Farming Scotland Magazine (September - October issue 2020)

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Scotland’s longest established national farming & rural lifestyle magazine

Tuathanachas Alba


Grain Dryers Ploughs Muck Spreaders #ATTLE "REEDING Topic We are what we eat )N &OCUS Natural Eco Spas

Cooking with Venison With Wendy Barrie Made in Scotland Brassicas!

.EW TO -ARKET TurbO Tagger from Shearwell Data World Farming Egypt

Farm Diversification Storage solutions Travel Scotland Escape to Edinburgh



October 2020

3COTTISH #OUNTRY ,IFE s "EATHA AN %ILEAN s &ORESTRY &LAVOUR OF 3COTLAND s .ORTHERN )SLES s "OOK 3ERIAL including our regular news areas and columns



October 2020







24 42 54 68

Grain Dryers Ploughs Muck Spreaders Cattle Breeding




6 20 32 36 39 48 64 70 71 76 79 80 84 87 89 103



Bagels and Berries


TurbO Tagger from Shearwell Data Ltd

Roast Venison with Brassicas

Orkney and Shetland


The storage solution


Escape to Edinburgh





We are what we eat




Bring on the Brassicas!


Life on the Islands


Natural Eco Spas Ltd

Part 5 of ‘Into The Peatlands’

A Livestock Diary






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arable & root crops Tests show high levels of germination editor's bit Ain over-yeared hybrid What price barley seed quality? Protecting farmed food standards in Scotland is a major concern right now, and this feeling is also being reflected in the other devolved nations on these islands. There appears to be a real fear that the Westminster proposal for an internal UK market will lead to food standards being forced into compliance based on the lower level of quality attainment, and not allowing individual nations to produce to a higher standard. This is utterly wrong, and I am pleased to see the NFU of Scotland and indeed, the other devolved nations very much against this too. Even the RSPC are getting involved, and that must ring huge alarm bells for the animal welfare movement and those of us who want our food to be the best it can be. We must not be forced into selling out our globally recognised food standards for the sake of some ‘down the line’ rotten deal with the USA! This ‘internal UK market’ proposal also threatens other areas, like minimum pricing on alcohol for example, and we can all see how damaging that effect might be here in Scotland. No, this ‘daft idea’ needs to be rallied against, and I fully support the Scottish Government and all farming organisations throughout Britain in their fight against the internal market idea and its dark implications. Scottish farmed produce must never be a pawn in someone else’s power game, Scotlands’ world reputation may well be at stake here. Think on! Slàinte, Athole.


Testing of more than 300 samples of over-yeared hybrid barley seed that last year’s washout autumn prevented growers from drilling has shown high levels of germination have been retained – averaging 96% across all samples. The tests, which Syngenta made freelyavailable to UK growers of its hybrid barley seed originally purchased for planting in autumn 2019, were in recognition of the challenging season being faced on-farm, says James Taylor-Alford, Syngenta head of seed crop sales for UK and Ireland. Of the seed samples tested, nearly three-quarters were of the popular hybrids SY Kingsbarn and Bazooka – each of which averaged 97% germination. A further one-fifth of samples were made up of the hybrids Belmont, Belfry, Libra and SY Kingston, each of which also averaged 97% germination. Three seed samples of the hybrid SY Baracooda averaged 94% germination. The lowest average germination level achieved, which was from just five samples of a specific batch of an older hybrid, Sunningdale, which Mr Taylor-Alford says had been over-yeared for three years, was 74%. Guidance will be given to growers who submitted these samples on how to respond, Mr TaylorAlford adds. “After the very challenging growing season it is nice to share some good news with growers that the high-quality seed supplied

arable & root crops maintained such high levels of germination after a year in storage,” says Mr Taylor-Alford. “Anyone who didn’t take up this offer of free hybrid barley seed testing when it was available, we would still urge them to have their overyeared seed tested at their local laboratory before planting, according to best practice.

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“By knowing your percentage germination and your target plant population and taking account of other factors, such as the normal plant losses you experience, the number of seeds that should be planted per metre squared can be more accurately calculated. “Taking into account potential plant losses becomes even more important if planning to drill later and in poorer conditions. A recent poll we conducted indicated that while 90% of hybrid barley growers who took part were planning to drill their hybrid barley at their normal time, 7% were planning to drill later. “Hybrid barley offers numerous advantages, not least high yields and grain quality, early maturity to help with timely establishment of following crops, and excellent suppression of grass weeds. Accurate seed rates provide the foundation for many of these benefits,” he adds.

In my view By John Cameron Balbuthie, Kilconquhar, Fife

Interesting times! Times marches on. Here we

increases that are being

are – more than half way

recorded at the early store

through the year – with no

lamb sales.

sign of a ‘Brexit deal’ in sight

some sales of lambs which

and the British Government

will not be finished until next

apparently still as determined

year. Whether this feeling of

as ever to bring Brexit to a

confidence will be justified

conclusion by the end of the

remains to be seen but it

year, - deal or no deal!

does augur well for the later






implications of that in a

sales of the smaller hill lambs.

moment but it is interesting to

On the other Brexit matter

see that many of the EU

of future trade deals and

member states are distributing

import requirements it does

significant financial resources


to their farming sectors to

warning of the consequences

compensate for the loss of

of allowing inferior quality of

income due to the Coronavirus

products to be imported – is

outbreak with emphasis on

perhaps beginning to have

payments to the livestock

effect. The House of Lords –

sectors. Our old friends the

or some of them at least

Irish Government are heading

appear to have got the

up the list with their cattle

message, whilst a number of

payments which is a classic

Government MPs are now

example of the effect of the

showing much more interest

power of the farming lobby in

in the subject. There is also a



Conversely it is






indicative of the level of

surveys taking place in the

support for agriculture here in


the UK there the British

establish the proportion of

Government could have been


just as generous within the

supermarket shelves which

EU transition period rules.

are British and which are

Which brings us back to the



supermarkets on




imported. This has produced


some interesting figures but

implications of our exit from

is a topic on which we will

the EU. I was delighted but

have to maintain pressure.

surprised to read of the price

That included

Interesting times indeed! 7

arable & root crops Spot Phoma early to protect WOSR

The latest drone technology could give growers the edge against a major disease that causes £100m of winter oil seed rape losses each year. Skippy Scout is a phone app, developed by technology pioneers Drone Ag, that uses a drone to gather crop images. The high resolution, leaf level images can help to spot the signs of Phoma and stem canker faster which could reduce losses this season. “Based on annual survey data presented by Crop Monitor it is estimated that Phoma results in losses of about £100 million each season, despite fungicide treatment,” says Drone Ag founder Jack Wrangham. “It is vital that farmers spot Phoma early. Using Skippy to do so will save money, increase the efficacy of fungicides, and increase yield,” he adds. AHDB offers a Phoma forecast which, in conjunction with regular crop walking, can improve the chances of catching the disease early. Robert Ord is an agronomist with MSP and has been using Skippy Scout to monitor crops. “I am able to cover more crops in more detail by using a combination of conventional methods and Skippy. The drone can spot problems quickly which enables me to make best use of my time.

With Skippy I can also save data from points in a field to analyse crop establishment and development at different stages in the growing season,” he says. Phoma is typically treated with two sprays. Using data collected by a drone can help to establish the optimum timing, explains Mr Ord. “It’s about collating data from all available sources and being able to continually monitor the crop for small changes. The most time efficient way to do this is with a drone. It is roughly five times faster to walk a crop using a drone in comparison to traditional methods. If we are going to improve our WOSR yields, we should be making best use of all the resources available to us,” he says. Skippy Scout uses field maps to automate drone flight. By uploading field maps, farmers can choose points in fields for the drone to fly to and take images. The high-resolution images have sufficient detail to spot the very early signs of Phoma. “The whole process is automated and very easy to use, all you need is your phone and a drone. Drones start at just £369 and, straight out of the box, users can identify Phoma on a leaf in the early stages to help time the use of fungicides more accurately,” says Jack.

arable & root crops OSR surprises on Lincolnshire Wolds A crop of oilseed rape has produced a gross output of 7. 04t/ha despite battling against flea beetle damage as it established in the autumn

Tim Lamyman of Worlaby Farms, near Louth in Lincolnshire, harvested the 9ha of the conventional variety, Acacia on 16th August. He was optimistic when he started combining as the crop stood at just under 5ft tall and was brimming full of pods. “The crop combined exceptionally well for such a thick crop of rape with tree trunk type stems that were up to 2 inches wide. For a conventional variety, the seed looked exceptionally bold,” he says. Acacia is the highest yielding variety on the 2020-2021 AHDB Recommended List (RL), and set a new benchmark for oilseed rape yields when it joined the RL. The open pollinated variety is an Anastasia cross, inheriting key agronomic characteristics of strong autumn and spring vigour, solid disease resistance and short, stiff straw, combined with high oil content. “The field hasn’t had a rape crop on it for the last 20 years,” explains Tim. “Previously the

field had continuous spring barley. I chose Acacia for its short straw, fantastic standing power, vigour and being the highest yielding variety on the AHDB list – if we were going to beat the previous best of 7.01 t/ ha on the farm it had to be this variety.” The Acacia was drilled into soils that had been worked with a Lemken Terra-Disc, a Vaardestad Carrier and drilled at 5kg/ha and then rolled. “As the crop established, the cabbage stem flea beetle moved in, but through a combination of its genetic vigour and an application of Bionature Delta fertiliser, that went on with the insecticide spray (lambdacyhalothrin) it seemed to give it that extra boost, explains Tim. Delta is a stabilised nitrogen fertiliser with potassium for improved rooting, stress tolerance, crop quality and yield production. “This combination of insecticide for the flea beetle

arable & root crops and the fertiliser for promoting rooting and combatting stress saved the crop. No system is fool proof, particularly with oilseed rape, and especially if you are drilling into a dry seed bed with no prospect of rain, so it’s important to give it every possible chance.” Tim believes his approach has paid off – and it has been more than worthwhile investing in the crop all the way through. Autumn programme: • To mop up a few remaining barley volunteers, Tim went on with 0.75 l/ha Fusillade Max (125 g/l fluazifop-p -butyl) and also included a second application of 2.5 l/ha Delta K. • The final autumn spray focussed on light leaf spot control with 0.5 l/ha tebuconazole and a further application of insecticide (lambda-cyhalothrin). “By this stage it had started raining, and it felt like it would never stopbut in Jan we had a break from the weather and went on with 1.7 l/ha Astrokerb (500 g/litre propyzamide + 5.3 g/litre aminopyralid) plus 2.5 l/ha Delta K.” Spring programme • A March application of prothioconazole and Hallmark were combined with a final application of Delta, to encourage extra branching. • At stem extension 0.35 l/ha Toprex (250 g/l


difenoconazole 125 g/l Paclobutrazol) for canopy and light leaf spot control • 2.5 l/ha TipTop (20N20P20K) and 0.5 l/ha Rainbow wave (boron & molybdenum) • Early flowering 1 l/ha

Azoxystar & 0.5 l/ha tebuconazole was applied. 1 l/ha Xstress and 0.5 l/ha Calflux were applied again to increase biomass and pod survival to maximise seed size and numbers.

• Programme was finished off with a mid-flowering application of 0.4 l/ha proline and 1 l/ha X stress and 0.5 l/ ha Calflux to keep the crop growing through the extreme drought pressure.

Start early to build foundations for higher yields As the end of a difficult 2019/20 season nears, thoughts turn to how to maximise yield potential of next year’s winter wheat. It is perhaps a good time to reflect on what went well and what could have been improved. Weather aside, one standout factor for many, not all, was seed rates, Hutchinsons technical support manager Neil Watson says. “We often underestimate the number of plants required and overestimate establishment percentages.” Getting these factors right is central to setting strong foundations for optimum yields, he says. The starting point is to estimate the realistic yield potential of individual fields, considering soil type, location, climate, and historic performance, before working back to identify the plant population and seed rate(s) required to achieve this.

arable & root crops “We know there is a direct correlation between grain number per unit area and yield, so use this as a starting point. “Yield is simply a combination of the three components; ears/m2, grain per ear and thousand grain weight. In most seasons the wheat crop has a tremendous degree of plasticity in compensating for a deficit of one component by increasing the others, however there are limits.” Many talk about the tillering capacity of crops, yet fail to appreciate that an average wheat crop only produces 1.5-2 ears per plant by harvest, so growers must ensure there are enough plants in the ground at the start of the season, otherwise yield

potential could be limited from the outset, says Mr Watson. “Generally, it is better to have too many plants than too few, providing land can support crop demands through the season.” Calculating the appropriate seed rate depends on many interlinked factors, including soil type, fertility, seedbed conditions, sowing date, establishment percentage etc. Early sowing is the best way to increase yield potential, providing risks such as grassweeds, disease and lodging can be managed. “Sowing date is the only way to influence tiller production, as all other factors affect tiller survival,” notes Mr Watson.

Tiller survival is typically only around 45%. Determining seed rate Whatever the drilling date, an accurate estimate of likely establishment is essential to calculate the seed rate needed to achieve a target plant population. For most, this season is likely to be a low water mark for what is achievable; a normal autumn provides a more typical indication. This can be done anytime, even immediately after harvest. Select representative areas of the field (e.g. high or low-yielding areas highlighted on yield maps) and count the number of root balls (indicative of plants/m2).

Compare this against seed rates sown last autumn to estimate establishment percentage. Counting tillers per plant will indicate, along with plant numbers, final ear density. “Growers may be shocked at the results, especially after such a difficult season. Some sites drilled late into wet conditions, have seen establishment down to 40%.” Hopefully, there will be no repeat of those conditions this autumn and establishment will be closer to a more typical 60-85%, but growers must be realistic, as it can vary considerably, even within fields. This is where precision farming systems like Omnia and variable seed rates may be useful for managing variability.

All systems go at New Tong Factory Tong Engineering is pleased to announce the completion and operation of its new manufacturing facility in Spilsby. The £3.6 million first phase building is part of a two-phase project on the seven-acre site and marks a new milestone in the company’s continuing growth and development programme. “At the beginning of the year, we knew that 2020 was set to be a landmark year for Tong. Opening a new factory after 90 years of business and what seems like 90 extensions to our existing factory, was always going to be very exciting,” says Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering. “However, we simply

couldn’t have imagined how 2020 has actually unfolded. Whilst the last few months have been somewhat challenging, as we have adapted our working procedures to ensure a safe and sustainable manufacturing environment, we feel very fortunate that we have been able to continue our business operations and expansion plans throughout such unprecedented times. We are delighted that operation has commenced at our new factory, even if the grand opening we had planned has had to been postponed slightly!” The new purpose-built first phase manufacturing facility, which stands at over 126 metres long, 24 metres wide and 11 metres

high, boasts significantly more production capacity than both of the company’s existing factories. Amongst the new site’s state-of-

the-art facilities are two 5-ton overhead cranes, new shot-blasting and powder coating chambers, and the most advanced stock control


arable & root crops system with fully automated storage lift. The new factory also features expanded office space, a new staff canteen and flexible meeting space for internal and client meetings. “Space has been at the highest premium within our production process for quite some time at our primary factory,” explains Edward. “As our business has grown, so too has the equipment that we manufacture. The new factory is dedicated to our assembly process, and with the significant increase in height, this has allowed us to dramatically advance our lifting capacity and assembly capabilities with the installation of the heavy duty overhead cranes,” says Edward. “They are already playing a vital part in creating very safe and streamlined production flow and are one of the most prominent and widely-popular assets at the new factory,” says Edward. “Another new and very notable system which has transformed our


stores department is our investment in a highly intelligent parts storage lift. The compact and clever design of the lift means that we are really maximising the height of the factory; with a height of 9 metres and a footprint of only 4 metres by 3 metres, we can store over 55 square metres of stock items and parts. It is staggering to think of the storage space this has saved, whilst removing the need for access equipment and simplifying the parts picking process,” explains Edward. “At the touch of a screen, the storage system presents the correct ‘shelf’ to user level for quick and easy access to thousands of parts which can be stored by machine type or project, for very efficient retrieval of parts.” The company is now able to increase production capacity further by adding shot blasting and powder coating processes at the new facility, ensuring increased flexibility as well as quick turnarounds and the highest quality finish on all Tong equipment.

“We are already enjoying the considerable advancements and efficiencies that our new facility is bringing to our production, assembly and quality control processes; it has transformed these aspects of our business and will ensure the continued development of our advanced and innovative range of vegetable handling equipment. The support of a

£500,000 grant from the Greater Lincolnshire Growth Fund and East Lindsey District Council has been invaluable in making our growth ambitions a reality. As we continue with our expansion plans, we are looking forward to finalising the design of the second phase building, which is scheduled to follow soon,” confirmed Edward.

TerraMap provides answers into crop production challenges Earlier this spring, images taken from a drone flown over the field where the Hutchinsons Alnwick regional trials are sited, clearly showed up a particular area that was a lighter green than the rest of the field – indicating an area of poorer, thinner crop. Digital farming manager Lewis McKerrow explains how he

used TerraMap to investigate what could be causing this particular area of poorer performing crop. TerraMap is Hutchinsons revolutionary soil scanning service that provides greater definition and more accurate soil maps than any other system enabling growers and agronomists to make the most of precision technology.

arable & root crops It does this by providing high definition mapping of all common nutrient properties, pH, soil texture, organic matter and CEC as well as elevation and plant available water. It also measures the levels of P, K, Mg, pH and % of clay, sand, silt, texture and elevation as well as calcium, manganese, boron, copper, molybdenum, iron, zinc, sulphur, OM, CEC and plant available water. The results from TerraMap are then used to create maps within Omnia. Mr McKerrow explains: “We ran the scanner over the field and in one pass we had all the information we needed on the soils. “We added into Omnia is a satellite biomass (NDVI) map taken on the 8 May– there were clear areas of darker and lighter green to showing areas of thicker and lighter crop which correlated with the drone images.” “Soils with a high sand and silt content and low clay content tend

to be drier –but could we prove that this was actually affecting crop growth?” “Yes! TerraMap provided us with a plant available water map, and the results of this directly correlated with the soil texture maps, NDVI maps and drone images. There was more plant available water in the higher clay percentage areas of the field, but where sand and silt were predominant, there was lower plant available water.”

Glen Mor: diseaseresistant raspberry launched at Fruit for the Future 2020 A new raspberry with exceptional fruit quality and high productivity, plus resistance to deadly disease root rot, was launched at industry event Fruit for the Future 2020. The new rasp, named Glen Mor, was bred by James Hutton Limited in Dundee, with support from the UK Raspberry Breeding Consortium and the Scottish Government. Soft fruit breeder Nikki Jennings said: “Among the three new raspberry varieties James Hutton Limited has released to soft fruit growers in 2020, Glen Mor is the floricane raspberry variety the industry has been waiting for, with genetic marker Rub118b conferring resistance to raspberry root rot.” Root rot is devastating to raspberry in temperate regions around the world and is impossible to eradicate from infested soils with current available control. It has prompted a shift to raspberry production out of the soil into substrate, in pots, to escape the pathogen, which is a costly growing system. Breeding for root rot resistance has long been a major objective of raspberry breeding at the James Hutton Institute, and trials of Glen Mor have seen plants spent six years in a soil plot infested with root rot and have shown no symptoms of the disease,

despite flooding over several seasons. Glen Mor has outstanding fruit quality, yield and flavour and due to its size and presentation, is economical to pick. Its large fruit size made choosing a name easy; Mor translates in old Scots as large, big or great. Glen Mor’s flavour is described by breeder Nikki Jennings as “fruity and sweet, but with a balance of acid and notes of coconut”. She added: “We are very excited to release Glen Mor as our first variety with the root rot marker, combining resistance with superior commercial quality. Root rot resistance offers growers the option to return to soil production which makes plants much easier to manage at a lower cost.” Fruit for the Future is the annual soft fruit-themed industry event hosted by the James Hutton Institute, intended for farmers, agronomists, representatives of the food and drink industries, scientists and others interested in soft fruit.

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.


Edinburgh institution launches Scotch Lamb bagel you ‘knead’ to try Bross Bagels in Edinburgh has partnered with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) to create a limited-edition bagel featuring Scotch Lamb PGI, which will be tempting taste buds in their Bruntsfield and Leith stores as part of a wider Make It Scotch Lamb campaign. The ‘LAMBO’ bagel – which will be filled with smoked slow cooked Scotch Lamb shoulder, house made herboe crisps, watercress, crispy onions and minty mayo – will be the first time the business has featured lamb on their menus. Scotch Lamb PGI is a high-quality, delicious meat that is sourced from selected Scottish farms which adhere to stringent quality assurance and animal welfare standards and Saundersons Butchers in Bruntsfield, a member of QMS’ Scotch Butchers Club, is providing the Scotch Lamb that will be delighting bagel lovers throughout the capital city. Lesley Cameron, Director of Marketing and Communications at Quality Meat Scotland, the organisation which promotes Scotch Lamb, said: “Scottish butchers and food service operators up and down the supply chain have been working harder than ever in recent months to provide people with world-class Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork, so we are delighted to be partnering with Bross Bagels to give people the chance to try Scotch Lamb in a new and exciting way. “Lamb can sometimes be overlooked in favour of other meats but we hope that getting to enjoy it with the delicious filling on offer from the bagel experts at Bross will help people see how tasty and versatile it is.” Larah Bross, owner of Bross Bagels, said: “At Bross Bagels we are passionate about offering 14

our customers a wide range of flavours and combinations as part of our menu and we have loved working with a nearby Scotch butcher. “Much like lamb, my hometown of Montreal often gets overlooked as the bagel capital of the world in favour of New York, but we are confident that our first ever Scotch Lamb offering will have people shouting about the bagels Edinburgh has to offer.” For more information about Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork, visit

Scottish berry brand’s sales almost double thanks to new lockdown marketing campaign Premium Scottish berry brand, AVA Berries, is toasting its strongest seasonal sales to date following the launch of a new influencer and experiential marketing campaign shortly after lockdown was introduced. So far this year, almost 4.7 million punnets of AVA™ strawberries have been sold across the UK, an increase of over 2 million compared to this time last season. AVA Berries offer the best in seasonal flavour, sweetness and quality and are grown by an exclusive group of growers on the beautiful North-East coast of Scotland to ensure only the very best berries are produced every time. Like many others, earlier this year the brand was forced to abandon planned marketing activity as coronavirus put the UK into lockdown.

Spanning targeted PR, digital advertising and partnerships with key influencers, including Scottish Kilted yoga instructor, Finlay Wilson, and Masterchef 2019 finalist, Jilly McCord, the campaign has sought to raise awareness of the brand and demonstrate why AVA™ varieties offer the best in seasonal flavour. Jill Witheyman, Marketing Manager at AVA Berries, commented: “When lockdown started, we had to completely rip up our summer 2020 marketing campaign and start again. We knew this was going to be a difficult time, not just for the British public but for our growers as well, so we had to get this campaign right. “Looking at emerging trends, we focused our campaign on three core themes; spreading some summer cheer, looking

after your mental and physical health at home, and enjoying moments of luxury while in lockdown.” Sales of strawberries across the board are up 15.8%, according to data recently released by British Summer Fruits. Jill added: “We know that sales of strawberries have been strong across the board this year and that this has contributed to our sales growth. However, it is clear that we’ve found a formula that has resonated with people during lockdown and has been crucial to helping deliver this incredible growth.” AVA Berries also launched a new partnership with McQueens Dairies to deliver thousands of punnets of AVA™ strawberries to households across Scotland during what would have been the start of the Wimbledon fortnight.


Scotland The Brand

Da Thule Rule By Ruth Watson

Jill continued: “Traditionally, Wimbledon is a key selling period and we were conscious that a lot of our growers would have increased volumes of AVA™ strawberries available during these weeks. One of the other challenges we faced was we would sample to the public, as we know that once consumers try AVA™ strawberries, they are blown away by the taste and sweetness. We joined forces with McQueens Dairies to deliver surprise punnets of AVA™ strawberries to over 2,500 households in Scotland and rolled out additional targeted digital advertising activity to support sales during this period. “The activity was a resounding success with sales rising 59% during what would have been the Wimbledon fortnight.

AVA Berries supplies the UK’s top supermarkets and AVA™ strawberries are sold in the premium lines of Aldi, Coop, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s nationwide. AVA™ strawberries will be available until early October and the largest quantities of strawberries can be found in supermarkets in Scotland and the north of England. Jill concluded: “We’re in peak strawberry season now so we won’t be able to judge the full success of the campaign until the end of the season, but we’re on track for a record-breaking year. Our marketing is going to shift as lockdown eases and more people venture out of their homes, and we’ll be focusing more on recipe and meal suggestions to make your AVA™ strawberries last longer, while also showcasing their sustainability, from plant to punnet.”

Many years ago, strolling around the Cunningsburgh Show, on Shetland’s mainland, I spied a creature with a coquettish face framed with elegant short curved horns. My first Shetland cow. The bulls are impressive with heads ancient Minoan artists would have stopped to admire. Both cow and bull share eyecatching lines, long straight backs, deep-bodied with a stocky leg. Back then, in the ‘80s, the farmers who were rearing them were doing so out of a love for a breed their families always had around as a milk cow and a bit of beef unrivalled for flavour. There was concern the breed might be extinguished by popular commercial breeds. “The subsidy system favours the big breeds like Charollais and Belgian Blue,” says Ronnie Eunson of the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society. “With Brexit we need to be looking at animals that are easy to keep and can survive in our environment, not breeds which are dependent on nitrogen-filled fields.” Ronnie has an organic herd of 100 Shetlands selling

to markets both local and far-flung, to foreign tables in cultures where the almost gamey flavour of Omega-rich hill-fed beef is appreciated and sought after. Fascinatingly, tests show the meat of Shetland cattle share similar characteristics to wild deer and antelope. This rare island native is slowly coming back from the brink, gaining in popularity both in Shetland and on the Scottish mainland. Rosemary Champion is a smallholder in Angus. She is so impressed with the breed’s versatility she now is involved in promoting the Shetland. Rosemary was looking for a beef cow which wasn’t too fussy about grazing yet would produce rich dairy for home use. The Shetland exceeded her expectations. “The issue of climate change and regenerative agriculture is an opportunity for the breed as well as appealing to those who want to eat less but better meat,” Rosemary says. With a heritage, flavour, and clear marketing, the Shetland brand is one the world is waking up to.



Crisp supports sustainability, Scottish farming and craft brewers in Scotland with new £2m packaging line A new facility in Alloa shortens the supply chain from farmers to craft brewers and promotes provenance of barley grown, malted and bagged in Scotland Crisp Malt is increasing its support of Scottish farmers and Scottish craft brewers with the opening of a new £2m packaging line in Alloa that provides more access to Scottish barley that is grown, malted and packaged in Scotland. The new fully automated line can bag malt in relatively small quantities, perfect for Crisp’s growing customer base of smaller Scottish craft brewers, as well as larger amounts. Craft brewers of all sizes across the country will now have greater access to barley that has been grown, malted and bagged in Scotland - rather than buying their malt from England, or using Scottish malt that has been bagged in England and then trucked back to Scotland.

Crisp’s Alloa maltings currently produces 28,000 tonnes of malt for brewers and distillers across Scotland. The new packaging facility has four 60-tonne silos capable of packaging up to 7,000 tonnes a year. It packages whole or crushed malt into 25kg bags, and whole malt in 500kg and 1 tonne bags, for a range of customers from small independent craft brewers to large national companies. Crisp’s investment in infrastructure in Scotland, which comes as the company celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, supports two key issues around sustainability and supply chain identified in the recent Scotland Food & Drink Partnership strategic report on the brewing sector (Brewing Up A Storm, December 2018). The report set a goal for the Scottish brewing sector to reduce its environmental footprint, and

also highlighted a lack of local product in the supply chain. Despite significant amounts of barley being grown and malted in Scotland, none of the main maltsters have bagged their products in the

country. Truckloads of grain have been sent southwards for bagging, only to be returned back over the border, for Scottish brewers. Until now, with the opening of Crisp’s new bagging line.

Scots’ love of local to provide post-lockdown sales boost New research has revealed Scots’ love of local produce grew during lockdown, with over three quarters (79%) of respondents agreeing that it is important to continue to support local suppliers as restrictions ease. Carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Scotch Lamb PGI, the research also highlighted that nearly two thirds (60%) of people in Scotland intend to buy more from local suppliers as the nation emerges from lockdown, with over a third (36%) increasing their consumption 16

from local suppliers since lockdown began. The pandemic has also made Scottish consumers more switched-on as to where their food is coming from, with 62 per cent of those surveyed agreeing they are more conscious of the traceability of their food. The research coincides with Quality Meat Scotland’s – the industry body that runs the Scotch Lamb PGI brand – ‘Make It Scotch Lamb’ campaign, which aims to share the positive health, nutrition and sustainability messages surrounding one of

Scotland’s most prised products. Lesley Cameron, Director of Marketing and Communications from Quality Meat Scotland said: “We’re thrilled that the majority of Scots intend to buy more locally produced products and continue their support as we adjust to a new era for the food and drink industry post-lockdown. “The past few months have seen many members of the red meat supply chain – from farmers and butchers, to auctioneers and processors – pivot their operations to meet new, and different, demand, and

many consumers have relied heavily on local suppliers. “As the nation moves into its recovery period, this momentum must continue and we’d urge shoppers to look for the Scotch Lamb PGI label when next visiting a supermarket or butchers. This will directly support a Scottish farm and the wider supply chain while also providing reassurance that the lamb takes its quality and characteristics from a natural life grazing on the Scottish hills.” With many households adjusting to spending more time

FLAVOUR OF SCOTLAND indoors, the research revealed a shakeup in the kitchen observed over the past few months. More than a third of respondents (35%) have been more experimental with their meals, and almost a quarter (24%) tried their hand at learning how to cook new dishes during lockdown.

Of the people surveyed who live with family members, over half (55%) are eating more together, and those with kids have been benefiting from an extra pair of helping hands in the kitchen, with 30 per cent indicating that their wee ones got more involved in meal prep and cooking.

Collaborative cookbook launched to help Scots Make It Scotch A new collaborative cookbook launched this week by The Scotch Kitchen is set to put some of Scotland’s best-loved ingredients in the spotlight after a social media call-out asking people to suggest their favourite recipes. The Make It Scotch Cookbook was put together to make a virtual cookery ‘book’ of easy-to-cook recipes and includes eleven dishes shared by The Scotch Kitchen’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram community, all which channels are run by Quality Meat Scotland. Whether it’s Mum’s famous homemade roast beef or your best friend’s lamb curry, there is truly nothing quite like the magic of a good homecooked meal, and a recipe shared is a recipe even better enjoyed.

To help create the Make It Scotch Cookbook, followers of The Scotch Kitchen were asked to share their favourite recipes containing Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI or Specially Selected Pork – all ingredients that come from Scottish farms that have met the highest possible production and assurance standards across the entire supply chain. Lesley Cameron, Director of Marketing and Communications at Quality Meat Scotland, said: “One of the greatest joys of cooking is sharing recipes and the goodness of our food with one another. This was the foundation of the idea behind the Make It Scotch Cookbook, to encourage people to create and share dishes they love making.

“The Scotch Kitchen has a very loyal community of followers on social media so we wanted to give them a chance to contribute to the content we share on the platform, as well as show the pride they take in cooking with Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork. “We loved seeing our community’s creativity and working with them to create a book of recipes using meat

that has been reared on trusted Scottish farms and produced to the highest levels of animal welfare and quality assurance standards.” To view the Make It Scotch Cookbook and for other recipe inspiration using Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork: https://www.scotchkitchen. com/article/make-it-scotchcookbook/

Six Scottish farms collaborate to develop gluten free oat supply chain The market opportunity for gluten free oats drove six Aberdeenshire farmers to investigate a new supply chain that guarantees provenance,

assurance and full traceability. The group recognised that, while oats are naturally gluten free, there was no oat assurance scheme that 17

FLAVOUR OF SCOTLAND guaranteed that oat storage postharvest and milling facilities hadn’t been contaminated with gluten from other cereal grains. The project benefited from a Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) funded group facilitated by Paul Mayfield of SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). “Very early on we decided that Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), often called Blockchain, could provide the answer,” says Paul Mayfield. “It’s a relatively new technology in the agrifood sector, and although a few global food manufacturers have investigated its use, there have been few projects linking it back to farms.” As part of the project, Mr Mayfield approached Wallet Services, an Edinburgh-based technology business to map the oat growing and post-harvest storage process. “Their team used existing data and farm documentation, including field records, storage documentation and photographs taken from the farms to create what’s known as the ledger,” he explains. “This project is the first step in developing this innovation - we are now working on the automation of data collection and the user interface. “What’s central to Blockchain is that the information within the audit trail gives full traceability and assurance which ensures complete trust in the supply chain, as well as earning farmers associated crop premiums. It also guarantees that the confidentiality of individual farmers’ data and that all records are tamperproof.” He adds that, when it comes to assurance audits, Blockchain makes it very quick and easy for supply chain partners, assurance bodies and end consumers to find out where and how the oats were grown. On the back of the RISS group findings, it gave two farmers the confidence to invest in an oat processing mill. Andrew Booth of Savock Farms, Newburgh, and the Dams family of Craigie Farm, Whitecairns, have completed the facility located at Savock. It will process the farmers’ combined 18

crofting annual production. The first pallet of product was despatched last week for customers to sample. Andrew Booth says: “This is a state-of-the-art plant and we understand it to be one of only two dedicated gluten-free plants in the UK, and the only one in Scotland. “Our simple idea is that someone will be able to pick up a packet of oats in the supermarket, scan a QR code, and see a whole dashboard of information tracing the oats’ journey from farm to shelf. As farmers we want to produce a premium product that the customer wants.” The ledger is simple to use according the farmers. All of their records, from shed-cleaning to crop-spraying and harvesting are digitised and can be interrogated by anyone with access to the system. “It has made recording simpler and provide a means of providing enhanced levels of assurance with respect to food safety and provenance,” Andrew Booth adds. Paul Mayfield adds that, “using Blockchain for this new venture gives consumers absolute assurance about the provenance and traceability of their oats, whilst also giving the farmers a differentiator to earn a market premium. “If we can do it for oats, we could ensure the same traceability for potatoes, or soft fruit, organic produce or anything we like. And it tilts some power in the supply chain back towards the producers.” The farmers have benefitted substantially from the various innovation, local food and supply chain support mechanisms in place across the Make Innovation Happen partnership including, RISS, Market Driven Supply Chains, Connect Local, and the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund.

Is ‘Internal Market’ legislation needed? By Patrick Krause, Chief Executive, Scottish Crofting Federation You will be aware that there has been a consultation by the UK Government on the ‘Internal Market’ white paper, covering their proposals to pass legislation which would give UK Government additional powers to control trading policy within and between the four nations of the UK. When the transition period ends and we are fully outside the European Union at the beginning of January, we will be governed by our own regulations and policies. This is being worked out between the four nations via the Common Frameworks programme. What is being suggested in the white paper is that UK Government will introduce legislation that could supersede agreements formed between the nations through the frameworks. There is need for an organised internal market of course but this must be designed and agreed by all four UK administrations, not imposed by one body. The Common Frameworks programme, developed jointly between the UK Government and devolved administrations, seems to be the appropriate mechanism to do this. If it is determined by the four nations that this mechanism is inadequate, it can always be modified. The white paper does not offer sufficient evidence to

justify the need for primary legislation over and above this mechanism and the existing legislation governing relations between the four nations. As the white paper says, “most potential barriers to internal trade can come from differences in regulation which do not take the form of primary legislation”. Scotland produces food of high standard and we envisage that this will increase in importance. We therefore must not allow undercutting by imports of lower standard. The suggestion in the white paper that all standards must be accepted by all nations opens the possibility of our high standards being watered down. It depends on whether the standards are set by highest denominator or lowest. Whilst the UK government states that the devolved administrations would continue to control their own individual spending decisions, this appears to be nullified by the clause “we will legislate to expressly provide that subsidy control is a reserved matter”. Agriculture support is currently devolved and, given that Scotland’s agriculture is markedly different from England’s, we would want to see control of agricultural subsidies remain in the power of the Scottish Government.

COOKING with venison

Roast Venison with a trio of Brassicas By Wendy Barrie Venison is wonderful at anytime of the year and delicious with our Scottish brassicas. Carmichael Estate in Lanarkshire, Winston Churchill Venison in Argyll and Rothiemurchus in Cairngorm are all specialists. Ingredients: 300g venison haunch 50g butter Isle of Skye Sea Salt and freshly milled black pepper 4-6 juniper berries – crushed

Turnip & Kohlrabi Fondants‌ Half a turnip 1 kholrabi 75g butter A generous drizzle of Supernature rapeseed oil Isle of Skye Sea Salt and freshly milled black pepper

Method: s 0RE HEAT OVEN TO # 0LACE A SHEET OF BUTTERED FOIL ON A BAKING TRAY 3ET VENISON JOINT ON FOIL AND WRAP LOOSELY /VEN ROAST for 30 minutes then allow to rest for a further 30 minutes. The timing varies depending on the thickness of your joint and whether you prefer it cooked pink or medium. s -EANWHILE PREPARE TURNIP KOHLRABI BY PEELING AND CUTTING IN THICK SLICES OF APPOX CM 4HE THICKER SLICES THE LONGER THE cooking. Use a cutter of your choice or cut neatly into matching sized pieces. s (EAT OIL AND BUTTER IN A GENEROUSLY SIZED FRYING PAN AND PLACE IN VEGETABLES TAKING CARE NOT TO OVERLAP 3IZZLE BROWNING GENTLY in the pan until golden on the underside. Turn over and repeat. s 'ENTLY POUR SUFlCIENT BOILING WATER INTO THE PAN TO REACH BARELY CM DEEP AND LEAVE THE TURNIP AND KOHLRABI TO CONTINUE cooking on a medium heat. s 4EST TO CHECK THEY ARE TENDER n THEY ARE NORMALLY READY WHEN THE LIQUID IS SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCED TAKING CARE NOT TO BURN THE brassicas. Remove from pan and keep warm. s !DD THE COOKED VENISON JUICES FROM THE FOIL TO THE LEFTOVER BUTTERY FONDANT LIQUOR IN PAN ADDING THE JUNIPER BERRIES 3IMMER to a lovely rich glaze and taste to adjust seasoning. 3ERVE VENISON SLICED WITH TURNIP KOHLRABI FONDANTS RUMBLEDETHUMPLINGS A LITTLE EXTRA KALE TO GARNISH AND GLAZE WITH JUICES from pan. Be sure to keep any brassica trimmings for a tasty vegetable soup. Serves 3. Photograph Š Wendy Barrie

Rumbledethumplings! What else would you call rumbledethumps when rolled into dumplings? 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks 2 large kale leaves, rinsed and shredded 1 generous tsp. of wholegrain mustard Isle of Skye Sea Salt and freshly milled black pepper 2 beaten free range eggs Homemade breadcrumbs to coat Supernature rapeseed oil


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.


food White paper proposal presents risks to vital internal UK markets The UK Internal Market is critical to the interests of Scottish agriculture and the vitally important food and drinks sector it underpins. Responding to the UK Government white paper on internal markets, NFU Scotland said it is of the utmost priority that the UK Internal Market is enabled to operate as it does now. Scottish food exports to the rest of the UK in 2017 were worth £3.6 billion while drink exports to the rest of the UK in the same year were worth £830 million. For all goods and services, the value to Scotland of the UK Internal Market, as a whole, is four times higher than the value of Scotland’s trade with the EU. NFU Scotland supports the intention in the Government paper to ensure that the UK Internal Market continues to operate as it does now – with free movement of goods and services produced to the same basic regulatory standards. However, it is the clear view of NFU Scotland, and the other

farming unions of the UK, that the proposals pose a significant threat to the development of Common Frameworks and to devolution. The Union stresses the need for agricultural support policies to diverge where necessary to reflect different needs and objectives in different parts of the UK, while regulatory requirements converge to protect the integrity of the UK Internal Market. In its response, the Union is clear that Common Frameworks would provide the most effective alternative to manage policy divergence between parts of the UK, whilst respecting devolution, and so enable the UK Internal Market to operate without friction or distortion. NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “The proposal on ‘mutual recognition’ contained in the paper raises the potential for Common Frameworks to be rendered meaningless. “Since 2017, the Common Frameworks process has intended

to specifically manage policy differences between all parts of the UK based on agreement and founded on respect for devolution. “Common Frameworks can manage the practical regulatory and market implications of the UK leaving the EU and is the specific tool that was jointly designed by the UK Government and devolved administrations. “However, the UK Internal Market proposals put forward limit the devolved administrations’ ability to act if any standards were lowered and give the UK Government a final say in areas of devolved policy, such as agriculture, the environment or animal health and welfare. “As it stands, the UK Government proposals for legislation on a UK Internal Market undermine the Common Frameworks process both in principle, as they move from agreement to imposition, and in practice by removing the incentive for the UK Government

and the devolved administrations to agree ways of aligning and managing differences when mutual recognition rules require acceptance of standards from other parts of the UK.”

You Brits really don’t want what we’re eating, warns US charity RSPCA launches petition to protect UK welfare standards, as US charity warns of realities of American farming The RSPCA is exposing the realities of American farm animal welfare in a new video from the US as the UK Government drags its feet on legal protection for welfare standards here. As US welfare expert Lauri Torgerson delivers a stark message to UK consumers that failure to protect our hard-won farm animal welfare improvements will risk products arriving on our supermarket shelves which are made to much lower welfare 20

standards, the RSPCA is has launched a petition calling on Government to keep its promises and enshrine in law to ban such imports. In a video detailing the poor conditions suffered by many US farm animals, Farm Sanctuary Research Director Lauri Torgerson, (former Director of Research at Mercy For Animals), said: “Consumers want to know that the animals they are eating have been treated well, at least while they

were alive, and we can’t say that in the United States, at all. “Our industrial animal system is designed to benefit huge, often multinational corporations at the expense of animal welfare, farmer well-being and the earth. I think the UK has been a leader in animal welfare, and has a way to go still, but buying animal products from the US would dilute all the hard work that’s gone into improving all the systems there and I think the average consumer in the UK

would be disappointed to know that the products they’re buying could be coming from systems in the US that don’t support the rights of animals or humans, or the earth.” The RSPCA is calling on the Government to act now to protect the UK’s animal welfare standards. Chris Sherwood, RSPCA Chief Executive, said: “This video from the US gives a stark warning about what could end up on our supermarket shelves

food if the UK Government does not act now to legally protect our welfare standards. We know this is a concern for consumers and without clear legislation banning food produced to lower welfare standards from our shores, we risk setting back animal welfare by decades, causing the suffering of more animals to produce the food on our plates and failing to protect British farmers. “We urge UK shoppers to sign this petition in the hope that the Government will listen to the British public and protect our hardwon farm animal welfare.” UK animal welfare is vulnerable to lower standard imports from the USA because: • Unlike the UK, the USA has no federal laws governing animal welfare during the rearing of species such as chickens and pigs. • Egg laying hens in the US have nearly half the space than UK hens (350 cm2 per hen compared to 750 cm2 per hen) • 52% of laying hens in the UK are free range, compared to just 5% in the USA, with 74% being caged hens. Barren battery cages, which were banned in the UK in 2012, are legal in the USA • The UK banned sow stalls (gestation crates) in 1999, whilst the major pig producing states in the USA still use them. Sow stalls leave pigs very little space to move around in as they prevent them from even turning around. • The vast majority of the 60% of pork imported to the UK currently comes from the EU, so without a deal we will lose our major supplier leaving us vulnerable to lower standard pork imports • Chlorine-washed chicken: Chicken carcasses are washed in chlorinated water to clean off the bacteria from sitting in this re-used litter which contains the waste of thousands of chickens from previous flocks. • Beef cattle in the USA can be treated with hormones which have been banned by the EU Lauri explained how there were no US federal laws covering chicken or turkey welfare, despite

them making up the vast majority of farmed animals in the country. She said: “Three quarters of laying hens in the USA are living in battery cage systems which are awful for animal welfare. They result in severe behavioural restrictions, hens are unable to forage, dust bathe or nest, which are all really important behaviours for a laying hen to perform. “The vast majority of broiler chickens in the US are raised in dark, barren sheds, at very high stocking densities, on the litter (floor covering) of several flocks. Imagine living on the litter that literally hundreds of thousands of birds who have lived their lives on. The reason that the US dips chickens in chlorine is that the birds are literally sitting in each others’ waste - it allows them to kill the bacteria that is on the birds as a result of sitting in unsanitary conditions their whole lives. “In the US, the majority of sows are still living out their lives alternating between a gestation crate and a farrowing stall. The gestation crate is not large enough for her to even turn around or lay down comfortably There’s usually no bedding and as a result she will end up with sores on her shoulders as a result of having to lay on this slatted floor.” RSPCA polling conducted by Savanta ComRes showed that 83% of UK adults agree that the UK should not allow imports of food from the USA that were produced at lower standards than those in the UK.

RSABI’s new campaign encourages regular giving to the charity

RSABI Chair Ewan Pate

RSABI has launched a new campaign to encourage people and businesses to join their Supporter Scheme, from as little as £2 per month. The charity, which supports people in Scottish agriculture, has had to cancel their Great Glen Challenge event this year due to the pandemic. Last year the popular competition raised over £53,000. To help fill the gap in expected income the #RSABI500 campaign aims to attract 500 new businesses and individuals to join RSABI’s Supporter Scheme. RSABI Chief Executive Nina Clancy explains: “Joining our Supporter Scheme from just £2 a month will make a real difference to someone in the agricultural community who is struggling. “We’ve helped over 500 farming households so far

this financial year, and with economic uncertainties and Brexit on the horizon we expected demand for our services to increase in the coming months. “The Supporter Scheme is always hugely important to RSABI but this year, with the loss of income from the Great Glen Challenge, it’s more important than ever. “If you’re able to, I’d encourage you to consider signing up as a supporter and help us provide vital support to people in the industry.” There are three levels of the RSABI Supporter Scheme: s )NDIVIDUAL n MINIMUM a per month or £25 a year – covers the cost of six helpline calls, providing vital support to someone in the agricultural community. s "USINESS n MINIMUM a a year – covers the average time a case officer needs to help a farmer who is unable to work after an accident or illness, making sure that the farm can continue and the family are not struggling. s #ORPORATE n MINIMUM a a year – provides 10-12 counselling sessions for a farmer struggling with poor mental health helping them to move forward.

RSABI’s helpline – 0300 111 4166 – is open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm. The charity provides emotional, practical and financial support to people in Scottish agriculture. Visit to find out more.


We are what we eat By Dave Doogan MP for Angus and SNP Agricultural Spokesperson When it comes to politics you may be forgiven for disregarding much of what is reported as abstract rhetoric, and a distraction which may be of importance to someone else, perhaps somewhere else. We can’t all be political anoraks consuming the ‘Cummings’ and goings from Westminster or Holyrood with eager anticipation - and that’s probably just as well. Every so often however, an issue emerges from within the political discourse which captivates the populace and motivates them to take a stand; an issue that resonates with people and demands their positive action. One such issue within Scotland and more widely in the UK right now is the matter of future standards of food production once EU regulations no longer apply. There can be few MPs who have not been inundated with correspondence from alarmed - if not horrified - constituents regarding the prospect of laissezfaire regulation of food imports, unfettered by EU safeguards. Many fear this policy represents an active strategy to offer up the UK’s food market as a bargaining chip to secure trade

Fabulous Scotch beef


Dave Doogan, MP for Angus

deals, principally with the US. The current Conservative Government in Westminster has, after all, mortgaged its entire term upon this premise. So what is the problem that has people so worked up? Farmers in Scotland and their industry representatives are very clear on this point.

It is not that our domestic industry needs protection from foreign competition for commercial reasons, rather it’s that the competition must simply be fair and equivalent. Regulators in Scotland rightly prioritise high standards of food production, together with environmental protection and

Free range chicken

animal welfare standards in a regime of shared ambition with the farming industry. This is not internationally the case as many foreign jurisdictions permit the use of chemicals, drugs and animal husbandry practices which would be illegal here and would not be accepted by UK consumers. Rather than respect this need for equivalence - which was widely promoted by MPs within the Westminster parliament - and write it into the Agriculture Bill, the UK Government blocked it and whipped their MPs to ensure that the Agriculture Bill passed without this important safeguard on food standards included. It is important to note that the New Clause (amendment) to the Bill seeking equivalence was tabled by the Conservative Chair of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee Neil Parish MP, himself a farmer from Somerset. Mr. Parish was joined by 21 of his Conservative colleagues who all voted against the Government on this vital matter. SNP MPs voted with Mr. Parish’s protection of standards. Conspicuous in their absence however were all six Scottish Tories who, in a breath-taking act

topic of defiance of their constituents, the entire Scottish Farming industry, and the express wishes of the NFUS, decided they had better vote how Boris and the Tory whips told them. Rural Scotland was justifiably taken aback by this betrayal, and I suspect will find forgiving or forgetting nigh on impossible. The new Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross MP might have thought twice about thumbing his nose at Moray farmers in this way, having seen his majority already slashed at the last election to barely five hundred votes, from over four thousand just two years earlier. It’s not only the catastrophic effect this policy could have on our farmers, it’s the wider costs to the agricultural supply chain, the hauliers, the feed and seed suppliers, plant sales and service and many more besides. The shock waves of this open season approach could resonate throughout our rural communities and economies, but the consequences will be borne at the front end by our hard working farmers. Scotland’s farmers are resilient and resourceful, and they have to be in order to contend with the risks and opportunities of a highly regulated international commodity-based industry. But no industry should have to compete against imports produced by methods which would not be legal here, and that is what Westminster’s Agriculture Bill opens the door to. This is especially important for our industry here in Scotland, which is much more geared towards lower volume, high quality produce such as our extraordinary Scotch Lamb and Beef. Australian Lamb produced to an immeasurably greater scale on the other side of the world, US beef reared using hormones, and chicken, kept in such poor conditions as to require chlorine washing in order to be commodified as food – this is not what we regard as acceptable in Scotland nor the rest of the UK. This is about what we eat, what we put on our plates, and what we feed to our children.

The characteristically glib UK Government solution that this problem can be reconciled by consumer discretion at the point of purchase is ludicrous. Scotland’s brand is world renowned and all of us, rightly, will choose the saltire adorned product off the shelf in favour of any other, knowing that it stands for the highest quality, lowest food miles and best option for local enterprise and Scottish jobs.

That’s fine when you are choosing between an amazing Angus Strawberry and a (quite literally) pale imitation from Spain. But consumers should not have to legislate for the dried egg in their cakes, the beef in their lasagne or the chicken in the freezer aisle. Legislating is naturally the job of legislators, and the Conservative Government have ‘slopey shouldered’ this duty

onto consumers in a scandalous abdication of their most basic responsibilities. For them, not even protecting the quality of the food on our plates will get in the way of Trump’s trade deal. And that is why I - and I suspect all other MPs - have received more correspondence on this than any other single issue in recent times. It’s our food, it is literally fundamental.

Haggis, Scotland’s national dish

Sheep on the Isle of Mull



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concern. The dependable Alvan Blanch Double Flow drying technology can process any combinable crop, no matter how wet or dirty, and will give you peace of mind during harvest. You can seamlessly harvest and dry your crops, with no batch loading, saving precious time for other tasks. Alvan Blanch Continuous Flow Driers are highly fuel efficient, recycling the warm drying air in order to reduce fuel consumption. The unique louvred bed system ensures there is no downtime between loads, even when drying different crops. From less than £80,000 you can have a fully installed and commissioned drying system able to dry 330 tonnes/day. All you need to do is arrange fuel

supply, power supply and build a level concrete base, either indoor or outdoor. The system comes with a pre-wired control panel with additional starters, a ground-mounted Søby intake and a discharge handling system - both already included in the price. A two-year warranty comes as standard and this offer is backed as well with two years of servicing. Alvan Blanch driers are built to last, usually providing over 40 years of reliable service. Technical support is provided through the extensive network of Alvan Blanch dealers nationwide and the Alvan Blanch service engineering team, providing annual drier servicing and general technical advice. The Alvan Blanch Stores department ensures that you can source parts for your machine.


OPICO Grain Dryers Speed and efficiency are key features of the OPICO range of recirculating batch dryers, with automated features allowing farmers to keep pace with harvest and larger capacity combines, whilst reducing the time needed to manage the dryer. Available as gas or diesel fuelled models and with 3 phase or PTO drive these self-contained units constantly recirculate the grain to ensure thorough, consistent and economical drying. Loading time and unloading time are also minimised with high capacity loading augers, recirculating augers and unloading augers to keep grain flowing. The diesel fuelled Magna range offer high volume, with the largest having a holding capacity of 48t, drying up to 480 tons of grain per day on automatic versions. Unique to the Magna range is the Duax heat core – heat retaining

bricks that ensure a more even and consistent drying temperature with the added benefit of saving up to 10% on diesel costs. The gas fuelled GT range of dryers provide clean, cost effective, controllable heat. Liquid propane is vaporised in the dryer and burnt in a ring burner to achieve high temperatures and an even safe heat. Both gas and diesel fuelled dryers can be specified for fully automated operation – allowing you to sleep while they dry! These models load, dry, cool and unload automatically, giving unattended drying hour after hour, seven days a week and require minimal labour allowing more efficient use of farm resources. Easy to install and relocate when necessary, OPICO recirculating mobile batch grain dryers start from £40,107 gas fuelled range and from £36,510 for the diesel fuelled range

Continuous Mixed Flow Grain Driers from Perry of Oakley Perry of Oakley Ltd. are the UK’s most experienced manufacturer of materials

handling & drying equipment. Perry’s range of driers consists of two continuous mixed


GRAIN DRYERS flow grain driers; the top spec Savannah and the entry level Mistral. The Savannah Series driers have Perry’s own advanced PLC panel, which is designed and programmed in house, and the auto control, which uses both the exhaust air temperature and hot grain temperature to give advanced control of the drier, to maintain a consistent moisture content of the discharged grain. The Mistral series drier is controlled via a hard-wired control panel, though this is easily upgradable to the Perry PLC touch screen control panel. The fans on both driers are controlled by an inverter, so there is the potential to save power and crop lift off by running the fans at reduced speed. The unique crop set up page within the control panel, automatically selects the initial fan speed best suited to the crop. To promote consistent movement of the grain down


the grain column, even in very wet conditions, all Savannah Series Driers are fitted with our pneumatically controlled Shutter discharge. As standard, the Mistral range of driers are fitted with Perry’s proven roller discharge (shutter discharge is optional). Perry have set in place dedicated aftersales care, including a technical support line to provide a first point of call for all technical enquiries on any Perry machine. The key features of the Savannah & Mistral range, provide a truly commercial specification grain drier for use on farms and commercial grain stores. Perry of Oakley Ltd. also manufacture a full range of 8tph – 1000tph handling equipment including chain & flight conveyors, belt & bucket elevators, augers & screw conveyors, aspirator pre-cleaners, belt conveyors & much more!


Next issue out November 2020


TURBODAN - Probably the only mobile dryer on the market There are many reasons why people choose a mobile drier as opposed to a fixed installation but in the main it’s because they like the idea of the flexibility that a mobile unit offers. Why then, do we constantly see examples of “mobile� driers being installed with intake pits, elevators and store fill conveyors? Perhaps it because the only real mobile drier on the marketplace today is the Trayler Drier. Based on an extend trailer chassis, the Trayler Drier requires no fixed equipment nor does it need a power supply and when you want to move it all you do it drive it down the road! Commonly sold as a 15t unit the trailer has a false floor through which warm air is blown aided by 3 stirrers which constantly turn the

crop until it reaches the desired temperature at which point it switches to cooling mode. The heat for the drier is provided by a diesel fired burner, the fuel supply being contained in a tank built into the chassis. The fan is mounted on the extended drawbar and driven via a gearbox from the PTO of the tractor. The same gearbox has a secondary take off which is coupled to a generator producing electricity for the control panel and auger motors. Typical drying times are much the same as other driers the notable exception being that to unload you simply back into the shed, open the tailgate and tip up the trailer. No handling equipment, no fuss, just load the drier, set the grain and

hot air temperatures, start up the tractor, engage the PTO and once up to voltage switch the augers on and press the start button. The Trayler Drier is designed for combinable crops so it does not matter if it is wheat at 30% or a specialist crop such as Borage.

Whatever the crop we can dry it and all you need is a tractor and loading shovel to fill the trailer. If you are looking for a mobile solution to your drying needs or simply want a specialist batch drier then look no further for the Trayler Drier is a must have.


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

Bring on the Brassicas! By Wendy Barrie Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife Director of Scottish Food Guide Many consumers expect vegetables of every description to be at their fingertips all year round without sparing a thought for seasons or air-miles but these past few months more shoppers have realised that just-in-time food supply chains do not equate with food security. It is our locally grown food that gives us that reassurance, not to mention delicious flavours and a taste of the seasons. One group of vegetables that come to mind are the brassicas. This robust and varied crop can be ready early

summer, flourish through autumn and some even survive frosts to provide us with valuable nutrients right through until spring returns. From the colourful kales with their vibrant green and purple hues to Brussels sprouts, the unfair butt of many a joke, there are dozens of brassica varietals to choose from, including rape and mustard, available from Scottish farm shops or grow your own. I am reminded of a T-shirt with a crazy slogan some of you may recall: Braid’s broccoli builds

braw bodies, with fond memories of its creator, Sandy Braid. Sandy was a pioneering farmer who took over the family farm, bringing in new ways to grow and market his crops - among the first of a new breed of farmers selling direct to consumers, initially from a shed then later nationwide. Sandy would personally bring in boxes brimming with broccoli to the doors of Edinburgh restaurants and tarry awhile to catch up on the latest chat over a meal. I saw him regularly delivering to

The superfood that is kale!


kitchens back in the 80’s when I was barely out of catering college. I even owned one of those broccoli inspired T-shirts! Rob, Sandy’s nephew, with his wife Emma and their family, bought into Channel Farm in 2002 when Sandy retired and took it to its next level, transforming it and creating Loch Leven’s Larder. Many brassicas are still grown on the farm to this day and Sandy would be proud. Emma tells me they are about to re-launch his T-shirts! Count me in! Back in Fife, my native heath, look no further than Ardross Farm Shop where the Pollock family traditionally grow an incredible array of brassicas in addition to a superb selection of roots and leaves, fruits and berries, supporting many other small producers along the way. Fiona and Robert Pollock, along with their daughters Nikki, Tara and Claire, started the onfarm shop fifteen years ago. Tragically Robert passed away last autumn but his spirit lives on and the East Neuk has been kept nourished throughout lockdown thanks to the sterling efforts of all the family. They have always grown what is asked for, listening to their customers and planting accordingly; ready with a supply of popular black and curly kales, broccoli, Romanesco cauliflower, sprouts, kohlrabi, Savoy, Dutch, white and red cabbages and of

Ardross kale in the field


course neeps. Some brassicas, kohlrabi being one, require a little encouragement, so recipes are offered. Reminiscent of the Sputnik, kohlrabi is a firm green ball with antennae-style shoots that can be grated raw for salads or treated in the manner you would cook neeps. Its flesh is a greenish white, with a more delicate flavour than turnips and a hint of sweetness. A few years ago the Pollocks tried out Russian kale, a striking brassica with dark purple veins. Their customers were not quite ready for it then however interest in kale as a superfood has blossomed so perhaps it’s time to give it another go. Whatever brassica you buy, don’t forget one of their homemade steak pies to go with it, made from their own beef – ye cannae whack it!! Southwards near Dumfries is Camphill Community’s fabulous Loch Arthur Farm Shop, where vegetables and animals are all nurtured organically. Their butchery and dairy complement their vegetables – a one stop shop for locals and do allow time for the café too. With half an acre devoted

A brassica basket

entirely to brassicas, they grow green, cavalo nero and red kales, a selection of cabbages along with kohlrabi, broccoli and cauliflower. Last but by no means least, Britain’s most northerly farm shop is Mackenzie’s, Shetland’s one and only Farm Shop and Café, on land the family has been crofting for centuries! They opened their farm shop in 2017, with a menu of their own meats, free range eggs, fruit and vegetables, while also selling produce to kindred spirits. New this year is their Aister ‘oo’ yarn, meeting a growing demand for natural fibres from their own flock of sheep. They also grow Shetland Black potatoes and Shetland Cabbage (or kale as it is referred to locally). The oldest known Scottish local vegetable variety, this hardy brassica is one of only a few vegetables that can thrive outdoors in Shetland’s challenging weather and, due to this and its remoteness, has remained in its original form, appreciated for its taste and flavour. Once essential as part of a balanced, if frugal, diet for Shetlanders since the 17th century, it is now grown by dedicated enthusiasts and recognised on Slow Food’s International Ark of Taste. Brassicas can be incredibly versatile in the kitchen when we put our mind to it. So many parts of quite a range of brassicas can be consumed: roots, stems, flowers, leaves and sometimes even seeds. The outer leaves and foliage we discard also have value as animal fodder. Whilst soups, gratins and mash are tasty, brassicas have such a variety of attractive forms and shades they can also be innovative additions to menus, cooked in multiple ways: steamed, fondant, stir-fried and roasted; served whole, as florets, diced or batons. Indeed with the aid of a cutter there are no limits to the shapes you can create with some brassicas! Many can be served raw in salads, robustly spiced up for curries, swathed in tomato sugo or even, in the case of cauliflower, served as a veggie twist on a ‘steak.’ So, next time you are buying vegetables, think twice before picking up that imported okra or air-freighted aubergine - be bold and creative and embrace local brassicas! 31

organics Paddock grazing helps utilise grass growth during drought Since introducing paddock grazing to their organic unit at Oakwood Mill near Selkirk in 2010, Giles and Alison Henry have, as a result, increased stock numbers and grazing potential by 30% across 110 hectares (ha). Mr Henry’s system consists of 75 pure Luing cows split into groups of approximately 20 and rotated every three days round 1ha paddocks from 1st April, when they start calving. Steers which are kept through to finish, along with additional finishers brought in as part of a collaboration venture with fellow organic farmer Charley Walker, follow into the rotation four weeks later, along with the previous year’s calves from Oakwood Mill. “All stock is kept outside 365 days of the year and during the winter months young stock are strip grazed on kale along with baled silage and the cows on deferred grazing,” says Mr Henry. Mr Henry is part of the GrassCheckGB programme which aims to improve grassland productivity and pasture utilisation on beef and sheep farms and this year, in particular, has seen the benefits of grass analysis and pasture efficiency with slow rising soil temperatures in March and April, along with lack of rainfall throughout April and May affecting grass growth. “In 2019, stock were introduced to paddock grazing with grass cover of 2,070kg of dry matter (DM) per hectare, but this year due to a severe lack of rain fall, cover was approximately 1,820kg/DM per hectare. “By the end of April, we would usually have daily growth rates of around 31kg/DM per day and this year it was only 19.1kg/ DM. Soil temperatures also affected growth rates early in the season with temperatures rising three weeks later compared to 2019. ” 32

As part of the GrassCheckGB programme, Giles measures the grazing platform on a weekly basis through the grazing season and every fortnight submits grass samples for analysis. “Although I was already measuring grass and utilising paddock grazing, being part of the GrassCheckGB programme has helped me get into a better routine of measuring the paddocks. It’s a great group, everyone involved is open, honest and willing share knowledge, advice and results. “The added bonus of receiving a plate meter to help measure grass has been really beneficial, as before I was measuring with a sward stick.” For Mr Henry, measuring grass has been key to him managing stocking rates. “Knowing what we have in front of us has helped make decisions to benefit our system. This year we chose to sell 12 cows and calves because the grass growth was limited, and I knew exactly how many kilograms of grass a day my stock needed.” He continues: “May is the month where our grass really grows, and we begin to shut off paddocks for silage. In 2019 our growth was averaging 65kg/ day but this year it was down as low as 25kg/day, resulting in us putting two silage paddocks back into grazing for finishing cattle.” However, despite rainfall being down by a third of what it would usually be for April and May and a slow start to grass growth, Giles still managed to get his first cut of silage harvested ten days later than normal. “If we hadn’t been paddock grazing, every field would have been grazed to board by the end of April resulting in a real issue, not only with limited grass for grazing, but a later silage and a poorer crop.” Mr Henry concludes: “We haven’t looked back since

introducing paddock grazing 10 years ago. I have spent between £7,000 to £8,000 on purchasing electric fencing equipment and installing water troughs, but that was a one-off cost which has allowed me to gain 30% more grazing potential from my ground - one year of renting 30% more land would cost us that annually. We are also producing grass at 12.2 ME and 26% protein and do not have to buy in any additional feed, so for me, introducing this kind of system to your enterprise is a no brainer and groups like GrassCheckGB are there to help you develop the system.”

GrassCheck GB project is a collaboration between Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) , the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) together with the CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock) and researchers at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Rothamsted Research. To find out more information and to read the latest GrassCheckGB bulletin visit


The new way to immerse yourself in nature Natural Eco Spas Ltd is a business built on a passion for trees. We believe sustainable procurement and working with nature is the best way to operate. Combined with our involvement in forestry this inspired us to build a range of hot tubs at our nursery, suitable for the remote locations that we have in Northern Scotland. It is certainly a mystery of nature that such a small thing as a seed can grow to become one of the largest and most important organisms in existence, a tree. It is no surprise that throughout history, humans have been reaping the benefits of trees and timber. Evidence of this can be seen in our buildings, furniture, tools and fuel

sources. Not only this, forestry (the growing, nurturing and harvesting of trees) and timber production provide employment and sustain the livelihood of millions of people throughout the world in an industry that has been around for hundreds of years and bringing with it economic prosperity. Timber is a valuable natural resource and a

robust material that gives us all an opportunity to create ergonomic products while bringing us closer to nature. Our products at Natural Eco Spas are designed to do just that. Our business is built on a passion for trees where we use completely natural materials. Based in Moray in the north of Scotland, we create sustainable

Harvesting trees

hot tubs (or spas as we like to call them) from timber that we have grown, nurtured, harvested and processed on our estate at Fasque. We work with Fasque Forestry to harvest the timber that we make our spas from. We believe in sustainable procurement and that working with nature is the best way to operate. The basis for our spas is that they are a completely natural and environmentally-friendly way to relax in our incredible surroundings outdoors. The spas we create do not use any electricity and were inspired by the remote locations that we have in Scotland. The spas, unlike traditional hot tubs, use wood-burning stoves. Additionally, our Natural Eco Spas are crafted from beautiful Scottish larch which we harvest from our estate making ours a unique, traceable, sustainable and lowcarbon business. We want to take you on a fascinating journey from where we began; thinking and iterating and creating our concept, designing and re-designing for our customers, our process of making our spas and growing the seed in our nursery, right the way through to the making of the product in our sawmill. We are proud that we have a fully sustainable product and, like the seed, it started as a 33


small diversification concept, and has now grown and flourished. The journey begins in Scotland, near Fettercairn, on an estate called Fasque. Our beautiful rolling hills span 8,000 acres across fields, woodlands, and moorlands. Our estate is primarily an agricultural business where we grow cereal crops. It was when we noticed an untouched asset that led us onto our voyage of discovery. The first proverbial toe-dip into diversification was the creation of Fasque Forestry. Acres of woodland were falling into disrepair on the estate, with ‘blown trees’ becoming a liability and were needing removed from the pre-existing commercial stands. We decided to invest in equipment and took to completing the work ourselves. This could be seen as an unorthodox position from which to start a business built on a love of nature, however the forestry industry is a huge advocate of sustainability and the promotion of using timber products has huge environmental benefits in construction. Thus, the formation of Fasque Forestry set the precedent for new and creative thinking. In addition to this, our team also invested in a modular sawmill to help with the operations and logistics involved in timber haulage. This was intended to be where all of the timber that had been harvested on the estate would go to be processed. All of the trees felled on the estate come through the sawmill to be graded and cut to a specific size and shape according to industry standards. This may

seem like a tangent however its significance will become apparent later in the journey. A family-run estate, Fasque is at the forefront of farming and forestry innovation. When it acquired Christie-Elite Nursery early this year, the team at Fasque wanted to complete the cycle of the forestry process and get involved in growing the trees. Christie-Elite is based in Moray where has been in tree production for over 200 years and is the only nursery in the United Kingdom currently to produce both bareroot and cell-grown trees. With an annual production of over ten million saplings, the nursery grows hundreds of different common and rare varieties and species of tree from seed until they are ready to be transplanted into the ground into beds that have been prepared at the nursery grounds. ChristieElite also has its own established Sitka spruce orchard. The seed that is produced from these trees in our orchard has been bred by experts in the field and they produce a special genetically enhanced plant by taking the best characteristics of strong parent plants and crossfertilising the pollen with trees showing other beneficial traits. The resulting seed of these trees is of better quality and grows straighter and faster making it great for carbon offsetting and of huge value to the forestry industry. After the seeds have grown to a certain age, they are then removed from the ground (bare-root) or cell and are put into our cold store in special bags that reflect heat and light to induce dormancy. The sapling will

then be sent to an estate such as Fasque where it will grow over 40 years to become a mature tree. At Christie-Elite, trees are sent all over Scotland for use in commercial forestry and conservation. When considering the topic of this piece, the spas effectively begin their lifecycle here at the nursery as seeds. It is important to note however that although many of our early spas may have been made from timber of unknown seed origin as this was before Fasque had taken over the company, we do know that all of the timber sourced to create the tubs came from Scotland. Now in new hands, and with an estate covered in commercial woodlands, there is plenty of sustainable Scottish timber on our doorstep to create new spas and we are continually restocking with saplings grown from seed from our Christie-Elite nursery. Natural Eco Spas is a completely carbon-neutral business and parent company, Fasque is planning a massive reforestation scheme covering 1,500 acres in new woodland. From the nursery to our estate, the Natural Eco Spas begin their production, as the spas start to take form when the timber for the cladding is harvested at Fasque. The larch that we use is harvested by Fasque Forestry from our woodlands at Fasque and then taken just down the road to our sawmill. The larch we use in our spas from the estate is then processed in the sawmill on-site, enabling us to reduce travel and minimise our carbon footprint. The

The working estate


harvested trees are then restocked on the estate, ensuring that the timber is completely sustainable and has been replaced for years to come. From our sawmill, our larch is then carefully assembled into one of our tubs. The spas have a unique design. Resembling an oak whisky cask, our spas are a nod to Scottish heritage. It takes one cubic metre of larch heartwood to make one of our 1.6 metre diameter structure, which is similar to a circular half-barrel or “mash-tun”. We then use jointed vertical staves like in the vats used for brewing to create the structure. Our method of construction uses no adhesives or fixings which makes it a completely natural process. The staves are then jointed to interlock and are compressed by welded stainless steel bands. Once the structure is filled with water, this is all that is needed to create sealed joints. We then install two flanges in the side of the spas. This carries the cold water down to the external wood burning stove which, when fired with timber logs, circulates hot water back to the hot tub by convection. Our spas are designed to sit outside on any solid and level surface. In order to fill and use the spas, we recommend a rainwater collection system or simple hose and the tubs require no connection. The exquisite timber spas we create are made from the heartwood of Scottish larch. This is the central wood of the tree and ensures that we get the best quality timber for our tubs. The heartwood is strong, durable and rot-resistant. This central core of the timber has incredible antimicrobial properties that makes it ideal for our eco design as it means that the finished article requires absolutely no abrasive chemical treatments, varnish or paint. As aforementioned, a great benefit of our Natural Eco Spas is that it uses a convection system powered by a wood-burning stove. There is no need for electricity and this makes it a completely natural bathing experience. Our spas are surrounded and powered by nature. Humans have an inherent connection with nature and this was reflected in the early plans for the spas. The initial design of the hot


tubs was based on using only wood for the construction of the entire spa unit including the seating. The concept of a solid wood structure was the first blueprint and became the ‘prototype’. The tub was made using only the larch and the stainless steel stove was fitted to create the first Natural Eco hot tub. The solid wood frames proved very popular as they were taken all over the UK to shows and generated a lot of interest. In order to keep the solid wood frame from drying out, the spas must be kept filled with water to ensure a tight join in the staves and panels. As the spas were being purchased by both individuals and businesses, although mostly positive, there were mixed reviews on the early solid wood models. This could be down to a slightly different user intent going from a personal to a business perspective i.e. as it was not expected to have such a wide appeal to these types of users and a business use was not considered in the design, the spas were designed to be for personal, individual use. In the design process, perhaps that was something that was missed in the race to get our great product to market. As with any design in its infancy, the team consulted the customers. From feedback, the team soon realised that the holiday and glamping market required something different, something easier to maintain for quick turnover for guests. Back to the drawing board. The process of iteration reared its head and the team had to think of a more practical solution for the vast majority of customers. So the team sourced a more utilitarian but still

Splitting the logs in preparation

sustainable material. They began to build the spas with a fibreglass liner instead of solid wood, maintaining the same natural look and feel. The frame is similar to that of the solid wood spa in that it is clad in larch with stainless steel bands running horizontally across the structure. The main benefits of having the liner are that there is no need to keep the spas full of water at all times to prevent drying out which may result in small holes forming in between the panels and could cause leaking. Having this liner also makes it easier to clean and quicker to heat as there is less water required to fill the slightly smaller hot tub. The new spas were received very well by both user markets and this proved the value of testing the market in product development. In addition, one of the defining features of our spas are our stoves. The spas are heated by a 25kW stainless steel stove powered by firewood, making it a perfect product for use in remote locations and more environmentally friendly that the traditional electric counterparts. Our spas usually take around three hours to heat to a bathing temperature of 42 degrees Celsius. Drier wood fuel will tend to heat the spa faster. This introduction of the fibreglass made a small adaptation to the design to suit the needs of customers and the requirements of different markets. We still love our solid wood spas and still sell them, the idea of using a solid wood spa in the Scottish outdoors is a wonderful idea, if you do not mind keeping it full when you are not using it!

We have also proved that we have kept to our design principles. Our eco design of the spas is present right through to post-use. We have adapted the hot tubs so that once finished using the spa, users can simply connect a garden hose to a hose outlet and re-use the contents to water the garden plants. There is no waste, no fuss and our spas help the environment thrive. Since the initial designing of the first spa, we have again revisited the drawing board and developed a range to suit everyone. Currently we offer the Eco 1.6 solid wood spa (the original), the Eco 1.8 fibreglass-lined spa and the Eco Oval lined spa which is perfect for two people. At Natural Eco Spas we also make bespoke projects for individuals ranging from small two-person spas to larger plungepools in any variety of wood that we can source sustainably. In addition, Fasque and Fasque Forestry has also pledged that with every Natural Eco Spa purchased, there will be a tree planted to help carbon offsetting and a grid reference will be assigned to each so that everyone can see the tree they helped to plant. Finally, the spa has taken form and it is ready to be sent to its new proud owner. There is a lengthy process involved in creating a product as there is in any business development. We believe that working with nature is one of the most important steps a business can take and embracing that is what led us on this path to find forestry, trees and growing them.

The design of anything is never finished, there is always refinement that can be made and better solutions we believe. Our spas are a creation that we are proud of. We are always looking to the future and believe that trees are the way forward which takes us right back to the beginning, the seed. Whether a metaphor for creating a product, design process, business success and growth or simply the growth of a tree, this image of a plant growing from a small seed resonates with us and our businesses. We believe that trees and timber are essential natural resources that we can take, harness and to create ergonomic products that draw us closer to the natural world. Our business proudly advocates the use of natural products and brings together concepts inspired by trees. We have taken a journey from the beginning of the process, to the formation of new companies and business ideas, and creation of new products for people to enjoy, creating handcrafted hot tubs with a difference from trees that we have harvested and processed on our estate at Fasque with Fasque Forestry to planting of new saplings back on the estate. We believe the use of renewable energy and sustainable practices are key factors to good design and being aware of the natural environment and designing and planning accordingly and responsibly can be a huge asset to a business. We want to share our love of nature, creating and designing and will continue to plant and grow trees and hope that we can inspire others to do so too.

The spa and the view!


environment Sibmister Farm hedging their bets with 24km of improved sustainability Through three rounds of Agri Environment Scheme funding, the Sutherland family has dramatically improved their sustainability Planting nearly 24,000 metres of hedgerows alongside a range of agri-environment areas on their farm, the Sutherland family has dramatically improved the sustainability and biodiversity of Sibmister Farm near Thurso.


Sibmister is a 700ha all-grass enterprise running commercial livestock, including 1,600 ewes, 400 suckler cows. Nearly 40% of the farm – 275ha - is under environmental management and has created approximately 24 kilometres of hedgerows from three rounds of Agri Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) funding in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Willie Budge, Senior Agricultural Consultant for SAC

Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), who assisted the Sutherland family with the application and planning process for each round, said that Sibmister Farm is a great example of schemes complementing existing enterprises. “It’s important for schemes to integrate into established farming systems, as it does at Sibmister, by incorporating activities like grazing planning into what they’re already doing with the farm.” The process began with an assessment of the whole farm detailing what is on the ground at present - such as hedgerows, water courses, species rich grassland - which informed the creation of a Farm Environment Map. “Following that we had a discussion of the available farm management options, the potential to manage existing habitats and to create and manage new habitats. “Ultimately, we wanted to assess how the schemes would impact on the current farming system and to identify the possible tweaks to the current system to accommodate these. Due to the competitive nature of the scheme, how to best maximise the number of application points is important,” said Willie. Stephen Sutherland explained that, over the course of the last 20 years, a lot of work has gone

into improving the biodiversity and habitats through various land management practices. “When applying for the schemes such as AECS we don’t look to change our farm to fit their frameworks, we look for schemes that can mould into what we’re doing already. “Over the years we’ve put in a lot of time and effort into improving the biodiversity, and it has been very rewarding. Not only does it contribute to making the farm more efficient and sustainable by providing new habitats, but the hedges provide good shelter for the livestock when weather is harsh.” Alongside the significant volume of hedgerows planted, the Sutherlands have also invested in 3.88ha of water margins; 127ha of habitat mosaics; 18ha of wader-grazed grassland for wildlife; 3ha of created species rich grasslands; 1.5ha wild bird seed; 2.5ha forage brassicas; over 100ha of mown grassland for wildlife; and 3ha of species rich grassland. Although there will not be a normal Agri-Environment Climate Scheme round this year, with one-year extensions available for those with contracts expiring in 2020, Willie encourages farmers to seek advice on what opportunities are available to them to improve the sustainability of their farm: “I would encourage farmers to find out what schemes are out

environment there and assess how they can fit within your existing business. Applications can be made by the farmer, or they can employ an agent, like SAC Consulting, to draw it up and submit it online.� Applications require Farm Environment Map, Farm Environment Management Map, Farm Environment Table, Diffuse Pollution Field Map, Diffuse Pollution Table and a Diffuse Pollution Management Map. They may also require Grazing Management Plan, Hedgerow Management Plan, Water Margins – summary table and a rotation map of arable / grassland options.


environment Scots firm recruits 20 global environmental experts to help tackle climate change A Scots firm fighting climate change through largescale land redevelopment and rewilding has hired 20 leading environmental consultants after a global recruitment drive. Kaitiaki Consulting, which is based in Scotland and New Zealand, has brought in specialists in forestry, ornithology, botany, soil science and a raft of other key sciences as it ramps up its activities. The new recruits will help Scotland’s ambition for a ‘green recovery’ to the coronavirus pandemic. The highly-skilled roles are based across Scotland, the rest of the UK and in New Zealand, and attracted more than 800 enquiries. Kaitiaki Consulting is the driving force behind the Billion Trees Scotland re-forestation campaign announced earlier this year after the success of a similar mass planting scheme under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government in New Zealand. Last week, it launched a drive for investors to help in the fight against climate change, with a £100,000 share release.

Kaitiaki Consulting matches environmental need – such as carbon reduction and offsetting – with funding partners. It then finds and develops habitats to plant trees and enhance biodiversity as part of a sustainable cycle. The firm will be visiting key forestry, conservation and rewilding sites around the country over the next month. The new consultants include Dr Scott Leatham, a political ecologist who tutors at Edinburgh University, Eleanor Shield, a wildlife biologist and conservationist, and Lewis Pate, an environmental project manager who has focused on white-tailed and golden eagle distribution in north-west Scotland. Political ecologist Dr Scott Leatham said: “As local authorities and communities look to rebuild and reconnect, there is increasing evidence that people want to see a green recovery. “They don’t just want a return to business-asusual where inequalities are increasing, climate breakdown is accelerating, and a million species are at risk of extinction.”

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out November 2020 Subscription details on page 105


Micronutrients for arable soils Gavin Elrick, Senior Soil Consultant, SAC Consulting For farmers to minimise their carbon footprint it is essential that cereal and oilseed rape crops are grown to maximise their yield with efficient utilisation of the main nutrients Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P), Potash (K), magnesium (Mg) and Sulphur (S). The key to efficient utilisation of these main nutrients starts with knowing your soil nutrient status and soil pH, aiming for an optimum pH of between 6.0 to 6.2. With the focus on getting the pH and major nutrients on target, micronutrients can often be overlooked as an additional

cost when requesting a standard soil analysis. The table below shows the most common micronutrient issues affecting cereals and oilseed rape and suggests possible treatment options: Deficiencies can be exacerbated where efforts have been made to increase soil pH and fertility to higher levels; this in turn can reduce optimum yields. Soil analysis for micronutrients should be carried out before crop establishment in order that remedial measures can be carried out prior or during the growing season.

For more practical ideas about improving farm efficiencies and reducing the farm carbon footprint, visit www. find us on Facebook and Twitter @ SACFarm4Climate. FAS Technical Notes, covering more detailed recommendations around management of pH and micronutrients are available at Farming for a Better Climate is funded by the Scottish Government as part of Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service


Greencrop solutions for AD (Anaerobic Digestion in Biogas Production) As the sole importer for WAM Sepcom, Greencrop offer advanced solutions through a comprehensive range of machines for farm slurry systems and digestate from AD plants. We can offer a full range of machines for all applications in the handling of slurry and digestate. Starting with the unique Sepcom horizontal screw press, already installed in thousands of AD plants around the world, capable of solid separation up to 30% DM (dry matter) This machine is available in three sizes and suitable configurations to suit different applications. Its uniqueness comes from the SINT

engineered polymer screw, that works closely to the stainlesssteel screen, aiding screen cleaning and reduced downtime. The patented counterpressure system with its SINT diaphragm, ensures a uniform solids outlet plug. Together with low power requirement easy maintenance makes this machine a good choice for slurry and digestate separation. For pig slurry or waste foodbased ad feedstocks, the Sepcom vertical range of screw press separators are ideal. Another unique designed machine with twin vertical SINT engineered polymer screw, ensures efficient separation of low dry content slurry or digestate, without losing the solids plug. This

machine has a high performance and is easily maintained, reducing downtime. To compliment the range of separators, Sepcom have introduced the Micro-Filter, the ultimate in enhancing the liquid phase of biogas digestate. This centrifugation machine with its fine screen spacing, removes further solid particles, producing a liquid, rich in nutrient. To compete the full range of AD products Greencrop offer the CHIOR range of electric submersible agitators and pumps. PTO driven lagoon mixers, Electric and PTO driven chopper pumps. For further details go to or email;

Greencrop Sepcom separating digestate at an AD plant in the UK


EGYPT Quick action mitigates the effects of corona virus on Egypt’s agriculture

WORLD FARMING Egypt is 97% desert, which puts a huge strain on its limited land resources for agriculture production. However, around seven million people, or 25%of the country’s population, work the land, returning 12.5% of Egypt’s GDP. After oil and petroleum products, Egypt is the world’s

third largest exporter of long staple cotton, which is stronger and softer than ordinary cotton and this is why Egyptian cotton is sought after for bedding and towels all over the world. With such a high demand for water, in a country covered in desert, the management of the water and in particular the River

By Fiona Sloan

Nile, has been fundamental in the development of agriculture. The Nile’s changing tides dictated the farming year and high tides could cause, not only the destruction of the crops but disastrous consequences for the people who worked the land. An increasing population in the 1950s, prompted major

Irrigiation is a major factor in Egypt


capital investment, to allow increased production. Investment in the form of canals, drains, dams and water pumps, together with an investment in skilled labour and growing technology, helped contribute to higher market yields. Agriculture in Egypt is geared for the commercial

WORLD FARMING market, rather than subsistence farming. The country remains, however, the largest importer of wheat in the world at 12.5 million tonnes. The completion of the Aswan High Dam project in 1970, allowed the rising and falling tides of the Nile to be controlled and enabled around one million acres of land to be reclaimed. Similar projects followed and The New Valley project, which began in 1997, aimed to bring another 500,000 acres into production but when it finished in 2005, with the completion of the Mubarak Pumping Station, only a fraction of the original estimated had been reclaimed. Many other projects have allowed the country’s agriculture to expand into the desert areas. Egypt has also conducted one of most successful land reforms in the world, spanning two decades. In 1952, a limit of 200 acres was imposed on individual ownership of land, which was subsequently lowered to 100 acres in 1961 and to 50 acres in 1969. By 1975 less than one-eighth of the total cultivated area was held by owners with 50 acres or more. The success of Egyptian land reform is indicated by the substantial rise in yields after 1952. The regulation of land tenure and rent control, that accompanied the redistribution of the land also contributed to the well organised agricultural system in Egypt today. The corona virus outbreak disrupted the supply chain around the world, with major producers finding it either difficult to send

their crops to foreign markets or unable to satisfy demand in local markets. Egypt saw an opening in the market for its high-quality agricultural produce and tapped into the global markets, from which they had been excluded in the past, due to fierce competition from other countries. The government moved quickly to put measures in place to increase exports, including a tight supervision on the farms, solving some of the problems that hindered the export of agricultural goods in the past, an aggressive marketing policy for Egyptian produce and the decision to use passenger planes to export to The Gulf, USA, Asia and Australia. Until mid-May this year, despite the virus, Egypt had exported three million tonnes of vegetables alone, which is around half of the country’s overall agricultural exports in 2019. This including 210,000 tonnes of onions, 1.3 million tonnes of citrus fruits, 600,000 ?????????? tonnes of potatoes, 23,000 tonnes of garlic, 20,000 tonnes of strawberries and 12,000 tonnes of beans in the first four months of this year. Ultimately demand motivates production and results in an increased labour requirement which can take up the slack from other industries hit by Covid-19. The quick recognition by the Egyptian Government not only in possibilities for agriculture, during the world’s worst pandemic but their quick action has helped to support an economy hit like many others in 2020.

Picking cotton

Storing Malting Barley

One implication of Covid-19 is that malting barley users have limited storage capacity available for this year’s crop. Producers, who may be accustomed to storing undried grain for only a short period before uplift, may find themselves having to store it. Undried crop will start to heat, leading to a deterioration of quality, formation of potentially hazardous moulds or mycotoxins, and infestation. This happens more rapidly in grain stored at higher moistures/temperatures. AHDB have a safe storage calculator which can identify potentially problem lots, and allow these to be prioritised. Germination is critical for malting grain so it must be treated particularly carefully compared to feed or milling crop. Drying to 13% m.c. and cooling to 10 - 12°C is suggested, whilst grain and air temperature should never exceed 50°C and 60°C respectively. Grain should be ventilated at a rate of 10m³/hr/ton and for best results blow air up through the grain. Sheds used for

longer term storage must have good ventilation e.g. gable fans, as stored crop will continue to respire and it is vital the damp air is removed. Monitor every few days initially until final storage temperature is reached, thereafter weekly monitoring of temperature/moisture content along with use of traps to detect insects or mites is recommended. Any localised increases in moisture of 2% or increases in temperature of 1°C are cause for further investigation. All grain stores and equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and free of pests. The standards required of buildings are different depending on whether they are used for short or longer term storage. As always growers should be aware of end users requirements and stipulations as well as farm assurance standards. For more information, including links to useful documents, go to https:// w w w. f a s . s c o t / n e w s / implications-of-covid-19-onthe-movement-of-grain/

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. 33


It’s a fine line The latest news on ploughs available today

Amazone’s Cayros plough range gets free upgrades The Amazone plough range now encompasses three models, the Cayros in 2 – 6 furrows, the 5 & 6 furrow Cayron V and the 6 – 8 furrow, semi-mounted Hektor. The in-house developed, ©-plus hardening process, used across the range, leaves the wearing metal with an immensely smooth but hard front surface, yet a softer, more flexible rear that means that the metal lasts well, withstands the rigours of modern-day farming


and general day to day use but, at the same time, the even soil flow makes the plough incredibly easy to pull and thus minimising running costs and lowering fuel consumption. The mid-range Cayros comes in 5 different horsepower rated headstocks from 50 – 380 hp, point to point clearances from 850 mm to 1150 mm and beam heights of either 78 or 82 cm. The option of adding an extra furrow is also

possible on the +1 models - with the choice of stepped width adjustment, or hydraulic vari-width - as well as the option of hydraulic stone release for those more testing conditions. The Cayros, which is easy to set up, can be specified with a choice of up to 10 different plough bodies including boards that are plastic,

slatted, deep or shallow, long or short. There is a comprehensive further array of options including built-in lower link balls, depth and combi transport wheels, subsoiler points, trash boards, packer arm, road lights, deflector plates, coulter discs all round, etc., etc., the list goes on and on.


Kuhn plough developments improve in-field efficiencies Increased operational efficiency is the common factor in several new developments within KUHN Farm Machinery’s Master and Multi-Leader plough ranges. Multi-Master L The Multi-Master L extends the company’s Master mounted plough range, sitting between the Master 153 and 183 models. Available with 4, 5 or 6 bodies, there are both in-furrow and onland formats suitable for tractors from 200 to 300 horsepower. Onland models can be set up to also work in-furrow. A new working width adjustment system allows furrow width to be set at 35, 40, 45 or 50cm without removing any bolts. KUHN’s patented Pro Set system allows tool-free adjustment of levelling, offset,

depth and skimmers. Whilst saving time, the ability to quickly and simply maintain optimum configuration of the machine according to furrow width and conditions always ensures peak performance, thereby reducing fuel consumption and wear on the plough. Also new on the MultiMaster L is an integrated adjustable press arm that enables simultaneous furrow pressing to conserve moisture and create optimum seedbed conditions. With a reinforced anchor, the press arm is designed for use with the heaviest rollers on the market and is adjustable either mechanically or hydraulically from the tractor cab (as an option). The press arm is designed to allow ploughing up

to the edge of the field and is suitably compact in transport to fit within the dimensions of the plough. As with other ploughs in KUHN’s Master range, the Multi-Master L is available with traction bolt or nonstop hydraulic safety. The optional Opti-Drive headstock

suspension system provides additional protection of both plough and tractor when in work or in transport. The Multi-Leader XT has been added to KUHN’s semi-mounted single-wheel plough range. Available in the UK with 7 or 8 bodies, this heavy-duty plough is suitable for tractors up to 400 horsepower.



Kverneland LO gains MAX specification The popular on-land, in-furrow LO plough is now available in Max specification with an enhanced build that is packed with additional features and functionality. Max specification brings a pivoting cross shaft to the plough’s headstock. This design is one that is capable of pivoting through 45-degrees, so the plough now follows like a trailer when in transport. A wide-section, 420/55x17 swivel wheel replaces the previous twin-wheel assembly used on the LO.

Road lights are now integrated, using a lightbar that attaches to the rear bodies when the plough is in its butterfly position. This assembly is simply unplugged and stowed on the side of the plough beam when in work. To improve the plough’s hydraulic system longevity, a cartridge-type oil filter is now installed on the plough’s pressure line, to protect the valve block and plough cylinders from contamination.

Additional specification includes landside knives, skimmer extensions twin mouldboard stays, a 500mm (20in) rear disc and a frame strengthening kit.

This high-performance onland, in-furrow plough comes in five, six and seven-furrow builds with hydraulic furrow width adjustment from 30-50cm (12-20in

With the OF version the Juwel 10 can also be used on land. The adjustment is constructed in such a way that sufficient distance is always preserved to the edge of the furrow. If, due to certain conditions, the soil surface should make transfer of traction impossible, the Juwel 10 can quickly be adjusted to ploughing in the furrow.

Like the Juwel 8, the Juwel 10 is available with hydraulic angle adjustment with memory option, from the tractor cab. For good reconsolidation the Juwel 10 can be used in conjunction with the LEMKEN range of VarioPak furrow presses. For more info visit www.lemken. com

Lemken introduces the new Juwel 10 for powerful tractors The Juwel 10 plough from LEMKEN is introducing its most powerful reversible plough with up to six furrows with a full hydraulic auto reset system. This has been developed specifically for large tractors and the toughest operating conditions. With a performance spectrum of up to 450 hp depending on the number of furrows and equipment chosen, it can even replace a more expensive semimounted plough. In the on land version the plough operates with tractors up to four metres in width, with wide base tyres or for track laying tractors.

The 160 x 160 mm frame and 130 mm diameter turnover axle make the Juwel 10 a powerhouse, which can handle the most difficult of conditions. A damping cylinder in the plough headstock reduces the load on the tractor and protects the unit components on the headland and in road transport. The transport function is convenient, as the upper linkage does not have to be uncoupled when travelling on roads, which also contributes to operator safety since there is no longer a need to handle machinery between the tractor and the equipment.

Maschio range of ploughs Offering the latest technology Maschio ploughs are built for versatility and reliability. Mechanical variable width is standard across all Maschio ploughs ensuring the line-of-pull remains true, a hydraulic option can be specified. Shearbolt or nonstop hydraulic (NSH) auto-reset safety options are also available 44

across the range and remove the challenges created by stony ground. The MIRCO semi-mounted is available as either ‘in furrow’ or ‘on land’. A simple adjustment of the offset ram and a positive mechanical stop means the ‘on land/in furrow’ model can be changed to suit wheeled tractors for

PLOUGHS ‘in furrow’ use or tracked machines for ‘on land’. The ability to turn the plough over without closing the offset, combined with the luxury of smooth turnover and a turning circle over 1000, means headland turns are quick efficient and effortless.

The UNICO memory function of the beam alignment ram (optional on 3 furrow models) makes turning the plough simple. The ram extends automatically to ensure nothing hits the ground and once back in

its working position it returns to the preset position. This means less wear for the pins, bushes and link rods, resulting in less maintenance. The hydraulic alignment ram also doubles as a hillside function on the UNICO

range to maintain true line on hillsides. Prices for the UNICO M start from ÂŁ17,381 the UNICO L starts from ÂŁ24,875 and the MIRCO starts from ÂŁ45,754 depending on specification.

the field – facilitating secondary cultivation activities. Easy adjustment - New Holland’s fully mounted ploughs feature a standard automatic adjustment system, aligning the plough as the front furrow

is adjusted. This system uses parallelogram geometry – which adjusts the plough once the basic setup has occurred. Once a plough is correctly adjusted, optimal results will be achieved. This system offers numerous benefits for daily use.

Ploughs from New Holland The New Holland plough range has been extended by adding the PL light plough, ideal for tractors up to 140hp, to the already popular PM range for 180hp, PH range for 220hp and PX range for tractor up to 360hp. The PX and PH ranges have also recently been enhanced by the addition of a new Side Mounted Combi Wheel. The PHVH 5 Furrow plough could be considered the true workhorse of the New Holland plough line-up. This fully mounted, reversible plough, is compatible with tractors of up to 220hp that

undertake heavy duty ploughing duties. The sleek, modern design ensure they cut an eye-catching figure in the field. Productivity enhancing frame design - The PHVH 5 has 2 plates along the frame that increases the width towards the front of the plough – where the forces are greater. The wheel is placed to the rear for ideal weight transfer First furrow adjustment -The first furrow adjustment mechanism ensures that the ploughing rows match up on the return pass. This prevents both ridges and drops in


AGRICULTURAL SERVICES LTD. Main Dealers for PĂśttinger ploughs

WILKS BROTHERS Main dealers for Ovlac Ploughs & Cultivation Machinery

3ALES s 3ERVICE s 0ARTS D-K-R AGRICULTURAL SERVICES LTD. Westfield, Coulter, Biggar, Lanarkshire ML12 6HN 4EL s &!8 E-Mail: dkrcoulter@hotmail-com 46

Repairs for a wide range of Agricultural Machinery Murthly, Perthshire, PH1 4HG Tel: 01738 710381 Fax: 01738 710581


New horizons for Ovlac Spanish manufacturer continues to expand its dealer presence in the north of England and Scotland. Recently appointing Carrs Billington, Franks Curtis, George Colliar, and Donald Rae. These dealers fill up the map from York to Aberdeen. The XPerience range of mounted Reversible ploughs has been extremely well received as with all Ovlac ploughs, this range features 8mm case hardened mouldboards, solid Hardox legs and reinforcing structures. The number 56 mouldboards still the most popular choice for Northern England and Scotland. The 56 mouldboard provides excellent inversion whilst accommodating up to a 710 tyre. Where the XP high performance ploughs differ from the series 160-300 ploughs, is at the front with parallelogram linkage, also standard when hydraulic front

furrow is specified a front furrow width gauge. In addition the centre turnover shaft is one piece with no

welding and has a hollow centre shaft allowing for neat safe passage of the hydraulic hose.

Other New Innovations to this line up, are the Hydraulic pressure gauge now fitted to


PLOUGHS the headstock with permanent connection to tractor, Vari width bar now constructed of Hardox and fits neatly to the main beam , allowing for even more ground to be ploughed next to field boundaries. A Hydraulic depth wheel is also now an option. 2021 also marks another milestone for the company being

its 85th year of manufacturing. To celebrate Ovlac are offering the free use of a one of production Metallic black plough. To enter the competitions simply click on the link The winner will be drawn at the next Lamma Show and will have its free use from then for 12mths (T&C apply)

Pottinger SERVO 25 - a plough for the smaller farm

Whilst many plough manufacturers have in recent years concentrated on ploughs for larger farming operations, here at Pottinger we take care to also cater for the smaller farm. Since its introduction into the Scottish market some 10 years ago the SERVO 25 range of ploughs have proved to be a popular choice for those operating a 4 cylinder or smaller 6 cylinder tractor. Its close coupled design, compact dimensions and 85 cm point to point distance have won it much praise. Available in 2, 3 or 4 furrow formats, the plough features manual furrow with adjustment as standard. Rated to a maximum of 120 hp these competitively priced ploughs offer a wide choice of mouldboards, skimmers, disc coulters and depth wheels for all types of soil. New for 2020 is the possibility to mount disc coulters 48

on every furrow. The 500 mm diameter disc coulter is mounted directly to the plough console and additionally are individually sprung. This spring protection helps avoid damage if the disc coulter should strike a stone or foreign object. If you are looking to cut through a matted sward from a long term grass ley the disc coulter further ensure clean furrow edges and excellent burial of the old sward in the furrow bottom. The patented NOVA hydraulic auto reset system offers infinitely adjustable protection for the entire plough. The trigger pressure at which the system activates can very simply be adjusted by means of a single acting hydraulic service. This adjustment allows the plough to be optimised for soil conditions and avoid phantom tripping commonly associated with mechanically sprung ploughs.

science & technology

Interest-free finance for auto-steer and precision guidance kit LH Agro has extended its 0% finance scheme on its range of Topcon automatic steering and precision guidance systems. The 0% finance deal is available on a selection of Topcon equipment including the X-series range of implement control consoles, the AES-35 electronic steering wheel and AGI-4 receiver, as well as LH Agro’s nationwide RTK subscription service. First launched 18 months ago in response to customer feedback, the 0% finance deal was initiated to make it easier for current users and new adopters of precision farming equipment to upgrade to the very latest auto-steer and crop scanning technologies. “On the back of the year growers have just endured – from record-breaking rainfall in the winter to the spring’s drought conditions – we have extended the remit of our interest-free finance deal to further ease the financial burden for growers who are facing a potential shortfall in crop yields, but who recognise the value of upgrading their machinery,” explains Richard Reed, Managing Director of LH Agro. “The 0% scheme not only makes the latest precision farming equipment affordable for farmers who are kitting out new machinery, but also for those who have an existing machine they want to retro-fit to make it auto-steer compatible, or a sprayer or spreader which they want to upgrade to include section control and variable rate application.”

The Topcon X-series range consists of several ISOBUScompatible implement control consoles, from the range-topping X35 (12.1” screen) to the entry level X14 (4.3” screen), all of which use a full-colour touchscreen to operate multiple implement functions including crop sensing, section control, variable rate control, autosteering and auto-headland turning. The Topcon AES-35 electric steering wheel and Topcon AGI4 receiver deliver high-accuracy automatic guidance in a retrofittable package which is compatible for almost any non-steer ready tractor or self-propelled sprayer. The LH Agro finance scheme is facilitated by a credit broker, Peregrine Finance, a trading style of Peregrine Asset Finance Ltd. Terms & conditions apply.

For more information, full terms and conditions, contact LH Agro on 01480 496367 email


to market

The future of high welfare, high throughput tagging The TurbO Tagger has been developed and manufactured by Shearwell Data Ltd and is the future of high welfare, high throughput sheep tagging. The revolutionary TurbO Tagger has been designed to work with the market leading Shearwell SET Tags. It makes easy work of what is normally considered a time-consuming process and because of its light weight, ergonomic design, sheep tagging is now less stressful for both you and your livestock. The design of the TurbO Tagger means you have better visibility of the ear and can accurately control the placement of the tag every time, all day long. This also means there is less risk of tag loss or infection. The TurbO Tagger drum holds twenty SET Tags, whether slaughter, breeding or visual; has wide jaws for easy positioning on lambs ears or more mature sheep; requires minimal effort to reload the jaw with a tag; and has a quick release drum, enabling you to handle more sheep in the same time. TurbO Tagger has been designed by farmers for farmers, who understand that quality and reliability are key. After all, you only want to do the job once!

Shearwell Data Ltd is a family owned, farming business located in Somerset. The team at Shearwell is committed to “working to help the livestock farmer” by supplying and developing products that will support livestock farming businesses. The Shearwell Data product range includes tags for cattle and sheep, EID readers, software and handlings systems that are designed and built to withstand a hard day’s work out on farm, whatever the weather. At Shearwell Data we aim to provide farmers with products

and services, that help them to gather reliable data, that enables them to make better, more informed business decisions and ultimately be more profitable and sustainable. Richard Webber, Director of Shearwell explains more about the TurbO Tagger: “Over the last 10 years it has become clear that our customers want an automatic applicator, at some shows every other customer has asked for it. Some of you will know we have been working on one and have been very patient and loyal in waiting

for it to come to market. I am pleased to say that at long last we are launching our new Turb0 Tagger. To design an applicator to fit a tag that is already on the market has given us many challenges but at last we are there and we hope the benefits it brings to tagging your lambs and ewes will make the wait worthwhile. Tagging lambs can be a time consuming process but now the TurbO Tagger has been in development and has been trialled on our farm and on a number of other sheep farms to test its efficacy.” 49


Betty the Champion Hen! It may sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but what links The Royal Highland Show with Dundee-based newspaper The Courier and eBay? Tresta crofter Amanda Slater knows – the 27year-old is the proud owner of prize-winning bantam Betty the hen, after all. She has taken care of her silver-pencilled wyandotte ever since Betty was nothing more than a hen’s egg, which she bought as part of a batch over the internet auction site. After lockdown struck Amanda made the decision to enter Betty into this year’s Virtual Highland Show. It proved to be a wise move – because Betty went winging towards a first place rosette (promptly sent in the post) after she was named overall poultry champion. Amanda’s suspicions that her hen may have beaten off bantam rivals rose after she was contacted by The Courier – a Highland Show sponsor. “They phoned me before the results were due to come out, so I had a slight inkling she’d done okay,” she said.

“He asked me if she had a name and I said ‘well not really,’ and he said ‘do you want to make one up?’ “I had to make one up on the spot and he started ending himself when I chose the name ‘Betty’. I thought, ‘Betty the Bantam’ sounds okay.” The contact prompted Amanda to prepare for good news. “We all sat around on Saturday and had some Pimm’s with some scones with cream and jam to pretend we were at a big show,” she said. And certainly Betty has proved her worth, last month hatching nine chicks at her home croft Breckanlea, where council worker Amanda – a judge for The Shetland Pony Stud Book Society – also looks after 15 ponies. To enter Betty she had to submit a photo and video to allow the poultry judge to make the necessary assessments. “He wanted to see well-spaced feathers on their wings, a bright eye and no discharge from the nostrils and clean legs.” She added: “I’ve never entered to the Highland Show before, but I was planning to take ponies down to it this year.

“I’ve just had a hatch out of Betty – nine chicks hatched at the weekend. But I just have three hens and one cockerel – they’re all the same breed. They’re all silver-pencilled wyandotte.” She described Betty as “not just overly tame” but insisted “she’s fine”. “I hatched out the eggs in November, and the eggs actually came off eBay. You probably didn’t ken you could eggs off ebay! “They’re usually fully grown about four or five months. I’ve

had a batch of chicks hatch out of Betty this past weekend.” The Virtual Highland Show, of course, was just one of the high profile events which had to turn “digital” because of the coronavirus lockdown. But Amanda was keen to support local shows, too, and Betty the hen was promptly entered for Shetland’s highest profile agricultural event, the (Virtual) Cunningsburgh Show, which took place in August. Amanda also entered a number of lambs – and ponies, of course.

Moredun and Orkney Livestock Association announce an important partnership Orkney Livestock Association (OLA) have signed up to partner Moredun to give their members access to research outputs, knowledge, skills and expertise generated at Moredun, which are targeted to improve animal health and welfare and increase the 50

sustainable efficiency of livestock production. The partnership will allow OLA members access to Moredun’s members area with a wealth of livestock health information, including the full range of technical newssheets, and will also promote working together

on joint events and initiatives. It will mean that OLA members will be eligible to apply for the annual Moredun Foundation Award Scheme and would be able to contact Moredun directly to get further advice on particular disease issues.

Moredun is 100 years old this year during which time its research outputs have made a major impact both in the UK and globally, due in a large part to the unique relationship Moredun has with the farming community and the emphasis the organisation puts

on effective knowledge exchange with livestock producers. Moredun currently has over 12 000 members from the farming, veterinary and animal health community and farmers sit on Moredun’s governing boards. Orkney is represented at Moredun by well-known retired vet Willie Stewart, who is the Chair of Moredun’s North of Scotland Regional Advisors Board and informs Moredun of the particular disease problems challenging Orkney livestock. Through Willie’s

initiative Moredun has taken part in several meetings and farm events on Orkney. Beth Wells, from Moredun, said “Through these meetings we have been fortunate to meet many of Orkney’s livestock farmers, who are well known for their high quality beef production and we are delighted to be developing a closer working collaboration with OLA, which will be of huge benefit to both of our organisations.” Willie Stewart commented “The Moredun Research Institute is a world leader in the development

of livestock vaccines, animal disease tests and control plans. I believe that OLA representing the cattle industry in Orkney can have a strong association with Moredun in the future.” OLA is a farmer-led organisation aimed at improving the health of Orkney’s cattle herds. The scheme was officially launched in February 2001 with a programme to eradicate BVD and a Johne’s eradication scheme followed in November 2008. OLA is a sub-group of HiHealth

Herdcare which is a national cattle health scheme. Karen Johnston, OLA, commented “We are delighted and very honoured to give our members the opportunity to benefit from expert information and support from such a prestigious and well respected organisation. We are looking forward to seeing how this partnership progresses and the benefits it brings to Orkney farmers.” For further information or images please contact: beth.

Crofting success on Shetland Tribute has been paid to the “vigour” of isles agriculture after it emerged almost 1,000 crofts have been registered across the isles. News of 887 crofts in Shetland come amid an overall total of 6,962 holdings on the crofting registers across the crofting counties. Meanwhile, there are 335 registered common grazings in the Highland and Island areas – 16 of which are in Shetland. Crofting commissioner Andy Holt said he had been encouraged by the many registrations which have taken place in Shetland alone. Mr Holt said: “It really reflects the kind of vigour of crofting in Shetland. I’ve found in my travels there is an atmosphere in Shetland here of ‘go-getting-ness’. “Very positive attitudes come across and I think that is special to Shetland, to be honest with you. “I think it’s down to enterprise.”

The online Crofting Register, which went live on 30th November 2012 as a result of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010. Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing said: “Crofting is an integral part of

Scottish rural life that makes a significant contribution to our economy, environment and culture.” Crofting Commission chief executive Bill Barron said: “Progress with registrations is important as it provides crofters

and other interested parties with certainty as to the extent and interests in croft land. “We will continue to work closely with RoS, crofters and grazings committees to ensure the registration process is as smooth as possible.”

In association with Tel: 01856 876406 Tel: 01595 742000


farming diversification

Motoring into Storage By Janice Hopper How many readers can relate to this? My cool, single friends suddenly met Mr or Ms Right. A few years later they got engaged, then marriage was on the cards, perhaps children or a dog came along. Now, before you know it, they’re buying a motorhome for weekend adventures and life on the open road. Sound familiar? With staycations increasingly popular, partly due to Covid-19, motorhome and campervan holidays are having a moment, but there often remains one problem. Where do you store these mighty machines when the holiday ends? Ewan McConachie of Barns Highland is one farmer offering solutions. Motorhome storage is essential for owners who don’t have a driveway, or don’t wish to block up the neighbourhood with their beloved vans. A prerequisite to offering storage

is having land at your disposal, so this diversification project could potentially work for many farmers. Ewan and Truus opened their storage facility alongside a touring caravan, campervan and motorhome site, complete with glamping pods and camping, in 2018. Their arable farm, growing malt and barley, comprises of 205 acres of land, and they manage a further 165 acres. The move into storage and hospitality was born out of personal hobbies and great memories. “We had a campervan as our wedding car, and we also went on honeymoon in our campervan. We simply love travel and the campsite lifestyle,’ says Ewan. ‘Our farm is based just three miles west of Nairn, near the River Nairn. It’s so beautiful that we wished to share the location with others, and we wanted to

bring tourism to the area, so it felt like a natural progression to diversify into running our own site and storage facility.’ ‘In terms of establishing the storage, we were lucky to have an area of unused land near the steading and campsite,’ continues Ewan. ‘The land itself had to be prepared to handle the heavy comings and goings of large motorhomes so we laid a hard surface and installed the security required. We weren’t interested in moving into stock farming, as we felt that camping/ storage would be more profitable per square metre. We do have some alpacas and Highland cattle, but admittedly these are a great attraction for our campsite guests.” A remote location, off the beaten track, naturally appeals to anyone seeking to guarantee the safety and security of their

Truus, Ewan and family


expensive and much-loved motorhome, but it takes more than a rural location to provide peace of mind. “Our storage area is discreet and remote,’ says Ewan. ‘It has a ‘one way in, one way out’ system, via a locked gate. There’s a large earth bank round the site, and 24-hour CCTV is in place. I’d also add that it’s hugely important to meet all your storage customers, because you’re essentially selling trust. They’re trusting you not only with a vehicle of financial value, but for many it’s their pride and joy, it’s their summer holiday so there’s often a strong emotional attachment too.” For anyone thinking of diversifying into storage there is a fair amount of paperwork to consider. Public liability insurance, as well as rigorous planning permission and health and safety considerations must be ironed out. Capital and time is required to build the infrastructure, to research, install and run security. Pricing must be established, clear terms and conditions for customers must be written, with penalty clauses for late collection or breach of contract. Investing in marketing and an online presence can help as well. “When our customers arrive they fill out an entrance form where they highlight any scratches or damage, as you would with a hire car. They also sign to say that the vehicle is parked at their own risk. Most of our customers are locals whose main aim is to swiftly collect their mobile home and hit the road, although we do have a few customers from down south who fly up to Inverness for regular Scottish breaks.” When it comes to diversification, another consideration is personality. Many ideas and new farm

farming diversification businesses involve ‘fun’ days out or experiences, such as tours, glamping, tastings or pick your own fruit. Farmers need to have the right personality, or hire the right staff, to create these fun moments. In a business such as storage, quality service and good communication certainly matter, but it’s quite a straightforward transaction, so may suit those farmers who are less publicfacing. Your customers need to trust you, they don’t require to have a great day with you! “Dealing with the public is about dealing with their expectations,’ says Ewan. ‘My role is to manage what’s achievable and balance this with their immediate requirements. I wear different hats throughout one day, and that can be a challenge. One minute I’m driving a tractor, then I’ll be welcoming excited holidaymakers to the caravan site, next I’m a family man, and finally I’ll be meeting customers for the caravan storage business. It’s about learning to manage your time, because it’s important to give people the time of day, treat them well and make them feel welcome and appreciated.” Whilst Covid-19 is completely transforming many businesses, storage is arguably not so badly affected. “This business is based out of doors, and it’s very easy to politely socially distance from our customers,’ adds Ewan. ‘They can access their own vehicle independently (once they’ve notified us of their intentions for security reasons), they’re asked to wipe the security gates on their way in and out, and there can be several days between customers accessing the gates, which helps as well.” Motorhome holidays are popular because they allow tourists to travel in a self-contained, isolated fashion. A recent survey by leisure vehicle hire company SwiftGo revealed that due to international holidays being cancelled,

Barns Highland

countryside cottages were the most popular choice of staycation, and caravan/motorhome holidays came in second place. Comfort Insurance saw a near 20% increase in requests for leisure vehicle insurance quotes when compared to the same time last year, with campervan quote requests up by 50%. Ultimately, if consumers invest more in motorhomes and staycations, then this could be the time to consider diversification businesses to complement these markets as they develop.

The freedom and the scenery (courtesy of Swift Go)

The great escape! (courtesy of Swift Go)

WWW.BARNSHIGHLAND.COM 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.



A wide spread of options A look at some of the muck spreaders available today

Abbey Muck Spreaders Abbey Machinery offer a durable and efficient range of Muck Spreaders including Flail Side Spreaders and AP Multi Spreaders. Abbey Machinery Flail Side Spreaders range from 6 to 15.5 cubic yards (4.58 -11.46 m3). The Abbey Machinery Flail Side Spreader range is built with increased chassis support to provide maximum strength and durability to the drum. The use of a splined shaft on the seamless rotor for chain driving gives maximum strength. The heavy-duty spreading chassis is anchored to the seamless heavy-duty rotor tube in spiral formation allowing for the optimum spreading pattern to be achieved. Heavy duty bearings are fitted on each end of the rotor away from the manure to extend the life of the bearings. Chains are fitted with heavy duty replaceable heads and plates from 28” x 3/8” up to 38” x inch. The chains are specifically placed along the heavy-duty rotor for accuracy of speed pattern and ease of start-up when full.


On the 2070, 2090, 2100, 2250 and 2550 models they are placed in a spiral dimension giving perfect results. A unique feature is the specifically designed starter flails, strategically positioned at both ends of the rotor. They assist the start-up procedure and reduce horsepower requirement. All Purpose Multi Spreaders Abbey Machinery’s All Purpose AP900 (1650 gallon) has direct auger drive, with reversable gear box. The discharge rotor is fitted with shear bolt protection. There is an open/close indicator at the discharge rotor which is visible from the tractor cab. The large diameter heavy duty auger is specially designed to create an even flow of material without clogging. The well-constructed drum improves the flow of material, the base of which is fitted with a soluble skin to provide years of trouble-free wear. Can precisely spread broiler manure, mushroom compost mulch, semi-solids, slurries and factory waste with equally good results. Abbey Machinery have developed their own unique ‘Slurry Management System’. This include a six-step model that centres on

slurry preparation, transportation, application in an environmentally sensitive way, minimising soil compaction, nutrient sensing and

precision application. All designed to help farmers get the very most from slurry and reduce purchased fertiliser bills.

Bunning rear discharge spreaders Bunning manufacture a wide range of rear discharge spreaders with capacities ranging from 6 to 40 tonnes. The Norfolk based firm has been engineering for agriculture since 1906 and introduced its first manure spreader in 1986. At

this time the company’s focus was on agricultural trailers. Today spreaders take up all of the agricultural manufacturing capacity with machines being in strong demand both in the UK market and overseas.

MUCK SPREADERS There are 3 models in the Farmstar range, a 6 and an 8 tonne TVA version and the most recent model introduced for 2020, an 8 tonne HBD. Incorporating many features of the larger machines, they have been designed for the smaller farmer with a light weight high strength body and reduced length for better manoeuvrability around small farm yards. The Lowlander Mk 4 range has 6 models from the 7.5 tonne capacity Lowlander 75Mk4 to the 15 tonne capacity Lowlander 150Mk4. Of a heavier design than the Farmstar range with welded body pressings, larger axles and drawbars; the Mk4 range is suited to larger scale farmers and contractors. There are 2 models in the “Heavy Duty� range, the Lowlander 150 Mk2 HD with 15 tonne capacity and the Lowlander 175 HD with 17.5 tonne capacity. These 2 models incorporate 20mm floor chains which have a 50 tonne breaking certificate and are certified lifting chains. They also have an extra 100mm (4 inches) body width and vertical auger models have the same augers for the TVA versions and beaters for the HBD versions as the Widebody range of spreaders. The Widebody range has 4 models, an 18 tonne single axle, 23 tonne tandem axle, 32 tonne

and 38 tonne tri axle models and is available in both TVA and HBD versions. All spreaders can be factory fitted with weigh cells and 3 different levels of in cab control box - from a simple read out of weight screen to wide screen touch control and full isobus compatibility. A wide range of other optional equipment is also available for all of the spreader ranges. Bunning offer a 3 year warranty.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out November 2020 Subscription details on page 105



Conor spreaders The Conor Rear Discharge Spreader is a robust heavy duty machine designed for extensive use. It is a very well specced machine with features such as wide angle PTO shaft, swivel hitch, viewing ladder, cross line relief on gearbox, external grease points, speed control for the floor, commercial axle with 420 x 180 brakes, grade 80 16mm heavy duty chains and light protectors as standard. It is designed with strength and durability in

mind; as standard it is fitted with 15mm hardox tips and the base of the beater is made from 15mm plate. The floor is made from hard wearing 5mm. It also has a torque clutch on the drive line fitted as standard to protect the rear beater gearbox in case something lodges in the rotors. Extensive testing was carried out in the design stage to ensure the beater gives a wide and uniform spread. This has been achieved by using a combination

of straight and curved tips and the correct spacing between the beaters. Conor also make a range

of high quality side spreaders with 3 models to choose from – 750, 900 and 1000.

Fleming Muck Spreaders Fleming Agri offer a range of side discharge muck spreaders with capacities from 1 cubic yard to 9.5 cubic yards covering both compact and agricultural uses. The bodies of all Fleming Agri muck spreaders are welded both internally and externally to give added support under load. There are 2 models in the compact range, the Minimuck which is three point linkage mounted and has a capacity of 1 cubic yard and the MS150 trailed model which has a capacity of 3.35 cubic yards. Both models have a reinforced 3mm body and starter bars for quick start up. The power requirement is geared down through a simple chain and sprocket drive line mounted on heavy duty bearings to reduce the power demand on the tractor and increase fuel efficiency. The compact range of muck spreaders


are suitable for tractors from 30hp upwards. In the agricultural range, Fleming offer 3 models; the MS450 has a capacity of 4 cubic yards, the MS700 with a capacity of 6.5 cubic yards and the MS1000 which has a capacity of 9.5 cubic yards. The new and improved MS1000 comes with a heavy duty galvanised, hydraulic opening lid. It has 8 stud axles with 550x60x22.5 wheels as standard. The MS1000 has 36 chains to give an accurate and even spread pattern and is fitted with 6mm end plates. Fleming Agri muck spreaders offer value for money with high output, and an even shred and spread of muck. Suitable for all types of manure, including semi-solid and poultry litter as well as farmyard manure. All Fleming Agri products are designed and manufactured in

house, with a range of options to suite a wide range of uses. Here at Fleming Agri we manufacture products with simplicity and strength at the core, with a growing global dealer network, currently spanning over 20 countries. A full list of our machinery and any optional extras can be found

on our website If you would like more information or images please don’t hesitate to get in contact with your local Fleming Agri rep and we will point you in the direction of your nearest Fleming dealer. Contact our Offices for more information on +44 (0) 2871 342637.


Harry West Dual spreader range The Harry West Dual Spreader range consists of models from 1300 gallon to 3000 gallon. These spreaders will deal with slurry and solid material giving a measured output to encourage grass growth. With the design of the Dual spreader taking the material forward it keeps weight on the rear of the tractor ensuring traction is always maintained. A low centre of gravity also gives a safer operation on undulating ground. The low power requirement and low ground pressure and large radius tyres will ensure fuel economy and create minimum ground compaction. Harry West rear discharge range. Built to high capacity specification and capable of achieving a spread width of up to 12m (40ft), the West Rear

Discharge unit is particularly suitable for farmyard manure. The twin rear vertical rotating beaters operate at a powerful 400rpm. For trouble maintenance the rear beaters are fitted with replaceable blades, and feature a protected two piece drive line with a wife angled PTO with slip clutch. The Rear Discharge models range from 8cuM to 18cuM. They are fitted with large diameter wider tyres to minimise ground pressure and are fully equipped for road use as they are standard with hydraulic brakes, hand brake and lighting.

Hi-Spec side and rear spreaders The range of spreaders from HiSpec Engineering include both the rear discharge XCEL 1250 spreader and two side discharge

machines. The Hi-Spec XCEL 1250 is unique in that it uses a rotary chain and flail system to achieve a good break up of

material, which is then spread using a pair of spinning discs. The shredding rotor carries 22 heavy duty chains, which in


MUCK SPREADERS turn carry 12mm Hardox flail heads, mounted under a 4mm Hardox hood, that shred all the material to an even consistency and ensure no lumps are deposited onto the spreading rotors. An adjustment plate on the shredding rotor hood, evenly places the manure onto the spreading discs to ensure an even spread. The Xcel 1250 has a capacity of 12 tonnes and can evenly spread material up to 24m. Typical discharge time is 3-5 minutes and it is able to spread all types of material. The material to be spread is moved rearward by a single slat marine grade floor chain. Individual floor chain tensioners are placed to the front of the machine and drive to the floor chain is via a hydraulic motor with overload protection and variable speed adjustment. A hydraulically operated, vertical slurry door can be used to regulate flow of material to


the shredding rotor, and at the spreading discs an option of lighter vanes can be specified for low density material, such as chicken compost. The standard specification includes 580/70-R38 radial tyres for low rolling resistance and low compaction, and a commercial axle fitted with hydraulic brakes. Options include a weigh cell and the ISOBUS compatible RDS iSOCAN Apollo spreader control system or the straightforward Digi-Star GT400 weighing system. Two Hi-Spec side discharge spreaders are available – the 8m3 SS800 and the 10m3 SS1000. As with the tankers, Hi-Spec manure spreaders are built using heavy-duty 5mm thick British steel and feature a 3mm lid. Standard specification includes a ring hitch, hydraulic braking and LED road lights, while the SS1000 also incorporates centralised greasing.

Joskin range of muck spreaders Joskin has got one of the widest range of muck spreaders starting with an 8m3 Siroko single axle model designed for smaller farmers to the 25m3 Tornado3 and Ferti-SPACE2,

both available as single, double, or triple axle models (FertiSPACE2 only) designed for larger farmers and contractors. To suit all our customers, Joskin has designed two different

MUCK SPREADERS types of beaters: vertical and horizontal. The vertical beaters, available on models from 8m3 on Siroko and up to up to 25m3 on Tornado3, have been designed for spreading heavy matter on a wide and evenly distributed surface. The horizontal beaters, available from 14m3 on Tornado3 and Ferti-SPACE2, have been manufactured for customers who wish to spread light and dry matter with an excellent distribution and width up to 25 m. Both Tornado3 and FertiSPACE2 are designed for heavy duty work and manufactured in high tensile steel. Besides, the wide spinning discs including the beaters are run by a gearbox with transmission that is protected by elastic couplings. The two models however differ from each other: Tornado3 is designed with a narrow body with wheels on the outside, as a result, there is a lower center of gravity and the

spreading table is closer to the ground. The Ferti-SPACE2 has a wide body and wheels mounted underneath the chassis to increase the stability of the machine. These different models of muck spreaders are now available under the name ADVANTAGE, which is a new concept based on “mass� production of a dedicated production line with high quality machines at the best price. Thanks to the purchase of large quantity of raw materials and an efficient organisation of working forces, Joskin is now able to offer different spreading solutions to suit any customer all year round.

Ktwo improve their spreaders to increase volume and outputs Ktwo, one of the biggest British manufacturers of farming machinery, has launched their new Mk5 range of Bio and Evo muck

spreaders to increase volumes and ease emptying to maximise outputs. With increasing demand from farmers and contractors

for more efficient machines giving maximum outputs, Ktwo continue to develop their product range to stay ahead of


MUCK SPREADERS the curve using technology and innovation. The Ktwo Bio range of rear discharge muck spreaders with twin horizontal beaters are designed with the most accurate of applications in mind and are the perfect choice when spreading higher value products. Whilst the Ktwo Evo range of rear discharge muck spreaders with twin vertical beaters are designed to cope with the most demanding conditions whilst at the same time providing extra accuracy and the highest outputs available. The new and improved Mk5 versions of the Ktwo Bio and Ktwo Evo now have a flared body throughout which gives an increased volume capacity. By starting to taper from the floor, it acts as a funnel to help move materials down to the chains increasing volume and allowing for easier emptying with less bridging.


The Mk5 Bio and Evo ranges now include a timed front roller with integral cleaning scrapers. This gives positive engagement with the chain ensuring the chains remain times and provide a consistent flow of material. Not only does the new design increase volume and ease of emptying, the Mk5’s come with a host of smaller improvements from listening to customer feedback including hardened spinner paddles and the new Ktwo Evo’s have hardox rotor bases with sweeper bars. The versatile and popular Ktwo Duo Mk6 range of rear discharge muck spreaders with twin vertical beaters have already had the improvements to the body design which has been well received by farmers and contractors complementing the improved outputs. For more information visit:

Titan Muckspreaders from Teagle Teagle Machinery originally launched the Titan rear discharge range of muck spreaders, manufactured at their production site in Cornwall, in the 1970s. Subsequent side discharge machines followed.

In 2013 following extensive development Teagle brought a completely new range of rear discharge machines to its domestic and international customers, again under the Titan banner. Two years later

MUCK SPREADERS a new Production Hall was commissioned dedicated to their manufacture. Since their introduction, sales of Titan machines have continued to grow year-on-year and now command a significant share of the UK market in every region. The range can broadly be split into three groups. Starting at the lower end, 6 and 8 cubic meter models are ideally suited to smaller units and offer outstanding manoeuvrability. The 10 and 12 cubic meter models, extendable up to 15cubic meters with side extensions, are suitable for heavy users and contractors. A crossover model, the 9 cubic meter Titan 9, offers an economic alternative. In 2016 the range was extended to top-out with the Titan 15 and 17 with a maximum loading capacity of 20 cubic metres. All models have received continual improvements since their launch and this year is no

exception. All 2019 Titan 15/17 models now incorporate the extra heavy duty 18mm diameter bed chains, a 60mm rear drive shaft and a number of features to reduce the time required for routine maintenance. To ensure that operators of Titan spreaders gain the greatest benefit from the nutrients in their manure, the focus of development has always been the design of the discharge beaters to ensure that muck is effectively shredded and evenly spread behind the machine. For greater driveline protection from foreign objects, a set of swinging flails sit at the base of the beater have been developed to fold back under excessive loading. From 1st July 2019 all Titan 10 / 12 / 15 / 17 models will incorporate Heat Treated Boron Auger Flight as standard specification to provide users with the benefit from longer service life.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out November 2020


Travel Scotland

Escape to Edinburgh by Janice Hopper

shaped pools. Children are drawn to the unusual space, and adults are quietly captivated by the undulating lawn. In terms of science, greenfingered tourists can experience seventy acres of plant research, conservation and beauty at the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh. Highlights include the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden with its intricate bog myrtle maze, the Alpine House featuring a vertical rock-face of plants, the Rock Garden, and the Chinese Hillside and pavilion. Practical field-to-fork skills are prioritised here too, so head through the eight-metre tall beech hedge into the Demonstration Garden to see education in action. RBGE runs a Horticulture with Plantsmanship HND, delivered jointly with Scotland’s Rural College. Students are each given a plot in the Demonstration Garden to tend, from planning stages through to final harvest.

The garden is renowned for herbs, as it was founded as a physic garden in 1670, and students on the Diploma in Herbology tend the physic garden beds. A MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants, and several apprenticeships are also part of the educational aims of the gardens. The public can get involved too. The Edible Gardening Project shares gardening skills with locals. Schools also participate, taking responsibility for their own ‘one square foot’ of land. For many children digging a vegetable out of the soil and transforming it into a meal is a completely new experience. Another mini introduction to rural life is Love Gorgie Farm. This popular city farmyard shut in 2019. It was put out to tender by the local council and Love Learning (an education and social care charity) was awarded the contract. The farm reopened its

Courtesy of Visit Scotland/Kenny Lam

Holidays can be about contrasts, escaping your usual surroundings. For country dwellers a trip to the big city offers a break from the routine. This year, due to Covid-19, our capital city of Edinburgh is quieter than usual. There are far fewer international tourists and the Fringe is cancelled, but there’s still so much to see and do. In fact, 2020 could be the perfect year to explore Auld Reekie at a slightly easier pace, and with responsible social distancing measures in place. Whilst the modern countryside is often shaped for commercial purposes, with yield and good harvests being paramount, the elegant capital has artistic and scientific ideas afoot. One option is to visit the grounds of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to walk upon Charles Jencks’ ‘Landform’. This earth sculpture combines grassed steps and weaving paths offering views into dark crescent-

Edinburgh Castle


doors in February 2020, only to close once more due to Covid-19. During lockdown it operated as a food bank, delivering free meals ti children during school closures, and it provided free pet boarding for pets whose owners were ill or hospitalised. The city farm’s reopening is a welcome sight. It’s free and visitors join a socially distanced queue for admission. Highlights include a mix of poultry including Scots Dumpies and Light Sussex. Bill and Ben the Angus Crosses wander up to the fence to meet the public. Maisie, Poppy and Lola are the farmyard pigs, and visitors also meet goats, guinea pigs and a pen of Shetland Sheep. For many guests the highlight is the very fluffy alpacas who are friendly and approachable. For those who’d prefer a complete break from farmyard animals, Edinburgh Zoo offers a taste of the exotic. Native animals, such as Scottish wildcats feature, but most guests are drawn to the Giant Pandas (the only ones in the UK), Asiatic lions, koalas, rhinos, Sumatran tigers and chimpanzees. Areas such as Penguin Rock and Wallaby Outback allow visitors to walk exceptionally close to the animals. If you’d like to see animals in the wild head slightly out of town to South Queensferry for a sightseeing tour aboard the Maid of the Forth. The ninety minute cruise takes in the iconic three bridges, as well as Inchcolm island and the atmospheric ruins of Inchcolm abbey. Seals are spotted sunbathing on the rocks and puffins swoop overhead or ride the waves of the Firth of Forth. For fresh local fruit, veg and meat, a nearby stop in South Queensferry is Craigie’s farm shop. The artisan butcher has a strong reputation, headed up

Travel Scotland by Steve Mitchel, AKA ‘The Buffalo Farmer’. In Autumn it’s time to PYO pumpkin and, from September to October, visitors can pluck apples from the orchard on pre-booked slots. For a sweet treat drop by Edinburgh Honey on Easter Road, where traditional Scottish Heather or Blossom Honey sit alongside novel flavours such as the dusky pink Strawberries in Honey, and winter warmer Gingerbread Spiced Infused Honey. For the big names and brands, shopping on the main thoroughfare of Princes Street and George Street can do some glorious damage to the wallet or purse. For further sightseeing through the main streets of Edinburgh jump aboard a City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus. It whizzes passengers past the Scottish Parliament, the Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh Castle, the Scott Monument and Greyfriars Bobby. Disembark to explore at your leisure. After the relative bustle of the city centre, get back to the land by hiking up the extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat, 251m above sea level. A shorter walk up to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Calton Hill, provides excellent city views and photo opportunities, as well as a mix of monuments to behold such as the National

Monument, inspired by the Parthenon in Greece. A suggested walk on flatter terrain is a stroll through Dean Village, a historic gem on the Water of Leith. Known for milling, look carefully to spot mill stones and plaques carved with bread and pies. Be sure to look out for Well Court, a 19th century arts and crafts building that formerly housed local workers from the water mills. Lastly, for a destination to entertain the kids, Blackface sheep farmer James Gammell has just the suggestion. At Conifox, twenty minutes from the city centre, James offers a family day out with pedal go-kart racing, offroad pedal tractors, a giant jump pillow, trampolines and sand pit. For parents, it’s a great feeling to return home with utterly exhausted little ones. In terms of accommodation, Edinburgh boasts many fine hotels, but if you’d prefer to keep yourself to yourself, and perhaps dish up the local produce and meat you’ve bought, then a self-contained apartment is worth considering. The Knight Residence by Mansley provides one, two or three bedroom apartments just off the Grassmarket. With fully furnished kitchens, living rooms and secure parking they make a relaxed base for those who enjoy a little more

GiantPanda YangGuang

Maid of the Forth en route to Inchcolm Island

space than a traditional hotel room offers. So if you feel you’re Edinburgh ready, be sure to pack hand sanitiser, masks and credit

cards for contactless purchases. The capital is ready to welcome you. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art nationalgalleries. org Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - Love Gorgie Farm Edinburgh Sightseeing Bus Tours- Edinburgh Zoo Maid of the Forth Craigies Farm Shop - craigies. Edinburgh Honey - Conifox - The Knight Residence by Mansley -

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, rockgarden



Investing in



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

Slurry Equipment Show Raises £10k for charity

Supporting our rurally based young people By Rebecca Dawes Over the last five months, the pandemic has demonstrated how vulnerable our rural communities have become resulting from the lack of infrastructure such as good broadband, access to local services and the supply of basic daily needs such as food. In recent years, there has been a steady depopulation of young people from rural areas and strategies used so far, have failed to stem the flow. From Covid-reflections research we’ve carried out as part of the Rural Youth Project, we have found that, during lockdown, many under 30s have returned to their rural homes, preferring to move back to be with family or friends, and it is clear from that there is a new sense of ownership and commitment to rural areas. My hope is that young people will be an important catalyst for rural economies and communities to not just survive, but thrive.

Whilst we don’t know the full extent of the impact, we do know that socially, economically and in terms of mental health, the experience of 2020 will leave a lasting memory for many. The transition back to “normality” is something that some young people are fearing while others are looking forward with optimism, seeing opportunity. The ability to work from home with flexible hours, the development of virtual meetings reducing travel time, and the new enthusiasm for participating in online training, are just some of the changes seen as positive. Creating businesses and social enterprises is key to this growth, with a growing number of the next generation inspired to take the risk and become their own boss. Just last month, Twitter released a report that found 54% of users between the age 18 to 24 had found a new way to make money in lockdown.

Food Punks in the Scottish Borders is an innovative social enterprise that empowers young people through the appreciation of food. The income generating social enterprise from Tweeddaale Youth Action, started by teaching young people to cook, but soon evolved into a catering business servicing the south of Scotland. Now funded by Scottish Borders LEADER and the Robertson Trust, all profit generated goes back into youth work and services for young people benefiting the local economy and the health and wellbeing of its residents. Whilst our research has demonstrated the majority of young people do not want to move to a town or city to live or work, it has also shown that rural communities, can at times, be too cliquey and unwelcoming, and if we are to take the positives from pandemic, we must embrace this new era, new businesses and new perspectives.

Rebecca Dawes is the Next Generation Trustee for the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth, and Director of the Rural Youth Project. The report looking at the impact of covid-19 to young people can be downloaded from 64

A Northern Ireland agricultural machinery specialist has raised £10,000 for a local children’s cancer charity. SlurryKat, raised the incredible sum for Cancer Fund For Children NI, earlier this year, during a Spreading Technology Show at the Waringstown firm’s headquarters where its latest spreading equipment was on show. A piece of SlurryKat equipment was raffled off as first prize in a draw won by Banbridge man, George Mitchell. Second prize was a pair of Ulster Rugby Tickets kindly donated by Ulster Bank. SlurryKat’s CEO, Garth Cairns commented: “The event was a tremendous success for us.“ “We were pleasantly surprised by the sheer volume of visitors on the day and to raise this amount of money for such a worthy cause is fantastic and has encouraged us to do this again in the future”. The event was attended by over 800 farmers and contractors, some from as far away as Sweden and Norway. The NI Minster for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Mr Edwin Poots attended along with representatives from DEARA & Cafre. Other exhibitors at the event included NFU, HSENI, John Deere, JCB, Model Farmer and more.

Beatha an eilean Neartachadh Croitearachd le Rod MacCoinnich

Air ais sa Ghearran mus tàinig an glasadh, choinnich Bòrd Coimisean na Croitearachd ann an Inbhir Nis agus chuimsich sinn airson uair a thìde den choinneamh air roinn an lèirsinnean airson croitearachd. Thug grunn Choimiseanairean fa-near gun robh dìth gaisgeach san roinn phoblaich airson croitearachd a thoirt air adhart, agus cheasnaich iad am faodadh an Coimisean le barrachd ghoireasan a bhith mar an gaisgeach sin. Mar sin san Iuchar, bha sinn air leth toilichte nuair a dh’ainmich an Rùnaire Caibineit, Fearghas Ewing, gum meudaicheadh Riaghaltas na h-Alba buidseat a’ Choimisein gus ceadachadh dhuinn ar gnìomhachdan leasachaidh air croitearachd a leudachadh. Bha seo air leth di-beathte. Ged a thug Achd 2010 air falbh an obair shònraichte de

‘leasachadh croitearachd’ bhon a’ Choimisean, tha an Achd fhathast a’ toirt dhuinn fuincsean coitcheann de ‘ùidhean croitearachd adhartachadh’, agus tha na Coimiseanairean a’ faicinn seo mar phàirt glè chudromach de ar dleastanas, a’ comh-lìonadh ar dleastanasan a thaobh riaghlaidh. Tha mòran thùs-bheachdan aig a’ Bhòrd mu dheidhinn mar a dh’fhaodas an Coimisean croitearachd a neartachadh. Mar phàirt den seo, tha sinn an dùil togail air obair làithreach ar sgiobaidhean Còmhnaidheachd is Cleachdadh Fearainn agus Ionaltradh, a thuilleadh air fiosrachadh nas fheàrr agus puist-seòlaidh do chroitearan a leasachadh. Tha am Bòrd seo a-riamh air prìomhachas àrd a thoirt do dhèanamh cinnteach gu bheil an so-mhaoin phrìseil an lùib chroitean air an deagh ruith, air an deagh chumail suas agus

air an gabhail, a’ faotainn taic gu h-àraid ann an sgìrean iomallach far a bheil ìrean an eaconamaidh agus àireamh-sluaigh glè chugallach. Ceadaichidh am maoineachadh seo dhuinn àireamh de dhreuchdan ùra maireannach luchd-obrach a chruthachadh. Air ais san deasbad sin sa Ghearran, thug dithis Choimiseanairean iomradh air gum bu thoigh leotha cuid de luchd-obrach a’ Choimisein fhaicinn a’ fuireach agus ag obair ann an diofar sgìrean croitearachd. Mar sin, nuair a dh’iarr an Rùnaire Caibineit oirnn cuid den mhaoineachadh a chleachdadh gus ceathrar a bharrachd luchd-obrach a shuidheachadh sna h-Eileanan an Iar, bha sinn toilichte aontachadh. Bheir cleachdadh air cuid den mhaoineachadh ùr airson dreuchdan sònraichte a stèidheachadh sna h-Eileanana an Iar, cothrom dhuinn air

dòighean obrach ùra agus nas fheàrr a leasachadh le cuid de na prìomh choimhearsnachdan croitearachd, agus tha sinn an dòchas gum bi comas againn san àm ri teachd air an teamplaid seo a chur an gnìomh ann an sgìrean croitearachd eile. Le sin a ràdh, tha mi cuideachd airson a dhaingneachadh, eadar gu bheil iad stèidhichte ann an Inbhir Nis, Steòrnabhagh, Baile a’ Mhanaich no àite sam bith eile, gum bi luchd-obrach uile a’ Choimisein ag obair don bhuidheann cheudna, airson cothromachd do chroitearan uile, agus gu math croitearachd ann an iomlanachd. Tha an Coimisean dealasach mun t-siostam croitearachd fhaicinn a’ soirbheachadh, le luchdgabhail no luchd-seilbhe, bhon chroit as lugha chun na croite as motha no fearann ionaltraidh, agus bho na h-Eileanan an Iar gu tìr-mòr, Arcaibh agus Sealtainn.



The art of the stack Crofters can get competitive about the style and size of their peat stacks. In our latest extract from his new book, Robin Crawford looks at how to build one worth bragging about

I’m guessing that Kenny’s peat stacks are probably among the most famous in Scotland. If you’ve ever visited the Butt of Lewis, there is a good chance you’ll have seen them – they’re close to the road on the right, in front of a modern white, singlestorey croft in Lionel, a mile or so before the lighthouse. There are three peat stacks – two impressively large complete ones, and between them one under construction. When I was last there in June, just a small

remnant of the previous year’s peat stack was left; now these peats have all been burnt – the fire kept burning all year, as well as all day and night. An old red tractor with a trailer full of cut peats stands waiting to be unloaded to replenish the family’s fuel stocks. The peats have been cut by Kenny and his brother on their bank on the moor behind the neighbouring township of Habost a few miles away; he reckons it will take about six trailer trips to build the stack. The trailer has

been loaded in a very particular manner to make the construction of the peat stack as strong as possible. The hardest, blackest slabs of peat cut from the third or fourth layer at the bottom of the peat bank are put into the trailer first, then peats from other levels on top. When the trailer is tipped up, these peats are at the top of the pile; these he separates out. Being the hardest and densest, they make the best peats for building the outer wall of the stack, less given to shrinking or breaking in

the face of the weather over the course of the seasons. The name for these outside peats, sgiath, Dwelly’s Gaelic dictionary defines as ‘shelter, protection . . . shield’. He puts these to one side in readiness to build the wall around the core of the jumbled other peats; the interior of the stack is not formally constructed. He marks the line of the sides for each stack with pegs and blue nylon baler twine or fishing rope. Kenny builds his outer protecting walls in a herringbone

Kenny building the third of his peat stacks at his home in Lionel, Lewis. The herring-bone method of construction echoes the tweed woven by many peat cutters.


BOOK SERIALISATION pattern around the core of the stack – it is the strongest method of construction, as well as the most aesthetically pleasing. Starting at ground level, he builds using the narrow side of the peat slab with the clean, sharp-angled corners to the outside. The gap between the wall and the tipped jumble of peats is then infilled with softer, crumblier peats from higher up the peat bank so that the stack is as dense as possible and will not shrink or bulge (a tractor tyre is the favoured method of propping up a bulging stack, but Kenny’s are so beautifully crafted that he does not need to do this). And so the stack is built, trailer-load by trailer-load. He will usually have eleven layers of herringbone wall and then ‘thatch’ over the top in a roof about six levels of peat slabs at its highest point. The finished stack will be about 18 feet long, six wide and about five to six feet high, with gently curved and rounded corners.

If you want to hide something, it’s a great place. Didn’t they hide some of the bottles there in Whisky Galore!? Within the Ness area, there are other equally fine examples. Round the corner are Angus’s peat stacks, almost a mirror image of Kenny’s. My father-in-law told me about his experience of building stacks. “You would build it as close to the back door of the house as you could because in winter it was howling. Some folk would build their stack in a special way – mine would be just normal but others would do fancy patterns. Some would be massive, and of course you’d get a bit of bosd [bragging] or even just a look.“My stack’s bigger than yours”, playground stuff. Sometimes you’d have“turfs”on the top rather than peats.What I call a “turf” is some of the ones from the layer near the surface of the moor. As well as keeping the peats underneath dry, you could use them to smoor the fire at night ’cause they were wet and grassy and slow to burn. “In the middle of the stack you’d have a hollow for storing all the broken and crumbling bits of peat that couldn’t be used in building the stack but would burn

fine. Course you’d find all manner of things in the stack – creatures, our chickens would often lay in there and if you wanted to hide something it’s a great place. Didn’t they hide some of the bottles in the peat stack in Whisky Galore!? Compton MacKenzie down in Barra would no doubt have had a stack, though I don’t know if he would have cut the peats himself.” From the Shetland Islands to Dumfries there are no hard and fast rules for the building and positioning of peat stacks – front, back, side, big, small. An old postcard from Islay shows squarebased, triangular-sided peat stacks right in front of the houses at the shore, almost as wind and wave breaks. At the other end of the country in Gordon in the Borders the stacks were built in front of the houses, as the Berwickshire News of 10 December 1956 reported: ‘Many people wonder why the main street is so wide – the reason, I’m told, is because years ago each house had its own peat stack outside the front door. The villagers got their own peat from Gordon Moss, but now it is full of large holes and no one goes there.’ Driving round Lewis, it is difficult to find many houses with peat stacks; the closer to Stornoway, the stronger the feeling of suburbia. As a rough rule, the newer the house, the less likely it is to have a stack. Suburban aesthetics prevail, even if the moor is the next-door neighbour. In Ness, though, the peat culture is still strong, without doubt the highest concentration of peat stacks to houses I’ve seen, probably 35-45 per cent,, maybe even more, if you consider that there will be plenty hidden from view inside sheds.

The dog had been trained to collect peats from the stack and bring them into the house on the Sabbath What is still ardently adhered to in many parts of the Hebrides is the strict Lord’s Day observance. No peats are to be cut, transported or stacked on Sundays, nor would any other task be done. In some houses no food is cooked or water heated.

Peat stacks

In Whisky Galore! Compton MacKenzie highlights the disadvantages of Sabbatarianism, with the Catholics free to plunder the shipwreck of whisky on the Sunday whilst the Protestants squirm and thirst in their houses. Peter May, author of the Lewis Trilogy crime novels (and former writer of Machair, the Gaelic TV soap), gave me this story. Driving down the coast road from Ness to Barvas one Sunday, Peter and his wife saw from a distance a dog running across the road, then back into a croft house. As they got near, they saw it do the same again. The border collie was picking something up in its mouth from across the road and taking it into the house. Only when

they got right up close did they realise what it was doing: the dog had been trained to collect peats from the stack and bring them into the house, something its Free Presbyterian owners couldn’t do on Lewis on the Sabbath. Into the Peatlands: A Journey through the Moorland Year by Robin A. Crawford is published by Birlinn, £12.99. Readers of Farming Scotland can purchase copies at a special price - £10 (inc p&p in the UK). To order please phone Booksource on 0845 3700067 and quote FS2020. A second book by Robin A. Crawford, The River: Journeys Along the Tay, will be published in July. 67


Improving cattle fertility Maximising the gains from sexed semen

With the use of sexed semen as a management tool for breeding replacement dairy heifers common practice, herd managers must maximise the value of their investment by ensuring the semen is used efficiently, effectively and accurately. While sexed semen typically costs twice as much as conventional semen, and often more than that compared to beef semen, it can pay for itself 68

through improvements to yield, genetics and heifer calf returns. However, unless used appropriately, the value and contribution of sexed semen can be undermined by poor conception rates, an extended calving interval and more services per pregnancy. Therefore, once the decision to use sexed semen has been made, it is important that the investment is maximised by ensuring it is used with precision.

This is of particular importance when managing the fertility of the heifer population: it is essential to correctly monitor the development and fertility of maiden heifers to ensure they are inseminated at the correct age and weight in order to maximise conception rates and to reduce the number of services per pregnancy. This will enable the herd’s genetic potential to be enhanced in as short a time as

possible and will free-up older cows to produce high quality beef calves which can add value to the farm’s profitability. Getting maiden heifers and difficult cows into calf can be a dark art, especially as it is impossible to spot each and every heat or bulling event. And, even if a cow or heifer has been spotted bulling, it is still often a matter of guesswork when determining how long the animal

CATTLE BREEDING has been in heat and when she should be inseminated. The latest precision herd monitoring systems, such as SenseHub from Allflex, eliminate this uncertainty by enabling herd managers to monitor the health, performance and habits of their animals accurately and reliably, 24 hours a day. Knowing exactly when heifers and cows are in heat, and when each individual animal should be inseminated empowers the herd manager to make data driven decisions which will improve conception rates by ensuring sexed

semen is only used on receptive, healthy animals at the optimum timing, and for less fertile animals – or those showing irregular heat patterns – to be put to cheaper conventional semen or beef bulls. Using herd monitoring data in this way also reduces the reliance on skilled labour to spot heats and make appropriate breeding decisions. It also provides the herd manager with the necessary information and flexibility to manage each animal’s fertility protocol on an individual basis. As well as maximising the herd’s productivity, the accurate

and targeted use of sexed semen also helps to keep insemination costs under control. And by using historical data to measure and analyse the effectiveness of fertility programmes, the herd manager will be able to make continued improvements to the way in which sexed semen is used. The benefits of using a monitoring system such as SenseHub also extend beyond a confirmed conception: by monitoring each heifer or cow throughout her productive lifecycle, the herd manager can instantly be made aware should a pregnant

animal subsequently abort. Armed with that information, she can be managed and treated accordingly and at the earliest opportunity, further reducing costs and returning her to a positive fertile state as soon as possible. By identifying heats and ensuring sexed semen is used at optimum time, and only on suitable animals, it is therefore possible to maximise the herd’s productivity and profitability, and to bring forward the point at which maiden heifers cease to be a cost to the business and, instead, start to make a positive contribution the herd’s output.

British Friesians – the most fertile breed in the world British Friesians are ready to meet the challenge of sustainable farming, especially with ELMS drawing ever closer. Grazed grass with its positive cycle of carbon capture and manuring value, not only for milk production, but also for meat, will make an important cost-free contribution to your farm’s carbon calculation and, by default, to future ELMS payments. With superior Fertility and 70 extra days of Lifespan, the more compact British Friesian costs less to maintain, and has lower replacement rates! Friesians typically carry a higher body condition score and so get

in calf more easily – another saving on repeat serves. Friesian male calves also produce high quality lean meat, providing an opportunity for a second income, whether as barley beef or grass reared steers. Friesian bull calves typically receive premium prices when compared to Holstein calves, so there is less need to rely on more expensive sexed semen, not to mention the costs of keeping unviable calves as directed by certain supermarket contracts. British Friesian semen sales have rocketed in recent years, not just domestically, but internationally, with AI

companies recording sales in 21 countries around the world. The British Friesian is the perfect cross on a Holstein due to the unique position of the Black

and White Herd Book, without the loss of pedigree status. The British Friesian is a traditional, robust grazing cow that ticks all the boxes.


beef Feed autumn calving suckler cows to hit target BCS As grass growth rate and quality starts its usual decline over the later summer months, autumn calving suckler herds are being urged to monitor cow condition score closely this year. “Calving beef cattle in the autumn invariably coincides with a period of decreasing grass availability and quality, so this can be challenging for some herds. The best approach is to always aim for a target cow body condition score of 2.5 to 3.0 at calving and supplement your forage stocks, as necessary,” advises Jacob Lakin from Azelis Animal Nutrition. Mr Lakin says that it is also important to feed post calving cows well – both to deliver a 10 litre per day milk yield for the calf and ensure optimum fertility when returning to the bull.

“Any supplementary silage should be provided ad lib with up to 5kg per head per day of concentrates depending on the forage quality in front of the cows. The overall diet should contain in the region of 11MJ of ME per kg of dry matter and 12% crude protein – and be supplemented with key trace minerals,” he adds. An adequate intake of copper and zinc is particularly important, he says. “Supplementary copper is important for fertility, milk production and growth; while zinc is essential for tissue formation and skin integrity. In addition, both minerals help boost enzyme formation and immunity.” Unfortunately, Mr Lakin also points out that both copper and zinc can be locked up in the diet,

due to various antagonisms with other minerals, which means use of high-quality chelated forms of these two crucial minerals must be considered to ensure optimum availability to the cow.

Autumn calving suckler producers should consult with their usual nutritional adviser if they have particular concerns about maintaining target cow condition score this autumn.

Revenue from Co-products Influence Farmgate Prices Slaughtering and processing red meat inevitably leads to the production of what are sometimes referred to as coproducts which can create both revenue and cost for the processing sector, according to the latest market commentary by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). These co-products include both edible and inedible offal’s, skins and hides and some products classified as “Specified Risk Materials” meaning their sale and disposal is strictly controlled.

Revenue earned from the sale of co-products can influence farmgate prices and one leading contributor is revenue from skins and hides. According to Stuart Ashworth, Director of Economics Services with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), prices for skins and hides are currently particularly low both in the UK and globally due to changes in fashion and consumer spending, not the Coronavirus as might be expected.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out November 2020 Subscription details on page 105 70

“The use of leather in car and aircraft upholstery has historically been an important market, however, the use of faux leather and reduced demand for cars has hit demand hard over the past few years,” said Mr Ashworth. “Similarly, the decline in leather footwear has reduced demand for leather over several years. “Coronavirus control measures around the world have slowed down or temporarily halted many businesses that would have used leather adding short term pressure to the market. Nevertheless, the long-term trends in transport upholstery and fashion, for example, remain and are unlikely to reverse in the foreseeable future,” he added. These long-standing changes in the marketplace, alongside the costs of addressing the

environmental impact of the tanning and processing of hides and skins, have driven prices lower over the past five years. “Cattle hides have fallen in value by more than 60% and sheepskins have fallen by 70% over the past five years,” said Mr Ashworth. “Indeed, in some circumstances poor quality hides and skins have no value. In some parts of the world these hides are reported to be being disposed of as landfill or processors are having to pay to have them removed,” he added. With only a small number of tanners and processors in the UK, exports are vital to the UK supply chain. China is the dominant buyer of UK hides and skins, but other important markets include Turkey, Pakistan and Italy.


Late summer sheep management priorities Jill Hunter, Beef & Sheep Nutritionist, Harbro There are three priorities at this time of year for any shepherd: finishing lambs, getting ewes into the right condition for tupping and marketing any breeding stock they have for sale. Following a good growing season, lambs are beginning to be weaned across the country. Many have already hit the new season lamb trade and benefited from good prices with low input costs. Earlier lambing flocks should aim to have 30% of their lambs finished before weaning time. Thereafter, a target of 80% should be sold before the ewes are back at the tup. Supplementary feeding lambs after weaning will coincide with a downturn in grass quality and help ensure lamb performance is maintained by boosting energy, protein and trace element intakes. Avoid false economy It can be attractive to opt for a low cost feed at this time of year, especially where large numbers of lambs are to be fed. However, when growing and finishing lambs, the cost per kg gain should be the main concern and the efficiency of how the lambs convert the feed into meat is the biggest driver

of this. Harbro’s Lamb Feeder consistently achieves a feed conversion ratio (FCR) of 4:1. This means, to put on 1kg liveweight, a lamb has to eat 4kg of feed. Lower quality feeds with a lower energy density are more likely to achieve a FCR of 5:1. This means an extra kg feed is needed to achieve exactly the same liveweight gain. Using this calculation, the difference in FCR can justify up to £50/t more for a more efficient feed. Look after the ewes Ewes have worked hard all summer to look after their lambs’ and they now need time to repair and most likely gain some body condition ready for tupping time. At weaning, the opportunity should be taken to body condition score the ewes and batch them accordingly. To regain body condition, offer the leanest ewes the best quality grass and keep in mind it can take up to 50 days to gain one body condition score on quality grass, with a target of 3-3.5 at tupping. It’s also essential to ensure ewes’ feet are in good condition so they can graze for long enough to eat the right amount of late summer grass to increase their body condition.

Getting body condition right at this time of year will help boost scanning percentages due to more efficient ovulation in the ewes. Too lean or too fat ewes will reduce success rates. All ewes should be offered mineral supplementation to complement their grass intake. As no compound feed is required at this time of year, mineral licks are the most convenient option. Harbro’s Feet & Fertility mineral bucket is designed specifically for this time of year, right through to tupping, to maintain hoof health and tissue repair, then to support fertility and gain a positive epigenetic effect. Don’t forget the tups Before we know it, tupping time will be upon us. Body condition of tups should be managed to hit the 3-3.5 at tupping time and they should also be offered mineral supplementation at very least, 3 weeks before tupping. Epigenetics Half a lamb’s genetics come from the ewe and the other half from the tup. Epigenetics is a simple concept where we can influence which genes are switched on and

off by our supplementation, before and during tupping. When we supplement ewes and tups with Feet & Fertility mineral buckets, coupled with good management, we see an increase in scanning percentage, improved colostrum quality and quantity, increased number of live lambs, lamb vigour and subsequent lamb performance. Selling breeding stock Although some breeding sales have been cancelled, many producers are finding innovative ways to market their breeding lambs, tups and gimmers. Making sure they’re well bred, correctly fed and fit for purpose should be the main aim and this will allow animals to catch the eye of prospective buyers. Harbro’s Maxammon Kelso Tup and Lamb is a flagship product, used by many top breeders across all breeds, to turn out quality stock. It has been designed to promote liveweight gain and muscle growth, boost overall health, immunity, fertility and bloom, while reducing stress and getting animals into optimal condition to go on to perform for their new owners.



Monitor Farm Legacy initiative set to develop long-term opportunities A new Monitor Farm Legacy initiative, which aims to provide host farmers and community groups with an opportunity to review on-going projects that have lasted beyond the last Monitor Farm Programme, has been jointly launched by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). Funded by the Scottish Government, the initiative will deliver a series of events where six former Monitor Farms are revisited virtually, and through a series of case studies, will reflect on the themes that were most relevant to their business including: herd/ flock productivity, environmental

management, diversification, and succession. Strategic, operational and management groups will be established to review and develop the key aims and objectives of the programme, from setting out KPIs to conducting a sixmonthly review of the legacy programme. The former monitor farms that will be part of the legacy initiative are due to be selected over the coming weeks and will be announced soon. Bruce McConachie, Head of Industry Development at QMS, said that Monitor Farms have established a strong track record in Scotland and the new

programme would build on the success of the initiative, which was originally launched in 2003. “With farming often an isolating and lonely profession, one of the most profound effects of the initiative has been the bringing together of farming communities. Over 70% of

individuals who attended the Monitor Farm programme between 2016-2019 said it allowed them to form new networks and build relationships within their rural community.” For more information about the programme, please visit:

Farming for biodiversity Soil Association Scotland’s new KTIF-funded project will benchmark the benefits of regenerative grazing for biodiversity A Soil Association Scotland field lab researching the benefits of a regenerative grazing method has been awarded £57k by Scottish Government’s Knowledge, Transfer and Innovation (KTIF) fund to expand its work. The new ‘Farming for Biodiversity’ project will use the funds to benchmark and demonstrate the benefits of regenerative grazing to other farmers. Scottish Farming

and Wildlife Advisers’ Group (SCOTFWAG) will provide expert input into the development of a benchmarking framework. The project will be driven by Soil Association Scotland’s mob grazing field lab group, which has progressed to an Operational Group. An Operational Group is linked to other groups across Europe to develop innovative ideas in European agriculture, and is registered with the (continued on page 74)





Bits and Bobs

By Andy Cant Northvet Veterinary Group

agricultural European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI). Senior Farming Programmes Manager at Soil Association Scotland, Colleen McCulloch, said: “Soil Association Scotland’s Farming for Biodiversity project will allow us to develop a framework to benchmark the ways grazing livestock can build natural capital as well as produce nutritious food. The project builds on the work of our mob grazing field lab, where farmers have found that rotational grazing with very long periods of grass recovery and regular shifting of livestock is improving soil health. This means more, and more diverse, bugs, birds, and plants in the field; improved business resilience; and could even mean more carbon in the soil. Sam Parsons, Estate Manager at the 2,000-hectare Balcaskie estate in Fife, is one of the members of the group. He says mob grazing has extended the grazing season at Balcaskie, saving £17,000 already, and will allow the farm to outwinter 74

300 cows this year. He says: “This year we’re mob grazing all of our cows. We’ve got three groups with 100 cows in each, plus a fourth group of 200 young. It’s been a strange year for grass growth after a very wet winter and then a dry spring, but where we were mob grazing the rest period was obvious, which encouraged us to put everything into mobs. Where we grazed it, the grass came back quickly. Where we overgrazed it or set stocked, we really struggled. It’s enabled us to store grass ahead of us now which should extend our grazing season by a month if not longer. We outwintered 87 cows last year, which saved us £17,000, and this year we’re going to outwinter 300. “I think the biggest thing for me was that this was a huge change from the conventional farming system I grew up on, and when you’re dealing with change it’s very difficult to do that on your own. It’s hard to find good advice, and the field lab brought people experimenting with similar things.”

As the summer comes to an end it will be no time till cattle are needing housed again. Weather plays its part in the timing of this but in Orkney it tends to come sooner rather than later, and with it various wee jobs that help our clients manage their animals over the winter. Pregnancy Diagnosis - no point in keeping empty cows and with good cull cow prices its well worth finding the empty ones now and cashing them in. Feet - this is a good time to not only check out any lameness but also just a routine trim to get rid of overgrowths and balance the claws so the cows and bulls can stand more comfortably over the winter. Think of it in terms of giving them a comfortable pair of shoes for the winter - you will see the benefit and getting it done before they are too heavy in calf is a good idea. Young stock - do you get regular pneumonia problems after housing? Nows the time to plan your preventative strategy! Make weaning as stress free as possible, often it occurs all at once along with housing and a change of diet so try to separate these events out. Some of our clients now fit milk sucking preventers to the calves prior to housing which

seems to work fairly well and also allows the cows udder to seal up prior to housing which can reduce mastitis post weaning. Getting worming and pneumonia vaccination done prior to housing means they are housed with clean lungs and good immunity. Using a long acting wormer in the weeks before housing means they will be housed worm free. And don’t forget to look at housing, ventilation and stocking density. Rams - time for an MOT before giving them the responsibility of siring your lamb production for next year. Checking not only new bought in rams but also your resident rams can weed out any that are not up to the task. Feeling the testicles and measuring scrotal circumference is good gauge of fertility but semen sampling gives the confidence that the sperm are swimming well and normal. Also a chance to check feet and body condition score and take any appropriate action. Dont forget to get a health plan put together which can encompass all the above and more and then act on it. It can help focus on key areas for your farm and put some order and priority in your to do list .

dairy SRUC calls on dairy farmers to help with disease study Farmers are being asked to help with a project researching the prevalence of an infectious condition in Scottish dairy herds. Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) originally put out the call for dairy farmers to get involved in the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) study in February, but the study is now set to resume following a hiatus during lockdown.

M. bovis is an infectious condition that can cause a range of symptoms in dairy cattle including pneumonia and middle ear disease in calves, and lameness and mastitis in adult cattle. Dairy farmers in Scotland who are interested in the project should email mycoplasmabovis@ or text 07785 382 371.

Vaccinate calves against bacterial pneumonia this autumn

Precision key to cost effective milk production

Understanding true energy values of fats crucial to efficient rations If precision is key to costeffective milk production, understanding the true energy values of fats will underpin building a successful diet for healthy, fertile dairy cows, explains nutritional supplement manufacturer UFAC-UK. The manufacturer of energy, protein and Omega 3 supplements advises of the need to look beyond just forage analysis, and also take a closer look at oils and fats if an accurate assessment of the energy content of feeds is to be achieved. “Of course, when formulating a diet, one of the key building blocks is a forage analysis and dairy farmers understand quality will vary and will plan to take this into account,” explains UFAC-UK technical manager, Joe Magadi. 76

“Unfortunately, many will not consider the same targeted approach to fats, assuming all oil and fats will provide similar energy content when looking to build a diet. Nothing could be further from the truth.” Each fatty acid has a unique role in the animal, so it is important to ensure the right fatty acids are fed, in the correct balance, to meet the cow’s needs at different stages of lactation. While research has reaffirmed the need to ensure cows are receiving a balanced fatty acid supply, adequate in essential fatty acids, some ignore the huge role essential Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, have in supporting the immune function and fertility during the transition period and early lactation period.

Last winter the bacterial organism M.haemolytica was by far the most commonly diagnosed cause of pneumonia in housed dairy calves1. As a result, vets are now urging milk producers to consider vaccinating valuable herd replacements pre-housing this autumn. “According to recent AHPA surveillance data for England and Wales, pneumonia diagnoses attributed to this common bacterial cause were particularly prevalent in both unweaned and weaned dairy calves over the November 2019 to March 2020 period,” says MSD Animal Health veterinary adviser Dr Kat Baxter-Smith. “It is important to understand that both viruses and bacteria can cause pneumonia. However, many viral and bacterial respiratory pathogens live harmlessly as part of the normal

micro-organism profile of the respiratory tract of healthy cattle. But when a calf’s resistance is reduced as a result of significant environmental challenges – or where there is an overwhelming pathogen load – then animal welfare compromising and financially damaging outbreaks of pneumonia can result,” she explains. Dr Baxter-Smith adds that whilst you can treat calves showing signs of pneumonia – with antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), for example – preventing performance-limiting permanent lung damage may not be possible. “Pneumonia is the most common reason for poor performance and death in growing calves2, so immunity-led disease prevention should be the focus for all calf rearers,” she says.

dairy Dairyflow announce Hooftrimming Ltd Partnership Dairyflow is proud to announce its’ new partnership with Hooftrimming Ltd, which will allow the Cheshire based company’s range of foot trimming crush’s to be available north of the border from Scotland’s leading dairy equipment dealership. “We feel the HTL range of foot trimming crush’s will be a welcome addition to our current portfolio of products. The muchadmired high quality and tailored specification enables each individual to choose the options they require to make handling cattle for hoof trimming a job that is no longer a chore” said Scott Baird, Sales Manager The HTL Static Electric Hooftrimming Crush provides optimum cow and trimmer comfort. From the lead-in rear gates, through to the adjustable selflocking head gate and with five electric hoists for legs

and bellyband lift, this crush combines maximum safety with ease of use and high through-put. The over-sized, springassisted rear rump bar ratchets down behind the cow and holds hind legs firmly, but comfortably, to ensure maximum control. The addition of a rear rump chain means this crush may also be used for AI and vet inspections. The wide rubber bellyband folds nicely around the cow and is located to ensure a comfortable support position. The large diameter tubing on the head gate increases cow comfort, and the fully opening exit means there are no obstacles for the cow to manoeuvre over on her way out. The electric hoists have been tried and tested in the field for many years and have proven to be a reliable source for controlled load lifting. DairyFlow is the main dealer for GEA Farm Technologies

in Scotland and it is centrally based at Wheatrig Farm, Kilmaurs offering a complete dairy engineering and supply service from Newton Stewart to Aberdeen taking in a large tract of prime dairy farming country. Dairyflow’s reputation is further enhanced by the knowledge and expertise of their staff who between them have a wealth of experience of working

in the dairy industry. Ongoing training programmes ensure that staff continually expand and develop their knowledge. Should any problems arise, engineers provide a 24 hour comprehensive breakdown service seven days a week. For more information on the range of Hooftrimming Ltd products please contact Scott Baird on 07793245502.


Project gets funding to develop digital dairy

A digital dairy project led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has been awarded £50,000 in seed-corn funding by UK Research and Innovation. The Strength in Places project will produce a detailed application aimed at establishing South-West Scotland and Cumbria as the leading region for advanced, sustainable and high-value dairy processing. Richard Dewhurst, Head of Dairy Research Centre in SRUC’s South and West Faculty, will lead a consortium of research partners, regional and multi-national dairy-processing companies and seven enabling technology companies, to develop the Digital Dairy ValueChain for South-West Scotland and Cumbria project. The government funding, from the UKRI’s flagship £236m Strength in Places Fund (SIPF), will help create a more efficient and resilient dairy industry. By using digital twinning, combining digital communications 78

and advanced manufacturing, it will enable the tracing of milk, cheese and other products and provide assurance to retailers, wholesalers and consumers. Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, said: “We are delighted to join forces with the University of Strathclyde, the University of the West of Scotland and other consortium partners, to bring about a step change in research and innovation in dairy production and processing. “In the long term, this project will bring much-needed jobs and economic activity to this rural area.” Strength in Places Fund panel chair, Dame Kate Barker, said: “We are pleased to recommend this bid for early-stage funding. It provides evidence of excellent research that meets business need and great potential for collaboration, by bringing together a consortium to contribute to increased growth and productivity in areas of local economic activity.”

Will we get a good deal? The nation’s attention is leaving the ongoing pandemic and focussing back onto Brexit and future trading agreements, writes NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick. The Department for International Trade have taken on board the intense lobbying and agreed to set up a Trade and Agriculture Commission, of which I am now a member and meetings are continuing at pace. This is an independent body to give recommendations on how to take account of industry concerns about ensuring a level playing field, should a deal be under consideration. The ultimate aim is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) where goods move freely from one country to another with minimum interference and additional costs, such as tariffs, quotas or subsidies. This means each country then focuses on its advantages, basically plays to its strengths and doesn’t try to produce goods it cannot or is less efficient at doing. For that to work, we need to understand the market and what it wants. From a Scottish perspective, it is primarily the rest of the UK, with more than 60 per cent of our output going here. This is the easiest market to access and is the closest with no barriers other than transport, as everything we do is aligned. On a global scale that transport is minimal. Beyond the UK our biggest market is the EU. This is a market we are still closely aligned to as we have been following the same common rules, regulations and standards, the trade routes are established and known with all the infrastructure in place and working. From there, we have to broaden our horizons and

NFU Scotland


By Andrew McCornick, President NFU Scotland

the easiest way to trade is in known markets with known supply chains both for importing and exporting.. There should be no fear of our market getting undercut or distorted provided the agreements are broadly similar to what we have always had through our membership of the EU. Beyond this we then need to be seeking ambitious new opportunities in new markets and work to achieve better without undermining our own domestic market and all it can deliver. Our ambition is clear. Get our own house in order and do better with our own domestic market. Then work with our nearest and dearest with whom we have had a long relationship with common beliefs and ambition on many matters. We must take the opportunity to rollover the alliances with our mutual contacts with whom we have had a working and trusted relationship. Then, and only then, be bold enough, once we have a strong base to work from, to explore new and exciting market opportunities anywhere that will not undermine our domestic market but enhance it and the ambitions of our businesses and people. The measure of a good deal is not what you get it is what you give up to get it.

pigs New life-saving products for young pigs Two new products – QuickStart and Electro FA (First Aid) – to help pig producers rear more pigs, especially from ultra-large litters, have been introduced to the UK industry by Agritech International Solutions Ltd. QuickStart, containing medium-chain fatty acids, vitamins and probiotics is given to new-born piglets and poor doers. A 2ml dose, administered orally during the first two days, provides a high-level energy boost and can also inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria to improve the balance of gut microflora and the immune system. Electro FA, a complementary feed contains electrolytes – potassium and sodium – as well as flavouring compounds, made from sweet chestnut and mint, known to have intestinal binding effects. Given to young pigs to aid recovery from diarrhoea it combats dehydration and

encourages the return of appetite. The 2 ml oral dose, delivered via a dosing pump, can be repeated (daily) for up to seven days. “Over 60 per cent of all losses in pig-rearing occur in the first few days of life. As piglets are born without any fat reserves, they have no stored energy so have to rely on their intake of colostrum from the sow. However, with today’s highlyprolific sows, often producing more piglets than they have teats to feed them, some piglets inevitably miss out,” said Adam Goddard, managing director of Agritech Solutions. “Scouring and dehydration are frequently a problem, too, and these products aim to overcome such challenges, enabling pig producers to rear more of the pigs born from these large litters.” Both products, which have proved to be highly successful on continental farms, are produced

by a specialist manufacturer in Europe, where they have approval under the GMP+ and FAMI-QS assurance schemes.

Supplied in 250 ml bottles providing 125 doses, QuickStart and Electro FA cost 46p and 32p per dose, respectively.

Pioneering acoustic monitoring to help keep pigs happy Lighting technology pioneer Greengage is working exclusively with BQP (British Quality Pigs) – part of Pilgrim’s Pride /Tulip Group - on a groundbreaking commercial

trial in lighting and sensor technology to improve pig performance and enhance animal welfare. Until now the Edinburghbased company has focused

mainly on the poultry sector where more than 20 percent of UK broilers are grown under its lighting. Now it is moving into the pig sector where data surrounding pig performance using intelligent lighting is limited. There is particular interest across the pig sector in the trial with acoustics in a finishing shed using a ‘Grunty’ sensor developed by the company. The acoustic sensor will eventually be coupled with the lighting system to automatically adjust the lights once an aggression event is predicted or occurring. Greengage is working on developing algorithms that will differentiate between ‘happy’ or normal sounds within a shed and aggression. This data will be analysed and then fed back to

the grower via a smartphone app, real time. “Early indications show that a change in light spectrum or intensity does have a calming effect on the pigs and through this work we are seeking to quantify this scientifically,” said Matt Kealey, Greengage sales and marketing director. “Tail biting can lead to up to appreciable mortality in a finishing shed. This is an industry-wide issue with a huge financial and animal welfare impact at a time when there is increasing pressure from audit bodies and consumers to cease tail docking. A number of factors contribute to the issue including genetics, feed and environment, yet lighting does not appear to have been looked at on a commercial scale.” 79

A strange year! By Maime Paterson Upper Auchenlay, Dunblane It’s been a funny old year, but unlike the majority of the working population, most farmers have seen minimal disruption to their usual work routines. The most notable change is the new ‘normal’ for buyers and vendors attending sales in marts where social distancing is the priority and numbers of attendees are severely restricted. This new system worked well during the summer when marts are traditionally quieter, but it has caused much angst among producers in the run-up to the busy autumn store and breeding sales season. The barometer was the first big sale of the season at Lairg where the mart is very small and the number of buyers is large. There was much trepidation beforehand, about whether buyers would decide not to come, and the possibility of another sudden lockdown. Fortunately, neither of these worst-case scenarios materialised and against all expectations, the sale average was up on the year. Just across the border, the 3-day Beltex sale at Carlisle mart was

prefaced by worries about COVID-19 spikes in northern England and whether some thoughtless action might precipitate the closure of the mart, but in the event, 3 days of selling passed without incident, there was a new record price for a ram lamb and the sale averages were well up on the year. Credit must go to the auction companies who not only have had to adjust their systems to comply with social distancing, but also enforce it which hasn’t gone down well with some. The marts have jumped through hoops to keep the marts open, maintain the throughput of livestock and keep the revenues flowing into producers’ bank accounts. This year’s tup and bull sales will not be what we’re used to, but we must be thankful they’re happening at all. So help the auctioneers, stick to the rules and we’ll get there. For further information and help contact NSA Activities and Campaigns Officer Chris Adamson on 07930225150 or

sheep Aberdeenshire Farmer Better Equipped to ‘Meat the Market’

An Aberdeenshire producer has improved his knowledge on selecting prime lambs for slaughter after attending a workshop organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) earlier this year. Gary Bruce, who is a product manager for ACT Scotland and finishes 1200 prime lambs near Ellon, attended one of the Meat the Market workshops at Woodhead Bros in Turriff. The events were held at various processing plants across Scotland and gave farmers advice on how to improve livestock selection and presentation to ensure that their livestock meet market specification. Attendees were shown how the EUROP grading system works and the handling points of selecting prime lambs, before putting it into practice and receiving a demonstration on grading. Mr Bruce said the workshop has taught him how to select lambs ready for slaughter by handling them and assessing fat cover, as appose to selecting by weight. “I was previously picking out my lambs for slaughter on what they weighed and although I was fairly accurate at hitting the 21kg carcase specification, I am now able to select them at the correct fat class,” he said. “With that in mind and by handling the lambs in the correct areas, my carcases are now

producing 3L and 3H grades, and there are less going away with 2 or 4L and 4H grades.” After attending the workshop in February, Mr Bruce said he is now more aware of how market specifications differ based on customer requirements and how carcases are graded. He said: “The Meat the Market workshop gave those who attended the chance to have an open discussion with the buyers and find out exactly what kind of carcase they are after. “We were also able to correlate between a live lamb and the grade it receives by handling some of the lambs in the lairage prior to being slaughtered. “The group then followed the lambs through the slaughtering process to see how accurate the guessing was and it was then explained to us how the grader came to the different grades.” Mr Bruce added that nearly all farmers on the workshop who handled the live lambs, predicted that they were too lean, but soon found out that after being slaughtered and hung up, the carcases actually hit target at 3L or 3H. “Hitting market specification is extremely important and it’s my aim to be in the top 5% or even 10% of profitable lamb finishing enterprises to get the maximum return on my investment,” he said.

sheep Private sales of sheep Let’s Help Make Scotch Lamb and cattle a Weekly Shopping Staple can be risky, warn auctioneers Private sales of livestock may be increasing, but they don’t come with the same guarantees as live marts and could leave farmers open to unfair prices and payment dodgers, warn auctioneers. The collective experience and bidding of farmers around a ring helps ensure a fair price for buyers and sellers, says the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS). Private sales, on the other hand, often have no such process. Auction marts are heavily governed by Trading Standards too, which means stock is always accurately weighed, and unhealthy animals are identified and filtered out of the ring. Marts also chase late payments to ensure the seller is paid, whereas private sales come with no such guarantee. “My late father used to say that a live auction was ‘justice being seen to be done’,” says Jim Craig, Managing Director of Craig Wilson Ltd Auction Mart, Ayr. “What he meant, was that live sales happen in the public domain, with a group of folk around the ring acting like a jury: the 30 or so purchasers that we normally have at each Store Cattle sale in Ayr view the stock in front of them, size them up, and then compete for them. Personalities come into play, experience and knowledge is pooled, and the audience works its way towards the price. “In short – this collective process results in stock being openly sorted, with a beast receiving a price worthy of it”.

George Milne, sheep farmer

Farmers have an important role to play in encouraging consumers to view Scotch Lamb PGI as a shopping essential and to help promote it as a versatile, quick and easy ingredient to cook with midweek, says Fife sheep farmer and QMS Board Member, George Milne. Mr Milne, who is a passionate advocate of farm visits and the need for children to be exposed to agriculture before they leave school, said he wants to help inspire consumers to include home-produced Scotch Lamb in their regular diet. “Lamb is an unsung hero of Scottish produce and, by being at the forefront of showcasing its versatility and fantastic taste, we can promote to the public the time and dedication we, as farmers, put in to rearing an animal to some of the highest welfare and environmental standards in the world,” said Mr Milne. “Consumers should be proud of Scottish agriculture and the farmers that produce their food. We undoubtedly have an opportunity to try

and connect closer to the consumer by making the most of the opportunities that QMS provide through social media, in particular. “Although the ordinary face-to-face methods of interaction – such as farm visits - are not available to us right now, we can use this opportunity to take a step back, to take a few steps forward when it comes to educating and building trust with consumers,” he added. With the recent launch of the joint GB-wide ‘Make it’ with Lamb campaign, George highlights that the combination of summer months and an increase in home cooking are ideal catalysts for farmers to get involved and encourage consumers to give Scotch Lamb a try. “During the summer months, many of us are turning to the BBQ for our evening meals and traditionally that meant reaching for sausages or burgers – but what we need to be promoting is that higher quality cuts of meat are just as suited to the BBQ,” said Mr Milne.

“Take, for instance, a leg of lamb. It’s an incredibly flavoursome and nutrient rich meat and, while some might be intimidated to try cooking it on the BBQ, with the current summer weather it’s so easy - just heat the BBQ up, remove the bone and butterfly the meat (or ask your butcher to do this), place it on the BBQ on high heat to seal the meat and then turn to a low temperature and cook for about 40 mins turning a few times. Remove from the BBQ and rest the joint for 10 mins and then carve. This will taste delicious and comfortably feed 8 people. “We are producing a highquality product and there are a number of ways that we can help drive a positive relationship built on mutual trust and respect. It can be as simple as submitting your favourite lamb recipe to your local newspaper, sharing information about how it is reared on social media, or simply sharing and supporting content from the Scotch Kitchen on QMS social channels,” he added. 81


Is lockdown life getting easier or are we just learning to live with it? Well I, like so many parents are relieved to have the childminders back open again! There was some apprehension at the start, was I doing the right thing, is it safe yet? But those fears have subsided by the (so far) continued lack of cases in Tayside and the stringent measures put in place by our childminder. The boys are loving it and I have so much work to catch up on its been difficult to know where to start! Our fresh seasonal flowers at Blooming Bees are coming into one of their most plentiful times. With a lot of outdoor crops it’s a challenge to get to them before the rain makes them not so desirable. With the easing of restrictions we have scaled back a little on our home delivery services and now have the stand at the farm road end open again. The first Weddings are also starting to trickle through, many however are much scaled back but every bit as wonderful with some planning extra ‘Do’s’ when restrictions allow. We are already sowing and planting crops ready for next year, the cycle never stops, just like agriculture. We have plans for many new flower crops and lots more of others, Scotland can grow fantastic quality produce! Back at Trainview the cows and calves are doing really well at grass so much so we are thinking of not putting the creep feeder out until September at the earliest. They are on a good clover sward but we are going to move the bull calves to a new herbal ley that we have had the sheep on. The 82


Trainview Talk Our new diary page By Valerie Orr lambs are doing fantastic on it and the ewes are fat as pigs with not one bit of wormer so far required and no dirty backsides in sight. Being a bit of a plant geek I was trying to identify all the species present in the sward but failed at naming all 13 of what many would call ‘weeds’ in this particular mix. For years we have been pushed to grow high yielding ryegrass stands and now more than ever we see a host of mineral drenches and boluses required to keep stock thriving, maybe if we look differently at the basic forage we put into our stock all of this could be

provided right from the soil? Something anyway I want to see us develop further at Trainview. Also this month James and I went on a spot of Beef Shorthorn bull shopping. It was our 1st day out together with no kids we think since last October Bull sales! Despite the rain we had a very enjoyable afternoon with the Biggar family at Chapelton, Castle Douglas. It’s safe to say it was a successful trip and the new lad Chapelton Hamlet a 6 year old former stock bull at Chapelton is now happily standing in our parks. He’ll get work soon on some of our later calvers.

This year’s round of Classification on the Beef Shorthorns and Irish Moileds has just been completed. Both breeds have had linear type classification schemes (assessing a cow for structural correctness/breed type out of 100 in essence) and we have been doing it from the very beginning being the first herd of both breeds to officially score Excellent cows. We are very pleased once again with our scores adding another Excellent Beef Shorthorn cow to the herd (now 3 in total) with Trainview Lovely Julia EX91 and it’s our 1st homebred girl to do it too, just typical however she is one who had a rendezvous with a limmy bull last summer! The heifers have scored well also, which adds a little encouragement for the future. For my dwindling Moiley herd too Knowehead Lucy a 2nd calver scored VG(Very Good)87 following in the footsteps of 3 generations of Excellent cows. We are big fans of classification and on the visit we were also joined by a local Shetland Cattle breeder interested in learning more about the process. Of course as we are now passed the ‘Glorious 12th’ (in my Native Northern Ireland of course that means something else entirely!) signalling James’s return up the glen for his work as a Ghillie for the grouse and stag shooting season. Although he actually didn’t even make it to work on the 12th. He ran into a spot of bother following those immense thunderstorms and managed to drown my car in a flood on route! I was hoping to change it soon but not with a trip to the scrap yard! Brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘It never rains but pours’…. Stay safe all

Has 2020 been an amazing year for you? Have you made tremendous progress? Maybe you watched your business grow exponentially, broadened your skills, and advanced your career? Discovered a new talent, uncovered a latent desire to further your knowledge about the outer reaches of Space or perhaps you’ve become super-fit with a new health and fitness regime? Nope, me neither. But it was the year when I mastered my lengthy and aged ‘to-do’ list. Oh boy, what a sense of satisfaction it gave me, the sum total of my 2020 lockdown achievements. Our beloved countryside and rural communities repeatedly hit the headlines thanks to the unwanted increase in dirty camping. Dirty campers are irresponsible characters. Typically, they set up their camps close to roads, churn up the vegetation and leave all their rubbish behind. They recklessly chop down trees and damage the countryside with fires. Dirty camping is not to be confused with responsible roadside camping or wild camping: usually hillwalkers and mountain climbers, sensibly camping in the wilds and leaving no trace left behind. The rural rubbish problem isn’t new though, people have dumped their rubbish in the countryside forever. Over the decades there were numerous keep our countryside clean campaigns,

by Linda Mellor

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE national take your litter home messages, and local littering clean-up initiatives. There was also a new world-wide environmental awareness of how human rubbish impacted on our planet. Farms, estates, and rural properties have been blighted with fly-tipping for years but the 2020 version was probably the worst because many recycling centres were closed. Early in lockdown people headed out of the towns and cities to sit out the pandemic in the countryside. They thought the ‘don’t travel’ message, and the 5-mile restriction didn’t apply to them and they could escape and live in their tent/ campervan/holiday home and all would be well. Thankfully, the authorities took action, and social media and news sites were full of photographs and people were shamed into going back home.

Many of Scotland’s beauty sports were invaded with visitors who thought they were doing the right thing by escaping the build-up areas. Wrong. They didn’t give a hoot about what they may have brought with them, and how their presence impacted on fragile rural communities. They emptied the shelves of the local shops and left virtually nothing for locals. Many rural folk living in villages do not have their own transport or access to public transport. In remote communities, a high percentage are often elderly, and depend on a local shop as it is may be their only lifeline for essentials. Remote communities do not have the luxury of an online food shopping delivery service from big supermarkets or a choice of take-aways around the corner. As lockdown eased, the problem did not go away, it just changed. More people came to the countryside, and by more people, I mean they came in droves and swamped the beauty spots with their brightly coloured tents and tarpaulins, churned up the verges, moved stones, trampled over and damaged the local flora with their cars, killed wildlife crossing the road, and cut down trees for their fires. Groups of people took over previously tranquil Lochside beauty spots. The areas were churned up as they repeatedly moved their vehicles around. The 2 metre social distancing

did not exist in their make-shift campsites. When they left they forgot to clean up, and take all their rubbish away. It wasn’t just a few bags of waste, it was often tents, chairs, and bedding they left behind. Public facilities like toilets were closed during lockdown. There were so many irresponsible people dirty camping it doesn’t bare thinking about the details of their filthy toileting habits by our lochs and beauty spots. Like everything else they deposited in our countryside, human waste was left behind for someone else to clean up. There’s a plague of stupidity blighting our countryside. Some people holidayed in Scotland and existed in a parallel universe and the government rules did not apply to them. They played loud music, set off fireworks, gathered in large groups, let their dogs run amok because ‘it’s the countryside’. Others booked up self-catering accommodation and thought the rural locations made them immune to the virus. Limiting their household numbers and social distancing did not apply to them either because ‘it’s the countryside’ and they could do whatever they wanted. 2020 has challenged most of us like nothing else, it certainly revealed how ignorant many factions of our population are, and how deep the depth of disrespect for our countryside actually is. 83

estate Lantra Scotland sets challenge to imagine our rural future with ‘Visions of 2050’ competition While 2050 may seem a long way off at the moment, it is clear that the changes we make now are important in shaping our future and what life will ‘look like’ for the next generation, and the one to follow that. To help us start thinking about the legacy we’re leaving behind and the future we want to build, Lantra Scotland and Jane Craigie Marketing are running a competition to find out what people think life on the land (or water) in Scotland will look like in thirty years’ time. The challenge is open to anyone, and as well as a prize of £300 for the winning entry, the ideas of all of those who are shortlisted will be published and shared so that others can ‘see’ their vision too. Lantra Scotland’s director, Liz Barron-Majerik, explained: “The only thing that we’re asking is that the visions people share with us should be based in rural Scotland in 2050, but other than that we’re open-minded about the format. “It can be a fictional story, though would have to be unpublished, original, and under 4000 words; it can be poetry of up to 40 lines, blogs or articles of up to 2000 words and even include jpg images. We’d also welcome short films, shot on digital in landscape format. “We encourage submissions from individuals and teams 84

associated with land-based and aquaculture organisations, specialised institutions, colleges and universities and charities. Essentially, anyone with a vision of what life in Scotland might be like in 2050.” Jane Craigie of Jane Craigie Marketing said: “The pandemic has created a lot of challenges for rural places, but it also gives us all the opportunity to step back and rethink what the future of rural places, businesses and life might look like. This will take imagination and bravery and we think now is a really important moment to share our personal vision and hopes for how we live our lives; and to debate what different looks like.” Entries will be judged by a panel and evaluated on originality and future vision.

Entries must be sent to by 5pm on 30th September 2020. You can get some inspiration on what life might be like in 2050 at For full details of the competition, see visions-2050-competition-terms-and-conditions

Farming Partnership to protect wading birds A partnership between RSPB Scotland, SAC Consulting and 17 farmers in the upper Clyde Valley has received Biodiversity Challenge Funding from Scottish Natural Heritage in order to expand local conservation efforts for wading birds.

The £90, 000 of funding will allow a package of work to improve farmland habitats for the birds and undertake monitoring to better understand how these threatened birds are faring across the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire uplands. Globally, Scotland and

the UK are a significant home for waders, yet here they are in steep decline, with two thirds of curlews and half of lapwings lost in Scotland since 1994. The group of 17 South Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire farmers were initially part of


Quail on a Scottish farm the RSPB’s Clyde Valley Wader Initiative, which saw them work with SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College, to help direct agri-environment funding to farmers in wader hotpots. The parties then worked with the Soil Association Scotland- led Rural Innovation Support Service to carry on and expand the work. Senior conservation advisor with RSPB Scotland, Dan Brown, who will manage the new project, said the reasons for the birds nesting in the area were varied,

but extensive farming systems, agri-environment schemes and predator management were the most important factors. He said: “Scotland is a key country for these species, and the agrienvironment schemes have been a key delivery mechanism for their survival outside of nature reserves. But their breeding success is still too low, so we need to understand and quantify what works, to better target the schemes and future management.�

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Dr Dave Parish, Head of GWCT Scottish Lowland Research The common quail or European quail is a small, ground nesting game bird from the pheasant family with a distinctive call. We know a little bit about this secretive but highly mobile species from research, much of it done in Spain. Quail practice serial polygamy, with males mating with and guarding one female until she lays, and then going in search of another. Abundance estimates are dubious based as they usually are on the number of calling males heard, as males temporarily cease calling once mated. Quail are scarce, irregular visitors to Scotland and numbers vary greatly from year to year – but there is a great deal of affection for them amongst farmers. Because of their secretive nature we know little about their habitat use, but they are reported most often in cereal crops, mainly wheat and barley, leaving crops shortly after harvest. That said, there are few quantitative records on habitat preferences. 4HE 'AME 7ILDLIFE Conservation Trust has now analysed a long-term dataset over 33 years from a single farm in Angus where quail were recorded by the same observer in every year and effort was similar across years. From this work we know the time of year when quail were first recorded on the farm,

and approximate numbers of adults and broods. There were only three years in the whole period when quail were not encountered at all, with on average 1.8 adults seen each year if we take a very conservative approach. Comparing with countywide local sources, this often represented up to 40% of all quail seen in Angus, probably reflecting the under-recording of this species. The data also give us some idea of habitat preferences as we were able to take into account the amount of habitat available. This showed spring barley was strongly selected but during May and June (before cereals were well established) rough, grassy banks were by far the most preferred habitat. This latest work tells us a little more about this secretive bird but there is still a great deal that we do not know about quail in Scotland. The paper ‘Quail Coturnix coturnix numbers and habitat use on an Angus farm’, 1985-2017 by . (AYWARD $ 0ARISH ! Smith is soon to be published in Scottish Birds. Further information from: Dr Dave Parish 'AME 7ILDLIFE Conservation Trust Tel: 01738 551511 Mob: 07889 891956 85

estate Mobile app to transform recording of raptors on grouse moors Recording bird of prey sightings across Scotland is set to take a major step forward thanks to a new app being developed in conjunction with grouse moors and gamekeepers. The app, which uses the EpiCollect5 platform developed by Imperial College London, is currently being trialled by gamekeepers and landowners. Use of the new technology follows the successful introduction of the phone app for mountain hare counting which has enabled data to be reported from estates directly to the lead research organisation for the species, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. Summary data can then be shared with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Data collected on mountain hares demonstrated there were around 35 times more hares on grouse moors compared with unmanaged upland habitat. It is hoped that data from the new app will contribute to an authoritative reflection of raptor presence on moorland managed for grouse. Keepers and land managers using the app can record species such as eagles, hen harriers and buzzards and log photographs and behaviours of the birds and the time they are spotted. Scientists from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust are discussing this data and protocols with SNH, whose own research has identified the potential value of land managers’ sightings of species and the need to share this information. Estates have engaged independent researchers who have recorded scores of bird species on their land but a gap remains for the majority of moors to record raptor sightings in real time. 86

Getting the economy back on track By Eleanor Kay, 0OLICY !DVISER !GRICULTURE AT 3COTTISH ,AND %STATES Balancing the economic recovery from COVID-19 and achieving our long-term transition to net zero carbon emissions could be seen as a difficult path to negotiate. However, the recent report of the Scottish Government’s advisory group on economic recovery underlined the importance of natural capital and local supply chains in the recovery – both elements we highlighted last year in SLE’s #Route2050 paper. That document looked at rural development towards 2050 through the prism of Brexit and the climate emergency. However, as the idea of a ‘green recovery’ gains greater prominence, we are seeing a wide spectrum of stakeholders call for actions to build a resilient rural economy that consider the environment as part of the solution in helping us prosper economically. The latest Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Progress Report to Parliament identified six principles for a resilient recovery and said that devolved governments would have an increasingly important role to play in tackling climate change. For agriculture, the CCC was critical that there have been no Scottish policies

introduced in the last year to reduce agricultural emissions and Scotland has yet to set out the future direction of its rural support policy postCAP – an issue which was again raised during Stage 2 of the Scottish Agriculture Bill. Despite this year’s Scottish budget containing several spending commitments as recommended by the Scottish Climate Emergency Response Group (CERG), such as the Agricultural Transformation Programme, unfortunately COVID-19 has put many of these measures on hold. However, it is important that this work is not placed on the backburner and then forgotten about. The most recent paper from CERG – which SLE feeds into on rural and land management matters - identified a need to invest in training of more farm advisors who understand both farming and forestry and who can provide effective outreach to farmers and land-managers to help them manage their land in the most efficient ways. Longer term, these advisors could use regional land use frameworks to advise individual land managers on priority actions to access and secure rural support,

how to increase the positive climate impact of their land, and how further assistance can be accessed. Also part of the mix is support for more local processing for food and drink. By increasing local processing it will create employment, add value to primary products and also protect the high food standards and reputation of Scottish food and drink – helping sustain the local food revolution in Scotland. The current crisis has exposed a lack of processing capacity in the Scottish food system, making the system less adaptable and resilient and our aim should be to support greater production and consumption in Scotland of local produce. Changes to regulatory system should enable the roll out local abattoirs and mobile abattoir hubs. The synergies between the immediate economic recovery from COVID-19 and building a resilient rural economy for decades to come – one which also delivers on climate change – are clear to see. The challenge for all of us, from government to stakeholders to individual businesses, is to grasp the opportunity whilst it is available to us.

For more information Telephone : 0131 653 5400

forestry Modern forests can work for carbon - and nature Planting and managing trees in the UK to produce wood can deliver biodiversity benefits as well as playing a vital role in the fight against climate change, a new report argues. After Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith called for a “colossal endeavour” to more than double existing planting rates by 2025, Confor has produced an analysis of evidence to show that forests planted in the UK for wood production have significant value as biodiversity habitats. Policy researcher Eleanor Harris draws on a huge body of research and real-life case studies to argue that suitably-sited forests for wood production can deliver great benefits for wildlife - and that appropriate harvesting from native woodland can often enhance its biodiversity value. She sought and received helpful feedback from a wide range of organisations on the Biodiversity, Forestry and Wood report, including Butterfly Conservation, British Trust for Ornithology and WWF Scotland. “For many years, the biodiversity value of woodproducing forests and managed woodland of all types has

been under-valued and underrecognised,” said Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, the leading trade body for the UK’s forestry and wood-using industry. “As we face climate and nature emergencies, it’s vital that all suitable action is taken and that we base our actions on evidence. This analysis argues that well-managed forests can deliver positive climate and biodiversity benefits.” The report highlights that producing more wood in the UK will also reduce pressure on fragile forests overseas – what Mr Goodall calls “a biodiversity double-whammy.” Currently, the UK imports 80% of its wood products - second only globally to China in terms of net imports. Mr Goodall added: “We want this report to stimulate debate. To tackle massive societal challenges like the climate and nature crises, we have to be open to the evidence and act accordingly. “We need to move on from traditional thinking of producing wood or supporting wildlife, to one of recognising how we can achieve win-wins.

Forestry lecturer takes his leaf A popular forestry lecturer is retiring from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) more than 40 years after being appointed to develop and deliver forestry courses. Tom Karas, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours list in 2016, joined what was then Barony Agricultural College near Dumfries in 1980. Together with John Bartle, he was initially tasked with developing and delivering 12-week-long forestry courses for Youth Opportunity Programme trainees.

The courses have continued to run ever since under many guises, including block release, short and full-time courses. The forestry department at Barony, which became part of SRUC in 2012 after it merged with Elmwood, Oatridge and the Scottish Agricultural College, has also seen many changes over the years. “Our base started as the potting shed down at the walled garden,” said Tom. “We then received funding to build the front third of the forestry shed. This was extended to its 87

forestry current size before EU money was used to build the Scottish Forest Industry Technology Centre (SFITC) – known as the upturned boat – and the Forest Engineering workshop. “Classrooms and offices have also changed over the years, from blackboards to whiteboards and now smartboards, and from no computers, to a computer room, tablets and smart phones. “We were even ahead of the game when we were involved in

a trial of on-line, Europe-wide training. “It has been 40 years with never a dull moment. We have always been prepared to embrace change for the benefit of our students. Watch this space as the everevolving team take us through the next ten years to the big 50.” Tom, who was also Senior Warden for residential students at SRUC Barony, received his MBE for Services to Rural Education in Scotland.

The Doosan DX235LCR-5 Excels The Bühler forestry operation, based in Schenkenzell in Germany, specializes in the harvesting of heavy timber from the most difficult of terrains. This task requires enormously powerful machines with high hydraulic power. Moreover, these machines must be especially stable and manoeuvrable in the demanding conditions prevailing in the forest. This is why owner, Edwin Bühler, chose a Doosan DX235LCR-5 model when purchasing a new forestry excavator. The conversion of the excavator purchased from the Doosan dealer, Ummenhofer, was carried out by the engineering office for construction and forestry machines at Wirkstoff Technik in Constance. Due to the continuous increase in storm and beetle wood damage, the use of powerful forestry excavators has become unavoidable in forestry operations. Narrow space conditions, extreme terrain, especially off the forest roads and steep slopes place high demands on


the machines. Therefore, the choice of the carrier unit, which is adapted to the individual customer’s needs by means of appropriate conversion measures, is of great importance. To find the right machine for its needs, Edwin Bühler turned to the specialists at Wirkstoff Technik. To select the excavator that would meet all the requirements desired by Edwin Bühler, models from different manufacturers were compared with each other on the basis of defined criteria. Decisive factors were the engine, rear swing radius, hydraulic power, price and the dealer. Thomas Firner, owner of Wirkstoff Technik, said: “The Doosan DX235LCR-5 has a powerful and dependable Doosan six-cylinder engine that meets the high performance requirements of processing-aggregate operations. The compact design of the machine makes it possible to swivel the machine even in tight spaces, such as on forest tracks with steep rocky slopes. The dozer blade increases the stability even more.“

Southern Belle You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts Five months on, I thought we would be back to relative normality or “the new normal” as it is now known. Lock down, has come and gone and come back again, thanks to a bunch of people who claims to want their families safe, then to go out on the pull and drink with their mates! With the autumn sales now started, this is the first time that the farming fraternity has been really affected by the Covid regulations and it is clear, that in a few cases, they have the same attitude as some footballers. Apparently, it is OK to speak on your phone if you are driving a tractor, do excessive speed through a village when the kids are out on their bikes and meet up with one another in a lay-by for a catch up without social distancing. Having visited Carlisle market recently, the efforts to enforce the current

face-covering and social distancing regulations had become so onerous for the mart staff, with the abuse they were suffering from some of their customers, it led to the market taking the decision to employ a professional security firm, to ensure that the rules were adhered to. Buyers and sellers alike, just couldn’t understand, that without these rules in place, they would not be able to have a market to sell or buy anything in! On the other side of the coin, however, I had an email this week, from someone who had entered sheep for a sale, saying that he was withdrawing them because, he “did not agree with” the “mandatory face covering” rule being enforced by Carlisle and am not supporting mass hysteria regarding the alleged COVID 19 virus.” Sometimes you just can’t win. Maybe the world is flat after all??!!

machinery Netherton Tractors to cover northern Scotland Following last month’s announcement that John Deere dealer Netherton Tractors Ltd is to establish a new agricultural and homeowner equipment outlet in the Perth and Kinross area, a further expansion of the dealership’s territory is now being planned. As of November 1, 2020, the dealership will also operate from two new outlets in Turriff, Aberdeenshire and Nairn, Highland, replacing HRN Tractors Ltd in that region. This will bring the total number of Netherton group branches to five, including the two established businesses at Forfar in Angus and Glenrothes in Fife. “Since Netherton Tractors joined the John Deere agricultural dealer network in 1987, it has


machinery grown the business to become one of our best performing dealerships,” says John Deere Limited division sales manager Chris Meacock. “It is well known and appreciated for delivering a very high standard of customer service and support. We are therefore delighted that this latest expansion into the north of Scotland will enhance the customer experience of our advanced technology product range.” Netherton’s general manager Garry Smith adds: “This latest expansion into the north of the country represents another considerable investment in our business, and we very much look forward to establishing a positive presence in the region as soon as possible. “We are proud of our reputation for delivering top quality after-sales and service support to our customers, across the full range of John Deere

agricultural and homeowner equipment as well as our other key franchises. We are actively seeking suitable premises in the

Turriff and Nairn areas and will be looking to recruit new and experienced staff to meet the same high standards.”

Further details of the new Netherton Tractors outlets will be provided in due course.

Original Parts now with XHD treatment A new range of tungsten carbidetipped parts has been developed by Kverneland for use on its ploughs and power harrows. Called XHD Carbide, these extra heavy-duty components incorporate a new design of tungsten carbide tile, that wraps around the leading edge of parts. This corner tile design prevents the hard-wearing elements from being damaged or knocked off by hidden obstructions, when leading edges are put to work. For ploughs, the extended range of carbide-tipped components

now joins the plough point, and includes short and long landsides, shins and skimmer shares. For power harrows, extra protection comes from wrapping the leading edge of the tine with a tungsten carbide tile. “We’re extremely excited about this new range of XHD

original parts,” says Richard Bennett, Kverneland parts marketing manager. “The base metal on all XHD parts receive the same heat-treatment and toughness processes as all other Kverneland original parts, but with the addition of tungsten carbide tiles.”

Hustler Equipment releases new versatile Combination Feed Wagons There is no doubt that TMR mixer wagons have their place in a feedlot operation where a highperformance diet is required day in and day out and the consistency of

the mix is essential. However, for the typical farmer, using a TMR to feed a combination of clamp silage, bales and other fodder can have a lot of drawbacks. A TMR (continued on page 92)


machinery can cost the farmer a lot of money, consume a lot of time, fuel and require a significant amount of maintenance, but until now there was no other option. Now introducing Hustler Equipment’s brand-new Combi wagon range, arguably the biggest leap in feed out wagon innovation since the invention of the Super Comby some 43 years ago. These hydraulic powered wagons feed any type of livestock feed; round or square bales, clamp silage, maize, root-crops, food waste or anything else the user might desire. Thanks to the unique design, any possibility of feed getting blocked in delivery chute allowing for hassle-free operation. The ability to feed out in pasture is limited with TMR wagons due to their sheer weight, once loaded the high load centre makes them very unstable on undulating terrain, confining the use of the TMR to a feed pad or feed lot for operator safety. This limits options for the farmer and prevents the possibility


of supplement feeding in pasture, particularly during late autumn and early spring conditions where there are savings to be had by putting the herd out to pasture early and supplementing their grazing with

either dry hay or silage. The new Combi range is designed with a low centre of gravity and large floatation tyres to allow for safe usage in undulating terrain and avoids soil compaction. Weighing

in at around 30% less than the equivalent size TMR, with a load capacity of over double that of the TMR, the Combi Wagon provides a massive advantage in versatility of use.

machinery Ktwo build trailer over 3 meters wide for North America

Ktwo, one of the biggest British manufacturers of farming machinery, have built a 3.2 metre wide machine based on their popular Roadeo Curve Trailers to fulfil the export market needs in North America. The Ktwo range of Roadeo Curve Tipping Trailers are well known across the UK for their high-quality build and heavyduty design capacity. Ktwo saw an opportunity in the North American market for a strong high-quality agriculture trailer after being approached by several companies across America and Canada this year alone. They needed a manufacturer with the capacity and experience to fulfil their need for strong, large silage trailers to hold volumes of over 52m3 (1,850 cubic ft). Ktwo purchased Warwick Trailers last year to increase the size of their production facilities to nearly 80,000 square foot, giving them the space to produce more for their export markets. ‘’With our larger facilities we can focus on our export market growth. We already 94

have machines around the world, but we are now able to develop our range more so for the export needs across different countries.’’ explains Robbie Polson, Ktwo Managing Director. Ktwo already has examples of their UK leading Roadeo Compact and Push trailers operating in Canada and enquiries for more, along with spreaders and now tipping trailers. ‘’Specifically for North America, we have taken our Ktwo Roadeo Curve Trailers and increased the width from 2.5m to 3.2m wide. The bigger machines are all tri axles with steering axles and 800 tyres to cope with the large size and capacity. It has been a good challenge and we’re excited for our future growth in export worldwide.’’ The first trailer has been shipped, along with a tandem Ktwo Duo muck spreader, and is due to arrive into America by the end of this July. The next four trailers and a further three spreaders will be shipped in the coming weeks.

machinery New LEXION takes straw-walker combines to higher level

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As part of the natural evolution of the CLAAS LEXION range, the introduction of the new second generation LEXION 6000 and 5000 range of straw-walkers combine harvesters see’s not only a considerable expansion in models available, but also the introduction of a host of new features all designed to provide a further increase in output and efficiency. Redesigned from the ground up, central to the new LEXION 6000/5000 range of combines is the completely new APS SYNFLOW WALKER threshing system, which sets a new standard for the threshing and separation performance from straw-walker combines. A total of seven new models are available in the range, comprising four 6-walker LEXION 6000 versions and three 5-walker LEXION 5000 models. This compares to five models in the previous LEXION

600 range, of which three were six-walker and two were fivewalker. Topping the range is the new LEXION 6900 which, with a power output of 507hp and maximum grain tank capacity of 13,500 litres, further extends the overlap between LEXION strawwalker and HYBRID models. In addition to the new SYNFLOW WALKER threshing system, the LEXION 6000/5000 also features the well-proven JETSTREAM cleaning system on all models. Tank capacities and unloading volumes have also been increased, while new engines provide greater power and the introduction of DYNAMIC POWER. In the cab, the operator benefits from a state-of-the-art workplace with the latest touchscreen CEBIS terminal and the option of advanced automated operator assistance systems.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out November 2020


Subscription page 105

machinery The Elise 900 from Kovako Named after the creators’ daughter, the Elise 900 is the worlds’ first fully electric skid steer loader. It is 100% environmentally friendly. The loader can be driven manually by way of two in cab joysticks or remotely via a mobile phone supplied with the machine as standard or via an optional 433 Mhz two joystick control set. The Kovaco Electric mobile phone application is available to download from the internet. This application allows the mobile phone to be used as a remote dashboard when operating from outside the cab of the Elise 900 or as a conventional type dashboard when operating the machine whilst in the cab. The display documents the speed at which the hydraulics and forward motion are set at (4 speeds), bucket self-levelling operations, battery usage and life as well as the 2 joystick control function when in “remote mode”. The Kovaco Electric Company have made 2 battery types available to its customers to ideally suit all operations and budgets. The first battery (240Ah) affords the operator up to six hours

of continuous operation and the second bigger battery (400 Ah) will allow usage of 8 hours and upwards. The bigger the battery the more the lift capacity. These batteries can be charged to 100% in 3.5 hours. Depending upon battery size the Elise 900 has two operating weight-lifting capacities. The

smaller version allows the operator to move loads of up to 900 Kg and the second 1400 Kg. As well as helping to save the environment, the Elise 900 provides a solution to operations whereby fuel emissions and noise levels are an issue. No diesel powered engine = no fumes and a dramatically

reduced noise output. As there are only electrical motors in the machine service costs are set to a minimum and diesel costs have been completely eliminated. Operational cost savings vs a conventional loader are dramatic and will pay for the machine (subject to usage) within the first years of operation.

New trailed stubble cultivator from Pöttinger With the new TERRIA stubble cultivator line in the trailed stubble cultivator sector Pöttinger presents a new solution that will be available from November 2020. With working widths of 4.0 to 6.0 metres and as 3- and 4-row models (TERRIA 4030, 5030, 6030 and TERRIA 4040, 5040, 6040) this machinery offers a wide range of tillage applications. The choice is yours – from shallow stubble cultivation to full-depth tillage. The TERRIA trailed stubble cultivator’s tools are arranged symmetrically along the drag line. This ensures reliable penetration even in difficult conditions as well as driving stability, thorough loosening and perfect mixing. To guarantee 98

machinery a steady soil flow even where there are large quantities of straw and harvest residues, the trailed TERRIA stubble cultivator has a generous frame height. Tilling depths of 5 to 35 cm are possible. Pöttinger has further improved its existing solution for the NONSTOP stone protection system. This is vital for uninterrupted operation. Besides a mechanical NOVA

element (600 kg triggering force), an adjustable hydraulic version (650 kg triggering force) has been added to the range. Both systems guarantee maximum trip clearance and reduce wear and tear on both frame and equipment. Two settings allow adjustment of the leg to the desired task. Tilling intensity varies according to the position selected – flat or

steep. The screws also function as shear bolt protection. Flexibility is also provided by two wing positions for shallow cuttingthrough or generous mixing. The wear parts supplied by Pöttinger comprise the well-known lines CLASSIC, DURASTAR and DURASTAR PLUS. A 40mm wide DURASTAR narrow share is also available for deep loosening.

New BvL V-CONNECT Mixer Control for a better overview during feeding

Consistency is the key to a good ration mix and ultimately herd performance. To help achieve this Bernard van Lengerich Maschinenfabrik (BvL) has introduced a low-cost control unit that allows both the mixing time and mixing speed to be displayed. The new BvL V-Connect Mixer Control is available across the complete range of BvL diet feeders and can also be retro-fitted to current machines in the field. The Mixer Control is designed to provide the operator with a simple system by which they can display both the mixing auger speed and total revolutions, in addition to displaying and controlling the mixing time, plus it includes an integrated hours counter. Typically, this functionality is only found on diet feeders fitted with higher specification control systems often incorporating a weighing system and automated shut-off. Instead of having to just rely on the PTO speed setting, by being able to accurately monitor and so adjust the mixing auger speed relative to load density, this gives the operator far more repeatable control of the eventual ration mix consistency, so helping boost and maintain herd performance. 100

machinery Massey Ferguson MF 8S Series introduces a new era of straightforward, dependable and connected tractors Massey Ferguson is proud to announce the launch of the completely new MF 8S Series, which introduces a new era of Straightforward and Dependable tractors, delivering new levels of comfort and efficiency for fully connected smart and sustainable farming. Designed for farmers by farmers, following seven years of testing around the globe and extensive customer consultations, the MF 8S Series delivers exactly what operators want. While equipped with superb specifications, at the same time it offers exceptional value for money by ensuring owners will only pay for what they need. “Our MF NEXT visionary concept, shown for the first time at Agritechnica in 2019, is now reality,” says Thierry Lhotte, Vice President & Managing Director Massey Ferguson, Europe & Middle East. “Last November we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, which made the impossible become possible. Now it is time to deliver that vision landing on earth. We are not launching just a tractor, but also marking a new era for our brand.” There are 4 completely new MF 8S Series tractor models all featured by the unique “Protect-U” cab/engine installation and a radical ‘neoretro’ design. Built on a 3.05m wheelbase they offer maximum power from 205hp to 265hp, all with an extra 20hp from Engine Power Management (EPM). At the same time Massey Ferguson introduces new, straightforward numbering. Taking as example the MF 8S.265 model: the 8 stands for the Series, the S stands for the specification level and the last

three digits are the maximum power.

The launch of the MF 8S Series heralds a completely

new era for Massey Ferguson, introducing an enhanced user


machinery experience encompassing the benefits of connectivity and smart farming technologies. To meet the demand of modern, sustainable farming Massey Ferguson combines state-of-the-art machinery with a comprehensive range of fully connected services to help customers manage their businesses more effectively.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out November 2020


finance Union urges those receiving loan scheme letters to ‘opt in’ to payment offer Scottish farmers and crofters have started to receive loan scheme offer letters from Scottish Government and NFU Scotland is urging recipients to ‘opt in’. The 2020 National Basic Payment Support Scheme (NPBS) offers recipients the opportunity to receive up to 95 percent of their Basic Payment Scheme and Greening payments in advance. Around 17,300 businesses are expected to receive a loan offer and around 16,000 letters are in the first round. Those looking to accept the offer and receive payment without delay are asked to respond by 4 September and, as with previous loan schemes, the ‘opt in’ acceptance is simple and can be completed by email or by post. All payments will be made in sterling. NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “The announcement that the vast majority of Scotland’s farmers and crofters can access up 95 percent of their BPS and Greening payments from September this year will add certainty and stability across Scottish agriculture and the wider rural community at a time of great change. “Previous loan schemes have provided an invaluable boost to the rural economy each autumn,

stimulating investment in farms and crofts across the country. This year, as we recover from Covid-19, the scheme will also provide much-needed cash flow ahead of an unknown winter that will undoubtedly be dominated by Brexit.

“The ability for Scottish Government to bring forward this loan scheme several weeks earlier than previous loan schemes is also testament to the commitment and hard work undertaken by farmers and crofters, Scottish Government officials and SGRPID staff in sticking

to the 15 May SAF application deadline, despite the unprecedented circumstances this year. “I would urge all to opt into this year’s scheme and to do so by email where possible to ensure payments are processed and made as soon as possible.”

Two interest free finance deals on Farmtrac tractors Cashflow friendly payments to help manage budgets from Reesink Agriculture Reesink Agriculture, UK distributor of Farmtrac tractors, appreciates finances are likely tighter than expected in these difficult times and is supporting customers in getting the tractor

they need by launching two interest-free finance deals, both with manageable monthly repayments to help ease budgets. Having reliable and economic tractors in the shed is vital, now

more than ever, considering the unprecedented circumstances the agricultural community finds itself in. Reesink tractor sales manager Steven Haynes says: “We understand that for most, this

year’s forecasts, plans and budgets have been hugely affected by the effect of Coronavirus and it’s vital that as a distributor we support our customers in delivering against their objectives. 103


THEMONEYMAN Paying the bill for Covid-19 By Ian Craig, Campbell Dallas, Accounts & Business Services

“These finance options are designed to help customers buy the tractors they need without compromising cash flow, allowing them to replenish or add to their fleet in a way that suits their financial situation.” That’s why Reesink Agriculture has been working with its finance partner DLL Group, who have over the past 12 months funded over 7000 purchases of agricultural equipment in the UK, to create two interest free finance deals for three of its popular Farmtrac tractors – the FT22, FT26 and FT30 models from Farmtrac’s cost-effective, intuitive, comprehensive and innovative nine-strong smartlooking 22-113hp tractor range.

One deal offers zero percent finance for 30 months on a monthly payment scheme. Based on a 1+29 payment profile, financing up to 60 percent of the tractor’s RRP price. The second option is again zero percent finance available over three years based on three annual payments, again on 60 percent of the tractor’s RRP price. Both deals are available to businesses from now until 30 September 2020. Finance is subject to acceptance and only available in the UK. To find out more contact Reesink on 01480 226800 or email

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 105

You never know what’s round the corner, and 2020 is certainly going to be one to remember. After throwing the kitchen sink at the economy, the UK government is on track to post an eye watering £350 billion budget deficit in the current fiscal year. Somehow though the government manages to raise money on the bond markets, and the question is often asked where does all this money come from? The government issues bonds, sometimes referred to as gilts, of varying maturities paying fixed interest or interest linked to inflation. The majority of bonds are bought by financial institutions like pension funds who need a fixed income stream and the investor knows the government bonds are liquid and generally safe. Bond yields have fallen since the start of the Covid crisis, and with investors craving safe assets, it has never been a better time for the government to get cash in from the bonds market. The average 10 year yield on gilts was 0.9% at the start of the crisis, but due to reduction in base rate and more quantitative easing, the average 10 year yield is now around 0.04%. So the government can fund itself much more cheaply than before, spreading the cost over many years and ensuring repayments dates are scattered too. In the short term cheap borrowing for the government is helpful, but there is a limit and it cannot keep borrowing its way out of a recession. The government needs to provide stimulus to get the economy growing at

a faster rate than in recent years, and whilst this will be the start of restoring public finances, I suspect more action will be required to plug the gap. After a period of austerity, you would imagine there is limited scope for further reductions in public expenditure and therefore increasing tax receipts seems a likely option. From a farming perspective, capital taxes are the biggest area of concern. Capital taxes do not effect a significant percentage of the voting population and politically may be more attractive to tinker with than perhaps income taxes. Also, there has been significant capital growth in rural property values in recent decades so altering Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax could potentially be a means of generating additional tax revenue. It may be worth giving thought to taking advantage of current reliefs where possible, specifically if you are considering transferring agricultural land and property. As always we shouldn’t let the tax tail wag the dog, especially when any tax changes are speculative. However, if succession planning is on the cards anyway, now may be a good time to review things.

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

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William Burgess Produce World and Burgess Farms’ chairman, William Burgess, has been appointed as the new BASIS chairman, and took over from Chris Clarke after his seven year tenure came to an end on 16 April. Stephen Jacob, BASIS CEO, explains that William is an experienced business person who holds a raft of knowledge and contacts throughout the food and farming industry, making him the ideal candidate for the nonexecutive role. William originally trained and practiced as a chartered accountant before joining the family business, becoming CEO of Produce World and Burgess Farms in 2000 and chairman in 2015. His current role sees him in an outward facing position, with a large focus on networking with key stakeholders – an important skill that will be invaluable to BASIS,” Stephen says. William is looking forward to taking on the new challenge and says that the role will bring mutual benefits, as he hopes to build on the great work of his predecessor.

Claire Donaghue OSI Europe’s Operations Director and Head of Sustainability, Claire Donoghue, has been named Board Chair of Europe’s largest multi-stakeholder group for beef sustainability. The European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) announced her election to the three-year position on 15 July, 2020. As Board Chair, Donoghue will oversee the continued development of the sustainability platform, which launched in 2018 as a regional division of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). Like its global counterpart, the ERBS works with stakeholders across the beef industry, from farmers to distributors, to guide improvements in a range of sustainability areas. ERBS is focused in particular on animal health and welfare, animal medicine usage, farm management and greenhouse gas emissions. “As a founding member of the ERBS and staunch supporter of sustainability roundtables, OSI is thrilled to have one of our own at the helm of a group we’ve been proud to work with,” said Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, OSI’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “We look forward to continuing to support Claire’s work, at OSI and ERBS, to advance our vision of a more sustainable beef industry.” ˇ


Page Turner’s

BOOK REVIEW @4HE &RESH AND THE 3ALT 4HE 3TORY OF THE 3OLWAY by Ann Lingard ‘We are flying slowly, low over Rockcliffe Marsh at the head of the Solway Firth. On each side of the vast saltmarsh the beds of the rivers Eden and Esk are knitted with patterns of light and dark that record their turbulent flow’ So opens the book, ‘The Fresh and the Salt: The Story of the Solway’ by Ann Lingard, published by Birlinn Ltd in September (£25 hbk). In this opening passage, Ann is recording her voyage on a gyroplane over ‘the crooked finger of water reaching far inland from the fist of the Irish Sea, apparently prising Scotland away from England.’ Her nerves give way to something akin to delight as she finds a different view of an area she so obviously loves, even if it meant taking to the air in an open-sided ‘flyingmachine’. Anyone who has visited the Solway Firth will know that this is a glorious area and one of the least-industrialised natural large estuaries in Europe. The ecosystem supports a vast range of wildlife – from the surface plants – samphire, thrift, asters – to the thin layer of the gloriously named ‘micro-phytobenthos’ that can only be seen properly under a microscope, and then to the fish, the birds and animal life. Human activity too is deeply influenced by the waters and shores. In the chapter on Mud Life Ann ‘borrows’ the eyes of a local artist and shares her fascination for the light and luminosity of the area, the patterns and contours created by the water, the ever changing colours and the light reflecting off wet sands. She meets with the Biodiversity Officer of Dumfries and Galloway who leads her across Kirkconnell Merse, a swaying field of green grasses and creeks leading down to the river where she

stumbles across fox prints and watches egrets and eider ducks take flight. She visits the Mud Lab at the Scottish Ocean Institute to gain a better understanding of mudflats from Professor David Patterson. She wades chestdeep across the Solway with a haaf-netter, pushing against the flow of the water, struggling to keep her feet, watching for the salmon that come down ‘like bullets’ in the current. She doesn’t reach the alter stone or the lost bells of the St Michael’s Church in Bowness, still submerged by the tide on the bed of the Frith but she relates their fascinating stories. This book is rich and textured and the prose offers a satisfying portrait of a remarkable area taking in all forms of life from the shoonetters and mudshrimps, basking sharks and pinkfooted geese, to quarries, trawlermen, peat-cutters, ships’ pilots and haaf netters. Stories are revealed from times now lost to us right up to the changes gathering pace today. The Fresh and the Salt: The Story of the Solway by Ann Lingard is published in September 2020 by Birlinn Ltd. £25.00 hbk.