471,528 registrations across the year, Robert Gilchrist, acting CEO of The AberdeenAngus Cattle Society says, it is fantastic to be leading the way when it comes to beef production. “Having the largest membership of any UK beef breed society, topping the BCMS table is something we’ve had our sights set on for the last few years and are pleased to have now achieved this,” says Mr Gilchrist. Mr Gilchrist believes the latest figures, which show a 4.5% growth in market share since 2018, which takes Aberdeen84

livestock Angus to 24.41%, is as a result of the on-going promotion of the breed coupled with a changing beef and dairy supply chain that sees the value that native breeds have to play. “It’s widely documented that British agriculture is facing the biggest changes and challenges in over 50 years,” he notes. “Farmers are being met with a reduction of BPS payments alongside mounting

consumer pressure to produce sustainable beef that benefits the environment. “This has brought into focus for farmers more than ever, the need to have an efficient and viable business, and much of this is down to genetics and the breed they focus on to meet the market demands of today’s consumers,” he says. “The Society has been promoting the benefits of the

breed to beef producers in terms of sustainability for some years and we’re now starting to reap the rewards in terms of the number of Aberdeen-Angus cattle registered within the UK. “We have a beef herd book to be proud of but there is also major opportunity within the dairy sector for our Aberdeen-angus genetics. Traits such as easy calving, high calf vigour and low input finishing

are attractive qualities that can help ensure every calf is reared to suit dairy systems but with the end beef market in focus,” says Mr Gilchrist. There is no doubt that with an increasing focus on business viability and sustainability credentials, Aberdeen-Angus will continue to be the number one breed able to produce beef fit for the future.

Data will transform livestock production, say OFC speakers The livestock industry is facing significant change in the next five to 10 years, with the collision of environmental and net zero targets, new trade deals and reduced Basic Payments. While at first sight that may seem daunting, it offers tremendous opportunities, and farmers are more than capable of overcoming such turbulence, according to speakers at the Oxford Farming Conference. “New supply chains are needed, with farmers at their heart,” explained Ian Wheal, co-founder of the precision livestock app Breedr. By taking more control of the supply chain, ensuring two-way feedback from fork to farm, and using new technology and genetics, farmers can significantly improve efficiencies. “All sustainability


comes with commercial sustainability, and by using data there’s a big opportunity to improve both farm productivity and carbon footprints.” According to Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, basing management decisions on real farm data is key. “The top producers’ output is 60% higher than the bottom producers’, with similar costs – these are really significant variables which can be addressed.” And boosting output does not have to come at the expense of the environment. FAI Farms in Oxfordshire has transformed its livestock and grazing management, with fantastic results. “We are finishing much more quickly with fewer inputs,” said Clare Hill, regenerative

agriculture director at FAI Farms. “We still farm the same land with the same animals, we’ve just had to change the way we think.” Facing drought in summer and flooding in winter, the farm moved from set stocking to mob grazing – with cattle housed over

winter – to the current system of year-round regenerative grazing with longer restorative rest periods. “We knew that change was needed. We have to do something fundamentally different to protect our planet,” said Ms Hill.

livestock Under the new system the animals graze over winter, growing fast, and the land is more resilient to weather extremes. Plus, it’s reducing the farm’s carbon footprint, something which meat buyers are demanding. “Small tweaks can have a big impact.” Phil Bicknell, head of business development at CIEL, said the focus on net zero, sustainable and high welfare farming will only increase over the next decade. “Today’s high standards are effectively tomorrow’s baseline. But incremental gains can deliver win-wins; actions to improve business performance can also help your environmental impact.” Farmers should consider undertaking a carbon audit now and make plans to reduce their footprints – while also benefiting the bottom line, said Mr Bicknell. “Use science and data to inform your decision-making. There is no shortage of innovation and technology to help; despite all the uncertainties and challenges the livestock sector is in for an exciting time.” Of course, any new technology has to be practical and easy to use, otherwise farmers won’t adopt it, added Mr Wheal. “Some 60% of our users previously recorded everything on paper – and new supply chains won’t happen overnight. It’s vital that we support farmers through this transition to the new and inspiring world of farming.” For more information visit or call 01243 210286.




Is Responsible Antibiotic Use Going to Make your Mouth Water This Lambing Season?

Of the sins we have all committed in the past, prophylactic use of oral antibiotics in new born lambs to prevent watery mouth is right up there as one of the worst and most widespread. Prophylactic use is where the antibiotic is given as a precaution or to try to prevent disease occurring, rather than waiting until disease is present when antibiotics can be used justifiably to treat disease. This inevitably leads to it being used totally unnecessarily when disease is not present. So what’s wrong with that? - well it promotes resistance in bacteria to antibiotics. This is now a huge problem in human medicine and we all have to do our bit to keep antibiotics working. So use “as little as possible but as much as necessary”, and shoving it down a lambs throat at birth prophylacticly is not necessary. Watery mouth is caused by an overgrowth of E.Coli bacteria which lambs pick up at birth causing an endotoxamia which can kill

By Andy Cant Northvet Veterinary Group

them very quickly. So how do we prevent it without our antibiotic? Easy! Produce strong lambs, make sure they get good colostrum, and hygiene, hygiene, hygiene! So start by getting body condition scores and nutrition levels right in the ewe. Do a pre-lambing blood sample 3-4wks prior to lambing. Energy requirements of the ewe in the last month increase hugely - where the ration doesn’t keep up she goes into negative energy balance ( resulting in pregnancy toxaemia or twin lamb disease) Beta hydroxybutryrate is a measure of negative energy. Low protein levels are associated with poor colostrum quality, a poor immune system and poor udder development and milk production. Urea and Albumin are measures of protein levels. These

parameters can help you adjust your ration in the final few weeks of pregnancy to produce strong lambs that have access to good quality colostrum. These lambs are robust and fight off any E.Coli challenge themselves. Hygiene helps reduce that challenge. Clean pens , clean teats. There will be situations where watery mouth rears its ugly head. But usually this will be well into the lambing period not at the start. Metaphylactic use of antibiotics may be warranted in this situation. That is where disease is established and you aim to reduce spread to close contacts at high risk. Again not every lamb. Just those below weight, triplets , those known not to get good colostrum. So no more excuses for bad management and using antibiotics as a sticky plaster. Generally speaking getting your teeth stuck into some good nutritional management will make your mouth water for a good reason!

Subscription details on page 136


dairy Milking the environmental benefits of private investment

A £1.5 million project led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has found private investment in ecosystem services has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms. The Resilient Dairy Landscapes project, funded by the Global Food Security programme, explored the trade-offs between farmers’ livelihoods, the natural environment and a stable supply of reasonably priced dairy products. It evaluated the operation of Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs) – which match private investors affected by landscape challenges with land managers – in Cumbria and East Anglia, as well as initiating the first networks in South West Scotland and supporting their extension into Europe. The project found farmers in The Eden Valley, Cumbria, planted hedgerows four times faster under the privately funded

Nestle-First Milk scheme than in public agri-environment schemes, suggesting that private sector investment may be needed to reach UK net-zero targets. Farmers interviewed for the research said they preferred private investment via LENs, which offer a simplified evaluation process, to publicly funded agri-environment alternatives. The project also sought to understand if the implementation of on-farm interventions under the Cumbrian scheme affected the prevalence and incidence of vector borne diseases in grazing cattle. It found there was no impact from planting more hedgerows on vector-borne diseases such as summer mastitis. Lead researcher Mark Reed, Professor of Rural Entrepreneurship at SRUC, said: “These findings are important because they show the important role hedgerow planting can play in meeting net zero targets,

and how carbon finance can speed this process up and make hedgerow planting more attractive to farmers. “Landscape Enterprise Networks are now a proven method for enabling companies to invest in the natural capital they depend upon, and the research shows that if designed well, privately funded schemes can be more attractive to farmers

than publicly funded agrienvironment schemes, because they are more flexible.” The project is being carried out in partnership with the universities of Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool, and Nestle UK among others. For more information visit: www.resilientdairylandscapes. com

Treat SOFTT cows ahead of spring calving to prevent ketosis Spring calving dairy herds are being reminded to treat vulnerable cows ahead of calving, to avoid the development of ketosis and associated diseases. Wesley Power, of Elanco Animal Health, emphasises the significant impact ketosis can have on cow health and production. “The direct cost of ketosis on-farm can be up to £220 per case[i], with the cost rising even further as cows become more susceptible to other diseases, due to the weakening of their immune system,” he says. Ketosis becomes especially apparent on-farm in the first month after calving, when a negative 88

energy gap develops. The surge in energy required for late foetal development and birthing the calf, coupled with the onset of milk production, can be especially high risk for cows categorised as ‘SOFTT’. “’SOFTT’ cows are those at greatest risk of developing ketosis and include Sick, Old, Fat, Thin and Twin bearing animals,” Dr Power explains. By identifying the cows that fall into these categories, farmers, vets and nutritionists are able to work together to provide preventative treatments. When teamed with careful diet management, the best way to avoid

the onset of ketosis is to administer an intraruminal monensin bolus, three to four weeks before calving. “When a monensin bolus is administered, glucose production within the cow is stimulated, delivering increased energy levels over a 95-day period. This treatment has been shown to reduce the development of ketosis by 74%[ii],” Dr Power adds. One farmer who has reaped the benefits of improving dry cow and transition management is Ed Evans, of Bourne Farm in Monmouthshire. Mr Evans and his family run a 195-head herd of Holstein-Friesian cows, supplying milk to Tesco and

Arla. Having tried to improve dry cow management with various nutritional changes for a number of years, the farm has seen the most significant improvement since installing three robotic milking systems and new housing infrastructure. This has encouraged the farm team to reconsider management protocols and has helped make a marked difference to milk yields. “Our vet recommended that we join Premier Nutrition’s Transition Management System (TMS) to help pinpoint areas for improvement. The TMS assessor identified milk fever as a big

dairy problem among the herd, which is a disease that is linked to the presence of ketosis,” says Mr Evans. “So, to prevent these issues arising, our SOFTT cows were treated with a monensin bolus three to four weeks before calving, and we looked to enhance cow comfort and lying times by increasing the size of lying and feed areas. The combination of these changes, plus the introduction of the robotic system and fine tuning of nutrition, has resulted in a huge step change in milk yields. Before the changes were made, we were getting around 7,800 litres per cow per

day, but are now producing over 12,500 litres, while maintaining butterfat levels at around 4%,” he says. For further information on ketosis in dairy cows, please visit: https://www.farmanimalhealth.

Trace elements key to supporting dry cow transition

Dairy farmers are being encouraged to invest in trace element supplementation at drying off to support cows through the transition period. James Brinicombe, technical director at B2B Nutrition, the trade arm of the Brinicombe group, says that the calving period is an incredibly stressful time for cows due to the heightened physiological demands and exponential rise in energy requirements. “Post calving, dairy cows rapidly go into peak lactation. If their health isn’t supported through this period, cows could be at increased risk of metabolic disease and serious illness. “Illness during this time comes at a significant cost to farm businesses. Not only are there the immediate costs associated with veterinary treatment, and loss of milk yield to consider, there is likely to be a longer-term impact with fertility typically also affected,” he says. According to Mr Brinicombe, good micronutrition can play a key part in ensuring the cow achieves the right chemical and energy balance during the transition period, therefore supporting immunity, repair and recovery post-calving. “Micronutrients often work together to support performance,

but selenium in particular can help to keep cows free from infection and reduce the risk of retained placentas,” he says “In addition to this, zinc, copper and manganese all help to support recovery post calving and should also be considered within transition diets.” Mr Brinicombe suggests that micronutrition is a balancing act. “It can be difficult to maintain a good trace element and vitamin status, but supplementation via a slow-release bolus can simplify the process. “For example, EnduraBol® boluses provide a sustained release of six vital trace elements and three vitamins for up to four months. This gives farmers peace of mind that their cows are receiving accurate micronutrition over a set period of time,” he says. While micronutrition is sometimes overlooked, Mr Brinicombe stresses that every penny spent on pre-calving nutrition could see more money gained in performance in subsequent months. “Micronutrition really should be incorporated into all herds’ transition management plans,” he concludes. Visit www.livestockbolus. com for more information on the use of trace element and vitamin boluses at drying off.

AHDB – Shape the Future By Stuart Martin, Scottish Dairy Hub Manager The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers, and others in the supply chain to help the industry succeed in a rapidly changing world. AHDB have a responsibility to get farmers ready for the change that is coming and helping them to not only survive but thrive. There are exciting opportunities ahead and AHDB want to unite the industry around a common goal to lift productivity, bringing people together to collaborate, innovate and drive change. The levy payers are at the heart of everything they do, so it is only right that farmers and growers are now to be given a greater voice in how AHDB spend the levy. In April 2022, levy payers get to have their say on the challenges they want AHDB to focus on. This is the chance for levy payers to influence how their levy is spent on the things that matter most.

Shape the Future is a consultive exercise on how the levy is invested. It will ensure that the Sector Councils at AHDB can be confident that they have the best evidence of what levy payers want when it comes to making the decisions of what to invest the levy on. Giving an understanding of what their levy payers feel are important to them, their businesses, and the industry. To ensure as many levy payers as possible have the opportunity to vote, AHDB are asking individual levy payers to register to vote. It is a simple process that should take no more than five minutes. The opportunity to register closes on the 31st of March and only those registered will be able to “vote” in April when the Shape the Future portal will open. Start the registration process now and visit the AHDB website or use the following link https://ahdb.

The SCOTTISH DAIRY HUB offers dairy farmers and service providers a free signposting service connecting the dairy sector throughout Scotland. Visit our website to view all the latest information on our noticeboard and events page Tel: 03454 755110 Mob: 07500 766083 Email: 89

sheep Farmers urged to administer quarantine worming dose to all incoming sheep Sheep farmers are being advised that all incoming stock, including sheep returning from winter grazing, should be quarantined and dosed with one of the newer wormer groups (eg Grp 4 Zolvix) to prevent resistant worms being brought onto the farm. Matt Colston, ruminant technical consultant at Elanco Animal Health, says while the need to quarantine newly purchased stock is now common practice, the process is sometimes overlooked for sheep that have returned from grazing elsewhere. “It’s vital to remember that sheep returning from grazing other farms can pose the same risk as new incoming stock. Whether stock is grazing common land or rented ground, unless you’ve had sole use of that land for at least two years, it’s important to treat these sheep as “incomers” and use one of the newer actives (e.g. Zolvix) as above to clear out any resistant worms,” explains Mr Colston. There continues to be an upward trend in wormer resistance, with a study showing

that 98% of farms now have detectable resistance to one or more of the three older group 1,2 and 3 wormer classes1. Mr Colston says every precaution must be taken to slow down the rate of resistance. “Resistant worms have a profound negative impact on flock health and performance, and once resistance to wormers has developed it’s irreversible. Therefore, it’s vital that farmers, vets and other advisers work together to implement an effective worming strategy that both protects flock performance and preserves wormer efficacy.” Mr Colston outlines the recommendations for quarantine treatment of both newly purchased and at-risk returning sheep. “First of all, it’s essential that the quarantine period starts as soon as sheep arrive, to stop them dropping any worm eggs onto pasture. Before treating, I’d advise weighing the sheep and calibrating equipment, to ensure they are dosed accurately. A scab treatment can also be

administered at this time,” he says. For guidance on which wormers to use and when, visit

the Sheep Wormer Checker: https://www.farmanimalhealth. sheep-wormer-checker.

Subsidised Blood Testing Scheme Now Available to Help Identify Possible Reasons for Early Lamb Losses MSD Animal Health has launched its 2022 FlockCheck diagnostic scheme, which allows sheep farmers in England, Scotland and Wales to ask their vet to blood test their flock for exposure to toxoplasmosis and enzootic abortion (EAE). Ewe reproductive failure, neonatal lamb disease and mortality are the three biggest factors limiting better flock productivity1 – with 90

toxoplasmosis and enzootic abortion continuing to be significant causes of these unwanted flock heath issues. Sheep farmers that experience more than two percent of their flock barren or aborting this lambing season are being encouraged to contact their vet to take advantage of the subsidised diagnostic scheme. FlockCheck has been running for more than 15 years and is available from

vets nationally. “Farmers can take advantage of this subsidised scheme by asking their vet to take blood samples from six to eight aborted, unvaccinated ewes, or from barren ewes or ones that have produced weakly lambs,” explains MSD Animal Health veterinary adviser Dr Kat Baxter-Smith. She adds that the blood test has proved to be an extremely

useful flock diagnostic tool in terms of helping to identify the potential presence of any key underlying productivity limiting disease. “Experience has shown that the results certainly help vets and their farmer clients make more informed decisions about appropriate flock health measures.” Annual FlockCheck blood test results consistently show

sheep that the majority of aborted ewes tested have been exposed to either toxoplasmosis or EAE – and sometimes both. This is consistent with a recent AHPA analysis showing that over recent years (2002 to 2019), EAE and toxoplasmosis have been the most common diagnoses of sheep abortion2. According to Dr Kat BaxterSmith, both these infectious disease causes of abortion can be responsible for reducing the number of lambs per ewes mated, which can increase workload and stress during lambing. Profit may also be reduced significantly2, she stresses, but using FlockCheck can help in improving a flock’s potential and overall economic performance. Farmers interested in taking advantage of the subsidised FlockCheck diagnostic service and reducing the risk of lower

2022 – a busy time for all

By Grace Reid, NSA Scottish Region Coordinator

productivity should contact their local practice as soon as possible. This year’s FlockCheck scheme commenced on 1st February 2022 and runs until 30th June 2022.

Highly regarded sheep farmer recognised with prestigious award The National Sheep Association (NSA) is delighted to announce Helen Roberts as the 2021 recipient of the NSA George Hedley Memorial Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the sheep industry. In addition to her wide-ranging personal interests in many aspects of the sheep industry Helen is NSA Cymru/Wales Regional Development Officer and Corporate Sales Manager. Helen has long been involved with the industry, working with her father on their ‘Horton’ flock of Suffolk sheep and with her husband Clive on the England/Wales border where they keep 500 Welsh Mules, Texel and Beltex cross ewes in addition to small pedigree flocks of Beltex and Blue Faced Leicesters. Helen has also taken on wide-ranging commitments and activities on several committees, as

We have started 2022 with an animal health and welfare theme and are pleased to announce that NSA Scotland have accepted to Chair the newly established Scottish Government OPA working group in addition to the Scottish Government sheep scab working group. Whilst it seems that OPA is very widely spread, there is no current cure or treatment for sheep farmers once it has been found in their flock. What we do know is that it is a virus which affects the cells in the lungs whereby tumours form and replace normal lung tissue. It can be transmitted predominantly via aerosol routes, via infected colostrum and milk and it has an incubation period from months to years. Unfortunately housing, trough feeding and high stocking densities all help the spread of OPA and diagnosis can be particularly difficult even with regular ultrasound scanning. All ages and breeds are susceptible which means that this is only going to become a much bigger problem if steps are not taken as a priority. But what can be done? The Moredun Research Institute have had dedicated experts working on this disease for quite some time and the hope is to put this research to use with funding to ensure the historical foundations of our flocks can continue into the future.

Members will also be aware of shortages of products used throughout lambing such as Spectam Scour Halt. This oral antibiotic for lambs is the only licenced product for the prevention of watery mouth in neonatal lambs. Whilst, the importance of good ewe nutrition, correct body condition score, hygiene at lambing and in the lambing environment, and colostrum supply to newborn lambs to prevent watery mouth are all key there will inevitably be many who will need to consult their vet to ensure cases are treated appropriately. NSA Scotland wish success to all those lambing in 2022 with the hope that the weather will not be detrimental as that seen in previous years. We look forward to seeing you all at NSA Scotsheep 2022 by kind permission of Robert and Hazel McNee, Over Finlarg Farm on Wednesday 01 June 2022. NSA and Te Pari Prize Draw Enter NSA’s 2022 prize giveaway to WIN a Te Pari Racewell HD3 mobile sheep handling system including EID and scale system worth £20,000! Both NSA members and non-members can enter via the NSA website https:// draw/nsa-and-te-pari/

sheep a director of Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers, for the past 18 years as Secretary followed by Regional Development Officer for NSA Cymru / Wales Region, and during the past decade as Corporate Sales Manager for NSA. On receiving the award, Helen comments: “Throughout my time

working for NSA and the wider sheep industry, I have always held the George Hedley award in the highest regard for the very high calibre individuals that have been recognised by this in the past. Therefore, I am extremely honoured to be named as the latest recipient, which enhances the

award I received in 2016 when I became the first lady to win the John Gittins Memorial Award. “I see the UK sheep industry and those that support me and NSA as part of a big family that has an integral part to play in the wider social, economic stability of the UK’s rural communities.

The formal presentation of the George Hedley award will be amongst Helen’s many friends and colleagues from the industry at the NSA Sheep Event dinner on Tuesday 26th July 2021, ahead of the flagship event of the association at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire.

Tip-Top Tups: New RamCompare Project farm in Scotland announced The new Scotland-based RamCompare farm has been named by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) as the project seeks to drive faster rates of genetic improvement in the UK sheep industry. Saughland Farm, alongside livestock manager Owen Gray, based at Pathhead, Midlothian, will now participate in the programme taking over from Sion Williams and Bowhill Estate who have supported the project since its launch in 2015. Saughland Farm consists of 50-ha of arable land, 240ha of grassland and 40ha of woodland and hedgerows. Saughland has a maternal composite flock of 1,500 ewes using Romney and Aberfield with everything recorded from birth and 400 ewe lambs. A new pedigree Suffolk flock is being developed with the aim to produce an easy lambing, vigorous flock without compromising carcase quality and growth using CT Scanning, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and rigorous selection.

Owen is looking forward to seeing what will be uncovered by the data-driven project and what insight into the EBVs of their flock: “We have a strong interest in progressive farming techniques and using data and science to improve our stock’s performance and output. Almost all of our decisions are made from facts and figures, not guess work. “It is for these reasons the Ram Compare project really appeals to us. We would love a chance to improve our knowledge and understanding of performance recording and estimated breeding values while exploring the merits of different breeds and how the different ram qualities thrive in their system. In addition, it will help show the benefits of recording sheep systems to the wider agricultural communities.” As well as gaining unique access to one of the UK’s leading sheep projects, Saughland will receive a payment for the data provided, the provision of a select group of recorded rams

for natural mating and funding to cover artificial insemination on a proportion of the flock. Flocks joining RamCompare face a strict selection criteria. They must provide at least 350 uniformly bred ewes to be mated to rams nominated by the project. They must allocate ewes to single sire mating groups and finish lambs in an identical manner. The farmers must be experienced EID users and supply an abattoir that reports kill data for individual lambs.

The data collection is set to commence with this year’s crop of lambs so keep up to date with the project at https:// ramcompare/ or via the QMS social media channels. RamCompare is seeking performance recorded rams and semen from terminal-sires for the 2022 mating season. Please consider supporting us with your ram nominations. Ram nominations opened in February.

Stockmax Pine Shavings to Carry NOPS Badge as Producers Bedmax Lead the Way in Bio-Secure Bedding For sheep farmers, reducing the loss of lambs to E. Coli infections like watery mouth and scour, whilst minimising the 92

use of antibiotics is a priority. Stockmax pine shavings offer a naturally antibacterial and highly effective alternative bedding

solution, and the BETA NOPS Bedding badge certifies that it conforms to the current best practice in minimising the risk

of contamination by naturally occurring substances which can be harmful to livestock. BETA NOPS accreditation



The ‘goose war’ is taken to the minister By Patrick Krause, Chief Executive, Scottish Crofting Federation

is an international industry standard of practice that audits and approves a manufacturer’s production and management processes, and also requires they make no claims for their products in promotion or advertising that are not clear, accurate and substantiated, so that customers can have full confidence when buying. Straw bedding traditionally used in lambing pens is a common source of contamination by pathogens and naturally occurring harmful substances, and damp conditions are ideal for bacterial reproduction. In recent years, farmers have recognised the need to look at new ways of effectively managing disease spread and reducing antibiotic use to increase efficiency and profitability. The switch from straw to Stockmax pine shavings in lambing pens has helped a growing number of farmers do just that. Stockmax is made using 100% Scots Pine timber, which has natural antibacterial properties. Scientific research studies

undertaken in Scandinavia and Germany have shown Scots Pine is unique among softwoods in eradicating many strains of harmful bacteria including E. Coli and E. Faecium and preventing their regeneration. The shavings are also dried at sterilising temperatures to eliminate the presence of unwanted bacteria and spores. Minimising external sources of contaminants in turn reduces the challenge on the immune system and keeps lambs healthier overall. For Tim Smalley, Managing Director at Bedmax which produces Stockmax, NOPS accreditation is a milestone in the bedding company’s 21-year commitment to excellence. “Producing a bedding product for farmers that is going to help them reduce disease, and also reduce antibiotic use, has been a priority since we began Stockmax production.” For more information on Stockmax, or to find your nearest stockist, visit: bedmaxshavings. com/Stockmax

The issue of the lack of government support to reduce damage caused by geese to biodiversity and crofting was taken to the Minister for Environment, Mairi McAllan, by the Scottish Crofting Federation. The type of machair cultivation and cropping carried out on Uist has high biodiversity value and, with the exception of Tiree on a smaller scale, is almost unique. This is one of the few sanctuaries for traditional crop varieties to seed, as well as rare wild plant, bird and insect life to flourish. Large quantities of storm-cast seaweed are heaped on foreshores up and down the islands ready to be spread and ploughed into the sandy soil of the machair, not only providing fertiliser and soil binder, but also trapping carbon into the soil. And, as you may know, maintaining and improving soil health as well as increasing biodiversity, have been major themes discussed at COP26 in Glasgow. The ever-increasing numbers of resident greylag geese pillage traditional corn seed as it grows and will destroy standing crops if

almost round the clock surveillance is not kept. This seed cannot be replaced from external sources and we need to ripen and harvest at least some of it for the following year. Cattle usually graze the machair, increasing biodiversity, but grass is being eaten or totally spoiled by grazing geese. The Uist Local Goose Management Group and Scottish Crofting Federation have complained incessantly about this menace and sought help to cope. SNH used to fund a very successful ‘Adaptive Management’ scheme but the funding diminished and this has now ceased. It is not just the crofters who have a stake in this. It is also the conservation bodies, the Government, indeed all of us, who stand to benefit from protecting the biodiversity machair cultivation provides. In view of discussions that have taken place in Glasgow it is hard to believe that the trivial amount of funding needed to protect biodiversity from the geese has been cut off. Is all the exclaiming of how important biodiversity is, just empty words?

pigs Challenging market conditions continue in the pig sector but there is reason to remain hopeful According to the latest market commentary from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), although the pace of price declines for pig producers has eased from the autumn peak, pig sector data continues to highlight severe challenges for Scotland’s producers and processors. However, the acquisition of Quality Pork Processers Ltd in Brechin by Browns Food Group may help alleviate some of the ongoing challenges faced by the sector. Iain Macdonald, QMS Senior Economics Analyst, says that the downward pressure on the pig market continues. “The GB standard pig price (SPP) slipped below 138p/kg in the final week of January, leaving it 1.9% below the same week of 2021 while, at just under 142p/ kg, the price for carcases weighing 70-104.9kg was down by 0.5%. Reflecting that market conditions had also been challenging in early 2021, the SPP trailed its five-year average by nearly 7%.” Downwards pressure on the pig market has come from an inability of the processing sector to expand output to handle an increased supply of finished pigs. “This constraint in output has been driven by a lack of suitably skilled workers, with the change in UK immigration rules after EU exit making it harder to recruit from overseas while domestic workers tend to favour careers in other industries, such as warehousing for online retail”, said Mr Macdonald. In June 2021, England’s agricultural census reported a 6% year-on-year increase in fattening pigs, with a 2% increase reported in Scotland. “Yet, at GB level, slaughter declined slightly on a year earlier between June and the year-end. This resulted in a backlog of slaughterready pigs on farms, with weak 94

competition for these pigs leading to lower market-clearing prices. In addition, delayed slaughter meant that fast-growing pigs quickly exceeded target weight-ranges, further reducing their value to the producer and processor as heavy carcases and their component cuts have fewer outlets.” Recently published December census results for England showed a much smaller seasonal decline in fattening pigs between June and December than usual, falling 3.5% compared to a five-year average of 8%. Mr Macdonald commented: “Comparing against a more normal seasonal scenario, this suggests that slaughter numbers could have been 177,000 below potential between June and December. The result in England was that the year-on-year increase in slaughter pigs on farms widened to 11% in December.” In Scotland, December census results have not yet been published but since the number of fattening pigs on Scottish farms was 8% of the English total in June 2021, this could suggest around 14,000 fewer pigs being slaughtered from Scottish farms than potential over the same period, pushing the GB backlog to 191,000. “Moving into 2022, slaughter of standard pigs at GB price reporting abattoirs has started the year below its 2021-weekly average, suggesting little inroads have been made into the backlog,” explained Mr Macdonald. Further evidence of market distress and a severe backlog comes from an increase in carcase weights since the turn of the year, approaching 96kg. In the four weeks to January 29, an estimated 18.2% of the standard carcases weighed at least 105kg, up from 5.6% a year earlier, and this was already at an elevated level in early 2021 due to a backlog caused by

Iain Macdonald, QMS Senior Economics Analyst

covid-19 abattoir closures in late2020. “One slight positive for producers is that the rise in carcase weights has been offsetting lower per kilo prices, resulting in higher average prices per carcase. In the final week of January, the price per carcase was 5% higher than last year and 4% above its five-year average. “Nevertheless, this is before factoring in the cost of production. Back in the late summer and early autumn, grain and soya futures prices had fallen back from the highs of early 2021 and Defra’s compound feed report for the July to September period had suggested that, while still 13% higher than a year before, the cost of pig feed had eased slightly on the quarter,” said Mr Macdonald Since then, a deterioration in the anticipated global balance of supply and demand for grain has seen prices for wheat and barley surge by around 15% and 25% respectively. Meanwhile, a dry

summer in Argentina and Brazil has resulted in a tightening of global soyabean supply, pushing up the price of soyameal by around 15% since the autumn. As a result, these higher raw material prices will have been passing into the price of compound feeds over the winter, likely raising them beyond the levels last reported by Defra from Q3 2021. More positively for the pig sector in Scotland is a potential recovery in pig slaughter towards the levels seen in 2020 following a change in ownership of Brechin abattoir. “This change in ownership also comes with wider benefit to the Scottish economy given that the pig carcases will be converted into cuts of pork and other pigmeat products at processing sites in Scotland. As a result, economic value will be added, and employment supported, in Scotland rather than at production sites south of the border,” concluded Mr Macdonald.

estate Atholl Estates Ranger Julia Duncan to inspire new countryside recruits Blair Castle and Atholl Estates’ ranger, Julia Duncan, has been enlisted to help inspire a new generation to join the profession and help protect Scotland’s countryside. Taking part in several activities organised by Lantra, which helps to drive skills development in the rural economy, Julia will highlight both her career path to Blair Castle and the diversity of her role on the 145,000-acre Atholl Estate. The aim is to encourage more young people to become countryside rangers at a time when the natural environment, sustainability, and our interaction with wildlife is becoming increasing vital. Over recent years, 35% of ranger jobs have been lost, yet with a huge upturn in Scots holidaying at home, sustainable land management a priority and the increasing focus on ecotourism, Lantra recognises that a critical element is the need for new role models. It believes that people like Julia, who are passionate about protecting the environment and wildlife, could be key to the industry’s future. Kevin Patrick of Lantra said: “The need to invest in how we engage people and help them to understand and enjoy the countryside has been highlighted over the past year and the role of the countryside ranger is now being acknowledged as vital to the sustainable development and management of Scotland’s rural estates, country parks, historic and more natural landscapes.

To bring more people into the profession, we need role models who can bring diverse skills and fresh ideas to traditional roles and who can highlight how rewarding a career as a ranger actually is. That includes young people, who are the future guardians of Scotland’s natural environment, and who have also been hit badly in employment terms by the pandemic. They need opportunities - and we need them.” Julia Duncan has been a countryside ranger for eight years, the past three with Blair Castle and Atholl Estates in Highland Perthshire. The role includes visitor management, delivering outdoor activities, maintaining public access, trails and pathways and biological surveys and monitoring. Over the past year, her responsibilities have expanded to meet the demands of more people wanting to understand and learn about the natural environment around them. This ranges from working with schools through to guided walks across the estate and, most recently, she has been involved in developing the new Beaver Tour. Acknowledging that Perthshire is one of her favourite parts of Scotland, Julia wants to help people understand more about the area and believes that by demonstrating how to care for the environment, others will be encouraged to do so. She said: She concludes: “Highland Perthshire is one of my favourite parts of Scotland and I feel

privileged to live and work on the Atholl Estates. I absolutely

love my job and there’s nothing else I would rather be doing.” 95

estate Fera launches new land assessment service A new service to measure, monitor and assess natural capital has been launched by Fera. Combining data and science, LAND360, accurately measures and maps existing land habitat features and models biodiversity offerings to help farmers, landowners and managers make informed land use decisions. “With the introduction of the environmental land management scheme (ELMs) and the drive to manage land in a way that recognises ‘public money for public good’, it’s clear that landowners need to understand the extent of the

natural capital they have,” explains Guy Thallon, Fera strategic business development manager. “This baseline understanding will mean opportunities can be identified and realised to help secure businesses that are economically and environmentally sustainable. “However, to achieve this, sourcing accurate data and using the latest science is fundamental, hence the reason for launching LAND360,” adds Mr Thallon. Based on three hierarchical levels of service, LAND360 uses the expertise of Fera’s

multidisciplinary scientists, alongside the latest software and scientific assessment techniques to map alternative land use scenarios bespoke to each business. “LAND360 Mapping+ involves the analysis and interpretation of high-resolution satellite imagery to create a detailed baseline of natural capital resources,” says Mr Thallon. “Scoring+ takes this a step further and uses proven methods to assess the quality of natural capital using the insight gained through Mapping+ combined with more detailed ecological and biodiversity scoring.

“Finally, Ecosystem+ is a bespoke consultancy service where land use proposals are developed in conjunction with land managers, Fera scientists and ecologists to identify opportunities for future land use and revenue streams. These recommendations are based on scientific data gathered on available natural capital, business performance and market options,” he adds. To find out more about LAND360 visit the website land360-land-management

Delivering best use of land should be central to Scotland’s fiscal policy What Scotland wants to deliver from its land needs to be the key factor when considering a huge and costly exercise to assess and include all land on the valuation roll. Scottish Land & Estates, the rural business organisation, made the comments following the Scottish Land Commission’s (SLC) publication of Advice to Scottish Ministers on Land Reform and Taxation.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 136 96

The commission makes five recommendations including exploring the role of taxation from future carbon values and investigating the potential for an income tax relief to support letting of agricultural land. Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Scotland’s land businesses are instrumental in providing food for domestic and international consumption as well as enhancing our environment and capturing carbon, delivering clean energy and supporting economic and employment opportunities in sectors such as tourism. “Any amendments to taxation systems have to be thought through with great care. Introducing tax measures in order to promote land reform would run the risk of damaging the substantial benefits

rural businesses already create – not to mention the considerable tax and rates that are already paid by these companies. “Bringing all land onto the valuation roll for non-domestic rates would be a mammoth exercise to complete. Scotland’s farming businesses would be caught up in a mountain of red tape, not to mention the uncertainty it would foster even if there are no plans for rates to be charged at present. “As we have witnessed from the valuation exercise for deer forests and sporting rates, businesses which government claim will not be subject to rates are inevitably caught in the ratings valuation process, often with significant time and costs attached. “We continue to be supportive of investigating the

potential for income tax relief to support letting of agricultural land and would encourage the Scottish and UK Governments together to consider what may be achievable. Rural businesses want to let land and want to see more new entrants making their way into farming in Scotland. “We also note that the commission recommends government considers the role of taxation in the productive balance of public and private benefit from future carbon values. With the Scottish Government setting ambitious forestry and peatland restoration targets, much of which is already being delivered through private landowners, it may be counterproductive to introduce taxation changes which could impinge the pursuit of net-zero by 2045.

estate Taxing land better could help Scotland’s economic recovery Increasing the role land plays in Scotland’s tax base and a local authority power targeted at newly derelict property are among the key recommendations put to Government Ministers in today’s report on how Scotland’s land could be taxed better. The Scottish Land Commission was tasked with advising on how changes to existing land and property taxation could support Scotland’s economic recovery and land reform objectives. The Commission’s recommendations make the case for ongoing reform to improve the way in which Scotland taxes land, outlining the steps needed to increase the role of land values in the nation’s tax base and support the delivery of the Scottish Government’s land policies. While 50% of the UK’s wealth is tied up in land and property, it only forms around 10% of the total tax base. In Scotland, just 12% of all public sector revenue across reserved and devolved taxes are raised through taxes fully or partially levied on land and property. Identifying changes to the tax system could help regenerate town centres, ensure that the move to net zero is a just transition, deliver wider benefits for local communities, and support a more diverse pattern of land ownership. The recommendations include making information on land ownership, value and use publicly available through the introduction of a cadastral map approach – which is widely adopted across Europe and maps all land data. This would be a vital first step in strengthening

the role of land in Scotland’s tax base. The report also identifies tax as playing a key role in tackling vacant and derelict land and supporting town centre regeneration. Recommending the incentivisation of the reuse of sites by introducing additional reliefs on Non Domestic Rates (NDR) and council tax for new build properties on longstanding vacant sites and giving local authorities new powers to apply NDR to newly derelict properties to discourage them from falling into disrepair. On the hot topic of ‘natural capital’ and the emerging carbon market, the Commission recommends that particular attention should be given to how taxation can secure “a productive balance of public and private benefit from future carbon values”. It also recommends specific consideration of the role of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, suggesting changes could help support more diverse land ownership and address the risks to a just transition of high land values associated with carbon. Offering income tax relief to encourage more letting of agricultural land is a final recommendation – which would require engagement on a UK basis to secure changes to what is a reserved power. Scottish Land Commission Chief Executive, Hamish Trench, said: “Land is our most valuable asset and Scotland has scope to tax land in ways that better support the Scottish Government’s policy priorities, but this needs to be considered in a careful way that acknowledges

Move beyond tribalism

By Stephen Young, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates Tribalism is all too common, not least in the world of football and politics. The idea that you pick a side, back them unconditionally, shout loudly and disregard any other viewpoints appears to work in some circumstances. However, when it comes to rural Scotland it is completely counterproductive. Whether it is sheep versus trees, holiday accommodation versus long term housing or even differing soil management techniques, there is a feeling that we appear to be entering into tribal territory. The reality is it is rarely black and white and as with everything, there needs to be balance. The role of land management in Scotland’s economy and combatting climate change cannot be underestimated, and there are challenges around how it is best used. SLE has been calling for greater integration of thinking around differing land uses for a long time, arguing for the need to ensure that policies are not competing with each other but instead offer genuine options for land managers to select the use which is best suited to achieve beneficial outcomes on all levels. We don’t see that there is any need for conflict between land uses: we should have the ability to meet planting targets, while still maintaining output from agriculture, by using the land best suited for each

activity. That doesn’t mean large monocultures of each in different areas either. It will, however, involve grown up discussions, taking the conflict out of the debate and spending less energy creating heat and more creating light. There is a similar debate going on around rewilding, initially over what constitutes rewilding, then whether it is a good thing and then how to do it. I would argue that rewilding in the right place is exactly the right thing to do - but the key is the right place. As with all of these issues, what we need to do is come from a position of facts and evidence, not emotion and ideology (and I’m not just talking about rewilders here). We need to put meat on the bones around what the impact of “green jobs” (my current pet hate phrase, as it says everything and means nothing) will be. We need to understand which jobs are and are not “green” and what skills are required. Currently it seems to be a get-out phrase whenever the economics is questioned. Trying to move beyond tribalism can only come via learning and understanding. It takes time and it is not always fun, but it is incumbent on bodies, like SLE, to push ourselves to make sure our members have the best information available to understand issues and the ability to make informed choices.

For more information Telephone : 0131 653 5400

estate the complexity and devolved powers. “This report sets out steps that can be taken to steadily increase the role that land value plays in taxation, as well as specific reform opportunities to tackle priorities including derelict land regeneration and a just transition. “Tax is a potentially significant influence in delivering Scotland’s land policy objectives and we recommend an ongoing programme of reforms. Discussing changes to taxation often attracts passionate debate and strong views, our international research has shown how important direct public engagement is in discussion and consideration of the options for changes in land taxation. That is why we also advise that a national conversation needs to happen to help build consensus on the options for taxing land and making the most of Scotland’s land.”

Demand for land in Scotland has seldom been greater If farmers are looking for a successful and rewarding exit, now is the time While demand for all manner of land in Scotland has rarely been more urgent, the farm sales market remains stubbornly quiet, and shortage of supply continues to act as a drag anchor as sellers sit tight. Their reluctance is hardly a surprise. We have seen it before, particularly in the aftermath of the banking crash in 2008, when the air was thick with fear and uncertainty. The last few years in Scotland have also had their share of geopolitical upheavals, generating similar levels of anxiety. But while it is a natural instinct for farmers to wait out a crisis – land, after all, does not go off – it does create something of a conundrum for them, since those who do take their properties to market are achieving quite stellar prices from a jostle of competing willing buyers. 98

In fact, it could be argued that now is the time – indeed, there has hardly been a better time – for land management professionals to realise assets, with the proviso that they should be guided in their enterprise by experts such as Baird Lumsden, the rural department of DM Hall Chartered Surveyors. The disposal of properties with which we have been entrusted over the past 12 months has been singularly successful, with almost all attracting intense interest, going to a closing date and achieving prices well in excess of what the sellers had anticipated. Despite what might be assumed from a superficial glance at the agricultural sector in Scotland, farming is actually in quite a good state at the moment. Certainly, inputs such as fertiliser and fuel prices are up, but so are returns on cereals, lamb and beef. Potato prices are slightly down, but they had a good run last year.

The subsidy regime, delivery of which has transferred from the EU into the hands of the UK Government, is functioning as it should and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future, though it will begin to taper off in the next few years. The focus moving forward is on sustainability and modern farming methods that balance social and economic needs. Subsidies are also likely to be associated much more closely

with the current environmental agenda, with incentives to plant trees and protect hedgerows, rather than as a simple financial prop for unproductive businesses. Income from traditional farming activities remains an important factor, but gross revenues now tend to include woodland planting, carbon capture and in many cases, substantial commercial and leisure activities.

Rural businesses set to suffer as short-term lets legislation passes

Rural businesses are set to suffer following the Scottish Parliament’s passing of a short-term lets licensing order which is hugely

disproportionate to the problems that are claimed to be managed, Scottish Land & Estates has said today.

estate SLE has consistently raised strong concerns that the draft licensing order had been shaped with mainly urban businesses in mind and failed to take into account the important role short-term lets play across rural Scotland by providing housing for communities and workers, as well as bringing in vital tourism. Following thousands of consultation responses expressing concern at the proposed plans, the Scottish Government revised its draft order last autumn to make a number of changes including removing overprovision powers and reducing public liability insurance requirements. However, SLE has consistently highlighted that while such amendments were welcome, they fell far short of meeting needs of rural businesses. SLE argues that there are a number of outstanding issues that the licensing order does not address including a one size fits all approach that fails to reflect the diversity of rural businesses as well as being based on a flawed Business & Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) that excludes previous Scottish Government work on the value of short-term lets in rural communities. Further issues include no differentiation between well-managed and reputable businesses who already comply with existing health and safety legislation, and more casual, informal hosts, alongside potentially disproportionate license fees and threats that up to threeyear licenses could be withdrawn in the future Scottish Land & Estates Policy Adviser, Simon Ovenden, said: “We’re extremely disappointed that these proposals have been passed by the Scottish Parliament, albeit with some welcome opposition that recognised the damage that this legislation will have on rural businesses. “While we understand the need for action in some localised situations, we have constantly warned of the dangers of a one size fits all approach. This urbanfocused licensing order being imposed on rural Scotland, with evidence suggesting that the excessive bureaucracy and spiraling costs could now lead to many businesses closing with a knock-on impact to the local communities they serve.

Dr Louise de Raad joins Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust as Head of Research Scotland and Director of the Scottish Research and Demonstration Farm Dr Louise de Raad has joined the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust as Head of Research Scotland and also Director of the Scottish Research and Demonstration Farm at Auchnerran, near Aboyne on Deeside. Her work for GWCT in Scotland will include developing and overseeing all research projects and all research and demonstration farm staff. Currently Scottish research staff include four post-doctoral scientists, two research assistants and four placement students. She will also take on responsibility for managing all aspects of operations at the Game and Wildlife Demonstration Farm at Auchnerran, Aberdeenshire (GWSDF), including the farming, research, and the demonstration and outreach activity. Louise joins GWCT from the University of the Highland and Islands (Inverness College UHI) where she was a Research Fellow specialising in behavioural and spatial ecology and wildlife management, and where she was leading the Forestry and Conservation research group. Her main research area investigates the impact of human disturbance on protected species and balancing human-wildlife interests. Earlier she completed her BSc in Tropical Land Use and MSc in Tropical Nature Conservation at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and, as part of her post graduate degree, worked on

Dr Louise de Raad

the Zoological Society of London’s Tsaobis Leopard Project in Namibia, which laid the foundation for her PhD at Durham University where she investigated the cognitive abilities of chacma baboons in South Africa. With a strong track record in initiating and leading collaborative, multi-stakeholder research that directly influences management guidance and practices and contributes to regional policies, Louise’s experience gives her a breadth of perspective that will be of huge value in her new role. Rory Kennedy, Director Scotland, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, says: “Louise will be leading our research and demonstration activities in Scotland and will significantly enhance our scientific capabilities. This is research that informs and directs practical conservation and land management outcomes throughout the country. “In addition to overseeing our wider research activities, her new role represents an opportunity to develop and lead a programme of research at our Auchnerran demonstration farm that will influence the management of upland livestock farms. This

facility seeks to demonstrate profitable farming that supports biodiversity, while embracing the progression towards low carbon farming.” Dr Louise de Raad said: “I am absolutely delighted to be working for the GWCT and to lead the research team in Scotland. I am very fortunate to have worked at Inverness College UHI where I was given the opportunity to expand my knowledge of land management in Scotland and work on a variety of species whilst turning my science into policy and management practice. “It is with great enthusiasm that I am getting to know my new team better and I am looking forward to working with everyone to ensure we deliver the robust science that is needed to inform and guide our conservation work and farming and land management practices and policy in Scotland. “I am committed to undertaking research to enhance the ability of farms and estates to contribute effectively to national efforts to mitigate climate change and enhance biodiversity through nature-based solutions and am dedicated to collaborative research and building a strong network of external contacts to help us do that.” The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust can provide farm and shoot biodiversity assessments and advise how to achieve biodiversity net gain. Talk to the GWCT Advisory Service tel: 01738 551511 or e: scottishhq@


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£2M woodland scheme expanded to help farmers and land managers create native woodlands The charity Future Woodlands Scotland has unveiled the next phase of its £2m ‘Future Woodlands Fund’ pilot scheme to make it easier for farmers and other land managers in Scotland to plant native woodland. New to the scheme are three options – upfront area payments for small woods, carbon ownership and ghost woodlands. The scheme’s original annual payments option has been increased to £3,500 per hectare over 20 years, to provide extra incentive for the creation of new woodlands. Any land manager in Scotland can apply to the fund

provided their proposed project is between 3 and 100 hectares and meets the essential criteria. Future Woodlands Scotland is a Scottish charity working to create and conserve native woodlands. Through the ‘Future Woodlands Fund’, it aims to establish one million trees by November 2023, with the potential to lock up 235,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2080. Tim Hall, Chair of Future Woodlands Scotland, said: “Interest in native woodland regeneration is increasing but many farmers and land managers still worry about the upfront costs

forestry assessments, Woodland Carbon Code validation and free access to a Professional Forestry Agent to draw up the Forestry Grant Scheme application. The Future Woodlands Fund has been made possible by £2m of support from energy company, bp. Tim Hall said: “By working with businesses and organisations, Future Woodlands Scotland aims to enhance Scotland’s biodiversity through projects that would not otherwise be possible. We are grateful to bp for their support in investing in our efforts to create lasting change.” Giles Mackey, Senior Manager for HSE and Carbon at bp North Sea said: “bp is proud of our long-standing relationship with the charity and more than two decades supporting the regeneration of native woodlands in Scotland. The purpose of this partnership is to help Future Woodlands Scotland to develop new and innovative schemes to enhance and protect Scotland’s native woodlands. bp is working hard to become a net zero company by 2050 and to help the communities we work in achieve their sustainability goals. All carbon credits generated by this scheme will therefore belong to the landowner or to Future Woodlands Scotland to re-invest in future projects and help Scotland reach its net zero targets.” More information and application forms can be found on the Future Woodlands Scotland website: www.

Helping tenant farmers grow trees for their business Photo by Lesley Simmons

of planting woodlands. Providing them with a range of options will mean they can choose what’s best for their business. This will be good for both farming and wildlife, while helping Scotland meet its biodiversity and climate commitments. I urge anyone thinking about creating native woodland to apply today.” Developed following feedback from land managers, farmers and industry professionals, the new range of options addresses demand for differing levels of support and retaining carbon units arising from the woodlands. Through the fund, land managers will now be able to apply for up to £3,500 per hectare spread over 20 years if they choose the annual payment option. An upfront area payment option for smaller woodlands has been introduced to help ease cashflow at implementation. A new, carbon unit ownership option gives land managers the option to keep any carbon units arising from their woodland as an investment or to offset their own land-based emissions. Another option is to restore ‘ghost’ or derelict native woodlands with high ecological value. Ghost woodlands are relics of old or ancient woodlands, where less than 20% of the canopy cover remains. Creating a new native woodland will come at a much-reduced cost to the land manager. Working alongside the established Scottish Government’s Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS), the fund will cover the cost of site

Scottish Forestry is working with the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association to encourage more tenancy businesses to plant trees. Farm woodlands can bring many benefits including shelter for livestock, improved habitats for wildlife, providing a future income from timber and reducing the business’s carbon footprint. To help tenant farmers consider the benefits of tree planting and what is involved, a new woodland creation case study, has been published. Lyn White, Scottish Forestry’s forestry and farming development officer said the vast majority of recent forestry grant applications are for smaller scale woodland creation projects, such as farmers. She said: “It is important to ensure all farmers, including tenant farmers, can see the benefits that growing trees can have to boost their businesses. “We’ve worked with the STFA on this case study which is centred around a tenant farm on Crown Estate Scotland land. “I really hope that the case study encourages more tenant farmers to look seriously at tree planting and take advantage of the help available to make this happen.”

The case study is centred around Ruthven Farm in the Highlands. This is a Crown Estate Scotland tenanted farm of 800 acres in size. Ruthven has already seen the benefits of planting trees on the farm - shelter and habitat for their flock, and new fencing paid for. These benefits have led to better management of stock and improved biosecurity barriers with neighbouring farms. The mixed woodland was planted in wetter, less productive areas such as corners of fields that have fluke habitats. These areas are now less wet due to the trees. The woodland has also seen survival rates in the flock improving greatly as the trees mature. Scottish Forestry has developed a number of initiatives to make it easier for smaller landowners, farmers, crofters and woodland owners to grow trees. Simplified woodland creation guidance has been produced, a Small Woodlands Loan Scheme created, and a network of demo farm woodlands sites has been established through the Integrating Trees Network. More information is available on the Scottish Forestry website:

forestry CarbonStore Sponsors Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2022 Climate Change Award

CarbonStore is delighted to be sponsoring the Climate Change Champion Award for Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards for the second consecutive year. This exciting Award aims to celebrate leading examples of Scottish forests and woodlands, which have an important role in mitigating or adapting to climate change as well as playing their role in educating and information sharing on this important subject. Entries are sought from across Scotland and are open to any forest, woodland, school or pre-school climate change related learning project. The Climate Change Champion Award has been developed in partnership with Forest Research, who will again be judging in 2022. Professor 102

Chris Quine, Chief Scientist at Forest Research, led the team assessing entries, and said the 2021 winner (Balbeg Estate’s Bennan Hill) “demonstrated an integrated approach to tackling climate change throughout its activities with actions relating to mitigation, adaptation and knowledge exchange” and “a strong commitment and a real consistency of vision”. The Climate Change Award was introduced in 2021 to mark the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, where the role of forests was underlined in the Glasgow Leader’s Declaration on forests and land use, which is supported by more than 140 countries. David McCulloch, Head of CarbonStore, sponsor of the

Climate Change Champion Award, said: “CarbonStore is dedicated to helping mitigate climate change by uniting landowners keen to plant trees with companies wanting to offset their residual carbon emissions. We therefore consider ourselves the perfect partner in sponsoring the Climate Change Champion Award in this highly-respected, well-established programme, we look forward to some excellent entries.” The Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards’ programme strives to showcase the best in Scotland’s woods and forests. With 80% of the UK’s new woodland currently being planted in Scotland and continued Scottish Government support for ambitious tree planting targets,

organisers hope for another exceptional set of winners in 2022. “Anyone with a genuinely high-quality project has a chance to win an award, whether that’s Scotland’s largest landowner or a small nursery school, or a farmer discovering the benefits of trees to an experienced forester creating a model woodland.” Said Angela Douglas Executive Director, Scotland’s Finest Woods who operate the annual Awards. All the other popular categories return in the Awards, which were held online in 2021 after a 2020 Covid-cancellation. Entries must be submitted by 31st March 2022. For full details, criteria and entry forms, see:

forestry Tree planting at Beinn Eighe increases woodland by 41%

Long-term tree planting at Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve (NNR) has increased woodland by 41%, helping combat climate change and increasing the biodiversity of the area hugely. Comparing old and new aerial images, NatureScot staff calculated an increase of woodland cover from 158ha to 223ha since Beinn Eighe was designated as the UK’s first NNR in 1951. This expanded woodland has created ‘corridors’ connecting the ancient fragments of woodland, allowing animals to move more freely and expand the range of rare woodland plants. Most of this expansion is due to tree planting, with trees planted almost every year since 1951 and recently over 20,000 planted a year. Since the NNR’s 104

establishment, about 800,000 trees have been planted. Most have been Scots pine as well as broadleaf species such as birch, aspen, holly, rowan and oak. To retain the local provenance and genetic interest of the trees, all the seed is collected on the nature reserve and grown in an onsite tree nursery. This year, the main planting phase will end with the last 20,000 trees planted. In future years, natural regeneration will help expand the woodland further, and NatureScot will only use targeted planting for underrepresented species in areas where there is no seed source. Woodland expansion is part of the solution to the climate emergency, helping to increase biodiversity, conserve Scottish

species and help our society and economy adapt to climate change, for example by reducing potential for flooding and reducing the effects of heatwaves. Doug Bartholomew, Beinn Eighe’s NNR manager, said: “”The planted woodlands now link together all the fragments of ancient woodland on the nature reserve, creating a much more resilient environment for wildlife and to help combat climate change. For the next 70 years, our vision is to see the wood expand even more through natural processes, with a flourishing western pinewood supporting a range of healthy habitats and a rich variety of species.” Covering a huge 48sq km, Beinn Eighe was the

first national nature reserve declared in the UK. It was initially protected for its ancient pinewood – the largest fragment of ancient pinewood in north west Scotland. Due to the local oceanic climate, the woodlands at Beinn Eighe are classed as temperate rainforest, which is a very rare habitat globally. The high rainfall (about 2000mm annually), high humidity, relatively mild winters and cool summers create conditions ideal for many globally important mosses and liverworts, as well as a spectacular array of lichens, fungi and ferns. NatureScot staff has also created a Story Map to vividly show the vital work which has taken place on Beinn Eighe over the last 70 years.

by Linda Mellor

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE Earlier this year, when the shooting season closed on 1st February, I couldn’t help but ponder on what the shooting season in Scotland will look like in 5 years’ time? Before I got any deeper into my thoughts, I found my mind wandering (nothing new there!) and reminiscing about the last forty and more years of my countryside experiences. At 57, it’s actually very surprising when you look back how many decades you have chalked up. Over the decades, the shooting season many of us had grown up with really hadn’t changed much. The estates we visited were numerous across Scotland, and we would see familiar faces, know the landscapes, the nooks and crannies, the boggy parts best avoided, and the expectations of the day and whether or not the estate provided a hearty lunch for everyone: this was always a much-talked about bonus

of a shoot day especially on an estate that treated the beaters, picker-ups the same as the shooting guests. Everyone was equal. My experience of shoot days started in childhood with my dad, visiting various shoots locally and some further afield, where he picked-up with his dogs and occasionally shot. I have fond memories of these days, big country houses, even some spooky ruins and dilapidated buildings. They were always great days out in good company, admirable gundog work and handling by all involved, and lots of team spirit and laughter. After a morning in the beating line, you were starving, usually muddy and keen for the last drive to hurry up and finish before lunch. You’d eat your sandwiches outdoors, and a seat on a straw bale in an open farm shed was considered a luxury.

Over the years, and during a couple of decades living down south, I often travelled back to Scotland to go to shoots with my dad (my antidote to busy London life), and took comfort in seeing not much had changed. More than two decades ago, when I returned to Scotland, I worked as a freelance photographer and writer: my specialists subjects were country sports and the Scottish outdoors. I would be commissioned to visit shoots around Scotland taking photographs as groups from all corners of the world enjoyed shooting in Scotland, and I’d also continue to go out to shoots with my dad. Again, I’d take comfort in the familiarity of the grounds I trampled over as a child and teenager, I’d recognise the smiles on the faces that now had some added character and few extra wrinkles. After the shoot, the bag was divided up, people cooked and ate the day’s shot game, they also shared it around with family and friends, so nothing new there. Things have changed. Change happens for a number of factors but maybe one aspect of change is due to social media and nearly everyone owning a smart phone and the desire to be looking their best for a selfie on their Instagram account. Outfits are matched up, everything is clean, polished, and shiny, lunch is a grand

affair consisting of comfort, silverware and three courses. It’s all very business-like. Of course, it is a business, and it must turn a profit to survive but has it lost its identity in doing so? A day out on a shoot was always fun, first and foremost. You didn’t plan on wearing matchy-matchy outfits, in fact, it doubt ever occurred to plan your outfit, so you’d look the most coordinated out on your peg (maybe it is a good luck theme for some?). The best gun, the best boots, and matching accessories – the pressure is relentless. ‘All the gear and no idea’ was a popular phrase whispered around years ago when someone turned up on a shoot day with all the best of clothing, gun, car, and accessories. It’s all become very sleek, and akin to a performance. I guess everything changes. Life doesn’t stay the same and the shooting season is going through a period of change. Shooting for sport is coming under increasing pressure from lots of different directions. Some estates have closed down their shoot days and sadly made their gamekeepers redundant. The shoot day drives have been replaced by tree plantations and rewilding schemes. Where will it all end up? I do not know the answer to this, but one thing is for sure, a shoot day in 5 years’ time will not look like it did 20 years ago. 105

Travel Scotland

Farming Travel In and Around Cupar, Fife by Janice Hopper Fife is renowned for golf, tourism and miles of scenic beaches, and travellers flock to popular seaside destinations such as St Andrews and along the scenic East Neuk. But when you’re in search of good produce and farmland it pays to head inland. We based ourselves in Cupar’s elegant Burgh Chambers, now refurbished to create smart and spacious two-bedroom accommodation. The building was the former beating heart of administrative life and local decision making. This traditional market town gained Royal Burgh status in the fourteenth century, and was situated on a historic royal route linking Stirling, Falkland, Cupar and onto the sea. Renowned guests, such as King Charles II, are said to have been entertained in the Burgh Chambers’ assembly room on his journey to Falkland in 1650. Produce and goods flowed along the busy roads, placing it at the heart of

Cupar Burgh Chambers


agricultural Fife, with links as far afield as Flanders. Wool was a key trade between Cupar and Flanders. In the 14th and 15th centuries it’s said that Cupar exported more wool than any other town in Fife. Exports departed from the ‘port of Eden’ on the Eden Estuary, taking the raw material to Flanders, which was then a hub for cloth manufacturing. Today, a monthly farmers market brings goods to town every third Saturday of the month, and quality is still the name of the game. Downstairs from the Burgh Chambers is the renowned Minick Butchers. The ‘boss’, Stuart Minick, learned his trade alongside his father in their first shop in Tayport in 1984, and he’s now been a butcher for over three decades with successful shops peppered across Fife. Next, cross the road from the Burgh Chambers and you’ll find yourself in dangerously tempting territory - Fisher and

Donaldson’s bakery! This Royal Warrant-holding fifth generation family bakery has been creating delightful savouries and treats since 1919, including their famous Fudge Doughnut. The bakers use as many local ingredients as possible, sourcing their meat from Simon Howie in Perthshire. All of the flour (except some French imported flour for baguettes) is milled in Kirkcaldy. The bakery uses a Fife fruit merchant, the cream comes from a big Scottish dairy, and the team gets through ninety tons of oats a year, all sourced from Fife farms. The Cupar branches both have cafés so it’s an excellent, low key, family friendly and affordable lunch option. Grab some stovies and a doughnut, or a pie and some tiffin, and you’re set for the day.

Adding colour to Cupar is the environmentally friendly Country Garden Company, which offers a different take on growing and transporting flora. Rather than ship in flowers from far afield using refrigerated containers, they grow the vast majority of flowers, herbs and foliage themselves, nurturing seedlings and harvesting their blooms before transforming them into seasonal bouquets, buttonholes or statement floral installations. This new sustainable approach to floristry is turning heads. After exploring the town of Cupar itself, we then ventured slightly further afield to Muddy Boots farm shop, café and kids adventure play. It’s an excellent rural destination for those with active little ones, offering both

Bring on the pies - at Fisher and Donaldson

Travel Scotland drive from Cupar, is home to wolves, lynx, Highland cattle, a host of birds of prey, Scottish wildcats and even European brown bears. Naturally, visitors come face to face with hundreds of deer, including red deer stags, as well as festive reindeer, hog deer, Barasingha deer, Pere David’s deer and Muntjac deer. Children hand-feed the animals from little bags of pellets, there are several play areas in which to run riot, and a range of vintage tractors on show keeping those agricultural links alive. Drop into the deer centre’s farm shop to pick up local produce from the likes of the Buffalo Farm at Boglily Farm near Kirkcaldy. Lastly, if you’d like to simply admire the land and undertake a more peaceful expedition there are several hikes and walks in the area. We enjoyed the short walk from the National Trust for Scotland’s Hill of Tarvit Edwardian country mansion to the hilltop viewpoint behind the house. A quietly serene spot to take in the rural vistas. Ultimately, from deer and doughnuts to Muddy Boots and Minick butchers, heading slightly off the beaten track in Fife can bring rewards to any tourist seeking something tasty and new.

PLAN YOUR TRIP Relevant Websites: Accommodation: The former Cupar Burgh Chambers was refurbished by the Fife Historic Buildings Trust to create smart two-

bedroom self-catering apartment accommodation in the heart of Cupar. Decorated in the Georgian style, with a modern kitchen and ensuite bathrooms, this mix of history and heritage, old and new, makes an excellent base for Fife adventures. Discover more at Planned Cupar Farmers Market Dates for 2022 - 19 March, 16 April, 21 May, 18 June, 16 July, 20 August, 17 September, 15 October, 19 November, 17 December. Discover more at

Scottish Deer Centre Picture supplied by VisitScotland. Taken by Paul Tomkins

indoor and outdoor activity areas. Our children ran, climbed, slid and chased each other around the wooden indoor play frame, before tackling ride-on tractors, go-karts, a huge bouncy pillow and a spot of grass-sledging outdoors. Muddy Boots’ website also talks of Pig Races, which we didn’t witness, but apparently the wee pink runners tear around the course, cheered on by visitors, and partake of a meal of pig nuts once they cross the finish line. After all the excitement the grown ups can browse local produce in the farm shop, and the whole family can gather around the central log burning stove in the Muddy Boots café to enjoy refreshments in a relaxed setting. Slightly north of Cupar is another farming gem - Cairnie Fruit Farm and Maize Maze. Pick your own produce ranges from pumpkins and strawberries to brambles and sunflowers, depending on the season. An epic kids fun yard features a giant bale fortress, flying foxes, mini diggers and tractor yard, rural ‘cresta run’ and, in the the summer, a challenging maze covering around six acres. Sown in maize, it grows to around 4-5 feet by July, soon reaching over eight feet in total before being harvested in October and fed to the cattle. Cairnie also provides special play areas for dogs so four-legged friends can come along too. A farm shop and café complete the picture. Alternatively, nip to Barbarfield Farm to horse around. This popular riding school, only three miles south of Cupar, offers everything from a 20 minute intro to riding, to three hour experienced hacks. With routes around the farm, riders take in the animals and a slice of farming life as they trek. From Barbarafield, swap farm animals to take a walk on the wild side. The tiny Fife Zoo, just west of Cupar, is home to around twelve types of exotic creature, from lemurs and meerkats to Azara’s Agouti. Alternatively head to the Scottish Deer Centre to experience iconic animals that once roamed Scotland. This vast 55 acre site, only a five minute

A North American grey wolf and a European wolf at the Scottish Deer Centre, Bow of Fife, by Cupar, Fife



Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape The waning of the whaup

Continuing our exclusive extracts from his award-winning book ‘Native’, Patrick Laurie looks at why curlew numbers in Scotland are in freefall on hill farms

By Patrick Laurie

back every year. I remember the first curlew I saw in our new place. We had no guarantee that birds would return to breed here, and so many have been lost that it seemed unlikely. There was no mention of curlews in the estate agent’s inventory, but the land was rough and wet and the signs were good. One morning towards the end of March, I stepped out under the stars in my dressing gown and there was a bird in the darkness. The old breeding song drooled over the moor like warm steam, and I had to steady myself on a wall. Curlews play a long game. They come at life with the assumption of longevity, and they live to make old bones.

‘I’ve watched 111 nesting attempts in various places across Galloway over the past eight years,’ writes Laurie.‘Only one chick survived to fly.’


We’ve got hard proof that curlews can live for thirty years and more, but scientific evidence really just confirms something we’ve known for centuries. Curlews were born for old age, and every creaking inch of feather and tendon finds quiet joy in antiquity. Rather than fire out dozens of youngsters during a brief window of life, the birds pick their moments and mature slowly over several years.

They’re cagey and patient, and they know that there will always be another chance to get it right. While other birds dash into boom or bust, a curlew can afford to stand back and watch. In a cold spring or a dry May, they just

Whaup illustration by Sharon Tingey

Thousands of curlews come to Galloway in the winter. They churn like smoke above the horizon, and they build the illusion that all is well. Sometimes there are hundreds of birds on the flooding fields below the house, and people are reassured to hear them calling over creeks and the glugging merse. You’d never think there was a problem with curlews, but the truth is that winter birds are just visitors passing through. When the time comes to lay their eggs, those curlews will travel on to Finland or Russia. Our own come up from Brittany, and they’ll often land in the same fields where they were hatched. Our problem is that fewer come

At the rate curlews are going now, Laurie estimates that they will be gone in a decade

go back to the coast. There’s always next year. At first I groped towards the idea that curlews came to Wullie Carson [the previous owner of the farm, who had died aged 92], but that was just whimsy. Then I learned that curlews live for decades and they’re drawn to old farmers and rough country. That’s when I realised the truth, and there’s nothing metaphorical about it: Wullie’s birds had become ours, and they’ll keep coming here until they die (or I die first). I suppose I’m only a small change for them in a world of new forests, but I shouldered the weight as if it were a planet. That morning when I heard a curlew here, I coiled my fingers around the gate and strained beneath that final legacy. And I could almost see an old man standing in his dressing gown beside me with his ear cocked to the unlit sky. The curlew’s call stirs up deep wells of pleasure. Any bird can make you smile; it’s fun to hear a lark or a clowny grouse, but a curlew prods you deeper, and it’s more than jolly. The sound walks that spider-line between pleasure and pain, and it conjures up your old connections. I loved curlews when I was a boy and had few memories to call upon. That’s the curlew’s special gift; they’ll wake you to a web of old feelings and it doesn’t matter if they’re not your own. You smile and shudder in one fell swoop, and the day is changed. So they’re keenly precious birds, and the final pairs are dearer than all that came before them. The bond between people and wild birds is never simple, and we’ve been pressing our own ideas onto curlews for a thousand years. The Gaels called them guilbhron and said they were the voice of the restless dead. It was bad luck to hear a curlew calling in the darkness, and because

of this our love grew cool and wary. We were trying to be good Christians, yet the sounds stirred memories of a ghoulish past. And the Church carved a deeper groove in curlews in the seventeenth century. When the Covenanters refused to attend church services held by the king’s clergy, they shrank away into the hills and held secret ceremonies in the heather while the clouds and the rain scudded by. The soldiers hunted out on the moss for those meetings, and they’d post men on the high ground to watch for suspicious folk. Curlews have sharp eyes too, and they’ll rise up and scream their name at any intruder – ‘curLOO’ carries far across the open ground – and so the soldiers would use the curlews to guide them. Many Covenanters became martyrs when the birds betrayed them, and it was only logical for Galloway folk to call them Satan’s tools, servants of the hated foe. Unable to wreak their revenge on the king’s dragoons, the Covenanters poured their fury into the curlews. Eggs were shattered and the chicks were torn to shreds. Folk would spit to hear the curlew’s call, and the rift was years in the healing. Hill farmers spend the short winter days in the company of their livestock. The moors are frozen in the long night, and there’s a sense of cabin fever. Maybe that’s why curlews bring such a surge of pleasure when they come. When the weather finally turns and it seems like spring is on course, curlews begin to play out an ancient game. There are territories to define and partnerships to rekindle. I lie behind the dykes and listen to the male birds as they move in slow, mesmeric circles around the old calving fields. The displays are best heard at first light with heavy

Duncan Ireland Photography


Patrick Laurie runs his farm near Dalbeattie along lines he hopes will encourage the return of the curlews which used to abound there

eyelids and the stars dribbling away into dawn. The birds call in a soft and sober moan for a partner: whoo-UP whoo-UP whoo-UP. They fly round again and stake their claim on some imagined line. Later, when the sun has risen, they’ll tower up to perform long, delirious glissandos on set wings – that foamy trill is perfectly sublime, but it’s just one of many songs in the curlew’s repertoire. Hushed and almost shady, these predawn ‘whoops’ have made a lasting impression on us. The sound has given us the idea for another name beyond the universal ‘curlew’. We call them ‘whaups’, and the word is a neat and cosy fit. But whaup is falling out of fashion in Galloway as the birds decline. Nobody says it much these days. Whaup has become a sound that old people make, and it withers away as time passes. Besides, things collapse at such a rate that soon we’ll look back on all the names we had for birds and wonder why we ever needed them. There’s plenty of space for hope in the last days of March, but all’s not well. The curlew’s return has become a crooked and mournful thing over the last thirty years. Their numbers trickle

away, and our first reaction on hearing a bird is often relief that they’re still here. But at the rate they’re going just now, they’ll be gone in a decade. There’s no single nationwide cause for the collapse of curlews. It’s more like a blend of problems has conspired to bring them crashing down with a sickening bump. We can’t find any evil force which consumes the birds and drives them into extinction. It’s just a steady and relentless failure to breed, and this stacks up year after year to spell disaster with the tragic certainty of a leak. I’ve watched 111 nesting attempts in various places across Galloway over the past eight years. Only twelve have survived long enough to produce chicks. Only one chick survived to fly. Of course I was glad to see curlews coming back to our farm, and the early days of spring purred past in giddy joy. But there would be many problems in the coming months. A return is just the start, and it’s no guarantee of progress. Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape by Patrick Laurie is published by Birlinn (£9.99, pbk) 109

people Leading Aberdeen-Angus breeder recognised with an MBE for her services to the breed Anne Morrison founding member of the Aberdeen-Angus Quality Beef (AAQB) co-operative has been awarded an MBE for her promotion of the breed and services to the agricultural sector over the last 40 years. Growing up on her family farm in Perthshire, Mrs Morrison has always had a passion for agriculture, so when she saw what the Aberdeen-Angus breed could offer farmers and the supply chain, she was keen to promote this. “My drive to bring AberdeenAngus back to the forefront of beef production stems from when I started working for the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture in 1969 with my colleague at the time Jim Jack, who was very enthusiastic supporter of the breed,” explains Mrs Morrison. “A few years later my husband and I started the Tullyglush herd with the purchase of two heifers, from which our herd has grown over the years.” Mrs Morrison says the challenge back then was that the

market demand for AberdeenAngus was very limited. So, along with Jim Jack and NI club members we set out to increase the awareness of the benefits of Aberdeen-Angus in the hope we

could raise the appetite for this breed in Northern Ireland. “When a butcher approached the NI club for cattle in 1994, we saw this as a fantastic opportunity. A feasibility study identified a

possible supply of five cattle per week. In 1997 I led a successful breed promotion campaign which resulted in the formation of the AAQB co-operative in April 1998.

2022 CLAAS Scholar announced Molly Robinson, a Year 2 BEng Agricultural Engineering student at Harper Adams University has been awarded the 2022 CLAAS Scholarship. Molly is the first female student to win the prestigious Scholarship, which was instigated 16 years ago by Helmut Claas. As this year’s

scholar, Molly will receive £3000 towards her education costs each academic year, in addition to an initial three-month placement with a CLAAS UK owned dealership prior to a 12-month paid placement at the CLAAS headquarters at Harsewinkel in Germany.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription page 136 110

people Applications Open for 2023 Nuffield Scholarships

Applications for 2023 Nuffield Farming Scholarship are now open online until 31 July 2022 and can be completed by visiting www.NuffieldScholar. org and clicking the “Apply” button. Those interested can also find additional details about the awards and the process of applying on the website.

NFU Mutual launches national award for postgraduate agricultural students NFU Mutual’s 2022 Centenary Award is now open for applications. The annual award scheme provides bursaries to pay up to 75% of course fees for selected students who are undertaking a postgraduate course in agriculture (Masters or PhD) within the UK. The Centenary Award was created by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust in 2010 to celebrate NFU Mutual’s 100th anniversary, with the objective of creating a legacy for the future. Megan Powell (photographed here) from Powys, was one of three postgraduate agricultural students to receive the Centenary Award bursary in 2021, helping fund her MSc Sustainable Food and Agriculture at the University of Reading. Megan explained how the award will help her to

achieve her ambitions: “It is a real honour to have NFU Mutual supporting my postgraduate studies. Through the course, I hope to gain the ability to understand strategic decision making, opinion forming and operational management for the development of sustainable agriculture and food supply systems. I want to act as an advocate for the industry in the UK and help lead it to a positive and prosperous future.”Prospective postgraduate students who think they may be eligible to apply for the Centenary Award in 2022 should contact centenary_award@ to request further details and an application form. The closing date for the 2022 award is 30th April. Information

about the scheme, along with an application form, can be found

on the NFU Mutual website: 111

Get to know Women in Agriculture Scotland’s new Chair Aylett Roan! Aylett Roan is Chair of Women in Agriculture Scotland (WiAS). She runs the family doorstep milk delivery business Roan’s Dairy. Roan’s Dairy was set up in 2015 to enable the family to add value to their milk, allowing a sustainable future on the farm for the generations to come. Aylett is a Director of the Royal Highland and Agriculture Society of Scotland, and also sits on various committees which include NFUS Next Generation Committee and The Dumfries & Galloway Countryside Initiative. How did you get into agriculture? When I was 11 years old, I was asked if I wanted to help water and feed sheep during lambing at a friend’s family farm. I instantly fell in love. I went on to study and work on farms up and down the country, giving me an in-depth knowledge of the industry. I also worked at Lloyd’s Register (formally SFQC) for several years, before starting a family with my husband Stuart. I met my husband on a girls’ weekend away. Not long after I left my job, moved down to Dumfries and Galloway and the rest is history! I work alongside Stuart and his family with our two boys Fergus and Fraser on a Dairy, Beef, and Sheep farm near Dalbeattie, where since 2011 our cows have been milked by two Lely robots. I’ve played many roles on the farm from


Aylett Roan

Women in Agriculture Scotland filling labour gaps to supporting the creation of our farm’s diversification Roan’s Dairy in 2015 which we set up to sell milk produced on farm direct to the consumer. I also co-created with my sister-in-law the Udder Bar, a milkshake bar that attends festivals, agricultural shows, weddings, events etc throughout the year. Why did you get involved with WiAS? I get a lot of enjoyment out of training and have, over the years, found myself at various meetings and events. I attended a couple of WiAS meetings and felt at the time I wasn’t getting as much out of it as I could, so I joined the committee. One of my favourite sayings is: “You can’t affect change from the side-line”. And I believe that by joining committees and participating in different organisations, you can make positive changes in our industry. In your own words, what is WIAS aiming to achieve? Simply put, WiAS aims for the inclusion of all. I believe that agriculture should be inclusive, and if you can do the job, you should, regardless of gender. WiAS looks to support anyone – male or female – in signposting opportunities, networking and be a community of support and encouragement. We would love to see more men join up as members and attend events. By welcoming a diverse range of people into WiAS we hope that it opens up a wealth of experience for members to benefit from. What are you hoping to achieve as Chair? One of my main ambitions as Chair is to reinvigorate the network through regional events and break down barriers for

people attending. Unfortunately, there is still a perception that these events are only for professionals in the ag industry, but whether you’re milking cows, driving a tractor, or doing farm accounts, everyone is welcome. Each one of us – regardless of if you’re on the farm each day or working from an office - every one of us makes an important contribution to the industry and we balance each other out. How can we encourage more women to put themselves forward for leadership positions in the ag industry? I’m a big believer that it should always be the best person for the job but, ultimately, we need to encourage more women to put themselves forward to leadership positions and that all comes down to confidence and feeling like they are welcome and can contribute to organisations. How can businesses/ organisations support WiAS? We can’t continue to do what we do without the fantastic support of businesses and organisations. Support can be as simple as helping source speakers for events, sponsoring events, providing in-kind support, training, and more formal sponsorships. Any business who would be interested in supporting WiAS, please contact me directly via email: womeninagriculturescot@gmail. com What’s coming up for WiAS? We’re excited that our first face-to-face regional event will take place in late March in the Highlands. It will include a farm walk and talk as well as an opportunity to network over refreshments. Be sure to subscribe to the WiAS newsletter and social media channels for more information.

Southern Belle Life is Good The eternal optimists will tell you that we are nearly halfway through the winter and that spring is just around the corner. The snowdrops are nearly past and the daffodils are nearly out and I saw my first lambs in the field yesterday. The only snow we’ve seen, so far, in the balmy South West is on my daily fix of the Winter Olympics. No expectations therefore no stress! Scotland beat England in the Calcutta Cup (rugby for the uninitiated) and I am looking forward to the rest of the Six Nations. Dumfries Saints rugby have regained their form and are back to their winning ways and Motherwell FC are through to the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup. Once gain no expectations…etc My husband has now been living with me, thanks to lock down, for nearly two years and to his credit he hasn’t killed me yet. The

collie puppies born ten weeks ago have all gone to their new homes, much to the relief of their mother and me. A very early wake up on Sunday after a fair “village kick at the baw” the night before, allowed us to see thousands of geese leave their estuary roost for their daily flight inland to feed. What a sight! One less positive, is that a third of our rare Barnacle geese have been lost to bird flu but according to the RSPB the farmers here are doing such a great job of growing grass, the rest are doing really well! The world is opening up and my first overseas tour in two years is set to go in May. Yippee! Overseas customers have come out of hibernation and are taking tentative first steps into the wide world again. And I’ve saved a fortune on lipstick thanks to face masks! Life is good!



machinery More accuracy and efficiency from Kverneland GEOSPREAD Advances in Kverneland disc spreader technology have seen the introduction several new developments. The first is an integrated hydraulic driveline called intelligent Disc Control (iDC). Currently available only for the Exacta TL GEOSPREAD model, the iDC version uses two individually controlled hydraulic motors – one to power each disc. This sophisticated driveline enables independent disc speed regulation on left and righthand discs, opening up a range of possibilities for even greater application accuracy. With headlands accounting for up to 54% of a field’s total area – the smaller the field, the greater


the headland percentage – there is a requirement for enhanced spread pattern control during border spreading. And it’s not just on the headland side, but also infield when border spreading where the full spread pattern has to be maintained. Using a tractor’s Power Beyond capability, iDC is able to deliver a more consistent disc speed, which is maintained through disc speed monitoring. Without the constraints of a fixed PTO speed to operate a mechanical PTO driveline, tractor fuel efficiency gains are possible as a result of using much lower engine revs when spreading. The iDC spreader is for rear linkage use only, and is priced from £28,849.

machinery Avon Tuning announced as official UK & Ireland importer for 660hp Dimsport dynamometers

Avon Tuning has become the sole UK and Ireland importer and distributor for the Italian-built range of Dimsport dynamometers which are capable of testing machinery up to 660hp. As well as testing power outputs from the PTO, the Dimsport range of dynamometers can also help dealers and farmers to diagnose problems with tractors and machinery by simulating realworld conditions. Three models of farmingspecific dynamometers are available through Avon Tuning: the DF2TR Workshop Dyno, which features a single brake and has a capacity to test machinery up to 330hp; the larger DF4TR Twin Braked Workshop Dyno which uses a double brake making it suitable for tractors up to 660hp; and the mobile, trailer-mounted DF2TR-TR, allowing remote support and on-farm diagnostics to be carried out on tractors up to 330hp. All three models are operated via a laptop and the intuitive

software allows the dynos to measure a range of engine and power delivery parameters including maximum engine power and torque and maximum PTO power and torque. The dynos can also provide readings for intake manifold pressure, water and oil temperature and exhaust gas temperature – key engine management criteria which can be used to diagnose underlying mechanical issues. “We are delighted to have been officially appointed as Dimsport importers and distributors in the UK and Ireland,” says Gareth Jones, director at Avon Tuning. “We’ve worked with Dimsport for a number of years and have recently seen a marked increase in interest from farmers and dealers who are keen to know more about how the Dimsport range can benefit the performance of their own tractors. “Using a dynamometer offers much deeper insights into how an engine is performing with the option to test new tractors

before delivery for a premium PDI inspection, and older tractors to help identify where potential problems might be.” To further help with the diagnosis of engine-related issues, the dynos can replicate field-like conditions by applying a specific load at an exact rpm for a set time. The recorded data is easily viewed in graphical or tabular formats and can be used

to analyse exact readings along the power and torque curves. The DF2TR and DF4TR workshop models require a three-phase electricity supply and can be manoeuvred on builtin jockey wheels or by using pallet tines in dedicated safelifting points. The range starts with the standard workshop DF2TR, which retails at £16,500 +VAT.

New 5m and 6m Cultro TC models can be front mounted for great flexibility

The Cultro TC is a double knife roller with a low horsepower requirement and can be used in combination with other machines for a wide range of applications. Launched in 2019 with a 3m model that can be mounted on the front or rear linkage, the range now adds 5m and 6m working-width models to provide a greater number of machine combinations. Front and rear mounting adds great flexibility to the Cultro TC’s operation and allows more tasks to be done with a single pass. The 5m and 6m models, which 116

can be folded to 3m transport widths, are also available with a 2-bar harrow. The Cultro TC can be easily combined with other machines, for example, as a front attachment without a packer and with the disc harrow Joker CT. The Cultro TC is also available as a rear-mounted 9m model and a trailed 12m model to meet customers’ requirements. These can be folded to 3m transporter widths. The knives produce an intensive crushing effect allowing the Cultro TC to work very effectively in rape or silage maize

stubble and in catch crops. The compact diameter of the roller body allows for a high number of revolutions and cuts. The high

efficiency of the machine allows high operational speeds up to 20kph while maintaining a low horsepower requirement.

machinery Read Agriservices join the Merlo Dealer Network

Merlo UK are pleased to welcome Read Agriservices of Shepton Mallet, Somerset to the Merlo Dealer Network. Established in 1971 in a war time Nissen hut, Read Agriservices have positioned themselves as trusted dealer locally establishing lasting relationships and providing a great service to the local farming community. “We’re pleased to welcome Read Agriservices to the Merlo family and strengthen the Merlo UK Dealer Network further,” states Owen Buttle, National Sales Manager of Merlo UK. “Read Agriservices are a well-established family owned business, with a particularly strong emphasis on aftersales and customer care.” Read Agriservices join the Merlo dealer network as continuing investment by Merlo

Group into its UK operations is set to increase the brands visibility, aftersales support and representation further within the UK. Greg Stevens, Marketing and Warranty Manager of Read Agriservices comments, “We are excited to join the Merlo Dealer Network! This is a really positive venture for us, the Merlo range fits perfectly into our business. We’re particularly pleased to incorporate the CINGO tracked tool carriers and telescopic handlers into the range of products we can offer to our customers.” Call into Read Agriservices in Shepton Mallet to see firsthand how the Merlo product range range can benefit your farming business.

COME TO US FOR ALL YOUR BALE HANDLING NEEDS Murray Machinery have a range of implements to assist you in this year’s baling season

Visit us at LAMMA 4th & 5th May 2022. Stand No: 12.246

Murray Machinery Ltd Dinneswood, Tarves, Ellon AB41 7LR Tel. 01651 851636 email:


machinery EUROPROFI COMBILINE with optimised front panel

The versatile EUROPROFI COMBILINE rotor loader wagons from Pöttinger have guaranteed smooth operation, high output and convenience in forage harvesting for several decades. These multi-purpose loader wagons are available with or without unloading beaters. 35 knives ensure all models chop to a theoretical length of 39 mm. To meet the high demands in the field, the loader wagon professionals have upgraded the EUROPROFI with another optimisation: The new front panel for even more operating convenience and flexibility. Thanks to the optimised geometry of the front panel, the forage compression flap can now be better adjusted to the crop. The spring-loaded flap controls the


automatic loading system. The sensor switches the scraper floor on and off, with a time delay if required. The 2,000 mm wide forage compression flap ensures perfect filling of the loading chamber, right up to the edges. On the standard versions, two basic positions can be set manually. Infinitely variable hydraulic adjustment of the inclination is also available as an option. This also allows the flap to be fully retracted, so that the top section of the loading chamber can be opened when the loader wagon is deployed in harvest transport mode. Roof ropes, which are available as an option, can easily be removed. For maximum conservation of the forage, an optional sensor is available to monitor the loading torque on the rotor. This is

particularly important with wet, heavy crop, which makes it more difficult for the material package to reach the forage compression flap. In this situation, the automatic loading system and the scraper

floor are controlled based on the torque of the loading rotor. This configuration enables the wagon to be filled while maintaining the best possible forage structure even in the most difficult conditions.

machinery 100th JAGUAR TERRA TRAC forage harvester from CLAAS

Although only a little more than three years have passed since CLAAS began manufacturing the JAGUAR TERRA TRAC, the company is already celebrating the production of the 100th model. The landmark machine rolled off the line in Harsewinkel on 4th February and will be delivered to the main US market in a few weeks. The end of 2018 saw CLAAS implement the successful TERRA TRAC crawler track technology in the JAGUAR forage harvester. Optimised for the requirements of this machine segment with special features such as the headland protection system, the JAGUAR TERRA TRAC made it possible for the range of applications of a forage harvester equipped with

crawler tracks – which reduce both soil compaction and rut formation – to be extended to grassland harvesting for the first time, thereby enabling optimal protection of the grass cover. “Helmut Claas himself was behind the initiative to develop the TERRA TRAC crawler track units for a wide range of forage harvester applications”, recalls Dominik Grothe, Senior Vice President Forage Harvester. “The aim was to offer our customers a machine that was not only able to deliver high traction and reduced soil compaction for maize harvesting in difficult field conditions, but could also be used for grassland harvesting as effectively as a traditional wheeled machine. It’s interesting to note that the positive side-

effects, such as smooth running characteristics and resistance to drifting on side slopes, are

regarded by many farmers and contractors as equally decisive factors.”

The Air Compressor and Pressure Washer Specialists

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machinery Slurry Kat announces Grove Machinery as a new distributor

SlurryKat are delighted to introduce their new official distributor, Grove Machinery based in Gilford Co. Down. will service counties Down, Armagh, Meath, Dublin & Louth. The full range of SlurryKat products, including Doda pumps and Oroflex pipelines will be distributed and serviced by Grove Machinery. SlurryKat, an industry leading name known for innovation and quality, has grown tremendously in the last decade, leading the slurry equipment manufacturing sector. SlurryKat have recently built new a new state of the art Welding and Final Assembly facility, Technology Hub and Research and Development Facility at their headquarters in Waringstown, Co Armagh.


SlurryKat is a Certified ISO 9001 manufacturer and a regulated Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) member, ensuring an efficient quality generating approach to its manufacturing process and company management style. Justin Barrett from Grove Machinery said “Having worked with SlurryKat equipment for over 15 years in our own agricultural contracting business, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside the SlurryKat team. In our experience, the range of machinery available is second to none and provides a value for money offering to both the farmer and agricultural contractor. We understand that customer service is vital, and we aim to provide a reliable and efficient backup service to our customers.”

machinery Anniversary year for slurry specialist Slurry equipment manufacturer and contractor Tramspread is still seeing increasing demand after 25 years for its contractor engine driven pump unit (EDPU). The Suffolk based company is also celebrating 15 years production of its popular random wrap hose reel. Managing director Terry Baker commented: “Tramspread started umbilical contracting 25 years ago with a single axle EDPU that enabled one tractor to carry everything needed. Following the introduction of the random wrap hose reel, our contracting trailers were modified to carry 1000 metres of detachable hose reel spool and were equipped with a front 3-point linkage allowing us to carry the random wrap reel coupled with a further 1000m of hose on the front of the tractor.”

slurry applications are monitored and recorded using John Deere’s Green Star, a Krone flow meter and Ravenbox software linked

to the tractor’s ISOBUS. This allows us to record the applied rate per hectare and total cubic metres applied. With the use of

an AGROS N testing kit we can also advise our customers of the applied available nitrogen per hectare too,” explains Mr Baker.

The contractor trailer evolved to a twin axle model which was introduced in 2012. It has an extended chassis enabling it to carry two, 1000 metre, detachable hose reel spools and, if needed, a further 1000 metres on the front 3-point linkage to provide a total of 3000 metres. Using the contractor trailer, Tramspread Contracting Ltd applies over 450,000 cubic metres of slurry and digestate, with up to 70% being applied in the spring as a top dressing. “All


Next issue out May 2022


machinery John Deere Reveals Fully Autonomous Tractor at CES 2022 During a press conference at CES 2022, John Deere revealed a fully autonomous tractor that’s ready for large-scale production. The machine combines Deere’s 8R tractor, TruSet-enabled chisel plow, GPS guidance system, and new advanced technologies. The autonomous tractor will be available to farmers later this year. The 8R410 looks very similar in appearance to a conventional tractor of the series but is equipped with state-of-theart technology for controlling and monitoring the tractor and mounted excavator. To use the autonomous tractor, farmers only need to transport the machine to a field and configure it for autonomous


operation. Using John Deere Operations Center Mobile, they can swipe from left to right to

start the machine. While the machine is working the farmer can leave the field to focus on

other tasks, while monitoring the machine’s status from their mobile device.

machinery The new McCormick X7 Short Wheelbase After its successful introduction at Eima 2021, the McCormick X7 SWB (Short Wheelbase) is stage V compliant thanks to the HI-eSCR2 (DOC+SCRoF) exhaust gas treatment system. The tractors in the range are fitted with the new FTP NEF 45, 16-valve, 4.5-litre 4-cylinder engines and FTP NEF 67, 24-valve, 6.7-litre, 6-cylinder engines with Turbo Intercooler and Common Rail electronic injection. McCormick’s X7.618 VT-Drive, which can deliver up to 175hp thanks to the Power Plus system, and the X7.618 P6-Drive, also sporting a 175hp 6- cylinder engine, will represent the new product family. The continuously variable, 4-stage VT-Drive transmission with 4 sets of crown wheels and oil-cooled clutches guarantees first-class responsiveness.

Speeds range from 0.04 km/h to 50 km/h. The transmission is controlled by the EasyPilot joystick, located on the multifunctional armrest for improved ergonomics. The P6-Drive transmission features 6 Powershift gears under load, 5 robotised ranges and electro-hydraulic reverse shuttle on the steering wheel. In total, gears are 30 Forward + 15 Reverse which become, with the Creeper, 54 Forward + 27 Reverse. The Stop & Action system integrates the De-Clutch into the brake pedal, allowing the tractor to be stopped without depressing the clutch for easier driving on the road. Simultaneous use of the Stop & Action and APS (Auto Powershift) systems allows the P6-Drive transmission to be driven in a similar way to VT-Drive.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out May 2022 Subscription page 136


machinery World first at the low carbon agriculture show Award-winning, world’s-first allelectric compact tractor When it comes to low carbon technology, the combination of Farmtrac, manufacturer of the world’s first all-electric compact tractor, debuting at the Low Carbon Agriculture Show was a winning one. Focused on technology and renewable energies, the event welcomed forward-thinking agronomists from all over the country with one goal in mind: find low carbon solutions to increase their business’s productivity while fighting climate change. Therefore, on distributor Reesink Agriculture’s stand there could have been no other


than the FT25G – the only allelectric tractor on the market, revered for its eco-friendly lithium-ion battery and low noise and emissions-free operation – and if that weren’t enough, the new hydrostatic (HST) version launched to the market for the first time. Steven Haynes, sales manager at Reesink Agriculture, had to say: “With the growing industry focus on moving away from fossil fuels to low or zero emission products we felt that the Low Carbon Agriculture Show was the ideal event to show off the world’s first commercially available compact tractor from

machinery Farmtrac. Also at this event, we launched the new HST variant to the product line alongside the original FT25G.”

The FT25G offers the perfect clean energy option for farmers, landowners and industry operators looking to reduce

their carbon footprint without compromising on productivity. Featuring a 72V lithium-ion battery and onboard charger,

it can be charged from any domestic socket to 100 percent in eight hours for up to seven hours operation.

Kubota (UK) introduces M6-001 Utility series Kubota (UK) Ltd has taken the covers off a cost-sensitive, fivemodel M6-001 Utility series tractor range. As the successor to the MGX models, the M6-001 Utility series spans 104-143hp, and meets EU Stage V emissions thanks to an improved exhaust after-treatment package that contributes to a lower cost of ownership. Short wheelbase models include the M6-101U and M6111U, and both use a 3.8-litre Kubota V3800 four cylinder engine. Maximum power outputs are 104hp and 111hp, with maximum torque figures of 346Nm and 379Nm respectively. These two models weigh 4.3 tonnes, and use a 2.54m wheelbase. Long wheelbase M6-121U, M6-131U and M6-141U use Kubota’s 6.1-litre V6108 four cylinder engine. Power outputs are 123hp, 133hp and 143hp, with maximum torque figures of 503Nm, 544Nm and 586Nm respectively. These three larger models weigh 4.8 tonnes, and use a 2.68m wheelbase. Engine technology on all models has seen an improvement in exhaust after-treatment, with

DOC and DPF performance increased to deliver greater operational flexibility and lower cost of ownership. DPF regeneration can now be achieved at a much lower engine speed – typically 1,200rpm down from 2,000rpm - and using a much lower working temperature of just 50 degrees C.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out May 2022 Subscription page 136


machinery Bobcat T7X - World’s First All-Electric Compact Track Loader Doosan Bobcat unveiled its new, allelectric Bobcat T7X compact track loader at CES® 2022, the world’s most influential technology event, held this month in Las Vegas in the USA. The T7X is the first machine of its kind to be fully electric, offering the full benefits of eliminating hydraulic systems, components, emissions and vibrations – all while providing a cleaner, quieter machine. The Bobcat T7X was honoured with two 2022 CES Innovation Awards in the categories of Vehicle Intelligence & Transportation and Smart Cities. The CES Innovation Awards programme recognizes recipients in a multitude of technology product categories and distinguishes the highest rated in each. The Bobcat T7X was developed for the North American

market initially, but internal testing and the gathering of customer

feedback is planned for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)






region to identify its commercial potential.





machinery New Hi-Spec Dribble Bar ensures accurate slurry placement

Hi-Spec Engineering has extended its range of slurry application equipment with the introduction of a new chassis mounted Dribble Bar. This comes at a time when the value of slurry as a source of nitrogen and other nutrients has been brought sharply into focus following the recent hike in price for compound fertilisers. However, if the maximum benefit is to be gained from the use of slurry, care needs to be taken as to how it is applied. By placing the slurry on the ground, dribble bars and other forms of low emission slurry spreading, firstly reduce the risk of run-off but also minimise the amount of nitrogen lost into the air in the form of ammonia.

The new Hi-Spec Dribble Bar has a working width of 7.5 metres, and folds down to just 2.55m for transport. It features 30 flat hose outlets, 25cm apart. Feed to each of the outlets is via a Hi-Spec distributor with an integrated stone trap. The Dribble Bar frame is fully galvanised and is fitted with an LED lighting bar for safe travel on the road between farm and field. Each of the arms incorporate a sprung breakback mechanism to prevent any damage to the arm in the event of a collision. Weighing just 520kgs, the Dribble Bar is chassis mounted, which has the benefit of spreading the weight closer to the tanker axle and avoids any stress on the tanker barrel or the rear door.


finance Trim the Fat with Accounts Solutions that Make Sense With economic outlooks for 2022 predicting increasingly inflated input costs, analysing your business incomings and outgoings (and ensuring the balance stays as healthy as possible) becomes even more critical. Fortunately, with the right tools, a wealth of data can be generated from just ‘doing the books’ (entering invoice and payment details), giving you a detailed picture of what works for your farm… and what doesn’t. This includes which customers and suppliers produce the best margins for you, what areas of your business perform the best and why, highlighting any excess slack to trim and

maintaining control over your debtors. Investing in economically sensible tools such as SUMIT’s agri-specific Total Accounts software can provide high returns on investment by helping you track this painlessly. Additionally, you can be confident that providers from within the industry really understand the ins and outs of your business, potentially more so than large-scale generic programs. With the extension of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital scheme to all VAT registered businesses (previously only those with annual turnover greater than £85k) from April 2022, software

is now a necessity if you are to remain legislatively compliant. Choosing a product that specifically suits your business can be daunting, especially when there are a number to choose from, but focussing on agrispecific packages, such as SUM-

IT’s, will help to narrow your search and make sure you’re dealing with software houses that really understand your needs. Explore options that make good financial and business sense to minimise risk for you over the coming years.

Lump sum exit payments need careful consideration, says Carter Jonas Tenant farmers need to fully understand the details and tax implications of the Government’s lump sum exit payment scheme before making any decisions about their retirement, says Carter Jonas. Details published this week should be welcomed but may not go far enough, according to James Bradley, a Partner at the firm. Mr Bradley said many farmers have been waiting to see the details of the scheme, so the development should be viewed as “a positive and helpful step”. He said: “The issues that businesses face with succession planning and/or retirement, coupled with barriers to entry experienced by younger farmers, are well known, so it’s worth looking at any initiative that can smooth a path out of, or in to, the industry. “Careful consideration should be given to the offer being made by Government and how this might benefit an 132

individual retiree’s plans. For example, full residential value is rarely reflected in the rent paid for Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, and the outgoing farmer will find residential rents to be both higher and reviewed more often. “Operation of farm businesses can also offer other allowances and benefits that should not be forgotten when making an evaluation. A lack of retirement provision and availability of housing is a major problem for many tenant farmers. “The lump sum exit scheme is not a grant and will therefore be subject to Capital Gains Tax. With no base cost of entitlements the whole amount will be subject to tax. Individuals should consult with their financial adviser and check personal allowances that may be used to offset gains. “The principle behind the scheme should be supported, and for those who are already

planning or considering retirement, the offer from the Government could be an added incentive to act. However, it would seem unlikely that the

details we have seen this week will be the catalyst for a large number of retirements, which is the significant shift that Ministers are hoping to create.”

Make sure your business is ready for mtd by 1st April

From 1st April 2022, the Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative will be extended by HMRC to include VAT-registered businesses below the current £85,000 turnover threshold who were previously exempt from this scheme. Farmplan, the UK’s leading agricultural software specialists, is encouraging all farms to check that they have MTD compatible systems in place to ensure that they are adhering to these rules.

The MTD regulations require businesses to keep digital records of all transactions that make up the figures reported in their VAT return. If more than one system is used, these need to be linked digitally and kept using an approved computerised method. The regulations will apply to all businesses that conduct VAT submissions, whatever their turnover – those that do not comply will be at risk of facing penalties.

finance “Many businesses making the switch to MTD are worried about the learning curve,” says Anne Cianchi, Product Manager at Farmplan. “There’s no need to worry in that regard. This is a tried-and-tested process that many of our customers have already made. In fact, we’ve found that once reluctant

adopters make the change, not only are they surprised by how easy the transition is, but also by how many hidden benefits are suddenly available to them. From improved efficiencies to easier business performance analysis, the switch to MTD software often transforms the financial management of the farm”

Increasing building material costs impacts insurance

Soaring building material and labour costs are potentially leaving huge insurance shortfalls to cover for rebuild costs in the event of damage to farm buildings or properties, farmers are being warned. A combination of the cost of materials, such as soft wood, steel, roofing sheets and concrete, along with the difficulties in sourcing them, presents a major problem, raising the prospect of being under-insured by a minimum of 30% for rebuild costs, according to Acres Insurance Brokers. “We have seen two examples in the last six months where clients have suffered major fire damage, firstly to a cottage and secondly a farm building,” explains Acres director and

Although the deadline might feel imposing for some, Farmplan wants to emphasise that making the digital change is not as challenging as it may seem. With over three years of experience to draw on, being one of the very first software companies to be recognised by HMRC back in August 2018, they have seen a lot of businesses successfully make the move. To illustrate just how smooth the switch can be, Anne points to one of Farmplan’s customer case studies. H Snelson & Son Ltd became early adopters of Farmplan Business Cloud in order to comply with MTD regulations and easily transition to digital VAT. “We wanted to get ahead of the game and ensure we were ready before the HMRC deadline,” says Andrew Nicholls of H Snelson & Son Ltd. “We have found it to be user-friendly, and we’re now working more

proactively to simplify our farm accounts. For example, we can now easily put our invoices through the system rather than uploading them in bulk every quarter. This approach really takes the pressure off the team. For those already using compatible accounts software, the process is even easier. First the software must be linked to HMRC by following the simple instructions given. Then when your VAT return is ready, it just takes one click of the button to submit your figures to HMRC. “For some farms, this MTD requirement might feel like it’s a big leap,” adds Anne. “However, it’s not as stressful or complicated as it can seem. By making use of the resources and the support available, the transition to MTD software will not only ensure compliance with the new rules, but will also bring so many other benefits at every level of your business.”

insurance broker Nigel Wellings. “In both instances, when quotes were obtained to reinstate the buildings, the insured values were found to be 30-40% below the rebuild costs we are now being quoted. This has left the clients substantially out of pocket,” he says. In both cases, loss adjustors confirmed the sums insured would have been sufficient to reinstate 12-18 months ago. “Acres has made the point of speaking to a number of loss adjustors and building contractors dealing with insurance claims, and the same figures of 30-40% increases in re-building costs are being quoted to us,” says Mr Wellings. “We are strongly urging all of our clients to review rebuild costs on


finance both houses and farm buildings, and in many cases, we are increasing the sums insured on these properties by 30-35%,” he adds. This does not however mean a 30-35% increase in insurance premiums.

“Building insurances are only a proportion of overall farm insurance premiums, and in our experience, although costs of increasing cover vary depending on value, we are often seeing premium costs

increasing in the region of 5%,” says Mr Wellings. “It is of paramount importance in this current building materials market that farmers have reviewed rebuild sums insured,” he concludes.

As independent brokers, the Acres team helps ensure farmers don’t miss potential gaps in their farm policies, through experienced brokers and handlers with a hands-on knowledge of farming.

Rural Finance Benefits from Immediate Finance Approvals Collaboration between Rural Finance, Sopra Banking Software and BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK delivers gamechanging efficiencies to proposal process. Providing ‘finance autoacceptances while you work’ was the simple, specific efficiency gain that has been delivered successfully by Sopra Banking Software, leading partner of over 1,500 financial institutions across the world, for our well-established broker partner, Rural Finance, in conjunction with BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK. The solution developed is an API interface between Sopra

Financing Platform’s Sprint broker platform used by Rural Finance and the existing BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions’ technology, also designed by Sopra Banking Software. Marrying the two required a number of technical and organisation firsts; the result was precisely as specified. Today, not only can Rural Finance provide auto-approvals; they, their customers and BNP Paribas

have benefitted from the removal of significant levels of re-work that was part of the previous proposal process. The result is greater efficiency between lender, broker and end-customer and as Rural Finance Director, Rex Tattersall reflects, more time to provide customers with a tailored, personal service. Tattersall comments “As the largest specialist agricultural finance brokering network across

the UK, our success relies upon personal service. We aim to be easy to work with, combining empathy with the distinctive requirements of our customers in the rural community, with speed and an understanding of their financial needs. Agriculture is a fast-moving industry, and the capacity to match our financing approach to this and at the same time make accessing finance quicker and easier is a positive outcome for everyone.”

Top customer service rating for independent insurance brokers A LEADING independent insurance brokers is celebrating after being recognised for its exceptional customer service for the third year in a row. H&H Insurance Brokers, which operates across the North of England, the Scottish Borders and Wales, has been awarded the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award based on independent customer reviews of its service. Companies are rated by customers online via Feefo and the best are given awards for excellence and delivering exceptional experiences. Businesses who meet the high standard, based on number of reviews collected and average rating, receive the accreditation. 134

finance Paul Graham, Managing Director of H&H Insurance Brokers, said: “We’re thrilled to receive this award from Feefo. “Receiving the Platinum Trusted Advisor Award for three years in a row is a huge achievement, and something which the whole team is extremely proud of. “This recognition means a lot because it’s based on feedback from our clients and ultimately keeping them happy is why we come to work each day. “The award also recognises just how hard our staff have worked in often challenging circumstances over the past year due to the pandemic, and of their commitment to delivering the highest quality of service to our clients. “It’s vital for us to listen, understand and respond to all our customers.” H&H Insurance Brokers offer independent advice on all aspects of rural and business insurance. The company has offices in Carlisle; Durham; Newtown St Boswells in the Scottish Borders, and Ruthin in North Wales. Since 2014, Feefo has recognised businesses which deliver exceptional experiences, using feedback from customers. Its Trusted Service Awards are based purely on feedback from real customers. Feefo gives Platinum Trusted Service awards to businesses who have achieved Gold standard for three consecutive years. To receive a Gold Trusted Service award, businesses must have collected at least 50 reviews with a Feefo service rating of between 4.5 and 4.9 between January 1, 2020 and December, 31, 2021. Congratulating H&H Insurance Brokers, Kim Burgess, Head of Customer Success at Feefo, said: “The Trusted Service Awards recognise companies who go above and beyond to provide the very best customer experience. “I’m so impressed by how our customers have overcome the challenges of the past two years. A particular congratulations to our Platinum Trusted Service winners. It’s an extremely tough challenge. “I can’t wait to see what our customers achieve in 2022.”


VAT on cottages for Farms, Estates and Holiday Letting By Ian Craig

Ian Craig, Partner at Azets

The VAT rules on rented houses on Farms and Estates can be complex. If a house is occupied rent free by an employee who is engaged in taxable activities of the business then VAT on repairs and improvements can be recovered in the normal way. If the house is let to the employee or to a third party the rental income is exempt and therefore partial exemption rules should be followed. Partial exemption is complicated but in simple terms if the VAT inclusive spend on cottage repairs and improvements along with any other ‘exempt’ expenditure exceeds £45,000 in one VAT year then all the VAT on the costs will be dis-allowed. This ruling is often mis-understood because spending £45,000 on a rental property is not something that is a regular occurrence. Normally Farms and Estates spend modest amounts on cottage repairs and therefore fall under deminimis rules and get full VAT recovery without having to think about application of

the rules. If there are regular projects to renovate and upgrade rental properties then it makes sense to have a rolling programme doing one house per partial exemption year to take advantage of the £45,000 upper limit under partial exemption. It is also worth checking the VAT status of tradespeople used in any project because if they are not VAT registered then that will help to keep the VAT costs below the de-minimis levels. If the house has been empty for over two years or you are converting a non residential property into a residential one then the VAT could be charged at 5% instead of 20% giving an immediate saving. As the rural tourism market has grown, there has been an increasing trend to develop holiday letting businesses on Farms and Estates. The supply of holiday lets is a service and is a standard rated supply for VAT purposes, unlike the letting of a surplus cottage to a third party. For that reason it is not unusual to

separate the holiday letting business from the VAT registered Farm or Estate business for VAT purposes, but any planning needs to take into account the initial capital expenditure incurred to create the holiday lets. This type of VAT planning applies to Farms and Estates with perhaps 2-3 holiday lets, but for those businesses looking to develop the luxury caravanning and camping sector the likelihood is the turnover associated with that will exceed the VAT registration threshold and the VAT rules will apply. There is specific VAT legislation dealing with caravan pitch fees and any rural business involved in this sector would be well advised to ensure they are applying the rules correctly. We recommend you seek advice from a VAT specialist when carrying out work to any property. Our VAT team at Azets would be happy to discuss your project with you and advise on how to minimise your costs.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this contact Partner, Ian Craig on 01738 441 888 or email Ian is a Partner at Azets, accounting, tax, audit, advisory and business services group.


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Sarah Millar Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has appointed Sarah Millar as its new Chief Executive. Sarah is currently Director of Market Intelligence and External Affairs at QMS and with immediate effect becomes Chief Executive Designate and will take over the reins as Chief Executive from Alan Clarke who will step down in April 2022 after five years in the role. Sarah joined QMS in 2018 and was Director of Industry Development before taking on her current role in 2021. Widely known in farming circles, Sarah was brought up on the family hill farm in Lanarkshire, and how lives in Angus on her husband’s family farm in Angus. Graduating with an honours degree in Green Technology from SAC Auchincruive, Sarah’s career has spanned multiple parts of the Scottish farming supply chain, including working for multinational businesses, and as a rural business consultant. Chloe Poolman Following a period of business acceleration, Chloe Poolman has become the latest recruit to join the pet team at Premier Nutrition, the specialist nutrition consultancy and premix division of AB Agri. Miss Poolman initially joined Premier Nutrition’s technical team as a support nutritionist, working across all the species, following the completion of a degree in Bioveterinary Science at Harper Adams University. “As part of my new role I will be providing tailored support and advice to our customers in the pet food industry. I will be analysing the latest research and looking into developing premix formulations for a variety of diet formats, including treats, while working closely with our customers,” she says. Andrew Chandler National property consultancy Carter Jonas has appointed Andrew Chandler as head of its Rural Agency Team. He takes over from Andrew Fallows, who held the position for a number of years. Fallows remains with the business as a Partner coordinating its rural offering across Yorkshire and its surrounding regions. Chandler joined Carter Jonas as a partner in 2018 and is based in the south east out of Carter Jonas’ Oxford, Newbury and Winchester offices. With nearly 20 years of experience advising on farm agency matters, he has exceptional knowledge of the rural market. Since joining Carter Jonas, he has worked closely with its teams across the UK, advising on the disposal and acquisition of rural assets, including country houses, equestrian property, farms and estates. Gavin Smith and James Knight Merlo UK are pleased to announce two new appointments to the UK team. Gavin Smith joins as Merlo UK’s new Regional Sales Manager for Scotland, North East England and Northern Ireland whilst James Knight steps into the role of Marketing Coordinator. Gavin Smith joins Merlo following a nearly two decades working in the agricultural machinery retail sector in Scotland. Based near Glasgow, Gavin is well placed to support the Merlo dealer network across his territory which extends to Scotland, North East England and Northern Ireland. James Knight is a recent Masters Graduate of Multimedia Journalism at The University of the West of England with a strong background in social media content creation and copy writing. “The appointment of these two industry professionals is a further sign of the Merlo commitment to the UK market” says Shaun Groom, General Manager of Merlo UK.

Rose Moggath Jane Craigie Marketing (JCM) has strengthened its team and continued a commitment to support young people in rural areas, with the appointment of Rose Moggach (23), whose skills and interest in the rural economy will complement the existing team. Joining JCM as an Account Executive, Rose, who trained as part of the Scottish Ballet Associate Scheme for eight years, graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of International Business and Marketing, with honours, from the University of Strathclyde. Her final year dissertation uncovered the forces driving consumers to interact with brands online, and the varying ways in which they do it, accounting for an individual’s cultural background - a factor that must be considered in the development of global marketing strategies. Dr Gregor Welsh SoilEssentials has recently appointed Dr Gregor Welsh to the pivotal role. Gregor, a farmer’s son who is still actively farming in Ayrshire, comes with a breadth of experience and knowledge of the agricultural industry. Already with a firm grounding and experience with SoilEssentials since July 2018 in Hardware Development, Gregor will continue to lead in this area as well as undertaking additional aspects of the prominent GM position. Gregor’s passion for precision farming is clear and he wishes to grow the established company’s reputation in the precision farming arena as well as aspiring to further develop SoilEssentials’ portfolio, bring new innovations to the marketplace and continue working with like-minded businesses and academic institutions to assist in this vision. Alice Swift Alice Swift has joined NMR as agricultural services director. Starting her new role in January, she is responsible for the company’s field operations, including milk recording and disease testing, customer services and marketing. Mrs Swift has experience in developing and maintaining strong working relationships with livestock farmers, particularly in the dairy sector. She has 16 years as agriculture manager for retailers Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and for milk buyer Arla, where she progressed to director of members and agri commercial. From a farming background in Northumberland, Mrs Swift has a particular interest in forging close relationships with farmers to ensure a clear understanding of the demands relating to sustainable production and the value of data led decisions Martin Hall Martin Hall, Senior Director of Davidson and Robertson, Scotland’s oldest firm of Valuers and Rural Consultants, has been appointed as a Recognised European Valuer (REV) by TEGOVA – the European Group of Valuers’ Association. Martin Hall has over 30 years’ experience as a Rural Surveyor and is ideally placed to provide valuations in Scotland and Northern England. He is a past President of the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters’ and Valuers’ Association (SAAVA), an examiner for the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) and Honorary Vice President of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). He is also a member of the Agricultural Law Association, the Compulsory Purchase Association and was appointed to the CAAV President’s Panel of Arbitrators in 2021.


A Taste of the Highlands By Ghillie Basan

As Covid closed-in once again in the Autumn of 2021, Ghillie Basan found herself one of a number of people appointed by Scotland: Food and Drink as an ambassador to inspire food tourism growth. Now, as the country shakes off restrictions, she is keen to kick start initiatives and help with the road to recovery. Ghillie is an author of more than 45 books, a broadcaster and food anthropologist. She hosts cookery workshops and whisky and food pairing experiences for staycationers and international visitors alike. And she is bringing the Highland’s natural produce to the attention of the world at a vital moment. She is determined that producers, farmers, crofters, fishermen and women, and distillers will all be part of our recovery and will benefit from it. In her book, A Taste of the Highlands, Basan writes from the heart as she takes readers on an uplifting culinary journey through the Highlands, meeting true food adventurers and entrepreneurs along the way. Thirty years ago she followed her dreams to a small croft in the Cairngorms National Park but when she first arrived, there was a paucity of local food produce. 138

Meat and fish was shipped south or abroad and the supermarket / online shopping boom had yet to arrive. So she grew her own vegetables and acquired wild produce – rabbits, pheasants, wood pigeons, wild garlic and nettles – reviving habits of Highland living that had been forgotten. Today local people and visitors to the area want local produce. And producers are responding, exploring ways of preserving tradition, whilst revisiting and reinventing Scotland’s food and drink heritage. In A Taste of the Highlands, this fine writer introduces us to new food friends and their produce, illustrating her commentary and stories with their recipes and her own. Picking out just a few here from a book that is a sheer joy to read and explore, we find: • Tomatin 12 year old whisky, ‘creamy and fruity with a buttery

finish’, perfect for adding to prunes as a topping for porridge; The wheat flour, rye flour, spelt and peasemeal ground at Golspie Mill using a one man (Michael Shaw) operated water-powered system – her book contains a recipe using his peasemeal for Pancakes with Crowdie, Rowan Raisins and Birch Syrup. Fenella and Kirsty, owners of Ullapool’s Sea Food Shack, purchasing local seafood from local creel boats for the likes of their Lobster Macaroni Cheese (and yes, Ghillie includes this cracking recipe); The Oyster Lady of Loch Crenan who set up the Caledonian Oyster Company - and offers tips for shucking fresh oysters; Edinvale Farm, which sits high above the Moray Firth and was founded by Michael and Susan Gibson. They went on to buy

Macbeth’s Butcher and Game Dealer in Forres as an outlet for their high-end farm meat and their reputation spread right across the Highlands and abroad. Now their son Jock is in charge and the business continues to thrive. • The honesty box system of the Highlands – with Ghillie paying particular attention to the Little Swallow Food Cupboard in Shieldaig on the coast of Wester Ross. Owned and filled by Peter Fenton with homemade jams, chutneys, marmalades, cakes and savoury pasties each with their own tale of the making. Having read this, you are probably already planning your own culinary adventure but I urge you to dive into the pages of this book first and even from your armchair start ordering the food of the Highlands. Live local. Eat local. Celebrate Scotland’s larder. A Taste of the Highlands by Ghillie Basan. Published by Birlinn, £25 hbk Read more about Ghillie Basan at