Farming Scotland Magazine (March - April Edition 2020)

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Scotland’s longest established national farming & rural lifestyle magazine

Tuathanachas Alba

magazine

Tractors for 2020 Scottish Speciality Food Show Slurry Management UK Dairy Expo Made in Scotland Potato Power!

In Focus Fastest tractor in the world Travel Scotland Destination Arbroath

World Farming Dominica Topic Tractor World Spring Event

£3.50

Farm Diversification A quick media guide

February 2020

Breed Profile Highland Cattle in Alyth

Country Woman Featuring Deborah Anderson Book Serialisation Part 1 of ‘Into the Peatlands’ plus Beatha an Eilean s Scottish Country Life Cooking with Beef s Trainview Talk including our regular news sections and columns




contents

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February 2020

55

37

76

MAIN FEATURES

IN FOCUS

NEWS

22 38

45

6 12 20 34 41 44 56 58 62 63 66 67 68 69 74 84 86

46 64

Tractors for 2020 Scottish Speciality Food Show Slurry Management UK Dairy Expo

COOKING WITH BEEF 17

Slow cooked Highland beef

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Scottish Butchery success

MADE IN SCOTLAND 32

TRAINVIEW TALK 53

Diary by James Cameron

BREED PROFILE 54

Highland Cattle in Alyth

MARKET REVIEW 67

FLAVOUR OF SCOTLAND

Fastest tractor in the world!

Watching the trends

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE 75

With Linda Mellor

TRAVEL SCOTLAND

Potato Power!

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Destination Arbroath

WORLD FARMING

BOOK SERIAL

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78

Dominica

TOPIC 40

Tractor World Spring Event

BEATHA AN EILEAN

FARM DIVERSIFICATION

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42

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A quick media guide

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

Part 1 of ‘Into The Peatlands’

Life on the Islands

COUNTRY WOMAN Featuring Deborah Anderson

All Advertising enquiries to ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Athole Murray Fleming Tel. 01738 639747 E-mail: mail@farmingscotlandmagazine.com

Arable Potatoes Food Cultivations Renewable Energy Science & Technology Beef Livestock Sheep Dairy Pigs Market Review Forestry Estate Investing in People Finance Machinery

COLUMNS 6 7 11 13 15 19 21 37

Editor’s Bit In my view R.S.A.B.I. Hutton Institute Crofting Scotland the Brand Scottish Farm Advisory Service Farming for the Climate

ADVERTISING MANAGER Barry Tweed Tel. 01738 550157 Email: barry@farmingscotlandmagazine.com

82 60 61 62 70 72 73 74 83 85 98

NFU Scotland The Vet NSA Scotland Scottish Land & Estates Scottish Wildcat Action Conservation Matters Next Generation Southern Belle The Money Man People on the Move

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Book review

SUBSCRIPTIONS 81

Order your own copy here.

NEXT ISSUE Out 2nd March. Featuring Balers, Fertiliser Sprayers, Cereals 2020 Preview, Beef Expo 2020, Genetics, Livestock Equipment, Livestock Housing, Fencing, Irrigation and more...

ADVERTISING Please call 01738 639747 or email mail@farmingscotlandmagazine.com COVER IMAGE: Historical tractor made by Huerlimann, a Swiss tractor producer established about 1929.

ADVERTISING MANAGER Trevor Knights Tel. 01738 447378 Email: trevor.knights@farmingscotlandmagazine.com

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

ISSN: 2041–918X

©ATHOLE DESIGN 2020

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arable editor's bit A new year & new ideas Well here we are at last, it’s 2020 and Christina and I both have a certain milestone birthday coming up in March and September respectively, where the fabled ‘Bus Pass’ will be heading our way! “With age, comes wisdom”, they say. And with that disproved by me on many occasions, I can at least say that we will both welcome this new year with open arms and new ideas for our magazines. Every turn of the year is a chance to reflect, but also to plan ahead, and we are doing that right now with Farming Scotland Magazine. New avenues to expand availability, new contents and features to do for the first time – the great thing about publishing is that it is a neverending journey that evolves along the way. And that is how business should be, ever changing and diversifying. So please get in touch if you have a story to tell our readers? I am only a phone call away, and always delighted to hear from you. So here’s to this new year (& bus pass!) and new ideas.

Slàinte, Athole.

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Survey gives 2020 vision into wheat disease woes Controlling the UK’s number one wheat disease of Septoria; the loss of multi-site fungicide chlorothalonil; having fewer fungicide active ingredients in general; and control of yellow rust. Those are the biggest challenges facing wheat disease control in 2020, according to a survey of over 100 respondents, mainly farmers and a handful of advisors. Conducted independently for Syngenta, results showed every advisor questioned and nearly every farmer was highly concerned about the revocation of chlorothalonil – with the last date for use being 20 May 2020. Chorothalonil has become a backbone of Septoria tritici management as resistance or reduced sensitivity has appeared in other fungicide groups, such as strobilurins and triazoles, and for protecting SDHI fungicides, says Syngenta fungicide campaign manager, David Ranner. Accordingly, its loss is expected to have a major impact in several areas, the survey revealed. These included: higher levels of Septoria and Septoria resistance; a need to use less effective alternatives or more expensive fungicide chemistry; lower yields and higher costs of production. “Certainly, the loss of chlorothalonil will change how we have to tackle Septoria tritici,” says David Ranner. “Two thirds of advisors and 40% of farmers spontaneously mentioned the loss of chlorothalonil and fungicides in general as challenges or concerns for wheat disease control in 2020. “Typically, Septoria tritici causes yield losses of up to 20%, but losses in the wetter west can be higher. We’ve already seen with black-grass how growing wheat becomes more difficult when resistance gets out of

hand. It is important to continue to delay the escalation of Septoria tritici resistance once chlorothalonil has gone.” While there was some confusion in the survey as

to which fungicide might be used to replace chlorothalonil in wheat, Mr Ranner says there was an indication that the multi-site folpet was the favoured option.

LG Skyscraper still at the top Soft wheat, LG Skyscraper remains at the top of the AHDB 2020-21 Recommended List after another promising season, yielding 105% over controls. “LG Skyscraper has continued to demonstrate its ability to perform across a wide range of situations and environments, says Ed Flatman, senior wheat breeder for Limagrain UK.

“The variety has now shown over a series of contrasting years, its capacity to establish well and develop a good foundation in the early season, which it then converts into a consistently top yield of sound bold grain.” Agronomically, the variety has held up well; its rating for yellow rust has held fast when many around have fallen and

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In my view

arable

By John Cameron Balbuthie, Kilconquhar, Fife

Here’s to 2020 and new beginnings…we hope!

its brown rust rating has gone up from 5 to 6 on this year’s Recommended List. LG Skyscraper also has Orange Wheat Blossom Midge resistance (OWBM) which is an important trait that is of increasing value in wheat varieties due to restrictions on insecticide products, says Mr Flatman. LG Skyscraper’s excellent performance across the UK, once again dispels any myths surrounding soft wheats being lower yielding than hard wheats, adds Limagrain’s arable technical manager, Ron Granger. He points out that LG Skyscraper offers a large grain and its specific weight of 76.9 kg/hl and HFN coming in at 218, makes an attractive package when compared to other feed varieties. “As a soft wheat, LG Skyscraper has the additional

benefit of distilling, which in a season when it will be critical to make as much as possible from crops in the ground, is a very valuable attribute.” For many growers who are still looking to drill their wheat, it is worth noting that in Limagrain’s 2019 trials, LG Skyscraper was the highest performing variety in the late drilled slot. In fact, the variety has shown itself to take this poll position over three very different seasons, he points out. “LG Skyscraper can be drilled comfortably up until the end of January, and even later into February further north, but seed rates will need to adjusted accordingly.” “LG Skyscraper ticks a lot of boxes for on-farm performance and is an excellent choice for the second wheat situation,” adds Mr Granger.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 81 www.farmingscotlandmagazine.com

Hopefully in the not too distant future I shall be able to use this article to discuss some sensible practical developments facing the industry. However, as I write this – two days before the general election – the focus is on the farming implications of the election from the various parties. Frankly – at this stage – my own thoughts are not which party will do us in farming best – but which one will do us the least harm. I am still of the view that the European CAP has served us well in farming – not just for the financial support – but for the importance it gave agriculture in the EU. I do worry about the effect the future trade restrictions with the EU will have on our exports – particularly for us in Scotland. Conversely I worry about the implications of new trade deals, especially with North and South America. Not just from a cost of production view but also because – so far – none of the political parties have given any assurance that our present high standards of production in the UK will also require to be met in respect of imports. The phrase ‘cheap and …..’ comes to mind! But the recent emergence of Swine Fever in China and

elsewhere emphasises the importance of quality of production in all its aspects. The uncertainty of Brexit has been somewhat masked for some of us with the resultant weak pound helping with export potential, although the beef market appears to remain firmly in the doldrums. Meanwhile to coin a phrase from the film ‘Casablanca’ – we wait and wait and wait to learn our future! To finish on a practical note, it was good to hear ScotEID giving a series of talks recently on the future of technically improved ear tags and their impending compulsory use by 2021. While none of us like being told what to do this has to be a move in the right direction. The price of a new compatible tag reader did give me some concern however – it appears they are likely to cost in the region of £600/700. Maybe once Government has established the new criteria for the future availability of finance for the industry – we can have a grant for the purchase of these new valuable pieces of equipment and the improvement in husbandry it will bring. A good investment! Meantime I wish all readers a profitable, peaceful and progressive New Year! 7


arable Barenbrug Launch New Seed Varieties Barenbrug UK has launched two fantastic new grass seed varieties. Callan is a late diploid perennial ryegrass with excellent spring growth, high quality and exceptional yields under both cutting and grazing management. Callan was bred in Northern Ireland with their partners at the Agri Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI). Alongside Callan comes Barclamp, the first Barenbrug bred hybrid ryegrass to make first choice listing on the SRUC Grass and Clover Varieties List. This diploid variety is late heading with good yields and quality. Both varieties are 100% UK produced crops and will be available via our Barforage Grass Seed range from 2020. Regional Manager for Scotland Mhairi Dawson commented before the event “I’m really looking forward to my 10th AgriScot with Barenbrug. It’s always a busy and where we have an opportunity to speak to farmers, merchants and industry colleagues alike. I’m delighted to say it’s usually a very positive event, where we look forward to the new year in forage management. As well as launching our latest varieties

I’m keen for every visitor to go away with a free copy of our Good Grass Guide to help them condition score their grass and make plans for forage improvements.” The Good Grass Guide is a free tool which can be used as a

field record as well as giving a lot of practical information for grass monitoring and investment that could earn huge returns. At Barenbrug, years of passion and a strong commitment to breeding and research and development, have given us

a range of products suited for everyone, so if you’re looking for more information about the new varieties visit www.barenbrug. co.uk, tweet us @BarenbrugUK or speak to one of the technical team on 01359 272000 who’ll be happy to help.

New Delta 2020 model from Fentons Fenton’s new design, modern, robust, modular and clean, and here are the specs: • To be assembled in 3 versions, Arm right (standard), Arm left or arm backwards.

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• For everybody: Configurable from simple to full options machine. • High quality through in-house production, 3-layers powder coating paint system.

• Standard wireless remote control, watertight and over 100mtrs of range. • Upgraded hydraulics. Always the right tension on the reel during roll-on and off. • Reel stops immediately. Only 1 knob to adjust speed. • Oil supply is regulated automatically, Full power on the wheels at all times. • Optional: LS function, Optional: Proportional speed control in combination with HDD • Hose guidance improved from front to back. • Drive wheels better accessible • Optional, Hydraulic folding of arm. Can be carried out with Electric water valve, HDD, meter counter.

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• Improved reel with side plates, ball bearing swivel joint. Pump better protected, oil reservoir accessible. • Forklift provision added at the bottom of the machine. Lifting points placed higher for modern tractors and optional rubber mudguards.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out March 2020


arable Spring barley: SY Tungsten is tough to beat With the spring malting barley market now keen for dualpurpose varieties suited to distilling and brewing, and not just brewing, on the back of increased demand for Scottish Whisky, newly-recommended SY Tungsten looks tough to beat, says Tracy Creasy. “The only variety with dualpurpose malting potential added to the AHDB RL this year, SY Tungsten has the highest UK treated yield figure of any dualpurpose spring barley on the RL,” she says, at 105.4% of controls. “It also raises the bar for an important quality trait that end users look for as a measure

of alcohol yield – in that it has the highest hot water extract figure on the spring barley RL, at 316.8. This is in addition to a low grain nitrogen content of 1.43% and a very good 67.7 kg/ hl specific weight.” SY Tungsten has also yielded well in all regions, performing particularly well in the north and west, says Mrs Creasy, and has shown good brackling resistance and similar maturity to Laureate. “Ultimately, SY Tungsten has the potential to be an alternative to Laureate. However, this will be some years away as Laureate is now well established with growers and end users,” she adds.

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arable Scottish Arable Farm of the Year controls costs and exploits tech AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year 2019 was awarded to John Weir, who farms 300 ha at Lacesston Farm in Fife. The award, organised by AHDB and sponsored by Soil Essentials, recognises farmers who focus on soil health and make best use of innovation and technology. A firm grip on the farm’s finances and use of energy-saving technology helped John secure the prestigious award. Accepting his award at AgriScot from Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, John said: “I was surprised and honoured to be nominated and did not expect to win. I know the other two finalists well and we are all part of a benchmarking group. I’m sure the result was very close.”

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John grows cereals and potatoes and has a cattle-finishing enterprise. The 60ha of pre-pack potatoes is the main focus of the business. His cereal rotation is fairly traditional, with the main area (120 ha) down to spring barley, with the rest used to grow winter wheat, winter barley, oilseed rape and oats. Regular soil sampling and chemical, lime and fertiliser applications targeted by GPS technology are the norm at Lacesston but the dung from the cattle enterprise is also key to keep the mainly light soil high in organic matter. Benchmarking has helped John to control costs. He has also made good use of a wind turbine and solar panels to reduce potato storage costs and the farm’s carbon footprint. He

said: “Software is in place to overcool the potatoes when we are generating as a means of storing renewable energy. In calm or dull weather, the temperatures are allowed to rise until cheaper night electric can be used.”

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His use of resources and renewables impressed judges Donald Ross of Rhynie, Tain (the 2018 winner) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Board member Andrew Moir, who farms at Thornton Mains, Laurencekirk.


arable Rescue mission needed for UK’s backward cereal crops

Backward and slow-emerging winter cereal crops produced by late drilling will need careful nurturing through winter to minimise any further growth setbacks and set them up properly for spring, says leading agronomy firm, ProCam. According to ProCam agronomist, Tom Smith, winter cereal plantings are down by as much as 90% in parts of the UK after the washout autumn. Where cereals have been planted, some are only now just emerging, he says, and are sat in less than ideal seedbed conditions. But a glimmer of hope is that wheat has been quoted at £150/t for November 2020, so it will be important to make the most of crop potential, he notes. “Boosting shoot and root growth are likely to be the main priorities,” says Mr Smith. “Assess fields on an individual basis. Plants may need help with early chlorophyll production so they green-up and photosynthesise efficiently to fuel growth. “Cereals sat in waterlogged soils will also tend to produce shallow roots because they don’t need to search out moisture. You only have to think back to 2018 to what happened to poorly-rooted crops in a dry spring. “Treatments such as micronutrients and bio-stimulants could therefore come into their own this winter to ensure early nutrition isn’t limiting and to give crops a lift.”

RSABI Ayrshire Celebrates 10 Years and £100,000 Raised The Ayrshire committee of RSABI, the charity which supports people working in Scottish agriculture, is this month celebrating raising over £100,000 during the 10 years since it was established. Nina Clancy, Chief Executive of RSABI, congratulated all those who have served on the Ayrshire committee, and those who have supported its activities, for raising such an exceptional amount. “Our heartfelt thanks go to all those on the Ayrshire committee who have worked hard to raise funds to support the work of RSABI. You have shown what can be achieved by a dedicated team of people who all share an ambition to support people in need in Scottish agriculture,” said Ms Clancy. Among the wide-ranging initiatives which the Ayrshire committee have delivered were: two tractor raffles; £20,000 in sponsorship for walking the Southern Upland Way; £24,000 for fund-raising lunches; and various Ayrshire Machinery Club and other events. According to committee member, Russell McNab, the success of the committee has been very much down to the commitment of drive of its chairman from the outset, Gregor Caldwell. “Our Committee is still held in check by our charismatic Chairman Gregor Caldwell, who after 10 years in the chair, still insists on what he sees as the two most important factors for our meetings – that they are always light-hearted and that

Pictured, from left, are Russell McNab, Nina Clancy, Christine Cuthbertson, Gregor Caldwell and Ewan Pate

do not extend beyond 9pm!” said Mr McNab. Fellow committee member Christine Cuthbertson said: “We are also delighted to have helped to raise the profile of this wonderful charity and the help and support available to farming folk in the county, and that is priceless.” Committee chairman Gregor Caldwell extended his thanks to all those who have served on the committee over the past decade and to those who have supported the wideranging fund-raising initiatives. “As well as being very rewarding to have served on the committee and to have had such strong support for our events and activities, it has also been great fun and highlighted how much the farming community can achieve when it pulls together,” said Mr Caldwell. The funds will be used for the work of RSABI, which provides vital financial, practical and emotional support to individuals and families with links to Scottish agriculture. A key focus of the ongoing #supportRSABI campaign is encouraging people to help with fund-raising and to become members of its Supporters’ Schemes which include individual, business and corporate memberships.

RSABI also runs a confidential helpline (cofunded by the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland), 0300 1114166, which people from Scottish agriculture are encouraged to call if they are in need of support. Ewan Pate, Chairman of RSABI, said that ensuring the charity was adequately resourced to fund its vital work in Scottish agriculture was essential. “Our Ayrshire committee have shown what can be achieved and we are very grateful to them and all the other supporters and volunteers who are raising funds and helping us in a myriad of different ways. It is also vital that our we continue to raise awareness of the range of services provided by RSABI,” said Mr Pate. RSABI is urging people to consider buying a £25 individual membership as a Christmas gift and to consider making a donation to RSABI on Christmas jumper day, Friday 13 December. It will also be urging highprofile individuals working in the industry to raise the profile of their support via social media, as part of the #supportRSABI campaign.

If you would like to learn more about RSABI and the good work we do please contact the Development Officer in your area. Also, look out for them contacting you!

Call the helpline on 0300 111 4166


potatoes Putting potato research into practice New Lead Researcher and Consultant among speakers at annual conference The newly appointed Lead Potato Researcher and Consultant for Scotland will use his first public appearance in the role to highlight the importance of collaboration within the industry. Dr Phil Burgess, who has been employed by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), the James Hutton Institute and SASA, will be among the speakers at next month’s annual SAC Association of Potato Producers in Perth. Dr Burgess said his role was “all about putting cutting-edge research rapidly into practice”, adding: “Collaboration between the three leading organisations in Scotland, drawing on their expertise in research, consultancy, diagnostics, knowledge exchange and regulation, creates a powerful whole which will help lead the industry forward as it continues to face a number of challenges, including the pressure to produce more sustainably using fewer pesticides and the market challenges post-Brexit.” The conference, which takes place at Perth Racecourse on Wednesday 29 January, will be introduced by Innes Jessiman, Senior Potato Consultant at SAC Consulting, part of SRUC.

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He will be followed by a range of guest speakers, including Philip Wright from Wright Solutions, a specialist in agricultural machinery and systems who will examine which cultivations best suit potato root development. Other speakers include independent potato agronomist Denis Buckley, who will advise on how growers can address a loss in pesticides to sustain yield and quality. Two workshops, on virus control and management and on Haulm destruction, will also be held on the day. Stuart Wale from SAC Consulting, who co-ordinates the event, said: “With a great line-up of speakers and the subject matter really relevant to potato producers, in these challenging times I am confident we will demonstrate the theme of the conference - that the future really is in the industry’s hands.” The 21st annual conference of the SAC Association of Potato Producers takes place at Perth Racecourse, Scone Palace Park on Wednesday 29 January 2020 (9.30am-4pm). The conference, which includes lunch and refreshments, is free to SACAPP members but is also open to non-members. To sign-up, email Janis Forrest at Janis.forrest@sac.co.uk or call 0131 603 7525.

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potatoes potatoes Farm Electronics MD Tim Dudfield retires after 36 years

Managing Director Tim Dudfield has made the decision to retire after 36 years of working at Farm Electronics in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Tim has been at the forefront of the business, leading the company to achieving growth and a great reputation within the crop storage industry. Heading the sales side of the business, Tim’s customer rapport and knowledge of storage systems will be missed by many but in the background, there has been mentoring of two of the new management team, Alex Gadsby and Adam Fryer who will cover Tim’s role in the future. Tim will also take up a consultant role in the business going into 2020. Speaking on behalf of all the Farm Electronics staff and customers, we wish all the best for Tim in his retirement. “I’m delighted that by merging with the Dutch based Tolsma Grishnich group I have been able to secure a very positive future for the both the staff and loyal customers of Farm Electronics. Tolsma have been prepared to invest heavily in a new management team at Farm Electronics and it has been a pleasure to work with them to ensure the smooth running of the company when I retire.” Commented Tim Dudfield.

The disappearing ground beneath our feet

Our soils are under threat from ever more intensive agriculture and climate changes. Extreme rainfall events such as Storm Frank in 2016 are predicted to become more common: a recent report from the Met Office suggested that there is a 34% chance of somewhere in the UK breaking a rainfall record each winter. Apart from flooding, these rainfall events can cause widespread erosion on unprotected or damaged soils, loss of soil nutrients and carbon, reduced crop growth and pollution of our rivers and streams. Accelerated erosion is a serious global issue that affects our environment and ability to feed a growing population. FAO estimates that a third of the world’s soils are already degraded. That means they may produce less crop yield and need more artificial fertilisers and inputs, or both. While much of this degradation is found in low

income countries, Scotland is not immune to the adverse effects of soil erosion. Every year, we lose some of our precious agricultural land to erosion. When we lose soil, we lose carbon, we lose nutrients and we lose biodiversity. Much of what we know about erosion rates on agricultural land in Scotland comes from a few, individual studies of erosion events, but the evidence from many different situations is now gathering weight. Hutton scientists have developed a simple way to assess soil erosion risk which is freely available on the Scotland’s Soils website (https://soils. environment.gov.scot/). It allows land managers to mitigate risks when planning what to grow. While increased mechanisation has brought many benefits to farmers and helps produce the food we eat, some common practices, if not properly managed, can increase erosion

risk. For example, ‘tramlines’ paths regularly used by tractor wheels - running with a slope, are routes for water to gather and flow, leading to erosion. While soil erosion in Scotland due to traditional cultivation practices is not on the same scale as in some parts of the world, it does impact on the water quality of our streams and rivers, and we cannot be complacent if we want to conserve the soil and the carbon, nutrients and biodiversity it holds for future generations. Dr Allan Lilly is a soil scientist at the James Hutton Institute and wrote this article with colleagues Blair McKenzie and Pete Iannetta to highlight World Soil Day (5th December) and focus on the importance of healthy soil and sustainable soil management. For more information visit www. hutton.ac.uk.

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. www.hutton.ac.uk www.farmingscotlandmagazine.com

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potatoes LAMMA launch for Haith’s store loader pro Haith Group HAS unveiled its new Store Loader PRO at LAMMA 2020. The specialist vegetable handling and processing machinery manufacturer has incorporated several innovations into its latest store loading machine. The Evolution deformable roller separator, which removes clods, stone and haulm, can be complemented or substituted by reliable and proven Haith soil and mids separators such as the high-frequency continental web, steel or polyurethane coils with varying size and pitch options or multi-finger stars. All units are easily interchangeable to suit growers using the store loaders for varying crops such as carrots, onions, potatoes and red beet. Another new feature for 2020 is the inclusion of an all-

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SEW drive option. Furthermore, Haith offers as standard taper lock rollers, meaning all drive and driven rollers have easily removable shafts, negating the need to change the whole unit when a roller of shaft requires replacement. As with the current Haith Store Loader, the 2020 model features a detachable drawbar for easy towing and can be specified with LED road lights, driver assistance system and led safety marking. All of the machine’s functions can be controlled through the remote panel’s HMI, all conveyors are variable speed and reversible making the store loader pro versatile in all store and yard layouts. “The Haith Store Loader is an incredibly well built and reliable machine, proven

in the field over many years. The 2020 model introduces the latest energy-saving and operator-friendly technology and ensures easy maintenance. Our customers feel very reassured having a strong machine that keeps going throughout difficult and catchy seasons as we experienced during the dreadful 2019 harvest”.

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FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 81


potatoes Tong launches new TongHUB online portal

crofting The convergence saga rumbles on By Patrick Krause, Chief Executive, Scottish Crofting Federation

Leading vegetable handling equipment manufacturer, Tong Engineering, exhibited at the UK’s largest farm machinery show LAMMA, for the second year at the event’s new location, the NEC Birmingham. Following a strong year for sales of the company’s highquality grading and washing solutions, Tong met vegetable growers and packers to discuss the latest innovations and advanced handling systems for 2020, as well as marking the start of the company’s 90th anniversary year, and launching the company’s new online operators manual platform, the TongHUB. “The new Tong HUB is an online portal which gives customers an exceptionally user-friendly, and ultimately convenient way to access valuable equipment information quickly and easily,” explains Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering. “Each time customers buy more Tong equipment; manuals and documentation are added to their TongHUB profile, keeping everything in one place and directly accessible by logging in

from their PC or mobile device, whenever and wherever they need it,” says Edward. “We are very excited to demonstrate the usability of the new TongHUB to our visitors at LAMMA, presenting yet more time-saving benefits when you choose Tong equipment.” “Ongoing developments such as this continue to bring great efficiencies for our customers, both in the field and packhouse,” adds Nick. “Throughout 2019, growers have once again faced some very challenging harvesting conditions. The relentless rainfall meant a very difficult time for many of our customers; with some experiencing several acres of flooded land at a very crucial time,” says Nick. “As such, our next generation EasyClean has been working in some of the most extreme, wet and heavy soil conditions. Its steadfast performance within our industryleading Caretaker mobile grader, and new FieldLoad PRO fieldloader, really has proved invaluable once again.” For more information on Tong’s latest range of handling equipment visit www. tongengineering.com.

Last month SCF had to spell out crofters’ anger following the Scottish Government announcement that the convergence rebate due to crofters and hill farmers was being allocated to all regions, including Region 1 which is above the convergence threshold. Cabinet Secretary Ewing and officials met with SCF and offered the practical gesture of a further £10 million for this tranche, which will be targeted to the more fragile areas. It is appreciated, albeit being an advance on the tranche due next year, not new money. I may have misunderstood this but it seems to me that there is no justification for Region 1 land to get any convergence uplift at all, let alone most of it. UK was allocated external convergence uplift because the UK average for direct payments per hectare was less than 90% of the EU average. Arguing for why this money should be allocated to Scotland in its entirety the Scottish Government said “The European methodology

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focused entirely on perhectare levels of payment, and the within-UK decision must be on the same basis.” Scottish Government figures indicate that the payment to Region 1 was 91% of the European average. Given that the principle mentioned above refers to the convergence formula being based on 90% of the EU average, the Region 1 figure cited by Scottish Government is already over the threshold. Furthermore, the figures used by Scottish Government are based on Basic Payment plus Greening only, whereas the EU average is based on all Pillar 1 payments plus the transfers to Pillar 2. So, if we correct the figures in line with the EU average formula we find that Region 1 is about 111% of the EU average or 123% of the 90% threshold. There is still considerable resentment about the way in which the uplift has been misused and we will continue to press Scottish Government to ensure that crofters get what they are due in future.

www.crofting.org 15


potatoes Nematicide Stewardship Programme wins National Potato Industry Award The Nematicide Stewardship Programme (NSP) has been recognised with an environmental award at the first ever National Potato Industry Awards, held in Harrogate. Speaking after the event Patrick Mitton, chair of the group, said there has been considerable commitment to the programme by the industry to date and it is fantastic to have this recognised. “I was very pleased to accept this award on behalf of the NSP,” said Patrick. “For many years the group has been working to ensure granular nematicides are used correctly and retained for future seasons, and this award recognises the hard work that everyone has put into achieving this.” Speaking earlier in the day at BP 2019, a panel of key industry players echoed this sentiment by discussing the importance of nematicide stewardship. Jon Pickup, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), kicked off by reiterating the importance of nematicides to the industry. “Nematicides are a vital tool in any integrated programme to enable growers to achieve acceptable potato yields and quality. “Nematode levels are getting worse, especially in Scotland, so

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it’s vital that we retain as many tools as possible to be able to tackle this damaging pest,” said Jon. Mark Taylor, from the FPSA (Fresh Potato Suppliers Association) explained the NSP provides critical due diligence for the industry to operate. “It’s our way of continually demonstrating that we’re taking active measures to show industry

stakeholders and consumers that we’re committed to stewardship. “Ultimately the goal is to see that every grower who uses nematicides is following the NSP protocol,” said Mark. Timothy Rooke, farmer and vice chair of the NFU potato forum, in response to this remarked that it is refreshing to see the industry is finally fighting on front foot to protect the remaining actives.

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Simon Alexander, agronomist representing Red Tractor, supported by saying the inclusion of the NSP protocol within the audited Red Tractor Standard has put some solid foundations behind the programme. “The inclusion within the Standard will inevitably drive the industry to ensure compliance with nematicide best practice,” he said.


cooking with BEEF

Slow Cooked Highland Beef with kitchen garden carrots, peas and herbs By Wendy Barrie We have a small kitchen garden yet it’s surprising how much we can grow with a little determination! Come harvest, some vegetables such as peas, can be blanched and frozen, adding zing to a winter dish – never underestimate that little extra flavour. Herbs can be frozen in ice cube trays or rolled in butter. We dry many of ours but for this recipe I’m seeking cheery greens with the promise of spring. Highland beef is absolutely delicious, with fine marbling and a wonderful long-in-the-mouth flavour, almost gamey in character. Two excellent sources are Glengorm Estate on Mull and Macbeths of Forres. Recipe & photography © Wendy Barrie

Ingredients: 4 slices Highland Beef casserole steak 2 carrots, cleaned & cut in wedges 1 onion, peeled and chopped 4 large potatoes such as Arran Victory 75g peas Isle of Skye Sea Salt & freshly milled black pepper 1 bottle Ovenstone beer Drizzle of Scottish rapeseed oil 50g herb butter Parsley & chives

Method: s (EAT A DRIZZLE OF RAPESEED OIL WITH THE HERB BUTTER IN A HEAVY BASED PAN AND SEAL THE BEEF ON ALL SIDES TO BROWN s 3EASON WITH SEA SALT AND FRESHLY MILLED BLACK PEPPER s !DD BEER TOPPING UP IF NECESSARY WITH SUFlCIENT WATER TO COVER MEAT AND SIMMER GENTLY FOR HOURS (ALFWAY THROUGH cooking add leeks, carrots and thickly sliced potato. s !S LONG AS YOU HAVE A CLOSE lTTING LID IT SHOULD BE lNE BUT CHECK FROM TIME TO TIME AND ADD A LITTLE WATER IF IT IS GETTING DRY )T should be gently bubbling. s !DD PEAS AND HERBS MINUTES BEFORE SERVING SO THEY DON T LOSE THEIR COLOUR 4ASTE AND ADJUST SEASONING AS REQUIRED )F YOU like your gravy thicker then add a little slaked cornflour towards the end of cooking and bring to boil to thicken. s 3POON THE VEGETABLES AND SAUCE INTO HEATED BOWLS AND TOP WITH SLICES OF BEEF FOR A DELICIOUS MEAL Serves 2

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

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FLAVOUR OF SCOTLAND

Top Scottish Butchery Talent Celebrated at National Training Awards

Six butchers from across Scotland have been recognised for their skills and progression in the Scottish Craft Butcher Training Awards. The awards, sponsored by the Scotch Butchers Club run by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), are in their fourth year. They play a valuable role in recognising the efforts of young people to develop their butchery skills throughout their careers, as well as those who offer support along the way. Ian Hume, a butcher at David Bennett & Son in Dunblane, won “Mentor of the Year”, an award for the individual who has encouraged a trainee in their development within their workplace. 18

Hugh Black & Sons, which operates 12 butcher shops across Scotland and is one of the biggest independent butchers in the country, took home “Training Partner of the Year”, an award for the employer or business which has successfully engaged with Scottish Meat Training and the assessors, to maximize the potential of their trainees. Sam Fachie from Aberdeen was the recipient of “Level 3 Modern Apprentice of the Year” an award for those excelling in their training. Sam has seen the Modern Apprenticeship programme further his career, recently becoming Manager of Davidsons Specialist Butchers in Dobbies, Aberdeen, after reaching Level 3 of his Modern Apprenticeship. Sarah Swanson who works at A. Donald Butchers in Uddingston

won “Level 2 Modern Apprentice of the Year”. Sarah made the move into butchery after studying for a BA in Events Management. The career change has been hugely successful for Sarah who is already on Level 2 of her Modern Apprenticeship. Matthew Newlands and Alan Jamieson of AJ Jamieson Butchers in Fochabers scooped the “Extra Mile Award” which recognizes those who have gone the extra mile in their own progression, new product development, customer service or in any way that has had a positive effect on the business they work in. Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of Quality Meat Scotland, said: “We were delighted to support the Scottish Craft Butchers Training Awards this year and

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our congratulations go to all the winners and finalists. “It’s vitally important that the skills, dedication and talent of our Scottish craft butchers is celebrated. Every entry received reflects the passion and commitment in the industry, and we’re thrilled that some of the country’s best butchers are receiving national recognition for the important work they do.” Gordon King, Executive Manager of the Scottish Craft Butchers, said: “These awards are a vital part of our industry as they reward and recognise the accomplished craft butchers, at all stages of their career, who play a vital role in preserving and promoting butchery skills across Scotland. All of the winners and finalists are leaders in their field and deserve huge congratulations.”


FLAVOUR OF SCOTLAND

Specially selected pork serves up second knockout campaign

Scotland The Brand

Love Dairy? Buy Scottish. By Ruth Watson

The return of Quality Meat Scotland’s ‘Go Places with Pork’ campaign has boosted the results of its initial debut, continuing to raise awareness of the Specially Selected Pork brand. Aiming to shake up midweek meals by adding Specially Selected Pork to the menu, the campaign ran for four weeks from the 19th of August across a combination of TV, print, outdoor and digital advertising, PR activity, social media and influencer engagement. Following the success of the brand’s first ever TV advert in January, the two lovable grandparents were welcomed back to our screens to share the worldwide adventures they’d enjoyed from the comfort of their own home thanks to an array of Specially Selected Pork dishes. Results from IGD tracking show

that 66% of Scottish adults saw the TV advert at least once, with 46% seeing it at least three times. The advert’s stars made a lasting impression on those who viewed the advert with 46% saying they recalled seeing it. A sampling campaign was delivered in partnership with Lidl, where customers enjoyed samples of Specially Selected Pork at three stores across Scotland. This, coupled with the broad promotional mix saw 37% of shoppers who recalled seeing the campaign go on to cook a Specially Selected Pork recipe at home. For more information on Specially Selected Pork, Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef brands including recipes, videos and tips, visit www.scotchkitchen. com or follow Scotch Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

There are some things so common, we take them for granted. Then, one day we look up and realise they have gone. Take the island of Arran. In recent memory there were almost 150 dairy farms, their milk going to make the dairy produce which saw the tiny island’s brand gain prominence. Now there is one dairy farm left. This year First Milk shut the creameries in Arran and Campbeltown. Campbeltown dairy farmer, John Smith, is the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland’s Milk Committee chairman. He was part of the successful crowd-funding campaign which raised enough for a community buyout of the Campbeltown Creamery. The plans were abandoned when no replacement supermarket contract was secured. “The Mull of Kintyre brand should have been promoted and maintained but the name was allowed to decline and facilities weren’t invested in,” he says. First Milk still collects the milk and pays farmers in the co-operative but production has moved to processing plants in Wales and England.

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In Aberdeenshire, Mueller has announced it is dropping 14 farms and raising haulage costs to take the milk to English processing plants. ‘Lack of demand’ is cited in both the east and west coast cuts but during 2018 supermarkets removed ‘own brand’ Scottish butter and many cheeses from their shelves. Many store managers tell me they want to stock Scottish dairy produce but aren’t given the option by senior management. But why? We can’t choose to support our farmers and our rural communities if their produce isn’t there to buy. Alastair Dobson is one of the people who has saved the Arran Creamery. “We’re only a couple of blows away from having no Scottish dairy industry,” he says. “We’re in a very managed society where the big retailers are too cosy with the big processors.” Dobson, like many farmers, is keen to keep Scotland the brand, “Every café, every shop, should have Scottish products and promote them. Scottish food should be on every shop shelf, clearly labelled so people can buy it.”

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food QMS campaign encourages consumers to choose meat with integrity Quality Meat Scotland’s (QMS) recent campaign to raise awareness of the quality and provenance of Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork has produced impressive results. The Meat with Integrity campaign, which launched on 29 July 2019, successfully promoted the Scotch brands and drove consumer awareness of the Scottish red meat industry’s exceptional credentials in terms of animal welfare and sustainability. The campaign, unveiled during this year’s Royal Highland Show, was brought to life through a series of videos highlighting the quality and provenance at the core of Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork. The videos focused on four farmers from across the industry, a butcher and a chef. The series resonated well with the target market and the videos were viewed to completion over 200,000 times online with viewers encouraged to visit the Meat with Integrity website to learn more about the high production and animal welfare standards which underpin the brands. The campaign was further supported by out-of-home advertising at over 200 high visibility sites throughout Scotland.

PR and influencer marketing, which included partnerships set up with bloggers Foodie Quine and Lifestyle Hunter, had a combined reach of over 60,000. Social media activation across the Scotch Kitchen’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts which included facts about the Scotch production process reached over 1.9 million people. The campaign was also supported by a radio partnership with Bauer media, which involved a series of 40 second ‘meet the expert’ segments showcasing the passion and pride that they have when it comes to animal welfare, the environment and the countryside. This activity created over 14 million opportunities to hear key messages from the campaign across six radio stations throughout Scotland. Alan Clarke, Chief Executive of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), said: “The aim of Meat with Integrity was to drive consumer awareness of Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork’s exceptional welfare and sustainability credentials and we are delighted to see the campaign has proven to be memorable and impactful with consumers. For more information on Scotch Lamb, Scotch Beef and

Specially Selected Pork brands including recipes, videos and tips, visit www.scotchkitchen.

com or follow Scotch Kitchen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Mealtime madness as families in Scotland serve up to four dinner options Over half (54%) of children in Scotland aged 5-15 say they are served more than two different dinner options every night, according to new research. Carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Scotch Lamb PGI, the results revealed that some households are serving up to four different meals at dinnertime to cater to different tastes. 20

While some children prefer to stick with foods they know and like such as pizza, macaroni, spaghetti and chicken nuggets, almost three quarters of children aged 5-15 surveyed (74%) are open to trying new foods if they were given the chance, which could come as welcome news to time-stretched parents. Currently, over 1 in 5 (22%) children surveyed (5-15 year olds)

are trying new foods more than once a week, but it’s hoped the new research will encourage families to include new, nutrient-dense foods in meals that will have a positive impact on a child’s wellbeing. The call is being supported by leading children’s cookery author and food expert Annabel Karmel, who has spoken of the importance of packing-in key nutrients such as iron into family mealtimes.

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“One of the critical nutrients I consider to be the most important from the very start of a baby’s food journey is iron which is most easily absorbed from red meat. And as a general guide, babies and children can eat lean red meat and other protein-rich foods such as chicken and fish at least three times a week.” Lesley Cameron, Director of Marketing and Communications


food from Quality Meat Scotland, which promotes Scotch Lamb PGI added: “The results are incredibly positive and show that children have a hunger to try new foods. Often, the barrier can be just not knowing what to cook, however meats such as Scotch Lamb are extremely versatile and can be added to many of the nation’s favourite dishes. For example, pulled lamb macaroni cheese, lamb mince spaghetti and even swapping pizzas for lamb flatbreads. “The research showed 60% of young people would like to

try lamb, which is great news for mealtimes as it contains a range of essential nutrients that benefit a child’s health and wellbeing.” Shoppers are advised to look for the blue Scotch Lamb logo in supermarkets and butchers, and to visit the Scotch Kitchen website to discover a range of delicious recipes that support Scottish farmers. More information is available at www.scotchkitchen.co.uk or Scotch Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Employing

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FAS website www.fas.scot/

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or alternatively sign up to the

self-employed workers and

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21


TRACTORS

Tractors for 2020 A look at some of the models available for the coming year

New Look Puma from Case IH The Case IH range of Puma tractors [140-240HP] is also undergoing a makeover, with an eagerly anticipated new design for all models, fitted with Stage V engines boasting longer service intervals than before. Additional features for improved operator comfort have also been introduced on the larger Puma 185-240 machines. On these models, the premium styling extends to the cab itself including an optional premium DAB radio with speakers and microphone for hands-free mobile phone calls, a more compact rear-view mirror and a new monitor rail including sockets, mobile phone bracket and tablet holder. An optional wash tank can now be fitted adjacent to the redesigned access steps to allow operators to clean their hands before entering the cab and operating the controls. Further new options include a pneumatic airline that can

be connected to multiple ports around the tractor, and can be fitted with a hose and gun for

blowing away dust and debris. Meanwhile, a new front linkage design aids access and response

and the rear linkage top link storage has been redesigned for better rear vision.

Greater functionality for ARION tractors Greater functionality and ease of operation are central to updates made to the CLAAS ARION 600 and 500 range of tractors for 2020. The ARION 600/500 range of tractors comprises seven models ranging in maximum power from 125hp up to 185hp. All are available in three different specification levels – CIS or CIS+ with the DRIVESTICK control or CEBIS with the CMOTION multifunction controller and touchscreen terminal. For 2020, all ARION 600/500 tractors will be powered by the latest Stage 5 compliant engines. Power outputs remain the same as currently, but do benefit from an improvement in the torque curve 22

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TRACTORS at lower revs of between +6% and +14%. For operators, this will provide more torque further down the engine speed range, so will be beneficial for instance when pulling away. Externally, the 6-cylinder ARION 600 now shares the same smaller SCR catalyst mounted on the front right hand ‘A’ pillar as the 4-cylinder ARION 500, so improving visibility. In addition, new decals on the bonnet panels clearly identify these new Stage 5 tractors. In addition to these engine updates, operators of CEBIS specification tractors also now benefit from a number of new features that provide them with greater functionality. With ISOBUS now a standard feature on many implements and machines, as standard ISOBUS UT will now be integrated within CEBIS throughout the whole CLAAS tractor range. This will allow the CEBIS TOUCH screen to be used as a universal terminal

instead of needing a separate terminal to set-up and operate ISOBUS machinery. However a terminal such as the CLAAS

S10 will still be needed for more advanced ISOBUS functions, such as TC Geo (mapping and variable applications) and TC

SC (section control). In addition, ISOBUS sockets are also now optionally available on both the front and rear of the tractor.

Reesink launches Farmtrac tractors… electric model with lithium-ion battery set to light up show Reesink has launched Farmtrac’s smart range of compact tractors with the FT25G electric model featuring lithium-ion battery technology. Farmtrac’s FT25G electric tractor is a hugely popular proposition for equestrian centres, greenhouse growers and livestock farms, with its compact size, zero emissions and low noise levels. Charged from a domestic socket to 100 percent in five hours and able to run for up to six hours, productivity isn’t affected by the decision to go green. Oil-immersed

brakes, power steering and position control hydraulic linkage are all standard fare on the FT25G. A new dedicated division from Reesink in the UK, Reesink Agriculture, has secured the exclusive distribution rights for Farmtrac tractors in the UK. Alongside the FT25G, is the FT22, the most compact tractor in the range and multifaceted for small holdings and small farms. Powered by a Mitsubishi engine, there’s plenty of choice with the FT22 – turf, agri or industrial tyres, mechanical transmission,

selectable four-wheel drive and folding ROPS, plus the options of a cab and front loader. The FT30H has as many options as the FT22, but slightly more power, comes with a HST transmission and will be an intriguing choice for work in orchards and large gardens. The FT6075 is a powerful, 75hp utility tractor for larger farms and estates. Its loader has a lift of 1000kg meaning it can handle a host of tough tasks. Completing the line-up is the 90hp FT690 model. This

Agricultural Merchants Main dealers for CASE tractors

Visit our website for new and used tractor & machinery stock lists and older model/refurb parts lists

www.jandwtaitltd.co.uk Sparrowhawk Road, Hatston Industrial Estate Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1GE

Tel: 01856 873003 / 872490 Email: info@jandwtaitltd.co.uk

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TRACTORS powerful, all-rounder is ideal for farms that have big jobs to do – ploughing, seeding, fertilising, cultivating, harvesting and transporting, all are done without fuss – and lots of comfort – with the FT690. Comfort is thanks to the modern cab, complete with air conditioning, efficient ventilation, soundproofing and plenty of space.

Fendt 314 Vario – the new top-end model from the Fendt 300 Vario series The new addition to the Fendt 300 Vario series – the top-end model Fendt 314 Vario – has even more power with its innovative power-boost concept, DynamicPerformance (DP). The 300-series now features the 12” terminal, including all the assist systems like Fendt Guide Contour Assistant, SectionControl and VariableRateControl. The new Fendt 314 Vario features the all-new operating concept, FendtONE, and a much bigger display area. The Fendt 314 Vario fulfils the European emission regulations Stage V.

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The innovative power-boost concept DynamicPerformance (DP) on the Fendt 314 Vario releases 10 hp more power ondemand, just when it’s needed. It is not tied to driving speeds or special operational tasks, but works purely dynamically. Typically, the engine power of tractors is distributed across numerous power consumers – such as the PTO, hydraulics, engine fans and air conditioning. The system detects when certain components need more power and then provides more power through smart control.

The DP high performance concept is specially designed for stationary-PTO work on dairy farms and biogas plants – like at the feed mixer or slurry stirrer. And during transport and field work, DynamicPerformance (DP) kicks in where needed by power consumers. The 10 hp added power of the Fendt 314 Vario is great for farms that need a more compact, lightweight and agile tractor, but can also meet greater power demands when needed. The Fendt 314 Vario is the first compact tractor to connect the on-

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board world to the off-board world. FendtONE is the new end-to-end Fendt platform that works in the tractor as well as in the office or wherever you are on your mobile device. With this ubiquitous approach from FendtONE, Fendt is the first manufacturer to combine the familiar terminalbased operation of the tractor with a platform for planning or control tasks that are conventionally done in the office. The interface on the tractor terminal and the online display have a uniform, consistent look and feel, so users can easily find their way around.



TRACTORS

Model shown for representative purposes only

The new 6145 Power Six… …extending the 6 Series range from Deutz-Fahr DEUTZ-FAHR has added a new model to its existing 6 series 6-cylinder range – the 6145 Power Six. The new model features many of the characteristics of the higher hp models in the range - 156hp TCD 6.1 6-cylinder engines comply with the requirements for Stage V emissions. The new engines offer a hefty starting torque and high torque reserves across a wide speed range. In addition to a compact cooling system, which can be opened completely and easily cleaned. The new model will be available with a manual fivespeed powershift transmission with six forward powershift stages and three reverse stages (30+15 gears) with maximum

WILKS BROTHERS Main dealers in Perthshire for DEUTZ FAHR Tractors

The new 6 and 7 Series Tractors

3ALES s 3ERVICE s 0ARTS Repairs for a wide range of Agricultural Machinery Murthly, Perthshire, PH1 4HG Tel: 01738 710381 Fax: 01738 710581

26

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TRACTORS speed achieved at lower engine rpm for maximum fuel efficiency. Standard fitment will include the unique front axle with independent suspension, which is equipped with an antidive and anti-rise control and a booster brake system. This ensures maximum traction and safety in all situations. Rear lift capacity can be specified up to 9700kg and complemented with a 120l/ min Load Sensing hydraulic system giving plenty of punch to a tractor in this hp sector and in turn taking on the most challenging tillage applications. Cabin comfort comes at a premium standard with the Maxivision cab, comprising all round visibility which is uncompromised with a narrow bonnet for maximum forward vision. Integrated Infocentre 5 provides all information relating to tractor operation. Opening High visibility roof and air conditioning are standard giving

the operator plenty of options for cab comfort in all working conditions.

The new 6145 Power Six is the new all rounder and will be at home from every application

including loader work, grass harvesting applications, heavy tillage and haulage.

New 6M Series from John Deere John Deere’s new 6M Series tractors made their public show debut in November at AgriScot 2019. The four-cylinder 6120M and 6140M on display at the Ingliston event feature higher standards of comfort, performance, manoeuvrability and visibility compared to previous models in the range. This is a more compact 6M Series tractor than John Deere has offered before, with the low bonnet design on the 6120M presenting a clear view to the front of the machine. In addition, a slimmer steering wheel cowl and the newly designed panoramic window in the cab roof provides full visibility for loader work and operating in confined spaces.

Improved manoeuvrability is a result of the short wheelbase, which allows a tight turning circle of only 4.35m on the 6120M. Despite their slim design, these full-frame

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concept tractors feature a maximum permissible gross weight of 10.45 tonnes, which means an unrivalled payload capacity in this class of up to 4.7 tonnes.

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TRACTORS These two tractors also feature Intelligent Power Management (IPM) for the first time, which increases performance by 20hp for pto work and transport – so the

four-cylinder 6140M develops up to an impressive 166hp maximum power with IPM. The newly designed cab is significantly brighter and more

modern in appearance, as well as extremely quiet, with a rating of 70dB(A). All the main operating functions are located on the completely redesigned right-hand

panel, while models equipped with the CommandQuad transmission can be optionally fitted with a Compact CommandArm, with the functions located on the seat armrest.

New Landini 5 HC tractors walk tall - with up to 44in tyres for maximum crop clearance A new range of Landini fourwheel drive tractors equipped with large diameter row crop wheels all round for extra high clearance have been launched. The Landini 5 HC was shown at LAMMA on the Argo Tractors stand alongside the new Rex 3 compact and latest Rex 4 regularsize orchard/vineyard tractors, the latter featuring front axle suspension and a factory-fitted front linkage installation for the first time. The new High Clearance version of the Landini 5 Series tractor replaces similar machines based on the superseded 5D Series, with a change of power unit, a new cab, increased hydraulic oil flow and a number of other upgrades.

“With under-axle clearance of up to 695mm (27½in), these tractors can be used on arable farms for late season spray treatments in mature grain and oilseed rape crops,” suggests Andy Starbuck, Landini product specialist. “But their main role is to work in salad and vegetable cropping situations, and top fruit crops such as strawberries grown in raised beds, where consumer quality demands require the least possible contact with the produce.” Compared with previous Landini high clearance tractors, the 5 HC machines have a new more spacious cab, increased oil flow for the steering and main hydraulics, and a slightly longer wheelbase.

There is also a new power unit under the hood – a 3.6-litre Deutz four-cylinder engine using just a diesel oxidising catalyst (DOC) to meet current

emissions requirements, which replaces a 3.4-litre Perkins motor that also required a diesel particulate filter (DPF) for emissions control.

Massey Ferguson MF 6700 S Stage V: Machine of the Year 2020 Massey Ferguson is delighted that their new MF 6700 S Stage V Series was named the Machine of the Year 2020 at the Agritechnica Show in Hannover, taking the top spot in the midpower tractor category.

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Thierry Lhotte, Vice-President & Managing Director Massey Ferguson Europe & Middle East, says he is thrilled Massey Ferguson has received this important accolade. “This award recognises the commitment of everyone at

Massey Ferguson in Beauvais who contribute their skills and experience to create innovative, cost-effective and easy to operate tractors. This team created the concept of the high power, fourcylinder tractors and was the first to take this up to 200hp. “The new MF 6700 S Series takes the concept further. With its compact dimensions, exceptional power to weight ratio and tightest turning circle, the tractors combine the highest performance with optimum economy,” he adds. Massey Ferguson has brought together the latest technology and well-proven designs to ensure the new MF 6700 S tractors deliver enhanced performance with low costs of ownership. Five models, from 135hp to 180hp, all benefit from Engine Power Management (EPM),

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which boosts power up to 20hp, which at 200hp makes the MF 6700 S the most powerful four-cylinder tractor in the world. Thanks to the advanced maintenance-free ‘All-in-One’ after-treatment system the engines comply with the strict Stage V regulations. The only changed is a new soot catalyst and the entire system is externally mounted, retaining the superb visibility over the slim, narrow bonnet. Indeed, the exhaust pipe is now slimmer than before. Straightforward servicing reduces running costs with long service intervals - 600 hours for the engine and 1,800 hours for the transmission. New automatic hydraulic tappet adjustment further cuts costs, with the maintenancefree system saving up to 1,950 euros over 2,400 hours.


TRACTORS

McCormick power and technology Precision farming applications, GPS guidance, ISOBUS and data telematics were among the digital technologies highlighted by McCormick manufacturer Argo Tractors at LAMMA. Not least on the new 230/240hp McCormick X7.624 VT-Drive that launches a fourmodel range of more powerful stepless drive tractors for 2020. As a result of a global partnership with Topcon Agriculture, a factory-installed guidance-ready option is now available for 141-310hp McCormick X8 VT-Drive, X7 VT-Drive and X7 P6-Drive tractors, as well as a suite of precision farming applications for different Topcon terminals. ISOBUS digital data exchange between the tractor, on-board computer and implements is also available via the Data Screen Manager fingertouch display for these tractors and also the 114-140hp X6.4 VT-Drive. In addition, the McCormick Fleet Management option for X8 and X7 series tractors provides fuel consumption and operating hour records, reminders for timely routine servicing, and data for pin-pointing a tractor’s location and activity, plus geofencing for security monitoring.

“These technologies are increasingly being used by farmers and contractors for improving productivity and accuracy in work, driving ease and cost-management,� points out Andy Starbuck, McCormick product specialist. “Argo Tractors is progressively introducing these features further down the McCormick range to the 100-140hp bracket to bring their benefits to more tractor users.�

D-K-R

AGRICULTURAL SERVICES LTD. Main Dealers for John Deere Tractors

New Holland Agriculture extends acclaimed T6 tractor range New Holland Agriculture further widens the extensive T6 range with 3 new 6-cylinder models: the T6.180 Auto Command™ and the T6.180 Dynamic Command™, which will make their first appearance in the French market at SIMA, and the new T6.160 Electro Command that will be presented to the public for the first time at the Paris exhibition. Sean Lennon, Head of the Tractors Product Line, explains:

“New Holland has a proud history of leadership in this segment, with extensive choice and a unique offering. The new 6-cylinder model introduces a new level of performance into this segment with a highly versatile tractor that delivers more torque, more engine braking and more stability. Today there is more choice than ever for our customers, and a T6 that matches the requirements of every farming operation.�

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

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TRACTORS The new models introduce a new level of performance to the T6 range, with the powerful NEF 6-cylinder 6.7 litre engine, a robust and proven solution from the longstanding NEF family widely adopted on T6 and T7 tractors. The new engine features an optimised EGR-free combustion for efficient operation, coupled with an HI-eSCR after-treatment system to comply with Stage IV (Tier 4B) emissions standards – a patented and maintenance-free solution that delivers reduced operating costs. Thanks to the 6-cylinder engine, the T6.180 delivers up to 12% higher torque than 4-cylinder models, with low-end end torque that significantly helps in pulling away performance, and increased torque at mid engine

speeds, which improves engine lugging in transport and field

applications. The new 6-cylinder engine delivers maximum torque

of 740Nm at 1500rpm, compared to the 700 Nm of the 4-cylinder.

Tafe tractors imported by Tractors UK Anyone looking for a tractor would do well to consider the TAFE range of tractors. Based on a UK design, the tractors are ideally suited for a wide range of uses including yard scraping,

equestrian, forestry or hobby farming where a basic, simple and reliable tractor is required. The range is available in 37, 47 or 60hp with power steering on all models with the exception

of our Classic model. Options include, oil immersed brakes, four wheel drive & /or roll bar or safety Q cab. Also available a choice of front end loaders & attachments. Prices start from as

little as £11,100 + VAT. The long term costing worked out by an existing customer with 3 tractors totalling 35,000 hours is £190 per 1,000 hours of use for spares (figure excludes routine service filters) making the choice of buying new exceptionally good value for money. All new tractors come with a 2 year (maximum 1000 hrs) parts and labour warranty. For the mechanically minded user you can even opt to carry out your own servicing/repairs with a telephone / spares back up support from Tractors UK. Tractors UK have been the sole importers of the Indian built tractors since 1999 & have seen many customers come back for their 2nd & even 3rd tractor to replace old MF 35 , 135 & 240 models where multi dairy units are operated.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out March 2020 30

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TRACTORS

Zetor UK launches its New Design Proxima The recent introduction of the “ New Design � Zetor Proxima, to the ever expanding Zetor line up of product comes at a timely moment to enable it to be launched to the UK market place at the Lamma 2020 exhibition, this design follows on from the recently launched New Design Major range and indeed will go through the entire range of tractors during the course of 2020 , the Crystal HD being next in line, March 20, and then completing the line up the Forterra range during July 2020 , Not only has the Zetor Proxima changed to a more modern and streamline style but so too has the specification which is now boasting many new features, including increased ventilation, improved Air conditioning, Improved visibility, improved transmission and engine cooling are to name

but a few improvements, whilst it still uses the Non Ad Blue legendary Zetor home produced four cylinder engine with its uncompromising power and exceptionally low running costs. The Zetor Proxima is available in three variants , being the CL, GP and HS the former being an entry level straight forward 12 x 12 gearbox arrangement from 80 to 110 Hp this is then followed by the GP which being relaunched to the market this being a 16 x 16 offering including a gear splitter and 40 kph , again from 80 to 110hp , the Proxima GP 110 has often been commented on as being the toughest and most straightforward 110 hp tractor on the market today , and the later , the HS version that completes the Proxima range boasts HP from 80 to 120hp and also includes a Power Shuttle 24 x 24

transmission , electro hydraulics as well as a host of other features you would expect to find in the modern tractor of today. The Zetor range has experienced real growth during 2019 and now covers all segments from 20 to 171

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Hp via its eight ranges this offers the dealer network, and potential dealer network a really straightforward range of modern tractors to match the needs of the end user, whilst not trying to load them up with ancillary equipment.

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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.

Potato Power By Wendy Barrie Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife Director of Scottish Food Guide How do you like yours? Roasted or chipped, buttery mash or boiled, baked or dauphinoise, there are thousands of delicious ways to enjoy potatoes. Granted their popularity in Scottish cooking pre dates Andrew Skea and his family but for fifty years or so they have certainly been the ‘go to’ place for expertise and tatties on their organic farm by Auchterhouse, the ‘mothership’ for this under-rated tuber. Andrew’s grandfather was potato manager on a farm in Coupar Angus, indeed even earlier his great grandfather was a tenant farmer at Cortachy by Kirriemuir. Andrew, his brother John and their families are the second generation at East Mains. They farm cattle, sheep, oat and potatoes, with Andrew particularly focussing on the potato business and developing the market for their produce. Their organic oats go to Alford Mill where they are sold as certified organic oatflakes. Before joining the family business Andrew taught at Agriculture College, worked with a Scottish potato cooperative and even with a potato farm in Poland. His expertise and enthusiasm is apparent as soon as we start talking tubers. Interestingly their father was a relatively early convert to organic farming, convinced that livestock would be a crucial element in his cycle, allowing him to farm extensively in rotation with cereals and potatoes. To this day cattle play a pivotal role in the soil health at East Mains 32

Andrew Skea

– very topical in current times when ruminants are receiving underserved criticism! Animals grazing provide natural fertiliser, healthy crop rotation and increase biodiversity of micro-life. In 1999 they started renting additional organic land and this year will be Andrew’s 21st crop of Organic Potatoes! They currently farm 320 acres, all organic, with over a hundred varieties, all of which are niche in one way or another: heritage, specialities or interesting varietals that have caught

Andrew’s eye. Skea Organics offers high quality seed potatoes for the UK market and also has regular orders from Germany and Sweden that hold his produce in high regard - Scotland has a great reputation for ‘clean’ potatoes, disease free. At Auchterhouse they can grow their seed potatoes without chemicals whereas much of mainland Europe is unable to do so and the vast majority of Europe’s heritage potatoes have disappeared. Currently they export around 40% of all their tatties as there

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is insufficient market in UK, yet great interest in Europe. It is our loss if we do not appreciate the nuances and flavours of these wonderful heritage varieties. Visit Sweden or Germany and although you will find rice and pasta, potatoes reign supreme with whole market stalls dedicated to the not-so-humble potato in every colour, shape and form – and all with queues of locals ready to buy. Skea potatoes are also in high demand in Ireland with further exports annually to France, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Canaries, Switzerland and Finland. Andrew’s appetite extends to research programmes, breeding new varieties in a consortium with Grampian Growers of Montrose and with E Park & Sons of Macclesfield in Cheshire. This programme is looking for mainstream varieties for packing, processing and export. Skea also has a smaller in-house programme looking for speciality varieties including those with red and blue flesh. The back story of potatoes in Scotland is fascinating and


several are now ‘boarded’ onto The Ark of Taste, created by Slow Food International to catalogue the existence of endangered foods and associated food culture lest they are lost or forgotten forever. Not only is this a valuable international register, it may also be our saviour one day. As industrial farming methods and food processing continue to diminish our biodiversity, these fragile foods are recognized on the Ark, a record of our food heritage and a saving of old breeds, varietals and seeds. All benefit from having their story told and receiving the respect they deserve. Currently we have five Scottish potatoes on the Ark of Taste: Arran Victory, Edzell Blue, Shetland Black, Highland Burgundy Red and Mr Little’s Yetholm Gypsy Potatoes, with another two in progress – watch this space! Andrew’s knowledge and dedication has been a real asset as we compile the research

on these heritage tubers. In these uncertain times Slow Food’s Ark gives strong international recognition for our heritage foods: irrefutable, unshaken by politics and there for our future – decreasing biodiversity and climate change do not good bedfellows make! With such limited choices of tubers available in supermarkets, an increasing number of cooks and chefs seek out Andrew for more interesting flavours and textures - with a strong environmental message too. Why buy indifferent potatoes from the other side of the world when you can buy a delicious diverse range on your doorstep? In the world of potatoes, green ones are not good – but in this case I make an exception as buying a locally produced Ark product from a family business is definitely green! Scotland has a growing reputation for food tourism and chefs who wish to go that

extra mile. Those fortunate to have gardens or allotments are now growing heritage potatoes. Last season I delivered small nets of Skea’s organic Ark varieties to Slow Food Cooks Alliance Members and it proved a great success. It was fun to follow each other’s progress on social media as our crops matured and made it to the diners’ plates! Many are now growing them regularly whilst others have spread the word to their local community gardens. Not only does this highlight the wonderful variations from waxy to floury, creamy tones to vivid pinks and purples, it also provides a valuable education for consumers in times when our food system is not as intact as we would like and so much knowledge is disappearing as we

become disconnected with food production. One way to put it right is to take the family along to events such as the Strathmore Tattie Day on 22nd February 2020 where there will be around 50 varieties of seed potato available for gardeners to buy. The theme will be home growing and local food so other neighbouring producers will also be there. Among the highlights will be fascinating displays and a presentation by well-known potato expert John Marshall. So next time you’re food shopping, think twice and look for the interesting varieties – don’t be a couch potato, cook some instead! http://potatohouse.co.uk is Skea’s new website for selling seed to small growers and gardeners.

Shetland Black potatoes

Inspection time

Highland Burgundy Reds

Arran Victory potatoes

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Cultivations

New cultivation machines from Pottinger Terrasem Fertilizer Pro Pรถttinger mulch seed drill with direct fertilisation The Pรถttinger TERRASEM mulch seed drills take the lead with the next technical development in direct fertilisation. This new system is available for all mulch seed drills with working widths between 3 and 9 metres. Both the rigid TERRASEM R3 and R4 models as well as the folding TERRASEM C4, C6, C8 and C9 are available as FERTILIZER PRO versions with a row spacing of 12.5 and 16.7 cm. The innovative PRO version allows coulter pressures of at least 180 kg, has a larger disc diameter of 410 mm and additional shear bolts on each coulter arm. In addition, hydraulic depth adjustment is standard. Versatile and cost effective

The direct fertilisation system enables fertiliser to be applied at the same time as drilling using the FERTILIZER PRO coulter. Optimum growth conditions are created during germination and help boost overall yield. The simultaneous use of tool combinations (e.g. front board with tillage discs) and applying fertiliser while drilling avoids multiple passes and promotes cost-efficient farming. Seedbed preparation is taken care of by the compact disc harrow or low disturbance WAVE DISC harrow integrated into the TERRASEM seed drill. The fertiliser is then placed by the FERTILIZER PRO coulter in a double-shoot row between every second seed row. The placement depth of the fertiliser can be

adjusted hydraulically within a range of 10 cm independently of cultivating and sowing depth. The surface is then consolidated across the whole area by the packer before the seed is planted. The FERTILIZER PRO coulter places a deposit of fertiliser in a perfect position to nourish the roots of the emerging plants. Not only does this save fertiliser and minimise unproductive losses, it also promotes faster development

of the root mass and contributes long-term to optimum yield. An additional advantage of direct fertilisation is that in difficult ground conditions only one pass is necessary, providing maximum conservation of the soil. Additionally, there is the advantage of being able to complete the full drilling and fertilisation process quickly and effectively in a single pass as soon as conditions are favourable.

TEGOSEM for sowing cover crops New on LION and FOX The Pรถttinger TEGOSEM cover crop sowing unit used in combination with a LION power harrow or FOX compact combination harrow enables seedbed preparation and sowing

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of a cover crop to be carried out in a single pass. The TEGOSEM can be mounted on all rigid versions of LION power harrow and on FOX compact combinations with a working width of 3 to 4 metres.

The TEGOSEM is designed for three-point machines and is equipped complete with mounting brackets and a loading platform. The loading platform, steps and seed hopper form a compact unit which is mounted on the rear roller. They are perfectly integrated and fully comply with the CE directives and safety regulations. Precision sowing The Pรถttinger TEGOSEM can be used to sow a wide spectrum of seed material, from mustard to grass and rapeseed through to cereals at a lower seed density. The metering system is driven electrically. The seed material is distributed

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pneumatically using reversible distribution plates. The seed can be deposited either in front of or behind the rear roller. All that is needed is for the distributor rail to be repositioned. The great advantage of placing the seed in front of the rear roller is that the tine rotors cover the seed with soil before the roller passes over. The rear roller consolidates the soil while pressing the seed down at the same time. Using a TEGOSEM to sow a cover crop on a LION power harrow or FOX compact combination is increasingly being used with success for the reseeding of grassland especially following an invasion of white grubs.



Dominica Caribbean resilience in the face of adversity

WORLD FARMING As someone who experienced the horrors of Foot and Mouth in 2001, I couldn’t imagine anything worse. Then I visited Dominica. Dominica, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, is part of the Caribbean, Windward Islands, which sit half-way between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago. It is a mountainous and very beautiful island, covered in rainforest and The Boiling Lake is the second largest hot spring in the world. It is a haven for several rare bird and plant species, who thrive on its rich fertile soil. Hurricane Maria, a Class 5 hurricane, hit the island in September, 2017 and wreaked havoc with the island and its 71,000 inhabitants. Almost everything was destroyed, with many people losing their lives.

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I visited the island, with a group of RASC (Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth) Next Generation delegates, who were on an understanding and assistance mission to encourage the Caribbean Islands to become more engaged with the other members from the commonwealth. We visited Henri, a 70-yearold farmer, who, with her husband, is trying to rebuild their farm. She had spent eight hours hiding below the kitchen sink, waiting for the storm to pass and immerged with only her life. The house, buildings, machinery, livestock and crops had all gone. Two years on, the devastation is still obvious. A tractor lies on its side where the hurricane dropped it, grass growing through the broken windows; only the

By Fiona Sloan

mangled wreckage of what once housed her 400 pigs, remains and, of course, the fallen vegetation, which is a daily chore of ongoing clearance work. She has gradually re-cultivated some of the sevenacre holding, which can only be done by hand, due to the terrain and she now has two pigs to start her unit again. CARDI, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institution were instrumental in helping her reestablish the farm and continue to assist with this and many other projects throughout the islands, with local field officers and courses on hand to help reignite the devasted industry. Dominica had been a successful mono-culture of bananas until the 1990s. Known locally as “the

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green gold�, the banana exports sustained the island and while farmers were still considered to be poor, they were happy putting all of their eggs in one basket. But they became complacent, as did the government, in their management of the land and the sustainability of the crop, relying heavily on chemicals. When the banana plant disease, black sigatoka hit the islands, it spread systematically throughout the Caribbean, killing the banana trees, which had no resistance to this devastating disease and spread easily through the fungal spores, from plant to plant and farm to farm. The bananas started to ripen before they were ready and with no way of stopping the spread, plantations were wiped out and exports are now non-existent.


WORLD FARMING Farmers are now learning to grow more diverse crops on their small holdings, as well as understanding how to deal with disease for the future, in a more organic and sustainable way. With the death of the banana industry, the island is almost solely reliant on the tourist industry and there is a move to provide hotels with local produce. However, many farmers do not sell their crops, preferring instead to barter with their neighbours for the food

they produce. Without a regular supply of mixed produce, it is currently impossible to supply the local tourist industry regularly and sufficiently. Coupled with a reluctance by the farmers and the government to turn away from the reliance on chemicals, it is going to be a challenge to get to a point where the two industries are compatible, far less sustainable. Next time, we will look more at the support and work being done.

The RASC Nex Generation delegates with Henri and CARDI field agent Dorean

The green gold recovering

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Habitat Linkage and Carbon Sinkage Sarah Kerr, SAC Consulting

Acting as wildlife corridors across a farm, hedgerows provide a relatively safe area for different bird, mammal and insect species to traverse the landscape. They enhance the natural capital and conservation value of a farm without compromising on productivity. Sequestering carbon, hedgerows can be a viable alternative to planted woodlands for farms to reduce their carbon footprint. Hedges and hedgerow trees provide shelter and shade during extreme weather conditions e.g. heatwaves, storms and snow falls. Thick hedges provide biosecurity protection by preventing noseto-nose contact and spread of transmittable livestock diseases e.g. IBR, TB etc. Hedgerow margins are key overwintering habitats for a range of beneficial insects and pollinators. Integrated Pest Management incorporates natural predatory insects that hunt down pests such as aphids, pollen beetles and slugs, preventing pest outbreaks and reducing pesticide reliance. Flowering plants are a vital food source and habitat for insect pollinators.

Fruiting plants provide a winter food source for birds. Restrictions on hedge management e.g. cutting and lopping activities from 1 March – 31 August, inclusive (unless exemptions apply) provide protection for breeding birds. Hedge laying can be carried out up to and including 31 March. Local government agricultural offices can provide regulatory details. Cutting only one third of the hedge length annually leaves a winter food source for native farmland birds like Yellow Hammers, Linnet and Tree Sparrows. Trimming in an ‘A’ shape, wider at the bottom, ensures a denser wildlife corridor for mammals and improves light penetration to all parts of the plants, preventing thorn plants in particular, from dying out. Whether planting a new hedge, or gapping up an existing one, using native flowering shrubs e.g. hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, honeysuckle, crab apple or wild roses, will provide vital wildlife food and habitat resources. Late autumn and early spring are the ideal seasons for this work.

For more farm efficiency ideas and to read how other farmers are improving livestock productivity, visit www. farmingforabetterclimate.org, find us on Facebook and Twitter @SACFarm4Climate. Farming for a Better Climate is funded by the Scottish Government as part of Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service www.fas.scot


Be inspired, be treated and be informed at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show Kick start your New Year with the Scotland’s only food trade event for 2020 at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show, which is held in Glasgow from 19-21 Jan 2020. This annual Show is a mecca for fine food and drink, principally from Scotland but complemented by many offerings from the rest of the UK and around the world. This Show allows retail and catering outlets to source, taste, feel and see the huge and varied offerings on display from small and large producers. New products and companies will be launched here and new ranges unveiled in what promises to be a very busy and inspiring 3 days. With Scotland having seen an influx of overseas tourists in 2019, many outlets are looking to restock for both the tourist and local markets. Scotland is renowned for its high-quality food and drink offerings so it is this Show which offers the perfect opportunity to see it all under one roof. Nothing beats the actual face-to-face interaction that visits to trade shows facilitate, where buyers can meet with suppliers, taste the products, check out the packaging and understand if it’s something their customers will buy. Food from the regions Regional food groups are particularly strong in Scotland and have arrived en masse at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show 2020. New for 2020 is Flavours of Fife which will have a huge stand housing some really unusual and delicious offerings from this region such as Coul Brewing, Lindores Abbey, Rumburra Scotland, Christopher Trotter and Burntisland Fish Co. 38

Food from Argyll will present local delicacies from sea and land while Orkney will return with its stand housing such companies as Orkney Creamery, Orkney Bakery, Orkney Craft Vinegar, J Gow Rum and Jolly’s of Orkney. Northern Ireland will again be returning with a large stand, as will Shetland Food and Drink. New to the Show Of the 170 exhibitors, over a third are new to the Show allowing visitors the chance to source new products. Worth checking out are Pipers Crisps, Joe & Seph’s Popcorn, Screaming Chimp Chilli Sauce, Shed 1 Distillery, Deliquescent, Clootie McToot Traditional Dumplings, Biggar Gin Co, Ellis Gin, Garbanzo Snacks, Nut Shack, Toffee Shop, Edinburgh Preserves and many more. On trend this year are delicious soft drinks catering for the nondrinking market, such as the Paisley Drinks Company, Feragaia alcohol free spirits from Fife, Cushiedoos Scottish made tonics, Alba Cola and Summerhouse drinks. Every fine food outlet and farm shop is well aware of its eco credentials and there is an increase in environmentally friendly products from suppliers such as Ecobags, B plastic free and

Bumblewraps. All these exhibitors are seeing a spike in sales as retailers seek suitable alternatives. Launch Gallery This Show aims to inspire with its Launch Gallery – a hotbed of originality and innovation where young producers will showcase their wares, such as Woodmill Game, Badachro Distillery, Smoky Barrel Jerky, Grace Chocolates changing lives, The Wee Farm Distillery, Palmerstons bespoke jam, The Gael Spirits Company, Deli-ishers Cuisine and Isle of Mull Seaweed.

Old favourites One of the major benefits of visiting Trade Shows is to re-establish relationships with producers and see what they are launching for the year ahead. Nothing beats the face to face interaction and ability to taste and see the products which can only be gained by visiting the Show. Scotland’s Speciality Food Show is a firm favourite for many food producers such as Stewart Tower Dairy, Walkers Shortbread, Gordon & Durward, Stahly Quality Foods, Crystals Shortbread, The Chain Bridge Honey Farm, Ross’s of Edinburgh, Little Doone

An assortment of sweet balsamic dressings

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Foods, Cairn O’Mohr Country Wines, Campbells Shortbread and Gardiners of Scotland. Key distributors Food and drink distributors, such as The Cress Company, Clark’s Speciality Foods, Glencarse Foods and Greencity Wholefoods, will host large stands with an incredible array of products that will certainly tickle the tastebuds of the many visitors. This Show is a ‘must visit’ for all fine food retailers, delis, farm shops, tourist destinations, cafes, restaurants, hotels and other catering outlets across Scotland and the north of England, as it is the only chance for sourcing products for the retail and food service industry together in one venue. As Sue Montgomery from Ardardan Farm Shop said: “The Scottish Speciality Food and Trade Fair is always a must do on our calendar as it’s a great opportunity to see what’s new in the industry, blether

Spring show

with current suppliers and find a few new jewels to stock in our farm and gift shop. We always say if we get 3 new products or pointers from a show it is worth going, and at this show we usually get far more than that so it is always worth it.” Improve your skills The new Talking Shop area adds extra reasons to attend the Show with a range of informative talks and workshops, on subjects such as Retail Trends by Fiona Chautard, Social Media Masterclass for Retailers from Tuminds Founder Rene Looper, Tips to attract Tourists, especially the Chinese market from Visit Scotland’s Chris Greenwood and Angie Fowler, Cybercrime, Just a Card and more. Impress the Nessies Nessie’s Den is returning for its second year. Here emerging producers from the Launch Gallery will showcase their products to the ‘Nessies’ – well respected retailers

such as Holly Shackleton Editor of this magazine and Allan Clark from Clark’s Speciality Foods - in the mode of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den in an entertaining and exciting session at 1pm on Tues 21 Jan. Awarding the best Central to the Show are the Best Product Awards, which have been proven to give the winners’products a real boost in attracting retailers and sales. Judged on the opening morning by industry experts Andrew Firth from Herbie fine food shop in Edinburgh, Jonathan Macdonald, Ox and Finch owner and head chef, Elaine Shirley from Hopetoun House Farm Shop and Aldi buyer Allan Leslie. Whether a winner or not these awards let the exhibitors get their products in front of key buyers. Gary Maclean, Scotland’s National Chef who judged at the 2019 Show said: “I was really impressed by the new and different number of products that are made in Scotland. The provenance of the products is important and great to see so much from the Highlands and Islands, especially Orkney and Shetland.” Trading up - Scotland’s Speciality Food Show is run in conjunction with Scotland’s Trade Fair where about 500 gift, homewares, craft, jewellery, fashion accessories, clothing and textile producers will be on

display, allowing buyers a ‘onestop’ buying platform. Show Director Mark Saunders added: “The aim of this Food Show is to ensure we are a one-stop Show for all independent retailers, both food and gifts, in Scotland and northern England. Here they can be inspired, place orders and ensure they are ahead of the game for the coming season.” Perfect venue Held at the SEC, in the centre of Glasgow, it is easy to access from motorway, train and airport with many large hotels close by. One large hall housing both Shows in a clear grid layout makes for a very enjoyable visitor experience. Registration is now open so sign up now for your free entry: https://registration.n200.com/ survey/2xub29sdesxxx

Mull seaweed chutney

Woodmill Game Pies

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topic

More at Tractor World Spring! Tractor World Spring, the traditional tractor show season opener, will be back at the Three Counties Showground on 22-23 February 2020 – with more than ever to capture the interest of enthusiasts. The number of club stands, the focal point for many eyecatching displays, has increased for 2020 – with the wellestablished organisations joined by newcomers showcasing their members’ machinery. Trade stands are also more prevalent than ever too, with David Brown Parts Ltd. and Tractorparts. co.uk Ltd. just two of the traders attending for the first time – joining the extensive selection of specialists on-hand to offer parts and supplies to tractor owners. One of the big success stories from last year’s show will be making a welcome return in 2020. Jon Mitchell Shotblasting Ltd. is offering an on-site service for those that require parts shotblasted for their restoration project(s).

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Take your small items along for shotblasting while you’re at the show. As for the all-important exhibits, there’s still time to enter your machine(s) – with free camping available to exhibitors. The closing date for entries is 1 February, with booking forms obtainable from the show office on 01697 451882 or downloadable from the website www. tractorworldshows.co.uk Around 90 per cent of exhibits will be in the site’s four halls and although you can expect to see tractors and agricultural machinery of all ages, the special themes in 2020 will be 75 years of the Fordson E27N, 50 years of the International Harvester World Wide Series and Conversions. Amongst the veteran, vintage, classic and modern tractors, there will also be classic trucks and vans (with a drive-in day on the Sunday of the show – no booking necessary), horticultural machinery, model displays,

miniature steamers and stationary engines. H J Pugh & Co will be staging the renowned annual auction on the Saturday of the show, with more than 100 tractors and 2,000 lots in total expected at the sale. A vintage sort-out and spares day will be held on the Sunday, with outdoor plots available for £30 (pre-booked). Forms are available to download from the website. The Three Counties Showground has two restaurants serving breakfasts, snacks and lunches, plus a coffee lounge, and numerous outdoor catering units will also be in attendance. There is also a cash machine onsite. How To Get Involved To exhibit: download an entry form from www. tractorworldshows.co.uk or call 01697 451882. For the auction: call 01531 631122 or visit www.hjpugh.com

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For the vintage sort-out and spares day: Download an entry form from www. tractorworldshows.co.uk For Drive in Sunday: No booking required For tickets and up-to-date information on the traders and clubs that will be attending, please visit the website: www.tractorworldshows. co.uk or 01697 451882 Admission: Discounted tickets are available online, Adults £12.50 (£10.50 advance), Weekend £20 (£15 advance) and under 15s are admitted free. Weekend camping (three nights) for two adults costs £65 – or £55 in advance. Dogs on leads are welcome The Spring Tractor World Show and the Classic Commercial Show takes place at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR13 6NW (follow brown signs from all major routes), on 22nd and 23rd February 2020.


renewable energy

Major rural body working to further UK decarbonisation agenda Another major nationwide body, this time representing organisations and Councils serving rural areas and communities, is working with the Biomass Heat Works! campaign which is calling for main political parties to protect approximately 46,000 jobs by extending the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI) and include biomass heat in future energy policy. The Rural Services Partnership, part of the Rural Services Network (RSN) which champions rural causes, economic growth and strategy, and provides a national voice for remote, farming and non-urban communities, is working with the UK’s biomass industry and other key players in the energy sector as part of its own wider agenda on renewable energy, climate change and decarbonisation. Clear synergies exist between the RSN, the UK Pellet Council and the Wood Heat Association, the latter two organisations delivering Biomass Heat Works! Representatives from each body have expressed their concern over the lack of commitment by past and current ministers to

prioritise rural areas in renewable energy policies. Graham Biggs, CEO of the Rural Services Network commented, “Rural communities are fully committed to playing their role in reducing carbon emissions. However, homes and businesses cannot be overlooked and left behind urban areas when it comes to heat decarbonisation. “The Biomass Heat Works! campaign sits very well with our own policies addressing climate change and supporting net zero pledges, but it is essential that there is a clear renewable energy strategy in place by the UK Government for rural communities too and at present, there is no indication that this exists. “Biomass usage in rural areas has increased significantly, especially since the RHI was first introduced, and this has created fantastic opportunities for businesses to diversify, create jobs and generate income. These are viable and sustainable circular economies for those living and working in rural communities and in the current economic climate, it is essential that jobs and livelihoods are maintained whilst successfully

tackling climate change. We’re delighted to be working with the UK Pellet Council and Wood Heat Association.” Many rural communities and businesses use or have diversified into using biomass as a heat source given it is often the most viable or lowest carbon option available in off-gas grid areas. Neil Holland of the UK Pellet Council added, “Many of the biomass heat industry’s 700 plus supply chain companies operate or are based in rural locations, creating thousands of muchneeded jobs, therefore the RSN working with us is a huge boost. “Green issues have been placed very much at the forefront of political agendas currently, and this is undoubtedly a huge step in the right direction. However,

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it cannot be just vote-winning narrative and soundbites. “Unlike other European countries, the contribution towards a zero-carbon future made by biomass is still very much being overlooked here in the UK despite it being the most proven and commerciallyready solution available for heat decarbonisation, especially in rural areas. The Government, whichever party is in power, needs to take urgent action and thereby extend support for the industry beyond 2021 to maintain the switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy heat. This would make a significant contribution to the 2050 carbon reduction targets whilst making rural businesses more resilient and homes more energy efficient.”

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farming diversification

Diversification A Quick Media Guide By Janice Hopper

Get your business talked about for all the right reasons

Get professional images taken and put your best foot forward

As a travel writer, blogger and parent I regularly visit farms to experience tours, play barns, tastings and quality accommodation. I appreciate that when farmers diversify they often move from a B2B (Business to Business) model to a public-facing B2C (Business to Consumer) venture, which can be quite overwhelming. A ‘build it and they will come’ approach doesn’t always suffice, so here’s a concise guide to reaching potential customers through the press and social media.

events, with their customer in mind. - Twitter punches through brief messages and images. It’s a great platform for opinion and debate, but debates can get heated and escalate. Enjoy good conversations, but always deescalate altercations, and never type in anger. In terms of Twitter accounts, the Ethical Dairy (@ theethicaldairy) is an interesting example. Their cow with calf method of dairy farming provides ongoing discussion and a conversation point. - Ultimately, these sites are fantastic for getting your messages across for free, and allows others to share your brand on your behalf. If you don’t have time to manage your social media, don’t have the skills to write/craft engaging material, or don’t understand hashtags etc. you can outsource this work. But don’t think that this means you can forget about it. Firstly, you will have to sign off material on a regular basis. Secondly, you should be the source of new ideas driving people to your establishment

Photography At the outset it may be a key investment to hire a photographer to create a portfolio of high resolution images that show your business in the best light. Ensure you clear copyright so that these images can be used on your website, social media channels, and by other media outlets without charge or issue. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then consider if your story will be published without a strong accompanying image? Answer - probably not. 42

Social Media A free yet priceless resource, if handled correctly, is social media. So many people hear about events, openings, deals, competitions and new products via the likes of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Take time to familiarise yourself with these platforms and gauge what others are doing, then consider what you have the time and budget for. -Instagram’s focus is primarily visual, sharing photography and videos with key messages. For example, Glen Dye Estate’s Instagram feed (instagram.com/ glendyecabinsandcottages) is a curated mix of images that express their vibe and atmosphere to potential customers, creating a gallery of expectation and temptation. - Facebook is virtually a one-stop-shop for sharing information, from opening hours to mini movies. Take a look at Castleton Farm Shop’s Facebook page (facebook.com/ CastletonFarmShopandCafe). Their posts are a mix of informal videos, and fun but carefully put together images, menus and

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i.e. if you run farm tours and it’s lambing season, you’ll undoubtedly be busy. But now is the time to blitz your social media with cute lambs to tug at the heartstrings, and give new and returning customers an immediate reason to visit. - If you participate in social media sites they must be monitored. Other members can justly or unjustly criticise you, your post or your product in a few words. You need to decide whether to engage with your critic, apologise, delete, or block these comments, as appropriate. Press Another way to spread the message about your product, with minimum cost, is via the press. If your farm diversification project has a fascinating, unique story, or if you win an award, the press may come to you. - To be more proactive you could issue press releases or media invitations to local newspapers, bloggers, magazines and television companies. Again, this role


farming diversification

Share your cuteness with the world

Instagram ready Glen Dye

can be outsourced to a PR firm or individual. - Regarding rural lifestyle, there are many in-depth television and radio programmes seeking regular content. Listen to the BBC’s Out of Doors and Out for the Weekend, or watch the likes of Landward and Countryfile, then drop a concise email to the producer if you feel your story has something new or different to offer. The worst that can happen is they say no. - In terms of press trips, some farmers may balk at the idea of giving anything away for free, but if hosting a writer for a weekend secures a spread in a newspaper or magazine with a relevant

audience, it’s potentially a good investment. - Hosting bloggers is a relatively modern phenomenon. The right blogger can highlight your venture, often in great detail, in front of a surprisingly large audience, or an appreciative niche audience. Their content is often relatively timeless, spread across multiple media channels and can be found time and time again online. Professional bloggers don’t work for free, so they may engage with your business as part of a wider campaign [perhaps a press campaign organised by a destination management organisation (DMO)]. - With all press trips feel free to request a Media Kit, and

check a paper/blog/website’s audience or followers, engagement, style and tone before committing. A big audience is fantastic, but it isn’t always better. Think about where a publication’s audience is, and who they are - is it beneficial to place your product in front of 100,000 low income readers in the South of England, or 5,000 affluent readers in the South of Scotland? - Remember that conversions with any press investment are hard to quantify, and they can be a slow burn. Think of the times when you’ve read about a great new restaurant, but it takes you six months or a year to actually visit. You may not even remember where you originally heard about it. When people visit your establishment, ask where they heard about you, then collate and analyse this feedback. Advertising Advertising costs money but you’re in control - it’s your message, your voice, your images, and your style. You can also pay to advertise by boosting posts or sponsoring material across social media platforms. Again, request a Media Kit where you can, and consider a publication’s reach, audience, longevity and costs before committing.

DMOs Signing up for a national DMO, such as Visit Scotland (visitscotland.org/supportingyour-business/marketing-withus), or your regional DMO is worth considering. They can include you on their website or grade you via a Quality Assurance Scheme. From a press perspective, a DMO may include you in press trips that they often organise and fund, thus taking the pressure off you. Be Smart Consider what could bring return custom to your farm and fire positive online/press conversation about your business? For example, the Cairnie Fruit Farm (cairniefruitfarm.co.uk) maize maze has a different design and topic each year. 2019’s sea turtle maze highlighted the current war on plastic - it’s simple, easy to understand, topical, photogenic and an incentive for locals to visit annually. Before embarking on any press related activity think about who you wish to reach, what the end goal will look like, and how any press activity will hasten that goal. You will make mistakes, but you will learn from them. Each topic above involves intensive work, on top of your day job, but if you find even half an hour a day or a week to actually sell your business, it will be time well spent.

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, Scots2Travel.com, covers child-friendly short breaks, attractions and activities. www.farmingscotlandmagazine.com

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science & technology

Perthshire agricultural software firm aims high Thanks to expert advice from Business Gateway, a Perthshire agricultural software firm is targeting its highest turnover to date after securing new contracts across the UK, Republic of Ireland, South Africa and Australia. Founded in 2012, Perthshirebased Duradiamond Software specialises in developing digital solutions within the farming sector. Included in its offering is iLivestock, an app which utilises the latest technology to make it easier for farmers to manage their flock and herd on the go, and eWeigh (patent pending), designed to revolutionise livestock weighing at a highly cost-effective price. Following Business Gateway’s assistance, Duradiamond Software secured a major twoyear distribution agreement worth over £350,000 across the UK and Republic of Ireland with leading animal identification technology

firm, Allflex UK. Following this, the company signed a oneyear exclusive distribution deal worth £73,000 with a partner in South Africa and has just signed contracts worth £65,250 over an initial 6-month period with two distribution partners in Australia. Jamie Pugh, co-founder and director of Duradiamond Software, said: “As a small business with limited resources, we realised that, without significant support, we were going to struggle to complete the development of our essential new products. However, the support from Business Gateway, both financial and advisory, has been instrumental in achieving our recent product launches.” “The access to grant funding and the technical advice on offer was essential to the development of both iLivestock and eWeigh. Additionally, tools such as the strategic workshop helped

us transform our innovative products into a commercial success. Being able to access specialist advice from Business

Gateway has allowed us to meet all challenges and set our business on a firm footing for success.”

Continental launch new agricultural tyre app at LAMMA Continental has launched ‘Agriculture TyreTech’, a new mobile app to help farmers use tyres more efficiently. The pressure and load calculator in the app checks the tyre pressure and the load of the vehicle and makes a recommendation to the operator based on the tyres fitted to the vehicle. Using a database of all available Continental tyres the app is able to cross reference the properties of the tyre with the load of the vehicle and recommend the best tyre pressure. Sales manager, Richard Hutchins explains: “The app will reduce soil compaction, reduce tyre wear, 44

increase efficiency and lower fuel consumption.” In addition to the pressure and load calculator, the app also offers technical information on all Continental agricultural tyres and a useful conversion table. Another feature of the app is the lead calculator. This compares the rolling circumferences of all Continental tyres and recommends the best tyres based on the mechanical ratio of the tractor. “Continental’s agricultural tyre portfolio is specifically designed to improve the performance and quality of agricultural equipment while reducing resource consumption.

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The new app offers farmers a way to further extend the life of their tyres by using the right tyre pressure to make their daily tasks more efficient,” says Richard. The technology will be on show at LAMMA along with a variety of new Continental tyres. “Visitors to the stand can discuss which tyres would be best for their tractor or combine and see how the app works with one of our team. We will have our hybrid VF and standard TractorMaster tyres on show along with some examples of how Continental technology will be leading the agricultural tyre innovations of the future,” concludes Richard.


IN

ZF drives World’s fastest tractor ZF Group has played an integral part in JCB’s Fastrac storming into the record books after being crowned the world’s fastest tractor with a speed of 135.191mph. The Fastrac - designed and built by a team of young engineers in Staffordshire secured the title at Elvington Airfield in York with motorbike racer and lorry mechanic Guy Martin at the wheel. The feat was officially ratified by Guinness World Records who presented the company with a special framed certificate minutes after the achievement. The astonishing story of the tractor’s development and assault on the record was told in a TV documentary on Channel 4 on 17 November called ‘The World’s Fastest Tractor.’ JCB embarked on the ambitious plan to break its own record – set by Fastrac One – and developed Fastrac Two – which was 10% lighter and even more streamlined than its smaller brother. Fastrac Two hit a peak speed of 153.771mph on its way to recording an average of 135.191mph at Elvington. Due to the unique requirements of this project, ZF mobilised a special project team including colleagues from the UK, Germany and Hungary, spanning three divisions of ZF including: Services, Industrial and Truck division. The JCB Fastrac was powered by the ZF Ecoshift transmission, typically found in heavy road applications and adapted to reach peak performance for the application. Working with JCB to deliver the project within a

tight timescale, ZF presided over the integration of a special input shaft into production and subsequent installation and tuning of the transmission on the tractor. An extra shot of power was needed to achieve the record, and the 7.2 litre, 6-cylinder JCB Dieselmax engine produced at JCB Power Systems in Derbyshire, also received some extra attention. A new, larger turbocharger accompanied by water injection and charge-air cooling through ice tanks reduced intake temperatures by 50˚C. An electrically driven supercharger system was again used, while a revised exhaust manifold contributed to improved flow. The adoption of a sophisticated anti-lag system would also keep the

larger turbocharger delivering its maximum boost pressure while gear changes took place. The result of the powertain improvements was a peak output of 1,016hp at 3,150rpm, and over 2,500Nm of torque. Despite the tractor developing 1,016hp, it achieved over 5mpg and needed only a tiny 20-litre fuel tank to make its high-speed runs. And while it has the capability to run on vegetable oil, a special formulation of high-performance racing diesel was used. Guy Martin said: “This has been a massive undertaking, and I was a very small cog in the machine. It was a proper privilege to be involved, so thank you very much to JCB and its engineering team, who got this tractor absolutely spot-

on. Just look at it, they get stuff done, it’s brilliant, and it is still a working tractor, so could have gone straight into the nearest field to put in a shift.” The record-breaking attempt was overseen by Guinness World Records, who confirmed that the JCB Fastrac completed two runs, in either direction through a speed trap set 1km apart, within the allotted time, to set the 135.191mph record. Gavin Donoghue, ZF Aftermarket, Business Manager Off-Highway, said: “We were delighted to play such an important part in this world record attempt and congratulations to everyone involved. The achievement underlines the high quality capabilities of ZF across many areas of powertrain and driveline technology.”

Guy Martin and the World’s Fastest Tractor

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SLURRY MANAGEMENT

Slurry Management

A look at some of the systems, services and products on the market today for this area of farm management

There is more to Slurry than meets the eye‌ Ruminant livestock are forage digesters and they turn this feed, along with protein and energy feeds into milk and meat. The undigested fraction passes out in their faeces and urine. While at pasture, this is naturally recycled in the field. Whereas, indoors it is stored (during the closed slurry spreading period) and then spread on pasture or arable land. This slurry is a rich fertiliser with quantities of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and humus. To get the very most from this organic fertiliser care needs to be taken in a number of areas. 1. Proper mixing to get in to a spreadable-homogenous mix. 2. Appropriate application levels to match both the field and crop requirements. 3. Timing that takes advantage of the appropriate crop growth stage and also weather factors. 4. Low emission slurry application technologies. Slurry needs to get in to the ground as quickly as possible. While it is sitting on the foliage or on the ground the nitrogen component within the slurry is vulnerable to ammonia volatilisation (resulting in fertiliser losses and it is also not good for the atmosphere).

New Technologies from Abbey Machinery Time is money, so to speak. Getting the slurry tanker filled quickly helps to get more loads done per day and also any ways of reducing the physical task in loading slurry is important. Abbey

have listened to their customers and are launching a new 8� (200mm) Multi-Stage-Arm. This arm can be operated from the comfort of the tractor cab (so, there is no physical handling of the hose pipes). Its

unique modular system makes it extremely versatile. From a filling perspective it can fill from Abbey hoppers, high or low transport tanker hoppers, open slurry pits and under ground storage areas. It can come with the option of a turbo filler for even faster filling times. It has a reach of 2.6m and a suction depts of around 3m. Abbey Machinery’s latest developments uses Near-InfraRed (NIR) technology to measure live the nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and dry matter in the slurry. This allows the farmer to

apply exacting nutrients where and when they are needed, this will in turn help to better care for the environment and also significantly reduce artificial fertiliser inputs onfarm. It is precision technology at its best. Abbey Machinery have a wide range (37 tanker models) from standard, recess, tandem, tridem models from 4,000L to 27,000L. They have a range of Vertical Trailing Shoe, Dribble Bar and Disc Injector Applicators available to place the slurry in the correct area to maximise its nutrient value

Vacuum Tanker from Fleming Fleming Agri Products manufacture a wide variety of products to suit all sizes of agricultural work. One product in particular is the Vacuum Tankers. Available in a 46

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range of different sizes, in NonRecessed and Recessed forms. All our tankers are built to the highest standard and quality and are painted and welded on the


SLURRY MANAGEMENT inside to allow protection for longer life. Models include the ST1100N, ST1300N and the ST1600N in the Non-Recessed range, standard features include a 15ft suction hose, galvanized rear inspection hatch, 4 fill points with 1 quick attached fitting, pump protector on both sides of the draw bar and with a high performance 8000ltr Battioni long life Pump. The tyres are 550 x 60 x 22.5 on 8 stud axles as standard. Other tyre sizes are available on models. The recessed models ST1600 and the ST2000 come on 28.1 R26 tyres on 10 a stud axle .Other features are as previously list with the addition of a full length sprung drawbar.An 11,000 litre long life Battioni vacuum pump is standard on all models 2000 gallon or over. In addition to these models Fleming offer all recessed tankers on commercial cranked axle this being standard on the

ST2300C and ST2500C.This axle lowers the centre of gravity by 150mm and offers superior braking through 420 x 180 brakes which can be fitted with an air over hydraulic operating system.This axle is suitable for higher speeds and is rated to allow the fitment of trailing shoe applicators.ST1600(C) and ST2000(C) offer the option of 30.5 R32 tyre upgrade with the ST2300C and ST2500C having 850/60R 30.5 as standard. All tankers may also be fitted with Flemings Lazy Arm loading system. An addition to this range is the ST3000 which was launched at LAMMA. With the focus now on more efficient and environmentally friendly spreading systems Fleming work in conjunction with both Mastek and Agquip and can offer both dribble bar and trailing shoe machines compatible with any suitable Fleming tanker You can view the full range of Fleming Agri Products Tankers

and Pump online at www. fleming-agri.co.uk including videos of the machines in action and also use the ‘dealer locator’

to find your nearest Fleming dealer. You can also talk to a member of our sales team on 028 7134 2637.

Greencrop dirty water systems Greencrop Irrigation offers a range of dirty water solutions, to spread waste/dirty water from

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livestock farms, washing plants, controlled dust suppression for quarry’s and land fill sites.

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SLURRY MANAGEMENT We can offer a range of PTO driven and electric manual / fully automatic irrigation pumps feeding static sprinklers or rain guns, Mobile low volume dirty water irrigators and large scale hosereel irrigators. Application rates can be adjusted from 4mm up to 30mm depending on the system. The electric stator rotor pumps running static rain sprinklers / guns apply rates between 4 and 10mm, mobile low volume irrigators can normally spread between 6mm and 20mm according to The Environmental Agency recommendations and the Agricultural Good Code of Practice. (Regarding application rates, spreading areas. i.e. no nearer than 10meters from a watercourse for agricultural animal waste and vegetable washing) We recommend that you have the dirty water analyzed for fertilizer value and PH reading for dust suppression. Multicam Low Volume Irrigator This is a galvanized low volume irrigator mounted on three wide, low ground pressure wheels, with a rotary boom covering a 25 metre diameter area. Fitted with 200 metres of high strain wire cable. Greencrop Pump In A Box Pumping system, 3kw single / three phase or 5.5kw three phase mono stator rotor horizontal pump c/w manual/autostart stop, frost stat, self-priming,

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suction hose, high pressure cutoff, control panel with starter, float switch control, switchgear complete with micro-switch and 10m of cable. Pump set at 3kw 8m3h at 6 Bar and 5.5kw 12m3h at 12 bar Product Range 1. PTO driven impellor or stator rotor pumps 2. Electric single and threephase submersible, vertical and horizontal stator rotor pumps with manual or fully automatic control systems. 3. Stand up sprinklers and sledge mounted irrigation rain guns 4. Low volume dirty water mobile irrigators 5. High range engine driven hosereel irrigators

Please contact your local dealer for more information or arrange

a site visit with Greencrop irrigation. www.greencrop.co.uk

The West Maelstrom Rear Discharge range set to get bigger from 8m3 to 18m3 After the very successful introduction of the all new West Maelstrom rear discharge spreader the exciting decision has been taken to increase the product line up. The range as now been increased with the addition of side extensions to give four new capacity machines. The Maelstrom 8 will now be available in the following sizes, Maelstrom 8, Maelstrom 10 c/w timber extensions, Maelstrom 12c/w galvanised extensions, The Maelstrom 14 will also be available in the following sizes, Maelstrom 14, Maelstrom 16 c/w

timber extensions, Maelstrom 18 c/w galvanised extensions. For further information please contact 01948 840465

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SLURRY MANAGEMENT

SlurryKat Launch All New Trailing Shoe Industry leading equipment manufacturer SlurryKat, has launched their completely new Farm Line Trailing Shoe slurry Injector. With the threat looming of the all-out ban on splash plates imminent, there has never been a greater focus on alternative spreading methods, of which the trailing shoe is a favoured and cost effective option. Aimed mainly at farmers, SlurryKat have developed an allnew 7.5m vertical folding unit which can be tanker mounted on new and existing tankers of any manufacturer with the addition of an attachment kit. The all new trailing shoe has been tried and tested over the past season within SlurryKat`s own in house contracting division where it was put through its paces in various

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SLURRY MANAGEMENT conditions and terrain. It’s this hands on product development which makes SlurryKat unique and allows them to manufacture market leading equipment ready for the tough Irish conditions. The Farmline trailing shoe features a lightweight design of only 460 kgs and a lower set frame and folded design maximises visibility to the rear for the operator and its unique folded angular design means that it is well away from any overhead obstacles like low hanging trees etc. The frame design boasts a simple yet effective flip up shoe design that means the shoes gives maximum ground clearance when lifted, a common problem experienced with other manufacturers designs. This flip up design means that all shoes on the machine are inverted and offer an anti-drip feature meaning that there is no unwanted slurry dripping from the outlets in

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the folded position keeping roads and concreted farm yards completely mess free. When in operation, the arms folded down and out into the

working position and these are also supported for use in high stress rough terrains. As always the units feature the market leading German manufactured

Vogelsang macerator complete with stone trap, providing unrivalled precision application on slopes giving an even and steady spread.

Tramspread contracting trailer offers a one tractor, one-man umbilical system Tramspread has specialised in slurry contracting for more than 30 years. The team, based in Mendlesham, Suffolk, has developed their own bespoke equipment to create machines that work efficiently and can adapt to any job. The Tramspread high speed contractor pump trailer is powered by a 175 horsepower Iveco engine coupled to a Bauer SX2000 pump which is capable of pumping up to 300 cubic metres per hour depending on distance and hose diameter.

The long drawbar enables a Tramspread applicator, such as a dribble bar, to be carried on the tractor’s rear threepoint linkage while towing the trailer. With the addition of a Tramspread SIL remote control, pressure sensors and flowmeter, the entire umbilical system can be accurately operated and monitored by just one man. Up to 2000 metres of drag hose is carried on two Tramspread galvanised detachable spools located at the front of the trailer while a further 1000

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metres is carried on the tractors front 3-point linkage via the powerful twin hydraulic drive Tramspread reeler, giving a total system capacity of 3000 metres. Over the twin sprung high-speed axles there is a large 900 litre fuel tank. Mounted over the fuel tank is a compressor (also remote controlled) and suction hose loading area with two large toolboxes. Fitted with Tramspreads Raven Box, the latest in mapping and recording technology, the unit can report the areas treated


SLURRY MANAGEMENT and the quantity of slurry utilised. Using technology and precision engineering means the Tramspread team can tackle any job and provide a market leading service.

NEXT ISSUE FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE OUT MARCH 2020 also SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS ON PAGE 81

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SLURRY MANAGEMENT

Vogelsang receives DLG award for innovative liquid manure spreading technology The liquid manure spreading and distribution technology from Vogelsang GmbH & Co. KG has been awarded by the DLG (German Agricultural Society). The new BlackBird trailing shoe linkage with a working width of 15 meters, equipped with two ExaCut ECQ precision distributors, was tested. The DLG test showed that the liquid manure is distributed with a coefficient of variation

of less than two percent. This was awarded top marks by the examiners. In addition, the precision distributors were classified as particularly userfriendly. According to DLG examiners, maintenance work is comparatively simple and can be carried out within a very short time. “We are delighted to receive this award from the DLG. The test mark underpins

our position as an innovation leader in the agricultural sector and confirms our claim of developing customer-friendly and economical products”, says Harald Vogelsang, Managing Director of Vogelsang GmbH & Co. KG. In the “Functionality and working quality” module, the trailing shoe linkage with the precision distributors achieved excellent distribution qualities

in tests with liquid cattle and pig manure. In all trials to determine the average distribution, the DLG awarded the best possible rating of “very good (++)”. In three out of four trials, the mean deviations found were well below two percent (1.8/1.1/ 1.8). The outlets of the distributor are fed with liquid manure very quickly at the start of spreading with a maximum of two seconds preventing a V-shaped imprint.

Look to the west try Harry West -AELSTROM 2EAR $ISCHARGE 3PREADER

www.harrywest.co.uk 52

s -ANURE 3PREADERS s $IET &EEDERS s 'RAIN AND 3ILAGE 4RAILERS s !GRICULTURAL AND #OMMERCIAL "UILDING ALSO Please check out the SEKO RANGE OF $IET &EEDERS ECO LINE PRODUCTS Tel: 01948 840465 www.farmingscotlandmagazine.com

Harry West (Prees) Ltd Lower Heath, Prees, Whitchurch, 3HROPSHIRE 39 "4


TRAINVIEW TALK

How can we go wrong?... Something I once stated after being offered three beef shorthorn heifers from a herd in Northern Ireland. We were just establishing our herd and looking to build up numbers. There was a White, a Roan and a Red and White all of the same family. We really only wanted to buy the White one as she was the best of the three but the seller wanted them to all go together so they all came home after just running with a bull for a knock down price of £1200 a head. Hands were shaken and we got them home the following week and the vet was sought to PD them. It turned out just two of the three were incalf and of the course it had to be the White that wasn’t, showing signs of a mummified calf so she went down the road. The remaining two quickly settled in and Red and White calved down our first Shorthorn heifer calf into our new herd but Roan had a C-section and a dead calf. Year one down to two heifers, one calf and a big vets bill… The Roan calved down well the following year after her C-Section with a nice white heifer calf. As we were preparing to move the herd to Scotland we needed to lighten the load and raise cash for the journey over the Irish sea. So Valerie and her brother were dispatched to Ballymena Mart with Red and White’s yearling heifer calf and Roan with calf at foot however Roan and calf failed to meet our expectations and got ready for export to Scotland. Red and White didn’t turn out as we hoped so she was culled after her 2nd calf so by the end of year two, three had become one! Year three now in Scotland, Roan had another dead calf and then wouldn’t hold to the bull so a final trip

DIARY

Trainview Talk Our new diary page By James Cameron to the sale ring for her leaving all three original cows gone. All that was remaining was her white heifer. She calved us down 2 decent steers but alas she was empty when we scanned a couple weeks ago. So after 5 years there is no

trace in the herd of this family line. Whilst selling her last steer calf the other week a pure Highland bull calf sold for £75 and I heard someone say, ‘How could you go wrong at that’. Aye all too easy to go wrong! We

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will write it off as experience, the heifers company and dung left to fertilize someone else’s field is little reward for the cost and time spent. The cows are all in now except a few Irish moiled cows that will be out wintered. On first impression they seemed to be thin skinned however their hair follicles are extremely dense which retains the heat and being smaller helps keeping the fields in better shape. Calves have weaned well without any stress even with the horrible weather, backs were clipped and dosed for parasites. Vaccination well before housing plus increased ventilation with a couple of fans seems to have paid off this year with so far no pneumonia. Our fears over poor scanning results were confirmed with calving once again going to be spread over most of the year. It just shows the effect a bad AI syncro and dodgy semen can have. Some of our foundation cows are also starting to show their age but they have left us some decent females. At least some of our initial purchases have produced the goods for us. We’re 5 years in and this is the first year we feel we can really say we have a herd rather than a collection of cows. We can see results from the hard work and investment, 3 bulls sold this year, spring born steers making 213 p/kg and some very promising youngsters coming on with lots of ideas and ambition for the next five years. One of those new ideas, our Herdwick flock have settled in well and Valerie bought a Ryeland tip lamb to cover them. They are a big hit with young Alec, we don’t have a trained sheepdog but the toddler gives it his best shot to round them up! 53


breed profile

Hardy Highlanders from Alyth Father and son duo, Stuart and Steven Knox reveal their passion for Highlander cattle By Katrina Macarthur

Steven Knox with son Murray

A farming family from Perthshire is demonstrating the Highland cattle’s ability to not only breed hardy and low maintenance cross-bred replacements, but a second crossing of quality young commercial calves which are sold straight off their mothers at a young age. Steven Knox and his father Stuart, from North Balloch, Alyth, farm 220 acres of owned grass and arable land, with a proportion rented out for potato 54

and peas production. They also rent a further 300 acres of nearby land including 190 acres of hill ground and contract farm a unit near Dunkeld, which is home to 450 breeding ewes. The father and son duo have become strong believers of the Highland Cattle breed since they took on the running of Steven’s grandparents Innisard fold in 2006, which at the time was based at Newtonmore and numbered 25 breeding females.

It was founded in 1980 with the purchase of a heifer calf at Oban and saw the first pedigree calves from the fold registered in 1984. With help from veteran stockman Rich Thomson, the fold enjoyed numerous show wins at Oban and local shows, and secured a number of leading prices between 1990 and 2006. In 1990, Innisard headed to Oban for the first time and claimed the junior champion, while another bull made 3500gns; a heifer calf

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sold for 3000gns and a two-yearold heifer fetched 2600gns. A top price to date of 6500gns was achieved in 1995 for Jock 3 of Innisard, while Jock 4 of Innisard made 6000gns in 2003 at 23 months of age, weighing 714kg. While the business is still home to 20 pure Highland cows, the Knox family now run 40 cross Highland cows, 30 of which are Simmental cross Highland cows and 10 Beef Shorthorn cross Highlanders. They also run their


breed profile 25-cow Kyleston Simmental herd for producing bulls for United Auctions’ Stirling Bull Sales and heifers for breeding. “When we took over the pedigree herd, we put all cows to the Simmental bull and our plan was to sell the progeny but the value at that time just wasn’t there,” began Steven. “Fast forward a few years and we’ve managed to build up a productive commercial herd, with the best of the heifers retained for breeding and all bullock calves and remaining heifers sold through the store ring as yearlings at UA, Stirling.” In a bid to produce a more sellable calf at a younger age through the store ring, the duo introduced a second cross to their system two years – the Charolais. This has allowed Steven and Stuart to sell March/April-born calves straight off their mothers

in November, which last year saw 17 head average 355kg at 235 days and sell for 220p per kg. The Highland cross Simmental yearlings averaged 375kg at 340 days and cashed in at 226p per kg. “We still get the same growth rates with the Simmental but we find the Charolais attracts more of a premium when selling through the store ring to finishers,” explained Steven. “Simmental calves were obviously heavier when kept on another 100 days and we had the costs through the winter such as bedding, feeding and dosing. The Charolais calves are just that bit more attractive for selling at a young age.” Highland cows are outwintered all year round on the hill, while cross cows come inside in February for calving but head outside again once calves are tagged and dehorned. The

Highland cows receive ½ kilo of cobbs so that they’re easyhandled and cross cows are fed ad-lib silage and minerals. Steven did point out however, that the Highlanders don’t eat as much as other breeds as only two cuts from 67 acres of silage is taken each year for feeding cows and sheep. The Simmental cross Highland calves are weaned from their mothers at the end of November and receive two kilos of a protein blend and home-grown barley with ad-lib silage, before being sold at the beginning/mid-March. All calves are dosed and the herd is in a High Health Scheme, BVD accredited and maintains a Johnes Level 1 status. “We find Highland cows and the cross-breds so easily managed,” said Steven. “They’re small cows and can live on an easy, low-cost system. Our cows range from 10 to 15 years of age and they still have plenty of milk and produce a good calf. This is one of reasons for buying a pedigree Highland bull for the fold.” “Once you get less than a halfbred Highlander, you lose the ease and hardiness so the Highlander will remain our number one cow on the farm,” added Steven. Stock bulls for the commercial herd are either home-bred or bought at Stirling Bull Sales, with the most recent purchase to date being a Charolais named Thrunton MacDuff, while the

Simmental is a home-bred son of Whitemere King Kong. At the Oban Highland cattle sale in February, the duo purchased Craigowl 7 of Glamis, which will be put to six of the topend pure cows for breeding heifer replacements. Steven said: “We aim to buy Charolais bulls on size and length, and concentrate on growth figures. We don’t tend to select on calving figures as our Highland cross cows have a big pelvis and always spit their calves out.” Outwith the family’s beef enterprise, 300 North Country Cheviot hill ewes are crossed with the Bluefaced Leicester for producing Cheviot Mule gimmers which are sold at Longtown and UA, Stirling. A further 150 Cheviot Mule and Suffolk cross Mule ewes produce lambs which are finished on stubble turnips and sold direct through McIntosh Donald, while a flock of 100 pure Texels, Suffolks and Bluefaced Leicesters breed around 30 shearlings per year for selling either privately or at UA, Stirling. Steven is also kept busy throughout the summer months with his contract shearing business which employs up to seven men at one time, clipping more than 50,000 sheep from Dalwhinnie to the Forth and everywhere in between. 129th Annual Spring Show & Sale takes place on February 9th & 10th at Oban Livestock Centre, Oban.

Pure Highland cow with Simmental cross calf

Simmental cross Highlander with Charolais calf

Pure Highland cow with Simmental cross calves on hill

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beef Farmgate Beef Prices Benefit From Modest Increase After a prolonged period of decline, farmgate beef prices in Scotland have increased by 2% over the past month, according to the latest market analysis by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). However, according to Stuart Ashworth, QMS Director of Economic Services, when compared to a year ago, prices are still 8% or 30p/kg dwt lower than this time last year. Cull cattle prices are similarly lower than twelve months ago but by a more modest 2%. “The number of cull cows handled by price reporting abattoirs are running at higher levels than twelve months ago,” said Mr Ashworth. “Indeed, the weekly cull cow slaughter numbers have been running higher than a year ago for the whole of the past quarter. A more modest decline in cull cattle prices and higher volumes killed does suggest more robust demand for manufacturing beef than for prime beef,” he added. Weekly prime cattle slaughter numbers have also exceeded last year’s levels over the past quarter, although more recently there is

some indication that availability is beginning to tighten slightly. “Calf registration data and census returns would suggest that prime stock supplies will tighten in the medium-term,” said Mr Ashworth. “June census returns report a decline in male cattle one to two years old of around 2% across GB and a decline in male cattle under a year old of around 3%,” he commented. Beef supplies are, however, being supported by increases in carcase weights, particularly among steers. Although average carcase weights in October were 1% higher than a year ago, they did remain lower than two years ago. Nevertheless, increasing numbers of cattle will be falling outside of many buyers preferred upper weight limits. According to Mr Ashworth, while Scottish prime cattle prices are showing some modest increase, in other parts of the world prices have climbed steeply in the past quarter. “What all these countries have in common is access to

the Chinese and Asian market where demand for all meat has escalated as a consequence of

impact of African Swine Fever on their domestic meat supplies,” said Mr Ashworth.

New audit tool available from vets will help beef suckler producers improve enterprise performance MSD Animal Health has developed a new vet-driven onfarm audit tool to help UK beef suckler producers address the key areas influencing optimum herd health and performance. The company’s new Suckler Herd Performance Checklist helps a farm’s vet assess performance across the five crucial time periods and processes impacting on the success of beef suckler herds (see figure 1). 56

“Suckler producers can use this tool to work together with their vet to help them benchmark their herd performance,” explained Dr Kat Baxter-Smith, livestock veterinary adviser with MSD Animal Health. “For example, reducing calf morbidity and mortality rates in a suckler herd starts with management practices before conception. Optimum performance also requires following proper

management protocols throughout the youngstock period from birth to weaning, including effective colostrum administration, vaccination, nutrition and hygiene.” Drawing on results from MSD Animal Health’s recent National Youngstock Survey1, Dr Baxter-Smith said that, on average, beef suckler producers rate their management practices at 7 out of 10 in these crucial areas. However, in the surveyed

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farms, 83% left colostrum to natural suckling only and 79% never checked colostrum quality. “The survey results also highlighted a need for farmers to engage more with their vets during disease outbreaks. While 72% experienced scour and 34% experienced mortality due to scour, only 41% had the cause of scour diagnosed. The findings are similar for pneumonia cases: 57% experienced pneumonia,


beef

which caused 34% to experience mortality. However, fewer than 30% of those surveyed had the cause of pneumonia diagnosed,” she said. The new checklist explores, records and scores suckler herd performance to allow the vet to identify the strengths and weaknesses of an individual unit’s environment and processes. “Working through a series of 10 questions within each of the five areas – designed to tease out where

a rearing unit is in terms of accepted best management practice – allows vet and farmer to quickly pinpoint any areas needing attention. What’s more, repeating the checklist every six or 12 months is a great way to keep things on track, allowing both parties to monitor progress against agreed targets,” said Dr BaxterSmith. Farmers interested in finding out more about the on-farm audit tool should contact their vet for further information.

Dumfries and Galloway Farm Wins Prestigious AgriScot Award A Dumfries and Galloway farm business has been named the winners of the prestigious AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award today (Wednesday 20 November) by AgriScot, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and award sponsors, Thorntons Solicitors. Kingan Farms in New Abbey, run by the Kingan family, has emerged as the winners following an extensive gruelling from industry assessors and against stiff competition from other high calibre finalist farms from across Scotland. The aim of the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award is to showcase excellence in the production of cattle in Scotland and raise the profile of the

dedication and stock management skills behind the production of Scotch Beef PGI. Kingan Farms pipped Scholland Farm in Shetland, run by Jamie Leslie, and Firth Farm in Melrose, run by the Livesey family, to win the award, which was presented by Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP in the main ring at AgriScot at Royal Highland Centre. Kingan Farms is a family partnership, a 475-hectare-owned and tenanted enterprise across four locations in Dumfries. The Kingan family run a beef finishing system with a turnover of approximately 1,400 cattle per year – a mixture of continental and native breeds.

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livestock Scots dairy and beef herds alert: Corrective action now to avoid spring calving problems soon Without urgent corrective action, some Scottish dairy and suckler beef herds will face calving problems over the next three months as a legacy of plentiful high quality grass this summer, advises vet Dr Elizabeth Berry from Animax. She says a recent and widespread rise in calving difficulties identified by SAC Consulting adviser Basil Lowman indicates that many cows are carrying surplus weight into late pregnancy. To avert problems before they arise, Elizabeth advises farmers to focus on body

condition scores and trace element supplementation leading up to and during the dry period. But before making any changes, she insists that farmers discuss them with their vet or specialist feed adviser. A NADIS Animal Health Skills factsheet recommends a lean and fit condition score 2.5 to 3.0 at calving. It offers expert advice about assessing and managing cow condition, and can be downloaded from https:// bit.ly/2pgSdo8. For trace element status, Elizabeth Berry says all farmers will know from past

experience whether their soils are copper deficient and that supplementation is needed. “But for other trace elements, it isn’t as obvious,” she says. “Many deficiencies are subclinical and not easily noticed. Among the losses they cause are calving difficulties, weak calves, impaired fertility and reduced milk production.” Among a variety of methods including drenches, free access licks or in-feed powders, Elizabeth suggests that continuous release, long duration supplementation is easy and reliable. “For example, Tracesure cattle boluses lodge in the base of the rumen, releasing a trickle-charge of essential selenium, cobalt and iodine, with or without copper depending on

the farmer’s choice, for up to six months.” She reports that farmers’ comments are typically encouraging: “Since giving these boluses at drying off,” said one such, “our cows are in much better condition at re-breeding three to four months later. As a result, the herd calving interval has certainly improved.” All Animax boluses have been independently trialled by Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority at Moorepark in Ireland. For further information please visit animax-vet.com/ products/uk/ or contact Jim Adair, GB sales manager covering Scotland, 07854 479511, jim@ animax-vet.com.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE and SHOOTING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 81 58

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livestock Livestock likely to eat more of this year’s low dry matter, wet silage says SAC Consulting SRUC’s ‘A’ rated labs advise that this winter’s silage is wetter, lower in dry matter (DM) and higher in energy than last year’s cuts, which will result in increased intakes. Scotland’s cattle and sheep are likely to eat more of this year’s wetter, lower dry matter (DM), silage. This is the assessment made by Mary Young, Livestock Nutritionist at SAC Consulting – part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), based on hundreds of analyses undertaken by SRUC’s Edinburgh-based laboratory. “Compared with last year, the samples we’ve analysed have been wetter, with a higher metabolisable energy (ME) and slightly lower crude protein,” she explains. “To put this into perspective, if I fed a 450kg steer the same ration as last year they would only a achieve a growth rate of 0.7kg/ day versus 1kg/day on last year’s drier forage; this is due to a lower average dry matter (DM) content of 25% versus 34% last year.” The samples analysed to date are mainly first cuts from sheep and beef farms all over Scotland. The average metabolisable energy (ME) of all the silages (including pit and bale), is 10.7 MJ kg/DM with an average crude protein of 108g/kg DM (CP).

To add complexity to the picture, she adds that: “We’ve also seen extremes of wet and dry samples this year, ranging from 15% to 51% DM. “While the energy levels, particularly in pit silages, compare favourably with many concentrates, the average crude

protein levels have analysed at 11.4% (DM), with some samples lower than 10%.” For overwintering rations, Ms Young says that it is important that farmers have their silage analysed and subsequently plan a forage budget, because livestock are likely to eat stocks faster.

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SRUC’s lab – which also runs ‘white-label’ services for a number of well-known resellers in Scotland - is of the highest standards in the country, having just been classified as one of just 10 A-grade facilities in the UK by the Forage Analysis Assurance group (FAA).

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NFU Scotland

“Scotland’s farmers of the future must get involved and have their voice heard in NFU Scotland” Writes Dumfriesshire dairy farmer Colin Ferguson, chairman of the Union’s Next Generation Working Group

In December, we launched an online survey which we hope can be used to steer the future of NFU Scotland. When I set out on the chairmanship of the Group, I ironically saw the success of the group as being able to negate the need for a group. This, by no means, was the ambition to fail but the contrary; the ambition to reform. To fully advocate effectively for the farming sector, it is important we represent the whole sector. It’s easy to critique from the sidelines. What is difficult is being able to have the leadership to look in the mirror and become selfaware of the weaknesses. So, in that mindset, I think we do need to look at NFUS and see where it can be improved. Like all organisations it’s not perfect. In fact, it’s extremely hard to both represent everyone and in turn please everyone all the time. I often reflect on the phrase: ‘We can do anything just not everything’. I have always advocated for equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome. This basically sets out that improvement is not gained by forcing change at the top but first breaking down the barriers at the bottom to allow competence and enthusiasm to shine. This will, in turn through time see, a natural change throughout

livestock Commenting on the labs, George Caldow Head of SRUC Veterinary Services says: “FAA has recently produced a new standard for assessing each labs accuracy for its silage samples. Each month every lab receives 10 identical silage samples and analyses each of them using its in house Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy (NIRS)

machine which are assessed by the FAA.” TABLE 1 - The table following shows the difference between an average 2018 silage pit ration for a 450kg steer growing at 1kg/day. The 2018 average silage being slightly drier and slightly lower in energy is fed at 20kg silage with slightly more barley needed at 2.5kg.

Kelso Farm Named as Winner of Prestigious AgriScot Award the whole system, ultimately making the structure better. This isn’t a quick fix but, a little like tree planting, the best time to start is ten years ago, the second best is now! There will always be barriers in life. I believe it is a personal responsibility to overcome them but also, and more importantly, a community’s duty to lower them. I have no doubt that every single individual involved in NFUS has good intentions and the interests of farming and crofting members at the front of their minds, in every decision made or meeting attended. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. As an organisation which sees itself as speaking for the farming community, it is important we look internally and makes sure we represent that community as well as possible. This survey can help identify these barriers and opportunities to lower them. First, we need to fully grasp just what we need to focus on. This survey will give us an understanding of what younger, older and future members want from their Union and what we can do differently to increase the opportunities to progress through NFUS. This community will be here for many years to come so it is important we make it fit for that future.

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A Kelso farm, which showcases excellence in the production of livestock in Scotland, has been announced as the winner of the AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year 2019. The award was presented by AgriScot, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and award sponsors Thorntons Solicitors to Sharpitlaw Farm, run by Kevin Stewart. Sharpitlaw Farm beat off stiff competition from other sheep farmers across Scotland, including finalists Swinside Townfoot Farm near Jedburgh run by Peter and Vicki Hedley and Orchardton Farm in Ayrshire run by James Nisbet. The aim of the award is to showcase excellence in sheep production in Scotland and raise the profile of the dedication and stock management skills behind the production of Scotch Lamb PGI.

Mr Stewart, who was presented with his award by Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP in the main ring at AgriScot, farms 500-hectares on three, predominantly upland, units from a base at Sharpitlaw. The farms carry 1,250 ewes, 315 gimmers, 970 ewe lambs, 1,080 feeding lambs, 520 ram lambs and 100 summer grazing cattle. The sheep enterprise is based on modern sheep genetics and homeproduced forage. Mr Stewart’s flock comprises predominantly of Highlander ewes – a composite breed originating in New Zealand. Sharpitlaw produces prime lambs, gimmers, ewe lambs and rams. Technical performance is monitored through detailed records which has allowed the business to respond to dips in numbers scanned, marking lamb survival figures and changing growth rates established through regular weighing.


livestock Sharpitlaw was recognised by the assessors for its business resilience and the scale of the enterprise, run by Kevin, with minimal help over such a wide geographical area. In addition, the assessors recognised Kevin’s investment in young people, his ongoing animal health planning and his uptake of new ideas to make it easier to

The

work single-handedly but retain a good work-life balance. As well as receiving the coveted title, Mr Stewart received a £500 cheque as well as a £250 voucher to celebrate their success at a Scotch Beef Club restaurant. The club, run by QMS, has around 150 members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef PGI.

Optimising winter dairy rations for cow performance

Understanding silage quality and fatty acids in the diet is essential for winter rations As producers get further into maize and grass silage clamps, paying close attention to forage quality is essential to ensure the nutritional requirements of dairy herds are met, says Dr Richard Kirkland, Global Technical Manager for Volac Wilmar Feed Ingredients. “Balancing a winter ration should begin with silage analysis to fully understand the quality of the basal forage to enable appropriate supplementation for key macro nutrients including fibre and protein, and to meet requirements for total metabolisable energy (ME),” explains Dr Kirkland. While initial silage quality samples should have been collected once fermentation has been completed six weeks after harvest, monthly quality tests should be taken once feeding begins, adds Peter Smith, silage expert for Volac. “Ideally, producers will also sample silage for dry matter (DM) content each week to ensure accurate ration formulation,” advises Mr Smith. “However, if that isn’t always practical, it is essential to conduct DM tests at

least every fortnight, especially in periods of wet weather.” With an increasing trend in the dairy industry to adopt multi-cut silage systems, further attention to detail is needed to balance these high-energy, low-fibre forages. According to Dr Kirkland, these short-regrowth pasture silages are more rapidly fermentable in the rumen and can pass through the digestive system more quickly. With inappropriate supplementation, particularly with high-starch cereals, the lower fibre levels can compromise rumen pH and lead to an increased risk of acidosis and milk fat depression. “While high fibre ingredients such as straw are an effective buffer to slow down flow of feed through the digestive system, they also fill the rumen with low feed quality bulk that can compromise energy intake and milk protein,” advises Dr Kirkland. “Avoid overloading the diet with high starch supplements like cereals to make up for the energy deficit because it will lead to the accumulation of acid in the rumen, further increasing the risk of acidosis. Instead, choose a rumen-protected fat supplement like Megalac that will improve rumen conditions while providing a dense energy source.”

VET Goosey Goosey Gander, Whither shall I Wander? And what might I be Spreading?

By Andy Cant Northvet Veterinary Group

Orkneys resident Graylag Goose population of about 20,000 breeding birds, augmented by the migratory population have long been a source of frustration to Orkneys farmers due to the damage they do to crops and grass. It is thought that 2-3 geese will graze the same amount of grass as a sheep. Attempts at reducing the local population by shooting and oiling eggs have had limited success so far. As well as ruining crops and pastures it has often been asked what diseases the birds might be spreading from farm to farm. Biosecurity measures are not something that geese are thinking about as they land in fields. Recent studies by scientists at The Moredun Research Institute have now linked the geese to the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum which causes scour in young calves. They have isolated it from goose droppings. Further research is required to prove if the parasite is actively replicating in the goose intestine or if it is just passive transfer through the gut. Crypto remains the most

common cause of neonatal scour in calves and the infective stages called oocysts can survive for a long time in the environment, as they are remarkably resistant to heat, cold and disinfectants. The fact that it can take as little as 10 oocysts to infect a calf means that goose droppings could well be a factor in the spread of this disease, although contamination of the environment from infected calves who chuck out literally billions of infective oocysts will still be the main source. Cryptosporidium parvum is a zoonosis (a disease that also affects humans) so there are implications for public health through contamination of our water reservoirs with goose droppings. This will no doubt add weight to argument for finding a way to reduce goose numbers but there seems no easy solution. If we take the nursery rhyme to its conclusion we could get the old man to start saying his prayers I suppose, but taking him by the left leg and throwing him down the stairs will have to be ruled out on welfare grounds!

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sheep The sheep of things to come ‘An Assessment of the Opportunities to Retain and Increase Sheep and Lamb Processing in Scotland’ A Scottish Government Report – well worth reading! By Maime Paterson Upper Auchenlay, Dunblane

Research looking at ways of breeding sheep and goats to cope with climate change has found significant variations in how individual animals respond to fluctuating weather conditions. The study, led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), looked at animal performance records together with weather data – including the average daily temperature and humidity. Researchers found the same weather change invoked a variety of responses in different animals, while the production of some was not affected at all – making them more resilient to climate change. With a significant proportion of the observed variation being genetic and heritable, researchers concluded that animal resilience to weather change could be improved through selective breeding. The study is part of the Horizon2020 project iSAGE – a multi-million pound EU-funded research project aimed at futureproofing the sheep and goat farming industry. SRUC professor Georgios Banos said the results of the study, published in BMC Genetics, could be used to

further improve the accuracy of selective breeding, leading to the enhanced sustainability and profitability of farms. “Climate is changing, bringing about increased weather volatility and farm animals have different capacities to cope with this change,” he said. “We investigated the genetic mechanisms that make an animal resilient to weather conditions, allowing it to maintain performance when challenged with weather volatility. “This will enable us to continue selectively breeding for enhanced performance – such as high production and health – and at the same time breed for performance stability when external environmental conditions change.” The iSAGE project, which runs until 2020, is a consortium involving 34 partners from the UK, France, Finland, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, coordinated by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. SRUC’s focus is on creating practical breeding goals and tools for the sheep and goat sector in both the UK and across Europe.

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In mid-November, and with no fanfare, the Scottish government published a report with a long-winded title, ‘An Assessment of the Opportunities to Retain and Increase Sheep and Lamb Processing in Scotland’. It’s the result of a wide-ranging and thorough assessment of every aspect of sheepmeat production and processing in Scotland, the markets, the consumers, the potential to develop new markets and the barriers that have to be overcome. Some might claim that it’s just an updated version of the Andrew DewarDurie report of 2000, but it’s not. Back then, the Scottish ewe flock stood at 3.7 million head compared to 2.6 million in 2018. The lambing percentage continues to hover at around 120%. Of the 3.05 million lambs slaughtered in Scotland in 1991, 74% were Scottish. In 2018, 1.05million lambs were slaughtered in Scotland of which 41% were Scottish. Of the total UK lamb slaughter Scotland’s share has fallen from 16% in 1991 to 9% in 2018. The report is wellresearched, provides a plethora

of data and doesn’t pull its punches. It cites, for instance, our dependence on English processors who handle more than half the Scottish lamb crop and almost all the cull ewes; the reluctance of Scottish consumers to increase their lamb consumption; the processors’ dependence on supermarket contracts and the difficulties in supplying new markets where halal slaughter is required. However there are opportunities to increase exports but as ever there are the costs of identifying and developing new export markets which the processors are simply unwilling or unable to meet and which would need substantial investment of public money over several years. The report does what it says on the tin. It sets out the plain, unvarnished facts and makes no attempt to downplay the difficulties or to give an upbeat feelgood picture of the future. It makes for sobering reading and every Scottish lamb producer should make a point of reading it.


dairy Findings give dairy farmers confidence to cut antibiotic use Findings from a recent project by SAC Consulting (part of Scotland’s Rural College -SRUC) has given Scottish dairy farmers the confidence to minimise antibiotic use in cows at drying off. Reducing antimicrobial use through the practice of Selective Dry Cow Therapy (SDCT), where only ‘high risk’ cows are treated at drying off, can cut unnecessary use of antibiotics and save money with no threat to udder health according to the study. Dairy specialist Lorna MacPherson of SAC Consulting, who coordinated the project funded by the Scottish Government’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF), in partnership with Müller, Zoetis and the University of Edinburgh, said: “There is mounting pressure on the livestock sector to reduce antibiotic use due to the global threat from the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of

bacteria. The dairy industry has cut prophylactic antibiotic use significantly in the past few years and is well on track to meet government targets but it’s important for farmers to feel confident that by cutting out treatments they are not risking greater need for antibiotics later down the line. This was the main objective of this project.” The SAC Consulting project focussed on reducing the use of antibiotics at drying off and involved eight farms in Aberdeenshire and nine in Ayrshire. Dry period performance was analysed on 3342 cows, 57 per cent of which had SDCT and 43 per cent antibiotic DCT. All cows received an internal teat sealant at drying off. Ms MacPherson said, “Initially farmers were concerned about stopping the routine treatment of cows with antibiotics at drying off. However, as the project

progressed, their confidence grew and many were pleasantly surprised that the incidence of mastitis in cows on SDCT (teat sealant alone) was less than those receiving antibiotics and there was no increase in cows

calving in with a high cell count. “The results showed next to no difference in either the dry period protection rate or the dry period cure rate between the systems, in fact it proved that 74 per cent of the cows self-cured.”

Calf rearers wedded to skim urged to review dairy protein being fed to calves Calf rearers being forced to swallow high skim milk powder costs are

being urged to review the dairy protein they feed to their calves.

“The reality is that modern, precision-formulated whey protein-based calf milk formulas deliver comparable young animal performance to skim milk-based products and farmers should be confident in making the switch to whey,” says Dr Jessica Cooke from Volac. She points out that the price of skim milk powder has been rising steadily over the past year and with the recent sharp increase many farmers will already be exploring alternative pre-weaning calf feeding options. Review the available dairy protein options carefully though, she urges. Dr Cooke explains that dairy ingredients are the main source

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of protein in calf milk replacers and these include both skim (casein protein) and whey. “Skim milk powder is simply whole milk with the fat removed, whilst whey protein is a coproduct of cheese production. For example, at Volac’s factory in Wales, incoming whey from cheese manufacturers using milk from British farms is concentrated through a unique, low temperature ultrafiltration and evaporation process. This concentrated milk protein (Imunopro®) contains beneficial ingredients (found naturally in milk and colostrum) that help support the immune system, growth and development of the young calf.” 63


UK DAIRY EXPO 2020

UK Dairy Expo 2020 Dairy showcase returns for the 9th year Borderway UK Dairy Expo 2020 returns for the ninth year to the Borderway Exhibition Centre, Carlisle in Cumbria on Saturday 14th March. The highly successful showcase returns to bring together the elite of the global dairy industry – linking farmers, exhibitors, dairy experts and the next generation of dairy farmers. Along side the outstanding show of dairy cattle the exhibition embraces some of the latest genetics, science and technology, and a major platform for business. It offers a dynamic hub for advice, information, exchange, and commerce, with its importance reiterated

Parading the arena

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by the number of trade stand attendees. This is a key role for the industry with UK and International business exhibitors representing all sectors. An A-Z of companies and organisations features accountancy, breeding, buildings, engineering, equipment, feeding, financial, genetics, legal, technology, and veterinary all there to provide advice and support, and to help farmers and breeders plan for the future. Many of the exhibitors will also be on hand to demonstrate the use of their products first hand. Attracting a large attendance of visitors, Borderway UK Dairy Expo is not only seen as an event for showing, it is also an event for

those within the dairy industry to share commercial, innovation and educational developments. The showcase of livestock competing for the Championship Awards and a share of the £15,000 prize fund continues to be at the heart of the event, with in the region of 400 head of the finest dairy cattle in the UK being shown. There are a total of 70 classes across the seven breed sections - Holstein, Ayrshire, Jersey, Dairy Shorthorn, Red and White, and Brown Swiss. In addition, the event also hosts the British Friesian National Show. For the exhibitors, winning adds to the reputation of the herd, and makes its livestock more

Showmanship Champions

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valuable in the marketplace. Taking away the prestigious Champion of Champions is the ultimate accolade and for an unprecedented third time last year, it went to the incredible Holstein cow, Sahara-Sanchez Ambrosia 3, owned by Mark and Sue Nutsford and Michael and Barbara Hollins from Cheshire. This year’s four judges travelling from North America, Canada, and across the UK are all highly respected. Yan Jacobs, from Quebec Canada, will judge the Holstein, Brown Swiss & dairy Shorthorn classes, Pat Conroy, from Indiana USA will judge the Ayrshire, Jersey & Red & White classes; Brian Miller


UK DAIRY EXPO 2020 from Somerset UK will judge the National British Friesian Show and Amy Miller from Evesham, UK will judge the International Showmanship class. Commenting on the judge appointments for the 2020 event, David Pritchard, Event Organiser and Joint Managing Director at Harrison & Hetherington, said: “We always attract such a high calibre of judges thanks to the increasing reputation of the internationally acclaimed Borderway UK Dairy Expo. This year is no exception, when our impressive line-up of judges joins us to celebrate the very best in UK breeding and genetics. The quality of animals at this event is always second-to-none so we truly value our judges’ knowledge and eye-for-detail, that ensures we can identify the very best of the dairy-world.” Yan has judged all over Canada and was born and raised on Jacobs Farm in Quebec, a farm he now owns with his dad Jean Jacobs and his sister Ysabel Jacobs, where they are currently milking 215 cows. The farm has been eight times Premier Breeder at World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin in the States and eight times at Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Canada. They also have bred and owned 94 AllCanadian nominations and 60 All-American nominations. Throughout his career Pat has been judging cattle. From Indiana in the USA, he markets high-end type and commercial cattle, both domestically and

Supreme Champion

internationally. He is also coowner of Genesis Genetics in Mexico, who specialise in identifying genetic issues and solutions for cattle breeders. Pat owns 60-90 registered Holsteins and Jerseys a small registered herd of Angus owned in partnership. From Somerset, Brian Miller is part of family partnership that farms 450 acres and owns the famous dairy herd under the Moorshard prefix. They milk 240 Holsteins and 20 Brown Swiss cows averaging 10500kg 4.2% on 2 times milking and with 90 EX’s. Brian has judged the Holstein classes at several major UK and Ireland dairy events. Amy Miller is from the home of Shanael Holstein’s where her Dad Michael and two brothers Paul and Steven run a 600-cow dairy herd. she is no stranger to the show ring and has won showmanship classes at the Young Members Association, All Britain National Calf Show and National Holstein show. She continues to play a big part in Holstein Young Breeders as the West Midland Co-ordinator and has also judged at numerous shows. For many, competing and showing cattle in World class dairy events starts at a young age and it takes a huge amount of time, commitment and dedication. The young people entering the Showmanship classes demonstrate tremendous knowledge and attention to detail with this the future generation

starting their showmanship careers within the industry from as young as five years old. The organiser of Borderway UK Dairy Expo, Harrison & Hetherington is aware of this and underlines the importance of supporting the next generation through their own commitment to young farmers. Specifically tailored to encourage young people to take part, the Showmanship Youth Championships and Stock Judging classes inspire the next generation of dairy breeders. With dozens of young breeders from across the UK and Europe competing, these classes are key to overall success and popularity of the event. Acknowledging that individuals are also key in the continuing success of UK Dairy is the presence of The John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented by the family of John Dennison of Cumbria, who was one of the industry’s most respected breeders, this award is now in its 7th year. Recognising a dairy cattle breeder, or exhibitor judged to be a high achiever and excellent role model within the industry, last year’s winner was Bill Nadin from Sterndale Holsteins, based in Derbyshire. This industry accolade is held in the highest esteem and already entries are being received by the judging panel for 2020. The 2020 winner of the John Dennison Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced during the judging of

the Holstein classes during Dairy Expo. Success is also demonstrated through the continued support received from mainline sponsors; Holstein UK, CIS, HSBC, Farmers Guardian and Carrs Billington. Demonstrating the key role these organisations have in the industry, their presence and sponsorship also ensures the continued appearance of UK Dairy Expo as an annual event. David concluded: “Borderway UK Dairy Expo is a unique event specifically aimed at the best in the dairy industry. Its reputation has continued to grow year-onyear to become the event for dairy farmers, and for the wider industry as a whole. Its reputation continues to grow. “It has and continued to be a challenging year for the farming community, so as we move into the new decade, it will be imperative that we pull together to drive forward the dairy industry so that we remain a progressive force. Borderway UK Dairy Expo 2020 is the perfect environment to ensure that we can provide the right information to dairy farmers to ensure that they can future-proof their businesses.” The 2020 Borderway UK Dairy Expo is a free event for spectators and takes place at the Borderway Exhibition Centre, Carlisle, on Saturday 14 March 2019.

The line up

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pigs Pig and poultry production Pig and Poultry Fair 2020 - stands selling out fast! Free event to optimise production in the pig and poultry sector Improving pig and poultry production is the focus of a new event taking place near Edinburgh in January. Organised by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the Moredun Research Institute, the ‘Pigs and Poultry - Optimising Production’ event will highlight new developments in vaccine development, animal welfare and nutrition to help commercial operators make use of the latest research.

Alongside researchers from SRUC and Moredun are guest speakers Andy McGowan, Chief Executive - Scottish Pig Producers; Robert Gooch, Chief Executive - British Free Range Egg Producers Association; and Máire Burnett, Technical Director - British Poultry Council. The event is free to attend and takes place at the Moredun Research Institute, near Edinburgh, on 16 January 2020.

The 2020 British Pig & Poultry Fair is set to be bigger and better than ever with record stand bookings so far. As the leading event for the sectors the Fair is a must attend event for anyone in the industry wanting to keep up to date and see what is new. Taking place every two years, the Fair returns on 12-13 May at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, where it will host over 350 exhibitors and attract more than 10,000 visitors. “Uptake for stand space is really strong for 2020,” explains event organiser Alice Bell. “The majority of 2018 exhibitors have rebooked and we have a lot of new interest, so even having

added in more stand space, we are already over 80% sold out, which proves the event works for the industry.” For producers the Fair is renowned as the place to find the latest ideas and solutions to take home and implement on their own farms – 80% of 2018 visitors planned to make changes to their business as a result of attending the Fair. There is nowhere else to hear from experts and leading producers, meet suppliers and see what is new, all in one day, under one roof. More information call 02476 858 284 for stand space details and additional information.

Antibiotic enlightenment needed for sustainable livestock production The University of Reading is offering an online animal

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science course to raise awareness of livestock production

issues, especially antimicrobial resistance. The course, entitled

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‘Contemporary Issues in Animal Science’, is an easily accessible way for anybody working with livestock, at any point in the supply chain, to develop their understanding of animal science and its role in modern global livestock production systems. Those choosing to study will learn that the issue of responsible antibiotic use extends beyond livestock to humans. “A major review on antimicrobial resistance published in 2015(1) highlighted that of the 41 antibiotics that are approved for food producing animals by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA, 31 are categorised as being medically important for human use. It is therefore imperative to reduce dependency on, and use of, antibiotics globally in order to both secure the food chain and maintain effective treatments for both humans and animals,” says Dr Rachael Neal, course tutor at the University of Reading. More information about the Contemporary Issues in Animal Science course can be found at https://www.aftp.co.uk/course/ contemporary-issues-animalscience


LIVESTOCK MARKET REVIEW

Watching the trend By Katrina Macarthur

The latest AHDB beef and lamb market update for December shows that cattle prices have seen a slight positive movement due to the Christmas demand, with lamb prices having also increased to rise above last year and the five-year average. So far, an estimated 6.6m lambs have come forward from the 2019 crop which is a rise of 7% year on year, bringing overall mutton and lamb production up 8%. According to DEFRA data, 1.3m lambs were slaughtered in October – an increase of 2%. Though carcase weights have been higher in average for most of the year, they dropped slightly in October to level with last year. This supports industry reports that lambs have been coming forward slightly under finished and the general uncertainty surrounding Brexit may have also encouraged some

farmers to get animals off farm earlier than intended. In the last couple of weeks, the lamb price has started to see an increase, with the liveweight price jumping significantly upwards over last year’s price and five-year average. Deadweight prices have also risen above last year’s levels. The trend seen through 2019 of reduced imports and higher exports continued throughout September, when imports were down 35% to 2800 tonnes according to HMRC data. Much of the decline is from New Zealand which has seen reduced production and higher demand mainly from China so has redirected supply there. UK exports continue to be higher than last year, with reported exports of fresh frozen sheep meat up 16% year on year which is partly due to an increase in production. New Zealand has

also reduced its exports to the EU, which in turn has allowed the UK to fill gaps. In the beef market, production in October was the highest its been in nearly four years, with throughput at 168,100 head. An increase in the average cattle weights also added to high levels of production reaching 86,100 tonnes. However, weekly prices have remained well below last year and the five-year average, even with the Christmas demand. On a more positive note, the trend of lower inputs continued into September, with UK total beef imports down 33.5% on the previous year to 22,000 tonnes. Greatly reduced amounts were imported from Ireland and exports have increased in the year to September up 20%. Looking ahead to 2020, AHDB is forecasting sheep meat production to decline to be

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driven by the size of the breeding flock and also a slightly lower lamb rear rate. The mid-range of the forecast is a year on year fall of around 4% to 294,000 tonnes. For slaughter, AHDB has forecasted that around 150,000 fewer hoggs will come forward in the first five months of 2020 because so many have already sold 2019 due to high grass growth. In the cattle front, AHDB forecasts lighter carcase weights and a small decline in the total kill which means production is expected to fall by 4%. The population of prime cattle available for slaughter is lower which points towards tighter supply. However, further reductions in the breeding herd is expected which means fewer replacements are required, putting more animals forward available for kill. 67


forestry Plant more trees, manage our woods better, use more home-grown wood Confor has set out its aims for the next Government in a simple, three-point plan to plant more trees, manage our woods better and use more home-grown wood. Chief Executive Stuart Goodall said the parties’ manifestos showed forestry and wood had moved up the political agenda significantly - but that there was a lot of work to do to make the ambitious planting commitments happen. Mr Goodall said: “This has been called the climate election and it is heartening to see the main parties have listened to the forestry and wood processing sector’s consistent call for more tree planting - to help tackle the climate emergency but also to stimulate the rural economy, help reduce flood risk and encourage biodiversity. “Many of the main parties’ planting ambitions are closely aligned to Confor’s Woodland Carbon Targets, published this year - and they also draw upon recommendations by the Committee on Climate Change

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(CCC UK).” The CCC UK has identified tree planting and wood use as a “simple, low-cost option” to removing atmospheric carbon and reducing the damaging impacts of climate change. In its own election manifesto - #TheFutureIsForestry - Confor calls on whoever forms the next Government to plant 30,000 hectares of new woodland every year by 2025 - 15,000 ha in Scotland, 7500 in England, 6000 in Wales and 1500 in Northern Ireland. Mr Goodall welcomed some big commitments by the main parties to new planting. The Conservatives say they will “triple UK tree-planting rates to 30,000 hectares every year”, while the Lib Dems have pledged to “plant 60 million trees every year, increasing UK forest cover by 1 million hectares by 2045. Although Labour did not specify targets in its manifesto, it has nowpledged to plant two billion new trees by 2040 which equates to 100 million new trees a year from 2020, or around 50,000 hectares per year.

The SNP says it is “working towards a target of 60 million trees planted annually in the UK by 2025, with 30 million of these in Scotland to help tackle the Climate Emergency and to support biodiversity and rural employment”. Mr Goodall said the SNP target was entirely realistic, based on the fact that 11200 hectares (about 22,500 million trees) were planted in the year to March 31, 2019. “It’s great to see the huge ambition, but to actually drive up planting rates across the UK, we need a clear delivery plan. What has made a difference in Scotland is strong political leadership, improved approval processes, joined-up policy and positive collaboration between the public, private and voluntary sector. While there are some bold commitments in the manifestos, we need a real cultural change for this to happen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.” The Confor manifesto calls for the next party of Government to deliver on the pledge to plant a new

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forest in Northumberland - and to create regional forest partnerships elsewhere in England and Wales to plant more forests at scale. Mr Goodall also welcomed the enhanced focus on planting in the manifestos produced by the Green Party and Plaid Cymru - with the Welsh nationalists’ manifesto mirroring closely Confor’s planting plans for Wales. However, Mr Goodall added, the manifesto is not just about new planting. He said: “It also calls for our existing woodlands to be better-managed, to unlock their potential to deliver a wide range of benefits. “Managing our existing woods better can deliver speedier benefits in terms of mitigating climate change effectively through faster growth and wood products, but also delivering wider benefits in terms of biodiversity, rural employment, recreation and much more. “Finally, using more homegrown wood will displace energyintensive (and carbon-intensive), materials in construction and around our homes.”


estate Area of hill ground and loch in scenic location for sale

Galbraith is pleased to bring to the market an attractive block of hill ground and a small loch located in an elevated position between Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead in rural Argyll & Bute. The property boasts spectacular views over the surrounding countryside and extends to about 349 acres (141 hectares) in total. Harry Graham, who is handling the sale on behalf of Galbraith, said: “The land at Brackley Farm is situated in an idyllic location, with beautiful vistas in all directions. This area is renowned for remarkable scenery and

the land is located just to the west of Ardrishaig which sits on the shores of Loch Fyne, midway between Oban and Campbeltown, and is the starting point of the Crinan Canal. “The land includes a small hill loch known as the Still Loch which has been fished for trout historically and the land could be converted to some form of forestry use subject to obtaining the necessary planting consents. The property presents an excellent opportunity to acquire a productive block of hill ground in a wonderful part of rural Scotland, with great amenity value.”

The Land at Brackley Farm is situated to the west of Loch Gilp, approximately one mile from Ardrishaig and about 1.5 miles south west of Lochgilphead. The Kintyre Peninsula is situated to the south and is a quiet and secret corner of Scotland, boasting some of the country’s most spectacular scenery with its hidden bays and long sandy beaches. The land has been classified as Grade 6.3 by The James Hutton Institute and surrounds the Kilduskland Reservoir which serves Ardrishaig. The land rises from 212m above sea level to 295m and

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is situated in a single block between two existing forestry plantations, and is bound to the north by Cruach Breacain which rises to 360m. It is accessed directly from a private forestry track that leads south west from the A83. This area is a popular field sports destination with a number of estates in the vicinity offering driven and walked-up game shooting. It is also a region popular with hill walkers and cyclists, with a variety of tracks to suit all levels of fitness. The land is for sale through Galbraith for offers over £225,000. 69


Time for Scottish 'OVERNMENT ambitions to be REVEALED

estate 2019 grouse season defies predictions after late upturn

By Eleanor Kay Policy Adviser (Agriculture & Forestry) at Scottish Land & Estates Having declined the option of a Scottish element being rolled into the UK Agriculture Bill, the wait has been on to see what the Scottish Government would do to signal a move to future policy. With the arrival of the Agriculture (Retained EU Law & Data) (Scotland) Bill that wait is partially over. The bill largely brings EU law into domestic legislation and ensures rural payments can continue. Having just begun the stage one process, Scottish Land & Estates and others in the industry are following the Bill closely through debates and amendments to ensure the final legislation is fit for purpose. So why is the wait only partially over? In their evidence to the parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, the Bill team made clear that they intend the legislation to be short lived, providing a degree of stability over the next few years but delivering no detail for the future transition to post-CAP legislation. This is less than ideal from the industry’s perspective, with the real value of a transition period found in knowing what we are transitioning to.

We were clear in our #Route2050 document, which explores the priorities for Scottish land management to 2050, that change is needed and a move to integrated land use and policy must be at the heart of new legislation. That needs to happen soon though with England and Wales already underway with pilot projects and a longer transition period over seven years rather than five in Scotland. With all the changes at Westminster, a new budget early next year and several substantial campaign promises on rural funding for Scotland after Brexit, we would ask if now is perhaps the time for the Scottish Government to reveal its ambitions for the future of the rural economy beyond 2024. With the clock ticking, there is little time to waste. Scotland has unique challenges in terms of its land - but is also excellently placed for farmers and land managers to combine quality food production with a substantial contribution towards climate change and biodiversity targets. As we wait for details to become clear, the question remains just how ambitious does Scotland want to be in the future.

For more information www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk Telephone : 0131 653 5400

Experts predicted the season would be mixed at best, but as it turned out, some moors in Scotland were able to host fairly full programmes. The east of Scotland tended to fare best overall, from Aberdeenshire down to Angus, parts of Perthshire and then further south into the Lammermuirs. A healthy interest from America, Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, as well as from within the UK, has already produced excellent bookings for 2020, according to sporting agents, with strong demand already outstripping supply. Robert Rattray, director of Ossian and a partner with Galbraith said: “We had fingers firmly crossed that 2019 would be better than the very disappointing 2018 season, and were delighted that, in Angus and Perthshire in particular, certain moors were able to complete much of their predicted programme and escaped the worst of the weather. “Demand for both walked up and driven grouse in Scotland is as strong as ever despite the seasonal fluctuations, with clients from all over the world still keen to experience this unique shooting.”

This better than anticipated season will have come as a relief to the many hotels and suppliers who receive significant business as a result of grouse shooting. Country sports tourism generates £155m annually for the Scottish economy. Hoteliers benefit to the tune of approximately 970,000 bed-nights per year purchased by tourists, both domestic and international, when there is a good year for grouse. Businesses from pubs, hotels, shops and taxi firms in rural areas rely on seasonal income from visitors coming to shoot grouse. Over £23 million per year flows into local businesses as a direct result of the trade generated by estate activity during the season. Tim Baynes, moorland director, Scottish Land & Estates said: “Moorland areas rely upon the annual grouse season. With no large-scale industry to support small villages and communities in those parts of the country, the grouse season generates tourism, employment and ensures that some of the most beautiful areas of Scotland are managed for the benefit of all.”

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Courtesy: The Bigger Picture

estate Seeds of New Nature Sanctuary Planted

An environmentally aware Northumberland farm is hoping that flocks of people will visit their proposed bird and nature reserve to bring a piece of the countryside to urban residents. Stickley Farm, near Cramlington has its historical roots dating back to William the Conqueror and has been in the Hogg family for more than 120 years. The arable farm produces corn, wheat and barley and for the last 25 years, bird and poultry foods produced under the Laverock Hall Bird Food brand. What started out as an order for bird food for pigeon fanciers has now led to a major part of the farm’s output with more than 16 food products for pigeons, hens and wild birds. Farmer Chris Hogg invented the recipe for his wild bird food which is now sold all across the

UK via their outlet at nearby Laverock Hall Farm Shop, other retail shops such as garden centres and an increasing online presence. The upturn in the bird food’s popularity has enabled Chris to diversify, employ more staff and update his farming machinery. It’s also allowed him and wife Valdine to look at how they are using their 600 acres and to examine ways to nurture, invest and utilise the land that they look after. “We have a deep-rooted love of the countryside and its wildlife is at the heart of our business. Ours is a hands-on family farm and we integrate everything we do with nature. Feeding our feathered friends and keeping them healthy is just what we do. For example, we plant 122 acres of seed into the ground every year and leave it for the birds to

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estate

Wildcats in winter By Roo Campbell

Winter is a busy time for wildcats. Food is scarce and their energetic needs are greater in the cold weather, so at this time of year wildcats are more likely to come in to carrion. But winter is also their peak breeding season. At this time of year, the males will wander huge distances looking to breed with receptive females. Females are also ranging more widely, looking for a mate, food and investigating future den sites for their kittens. Farms can provide food, shelter and mates and so can be quite attractive to wandering wildcats. As we have mentioned in past columns, breeding with domestic farm cats and secondary poisoning from rodenticides present risks to wildcats that you can reduce by ensuring any farm cats are neutered and rodenticide is used safely. For farms operating shoots, pheasant pens can also attract wildcats. Hybridisation between wildcats and domestic cats means distinguishing wildcats from

tabby domestic hybrids is very difficult, even up close. Under spotlight at night or with thermal imaging it can be nigh on impossible to tell them apart. Any non-selective method of predator control such as snaring can also carry risk. Whether you are carrying out predator control to protect a shoot or to protect livestock, care needs to be taken to avoid killing any wildcats you may have on your land. You can use camera traps to help identify whether you have wildcats ahead of any predator control. If you think you might have wildcats in your area, you can use cage traps to carry out predator control. This allows you to confirm the animal in your trap is not a wildcat before dispatch. Traps should ideally be covered and checked twice daily. We have developed a protocol to aid you in your work (www.bit.ly/wildcatLM). As a precautionary principle, if you are in any doubt as to whether the animal you have caught is a wildcat, let it go.

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eat over the winter. I’m hopeful that our forthcoming plans will encourage more people to take an interest in the abundance of wildlife on our own doorsteps, “said Chris. The Hogg’s have started to develop a large area of their land as a nature and bird reserve which will be open for organised groups of the public to enjoy the abundance of wildlife present. With plans to build bird watching hides, a nature footpath and a number of wet fowl ponds, the work is expected to be ready for its first visitors by Spring 2020. Already more than 10 acres of native trees have been planted. The mix of thousands of new hazel, oak, scots pine and alder trees have been carefully selected and placed to make good nesting and food

sources for birds and other wildlife such as squirrels. Bird watchers will be encouraged to visit the oasis of wildlife between Blyth and Cramlington and there will be self-guided nature walks and hides for groups to use. “Both Chris and I want to put something back into our community and let local people come and see how wonderful our countryside is. It’s amazing that we are just feet away from the main Cramlington to Blyth road yet the birds and animals we see are amazing. We regularly see lapwings, ducks, skylarks and visiting migrant flocks,” said Valdine.” We’re looking forward to putting our farm firmly on the map as a great place to get closer to nature.”

The new Structures and Buildings Allowance - what’s in it for the farming sector? Saffery Champness offers some insight

The Structures and Buildings Allowance (SBA) was introduced in 2018, with guidance published earlier in 2019. Updated detailed guidance was only published more recently, on 30 October 2019. In that respect, these allowances are still new, and many farming and rural businesses may still be wondering whether they are of benefit to them, and what is and isn’t covered. Jamie Younger, Partner, Saffery Champness, and head of the firm’s Landed Estates and Rural Business Group, highlights a few key points to note about the SBA. What is the SBA? It’s a flat 2per cent per annum allowance available for expenditure on new and renovated non-residential structures and buildings, effectively writing off

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the cost over 50 years for tax purposes. What are the relevant qualifying dates? SBAs are available where construction contracts are dated on or after 29 October 2018 or, where there is no contract, the start date of physical works was on or after that date. Qualifying expenditure needs to be established at the outset, and estimation is not permitted. What is it based on? SBAs are generally based on the original capital cost of the construction or renovation. What buildings/works does it apply to? SBAs can be claimed on expenditure relating to farm buildings (construction and renovation), fencing, bridges, tunnels, retail and other qualifying


estate non-residential uses. The structure or building must be used in a qualifying taxable activity in the UK. It should be noted that under the regular Plant and Machinery Allowance (PMA) fencing only qualifies where it is necessary for personal security purposes. However, installation of new fencing, or upgrading old fencing, can qualify for SBAs. Qualifying construction and renovation costs will include design fees, site preparation and fit-out costs. Who can claim the SBA? SBA claimants must have an interest (freehold or leasehold) in the land on which the structure or building is situated. What other points to note and what are the other exclusions? SBAs do not apply to: • Residential property. • Expenditure where the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) is being claimed. • Expenditure qualifying for Plant and Machinery Allowances (PMAs). • Land. • Furnished Holiday Lets (FHLs), whether a new construction or conversion of existing buildings. Where a building or qualifying asset is demolished, then SBAs cease. Where a building is sold, the claimant can continue to claim the annual allowance for the remainder of the 50-year period. There are no balancing allowances or charges. A building or structure will continue to qualify for the allowance during periods of disuse. Jamie Younger says: SBAs are claimed in the tax payer’s tax return and the first claimant in respect of a particular structure must provide a written allowance statement. They can only be claimed once the building or structure comes into use. Care will need to be taken where there are elements qualifying for SBAs and elements qualifying for PMAs and the AIA to ensure that the correct allowance is claimed and that the tax relief maximised. Further information: Jamie Younger, Saffery Champness, T: 0131 221 2777

EU PARTRIDGE project in Scotland helping farmland wildlife during crucial winter months Fiona Torrance, GWCT, Scottish Grey Partridge Recovery Project Research Assistant

The EU Interreg North Sea Region funded PARTRIDGE project is aiming to give many farmland species a helping hand, especially during the colder months. The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s specially developed wild bird seed mixes not only provide food for seed eating birds, but also contain broad-leaved plants which provide partridges, brown hares and other animals with a place to hide when other parts of the landscape are more exposed. Despite the mixes we use being tried and tested,

we are constantly assessing them and looking for ways that they can be improved. During the last meeting of the EU PARTRIDGE project partnership in Göttingen, Germany, we discussed many of the successes and problems that farmers across Europe have encountered during the project, and together we were able to come up with a number of possible solutions to help farmers and wildlife get the most out of the habitat we are providing for them. These included different soil preparations, adapting

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the seed mixes and cutting the blocks differently, providing a more mosaictype habitat with more variety for wildlife. In Scotland, our efforts have focussed on supplementary feeding to provide partridges and other farmland wildlife with a helping hand during October to March when food is very hard to come by. Winter is also the time of year when field surveys start again, and we are currently undertaking hare surveys at Balgonie In Fife and Whitburgh in Midlothian/East Lothian, our Scottish demonstration sites. 73


NEXT

Investing

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

John Deere training sets another record

GENERATION

in

People

An eye on the future by Colin Ferguson NFUS Next Generation Chair When I set out on the chairmanship of the next generation group, I ironically saw the success of the group as being able to negate the need for a group. This by no means was the ambition to fail but the contrary the ambition to reform. I’ve always been a reformer both in a business sense and in the advocacy of trying to make agriculture work for the primary producers. To fully advocate effectively for the farming sector it’s important first we represent the whole sector. It’s easy from the sidelines to critique, it’s easy to complain and it’s very easy to ignore problems. What is difficult is being able to have the leadership to look in the mirror and become self aware of the weaknesses. So in that mindset I think we do need to look at NFUS and see where it can be improved, like all organisations it’s not perfect, infact it’s extremely hard to both represent everyone and in turn please everyone all of the time. I often reflect on the ‘We can do anything just not everything’. I have always advocated for equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome. This basically sets out that improvement is not gained by forcing change at the top but first breaking down the barriers at the bottom to allow competence and enthusiasm to shine. This will in turn through time see a natural change throughout

the whole system, ultimately making the structure better. This isn’t a quick fix but a little like tree planting, the best time to start is ten years ago, the second best is now! There’s will always be barriers in life, it’s a personal responsibility to overcome them, but also and more importantly a community’s duty to lower them. I have no doubt that every single individual involved in NFUS has good intentions and the interests of farmers and crofters members at the front of theirs minds, in every decision that’s made or meeting attended. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. As an organisation which sees itself as speaking for the farming community, it’s important it looks internally and makes sure it represents as well as possible that same community. This rather neatly I hope brings me back to how the Next Generation Committee hopes it can help identify these barriers and opportunities to lower them. First we need to fully grasp just what we need to focus on, an understanding of what younger, older and future members want from there Union and what we can do differently and to increase the opportunities to progress through NFUS. This community will be hear for many years to come, it’s important we make it fit for that future.

A record-breaking total of 66 young parts and service technicians are being trained in this year’s John Deere Ag Tech, Parts Tech and Turf Tech advanced apprenticeship programmes, the highest total intake since the first Ag Tech induction in 1992. The group includes for the first time apprentices from Ireland, the John Deere Forestry division and the Wirtgen road construction business, which Deere acquired at the end of 2017, as well as more female apprentices than ever before (five altogether). These annual, award-winning programmes are run in partnership with the dealer network and national training provider ProVQ at the purposebuilt John Deere Apprentice Training Centre in Radcliffe-onTrent, Nottinghamshire in the UK. “There’s never been a better time to consider an apprenticeship with John Deere,” says the company’s training centre manager Allan Cochran. “The increasing levels of automation used throughout our products, including artificial intelligence, advanced electronics, satellite guidance systems and telematics, give us the ability to diagnose and repair machines without even laying a hand on them. All this technology,

as well as cutting edge engine and transmission design, means the need for skilled people within our dealerships is ever present. “It’s not just about the machines either – sophisticated parts and service systems require the same skills too. The John Deere dealer of tomorrow is a challenging business, with a wide range of opportunities and exciting prospects for talented, enthusiastic people from any background. “Like all apprenticeships, the programmes combine on-the-job training with paid employment at the dealership, leading to nationally recognised and valued qualifications. Apprentices undergo fully supported training, assessment and guidance, gaining valuable workplace skills by undertaking practical tasks and experiencing real-life challenges. They also spend eight weeks each year at the John Deere Apprentice Training Centre and at our head office in Langar. “We are delighted to expand the programmes for the first time to our dealers in Ireland. This will allow us to deliver the same consistent, high quality apprentice training across the UK & Irish network, to the benefit of all our customers in both countries.”

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Busy, busy, busy! It’s that wonderful time of year when the shooting season is in full swing: birds are strong and high-flying, beaters are full of life, dogs are keen and the guns are shooting well (hopefully!). The country sports industry is continually being bombarded with criticism, much of it ill-informed verbal diarrhoea, light on facts and heavy on spin. What are we to do? Take it, listen out and wait for more? Nope. I don’t think so. We shouldn’t be sitting back and waiting for the next attack. We need a CTA – a call to action. Sing the praises about the work we do, the days out we enjoy, let’s talk about it, be proud of it, share ( doesn’t everyone own a smartphone these days?), open it up and invite people in, and encourage them to have a go. The country sports industry is no longer the closed, classdriven world it used to be – there are open doors everywhere and it welcomes everyone. No matter who you are, where you are from, novice or experienced, curious and interested, unsure or confident – you are all welcome! Go on, give it a try! You may find you have a hidden talent for shooting clays, be the luckiest angler on the river or discover a passion for deer stalking and conservation. There are many people working within Scotland’s country sports industry, the numbers run into thousands

by Linda Mellor

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE with full-time, part-time, seasonal, contract and selfemployed roles. The span of the types of jobs is much wider though, if we look at the hotels, catering, accommodation, transport and vehicles, clothing, writers and photographers(!), videographers, PR and Marketing companies, estate staff (office based as well as outdoors) who make it possible for shoots to take place, land owners, bailiffs, sporting agents, boat builders, equipment manufacturers, gundog breeders and trainers, vets, fly-tiers, web and graphic designers, magazine editors and publishers, distribution networks, local newsagents (stocking rural magazines), butchers and game dealers – the list goes on. There are lots of livelihoods and more at stake if the country sports industry is continually disrupted by criticism and takes a downturn. How about seeking out and highlights all the positives hidden within all the negativity?

Could there be an opportunity to create additional jobs? More people involved and employed within the industry and able to promote country sports to a wider audience, help educate people and encourage participation. There is much to be done, a lot of ground to cover to show people the reality, and not how it is portrayed by the opposing groups and TV ‘personalities’. There are so many benefits to an outdoor lifestyle: exercise, social life, skill and wild food. Put the facts out there, and support people in using their intelligence to question everything. 2019 has to be one of the most frustrating years for businesses with the general unrest (I refuse to use the ‘B’ word!) in limbo land. Many businesses found themselves at the mercy of indecision, and suffered as a result. Within our hunting community there’s a good deal of trade between UK and Europe (think rifles, shotguns, stalking clothing and accessories, shooting coats, boots, wellies …etc.), orders are placed in advance, budgets and campaigns planned and deals made. Many country sports fans visit Scotland from Europe, and, of course, we many of us regularly travel to Europe to enjoy country sports. Have you met or visited the Best Fox Call and Best Deer Call (links at the bottom of the page) stands at the

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game fairs or bought their top notch products online? If you haven’t, look them up! Rob kindly sent me a cherrywood roe deer call for my deer stalking adventures, and I am looking forward to using it. When I go out looking for roe deer on my own with a camera, I use a long Canon 100-400 L lens (generally, I only use two lenses), and stalk in as close as I can. It’ll be very interesting using the cherrywood roe call to bring the deer in to me, and capturing new images. Social media can be a positive environment for business and making connections, that was the case when country loving Deborah Anderson from ‘Be Coorie’ got in contact wishing to stock my book, ‘For the love of country sports’ in her shop in Comrie. I delivered the books in person, and enjoyed meeting Deborah and seeing her shop, it’s a ‘must visit’ if you are a country sports and countryside fan, or if you adore beautiful things, it’s stuffed full with lots of gorgeous goodies. Deborah is an active sporting women, and enjoys shooting, deer stalking and fishing (see Country Woman) and has a flair for creating beautiful spaces – go see for yourselves! A happy, healthy 2020 to all! www.becoorie.co.uk www.bestdeercall.co.uk www.bestfoxcall.co.uk 75


Travel Scotland

Destination Arbroath by Janice Hopper 2020 is the year to visit Arbroath, as the town celebrates the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. In this renowned document, Scotland sought recognition as an independent country, with Robert the Bruce as its legitimate king. Land, territory, and the ability to feed your clan were clear signs of power in the Middle Ages. In 1320 the most influential nobles and earls of the day, all essentially powerful landowners,

gathered in Arbroath Abbey to add their seal to this document, which was sent to Pope John XXII in Avignon, France. Alongside the earls and nobles, a powerful landowner of the day was the Church. Its real estate and rural acquisitions brought great wealth and influence, and the power of a religious centre like Arbroath Abbey was unquestionable in its day. The Abbey had been founded in 1178 by King

Modern Copy of the Declaration of Arbroath

William I (the Lion), in memory of Thomas Beckett, but on a practical level the King granted the monks the right to establish a burgh with a port and a weekly market. The flow of land, food, religion and power was delicately intertwined. Bernard Linton was not only the Abbot of the abbey, but also the Exchequer of Scotland, making Arbroath Abbey a natural choice for the site of the signing of the Declaration. Visiting the ruined abbey today is certainly worthwhile. Guests can take in its striking south transept, twintowered west front, sacristry, presbytery, choir and Abbot’s House. Stepping into the modern day, a local farming success story is Arbikie, just north of Arbroath. The Stirling family have worked the land in Angus since the 1920s, and the family’s farming history can be traced back to the 1660s. The story starts in 2013 when the Stirling brothers, John, Iain and David, faced a glut of Grade 2 potatoes. Rather than waste this resource, a distillery was set up in a

Tattie Bogle vodka

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converted cattle barn. Arbikie launched its first vodka ‘Tattie Bogle’, named after the Scots word for scarecrow, using Maris Piper, King Edward and Cultra potatoes. With a boom in the gin market, Arbikie was well-placed to use its vodka as a base spirit to develop an Angus gin - one of the few gins that produces its base spirit on site, rather than buy it in. Such provenance is a key selling point, gaining interest and comment from the likes of the late Andrew Fairlie, who delighted in seeing ‘a distillery making all their spirits from scratch’. Arbikie’s first gin was devised by master distiller, Kirsty Black. Named ‘Kirsty’s Gin’, it features kelp, carline thistle and blaeberries to reflect the land and coast surrounding the farm. Arbikie’s second key gin is named ‘AK’s Gin’, named after John, Iain and David’s father Alex. It features Zulu wheat grown on the farm, distilled with local honey, black pepper and cardamon. Arbikie farm has sweeping views across Lunan Bay and acres of potato fields, but the land is now also peppered with juniper bushes, as the family do their best to resurrect the crop in Angus. A new polytunnel allows the team to grow more exotic botanicals, herbs and spices. Big plans are afoot at Arbikie for 2020. Land is currently being cleared for a visitor centre, so it won’t be long before the farmers and distillers can engage with the public and welcome them to Angus. Back in the centre of town, the Signal Tower museum is another draw. It primarily covers Arbroath’s nautical and fishing history, and the challenging build of the Stevenson Bell Rock Lighthouse, situated 11.5


Travel Scotland miles out to sea. But the museum also highlights Arbroath’s flax industry, spinning and weaving. The flax canvas was used predominantly for sail cloth, and created firms such as Francis Webster & Sons, Corsar & Sons and Douglas & Sons. In the era of power looms, vast amounts of flax was required, as the mills churned out roughly 450,000 yards of cloth a week. For those who prefer the great outdoors, it’s possible to experience the land around Arbroath and explore the countryside on a series of walking trails. One such hike runs from Arbroath Harbour to the nearby village of Arbirlot. Leave the harbour and head towards West Links sandy beach, meander through farmland (looking out for cattle on the path!), along Ellliot Water, arriving at Arbirlot and its picturesqe waterfall. This walk is approximately six miles (10km) long and takes roughly 1.5 hours in each direction. A second walk (5 miles/8km) to the village of Authmithie, celebrates Arbroath’s harvest from the sea. If the weather is poor it’s also straightforward to drive to this historic fishing village. With its old harbour and shingle beach, Authmithie is said to be the original home of the Arbroath Smokie. This local product has gained PGI status (Protected Geographical Indication), it’s synonymous with the area, and it’s still possible to visit little smokehouses dotted along Arbroath’s waterfront that cure their haddock in the traditional way. Drop by M&M Spink to see how the Scottish haddock is salted before being tied together by the tail, and smoked by hand over hardwood embers. The process is pure and simple, and the finished product tastes delicious. Visitors can buy smokies direct from Spink’s fish shop, but a great venue to try a prepared Smokie dish is Authmithie’s ‘But ’n’ Ben’ restaurant. This cosy establishment plates up Smokie pancakes, cream of Arbroath Smokie soup, and hot buttered Arbroath Smokie. Dishes such

Kirsty and Christian

as venison and Aberdeen-Angus steak are also on the menu. The countryside around Arbroath is rich in rural experiences if you know where to find them. For farm stays simply head slightly further afield to Peel Farm Holidays in Kirriemuir, Newton Farm Holidays in Forfar or Sma’Hame Scottish Holiday Cottages near Arbroath. For something different consider Alpaca trekking near Forfar, for something fruity visit Charleton Fruit Farm, café and gift shop near Montrose, or, for a family day out, meet the animals at Murton Farm, tearoom and nature reserve. 2020 is the year of Arbroath, its history, its produce and its people.

FACT BOX For Arbroath’s 2020 celebrations arbroath2020.com Arbroath Abbey historicenvironment.scot Arbikie - arbikie.com Signal Tower Museum angusalive.scot For further info visitscotland.com/ycw2020 Martin Spink with his Smokies

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BOOK SERIALISATION

Secrets of the peatlands Scotland’s peatlands have long fascinated Robin A Crawford. Here, in the first of a series of exclusive extracts from his new book, he explains why.

Angus Gillies is just one of hundreds of thousands, probably millions, who have emigrated from the peatlands of Scotland. He was born about 1860 on the Hebridean island of Lewis, but like so many before and since he sought a new and better life far away on the other side of the Atlantic. It was an ocean he knew well; twice a day it would either softly wash up the island’s beautiful white sandy beaches sparkling luminously turquoise, or crash mercilessly against the ancient rocky cliffs, threatening destruction – sometimes both. Angus (Aonghas an Gillies in the Scottish Gaelic his people spoke) grew up in Kirkibost, a township of small, self-sufficient farmsteads or crofts on the Atlantic seaboard, and must have gazed over the ocean all his life. People had been living a similar lifestyle on its edge since at least the Iron Age 3,000 years earlier – and probably for longer – growing a few crops, pasturing their livestock on the island’s vast moors, taking what they could from the sea and shore. But by the midnineteenth century that way of life was under threat as never before and, like so many across the Scottish peatlands, islanders were drawn or forced out to the ever-expanding industrial towns and cities of the mainland, to the central Lowlands, London, the Americas and across the British Empire in the hope of a better life. To stay would have been impossible. So, aged about twenty, he left. Never to return. More than a century later Marion Laitner, an American, 78

Ness women carrying creels of peat from Comunn Eachdraidh Nis (Ness Historical Society)

aged ninety, visited Kirkibost. Through family history research she had discovered that she had second, third and fourth cousins living there and as she was reaching the end of her long

“The top turf was removed for her and there, preserved in the peat, was her father’s footprint”

life she wanted to see the place where her people had originated and the setting for so many of the tales passed down to her. She was welcomed – as so many are – with the generous hospitality of the island and the joy of family reunited, but a further surprise was in store. She was taken out onto the moor where the family had

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for generations cut the thick, muddy peat to burn as fuel. At a particular spot the top turf was removed for her and there, preserved in the peat, was a footprint – it was the footprint of her father, Angus Gillies. As she placed her own foot beside the preserved print, her cousins explained that on the day before he left, his mother had given him


BOOK SERIALISATION a creel and sent Angus out to the bank to collect some peats. Then he was off, like so many of the young islanders. She was desolate at his leaving, but she had to cope the best she could. Life went on. On her next trip out to the peat bank to collect fuel she discovered one of his footprints there. As the only memento she had of her son she covered the print with turf, and after she died new generations of the family preserved the footprint until that day more than a century later when his daughter returned to her father’s homeland. Angus’s footprint is not the only one out on the moor. There are prints of other Atlantic emigrants, not always manmade, like those of the whitefronted goose, which leaves the moorlands of the islands for Greenland each spring, or the rasping corncrake, which heads back to Africa in the autumn. Alongside these are the more recent human footprints preserved at the foot of most worked banks where people in the north and west of Scotland still cut peat for fuel. Among those at the foot of many a peat bank are mine. It has been my

Autumn age of bronze

passion to try to understand what it is about peat that makes it such a special ingredient in the making of Scotland. My journey began when I married Angie, who grew up on Lewis. Since then we have returned most years and I have grown fond of the island and its people. On Lewis, the peat stacks and cut peat banks are an integral part of the island’s culture. Layers of peat slabs, layers of history. The peat itself is built on its own history, ever changing but still the same. So is the peat stack. It is in a constant state of metamorphosis. From its late summertime construction, slabs are removed daily until it has disappeared, leaving only a dark peaty crumble shadow of its former self. In not a few cases in the peatlands that place has been where the stack has stood for generations, with the people constructing it changing but the family, the home, remaining constant. Come spring and the process of resurrection begins again. In the short months between May and early August the peat is cut, dried, transported and stacked before the long, claustrophobic peatland winter begins.

Peat is a fuel – created by water, dried into a solid, turned into a gas alchemically – but it is also a preserver, an organic time machine. It hasn’t only conserved Angus’s footprint but also the microscopic pollen grains from millennia ago which were captured in the peat’s formation. They can tell us about ancient people’s first felling of trees to create agricultural land.

“Miraculously it holds within itself the ashen fallout from Icelandic volcanoes, from the burning of the forests on Lewis by the Vikings; and from peat fires raging uncontrollably in Indonesia in the present” Peat is burnt and turns to ash in the hearth, but miraculously it holds within itself the ashen fallout from Icelandic volcanoes cooked in the belly of the earth, then carried south on the wind; ash from the burning of the forests on Lewis by the Vikings; ash from the peat set alight on Lochar Moss by a spark from a nineteenth-century steam locomotive; ash from Russian peat-fired power stations; or – coming full circle – ash from peat fires raging uncontrollably in Indonesia caused by farmers slashing and burning forest land to feed an ever growing world population. No less important, it is one of the key ingredients in the making of Scotland’s most famous of exports – whisky. The peatlands themselves are half land, half water. The surface is of living vegetation, but underneath is layer upon layer

Footprints from the past

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of dead mosses. One can, with care, walk out into them, but stop and you begin to sink. That has made them places – for humans at least – of seasonal habitation rather than permanent residence. They are transitional places. You journey onto or over them. This book is made up of many of these journeys throughout the year. The transformations on the peatlands are one of their remarkable characteristics. In the boggy pools, tadpoles turn into frogs; on the heather moors, caterpillars into butterflies; at the shielings, adolescents into adults. To survive on the peatlands, the people have to adapt. Traditionally, crofters are agriculturalists, sheep and cattle farmers, fishers, weavers, sometimes soldiers, singers, storytellers, preachers – or today they are delivery drivers, small business owners, tour guides, vloggers. They have also had to be pastoralists, hunters and gatherers as well.

“One of my aims is to record that ancient way of life whilst the living threads of it still exist” The moor and peat-cutting have been integral to people’s ability to live here. The divide of the year between permanent homestead and temporary summer residence on the moor at the shieling is a link to an ancient transhumance culture that is growing ever weaker, but still exists. One of my aims is to record that ancient way of life whilst the living threads of it still exist.

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. 79


Beatha an eilean

Comataidh Ionaltraidh Coitcheann Chaidh sreath de choinneamhan trèanaidh do chlàrcan ionaltraidh agus comataidhean ionaltraidh a lìbhrigeadh gu soirbheachail ann an Leòdhas thairis air ceithir latha aig deireadh na Dàmhair. Rinn modh-obrach co-obrachail eadar Coimisean na Croitearachd agus SAC Consulting, a’ cleachdadh cuid den mhaoineachadh bho Sheirbheis Comhairleachaidh Thuathan, cinnteach gun robh na coinneamhan air an deagh fhrithealadh agus air gabhail riutha gu math le croitearan. Tha an Solaraiche Trèanaidh, Artair MacDhòmhnaill, air modh-obrach ùr-ghnàthach eadar-obrachail a leasachadh, stèidhichte air stiùireadh foillsichte a’ Choimisein fhèin a thaobh stiùireadh fearann ionaltraidh. Fhuair Artair fhèin a chuid eòlais leis a’ Bhòrd Trèanaidh Àiteachais agus bha e a’ stiùireadh Prògraman Leasachaidh Croitearachd Bailefearainn is Coimhearsnachd, tro mhaoineachadh Eòrpach. Tha an Coimisean den bheachd gun robh 50 ionaltradh coitcheann air a riochdachadh thar a’ chùrsa de shia seiseanan trèanaidh le timcheall air 70 neach fa leth an làthair. Chaidh na tachartasan trèanaidh a chumail ann an diofar phàirtean den eilean tron latha agus air an fheasgar, gus an cothrom bu

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mhotha a thoirt do dhaoine am frithealadh. Fhritheil Iain MacÌomhair, Coimiseanair nan Eilean Siar, trì de na seiseanan agus dh’aithris e air ais o chionn ghoirid mu an luach do Bhòrd a’ Choimisein. Thuirt Mgr MacÌomhair: “Bha e fìor mhisneachail a bhith a’ faicinn na h-ìre de dh’uidh a bha air a nochdadh le comataidhean ionaltraidh air feadh an eilein. Tha e a’ taisbeanadh gu soilleir gu bheilear a’ cur mòr-luach air an fhearann ionaltraidh, agus gu bheil clàracan agus comataidhean ionaltraidh airson dèanamh cinnteach gu bheil iad air an stiùireadh ceart gu

buannachd an luchd-earrannan agus am bailtean. Tha am fiosrachadh a thàinig air ais bhon luchd-frithealaidh air a bhith misneachail is deimhinneach, le mòran dhiubh ag aontachadh gur e tachartas a b’ fhiach a bh’ ann, air a lìbhrigeadh ann an dòigh neo-fhoirmeil ach glè èifeachdach. Cha bu chòir an luach as urrainn do dh’fhearann ionaltraidh a tha air a stiùireadh gu h-èifeachdach agus gu tairbheach a chur ri cruth-tìre dùthchail na h-Alba, a bhith air fho-mheasadh. Tha e cudromach gum bi structar stiùiridh èifeachdach aig croitearan a tha gan comasachadh gu dearbhadh

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mar a ghabhas a leithid sin de chothroman a bhith air an lìbhrigeadh gu h-èifeachdach.” Mar an ceudna, thug Iain Mac a’ Mhaoilein bho SAC Consulting ann an Steòrnabhagh fa-near mòran bheachdan deimhinneach a fhuaireadh bho na foirmean ais-fhiosrachaidh oifigeil bho gach seisean trèanaidh, agus tha e a’ creidsinn gun gabh e aiseag gu furasta gu sgìrean croitearachd eile. Tha fearann ionaltraidh mar phàirt bhunaiteach den t-siostam croitearachd agus tha uallach airson a stiùireadh air inbheisteadh ann an comataidhean ionaltraidh ionadail le Achd Pàrlamaid shònraichte às leth fearann ionaltraidh, bho 1891. A’ leantainn ùine de dhuilgheadas ann an 2016, tha an Coimisean a’ tuigsinn na dreuchd dheatamaich a tha comataidhean ionaltraidh a coileanadh, agus thathar air strì ri conaltradh agus taic a thogail às ùr leis na comataidhean. Tha leasachadh air stiùireadh sònraichte agus coinneamhan trèanaidh a dh’aon ghnothaich a’ dèanamh suas pàirt den phròiseas. Tha an Coimisean an dòchas leantainn air adhart leis a’ mhodh-obrach shoirbheachail seo ann am pàirtean eile de na h-Eileanan an Iar agus ann an sgìrean croitearachd eile.


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country woman

Deborah Anderson By Linda Mellor

Deborah Anderson was born in Renfrewshire. Her family owned an antiques centre and her dad was an avid munro bagger and they often travelled to Perthshire and further north into the Highlands. It was around the age of eight when Deborah became aware of her love for the outdoors and a desire to spend as much time as she could outside. She said, “every weekend away, if I wasn’t able to do the munro with dad, I would look for the nearest country park or trekking centre where we could go horse riding. Riding was my first passion from a young age.” 82

When Deborah was ten years old, they moved to Monzievaird (between Crieff and Comrie), Perthshire, their house had a forest behind it, and this gave her the ideal location to develop her love of the outdoors. “I played for hours, I headed up through the forest into the hills behind. I fed the pheasants, we had chickens and rabbits, I would make dens in the woods and spy on roaming deer from my dens. I also can recall many walks to the River Earn and, watching otters. I was an animal lover from an early age,” said Deborah.

“My beloved pony, Brady, was a huge part of my childhood. I would ride him up and over all the surrounding hills, returning back in time for tea. I was only eleven years old when I was dropped off at the stables in the morning. I would be out all day and return by 5pm. All before mobile phones! I learned from my riding experiences: when you fall off, sometimes alone or in the middle of nowhere, even with broken bones, you need to get back up and be determined if you want to get back on and home.” If you grew up with ponies you will recognise this, and recall the

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challenging times when you’d get back home black and blue, covered in mud. “I always felt so lucky and appreciated every moment I had, and would often voice it to my mum, that I was so happy out on my horse roaming the hills and that she couldn’t stop me. Thankfully, she never did, as I think she realised it was where I was drawn to.” Competing at Gleneagles was another way of spending time outdoors for Deborah, she would often take part in the local cross country and show-jumping events.


country woman “I love the Scottish countryside for what it has to offer, it is all right there on our doorstep, from the ever changing landscapes and the seasons, the mountains, hills, forests, rivers, lochs, we have it all so close by.” In Perthshire you are rarely that far away from the wildness of the outdoors, Deborah said, “minutes from us we can get to an untouched spot and it is a heavenly place: the colours, the freshness and the feeling it evokes inside. It is a paradise, and my meditation.” “One of my favourite spots is right at the end of the single track road in Glen Lyon. The long glen with the river running through it, the serenity, the roaming deer, wildlife all around, it’s untouched. This makes it special, it excites me just driving there. When I’m there, I feel like a child again, in the wilderness and free. I should love to retreat there one day!” Embracing Scottish country traditions is a lifestyle choice, “if you take on as much as you can in every day life, then living in Scotland becomes magical.” Recently, Deborah went deer stalking, “I had an amazing traditional stalking experience with the highland ponies in Glen Artney. It conjured up a great deal of emotion, and taking in the power of the surrounding hills with views over to Ben Vorlich and St Fillans, makes it a truly special place.” “I spent some time on an estate in Argyll, by Loch Fyne, and have very fond memories of fishing there and learning about the importance of salmon hatcheries, shooting and stalking. I remember fishing for mackerel, smoking it over barrels and, on the odd occasion, ate handdived scallops if we were lucky enough.”

A day’s stag stalking at Glen Artney captured the true essence of country sports for Deborah. “It was as much as about the comradery and the craic as it was about the hunt for the stag and creating memories. It wasn’t an easy day, with the wet weather, fully waterproofed and soaking through. We waited for the mist to clear, then the sun came out and the mist lifted. We walked nearly 10 miles up and down the hills. It was a struggle, but, because of this, it ended up the perfect balance as I was in position, six hours later to take my shot. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was so rewarding and hugely memorable because of the mixture of the elements, the team, the ponies, and the picnic. it really echoed to me what country sports is all about and that why I’m back in Scotland living this lifestyle choice I have chosen.” Debbie opened her shop ‘Be Coorie’ in Comrie. “Be Coorie is a theme inspired by the way of life I have chosen in Scotland, it’s interiors and lifestyle products. Whether it’s to be coorie by a fire after a wild swim in Loch Earn or a day’s shooting in the rain or frost, a long hill walk and wild camping by a river, I like to come back to a warm, cosy and inviting home. My interiors are inspired by our surroundings here: the colours of Perthshire, and the country sports on our doorstep”. Be Coorie is a wonderful blend of Deborah’s creative flair, mixed with her passion for the Scottish outdoors and country sports. Be Coorie, Commercial Lane, Comrie, Perthshire PH6 2DP Hours: Open Mon/ Thurs/ Fri/ Sat 10.00am-4.30pm Follow on Instagram and Facebook www.becoorie.co.uk

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Southern Belle Are we becoming a bunch of boring kill joys? By the time you read this, we will have a new government, we’ll be getting Brexit done…or not and Christmas will be a distant memory. This week, I have had cause to commute into Glasgow and listening to the radio, as I sit in the continual traffic, has been a peculiar experience. Yesterday the focus was on giving children “alternative” gifts. One suggestion being, “Adopt a Gull.” You get a small furry gull (made by cheap labour overseas) and you can track your gull as it flies around, presumably terrorising chip shop goers in and being chased by the local council’s Hen Harrier. A poor option, if you asked Santa for a “Frozen” doll, in all its shiny plastic glory. Today, it was announced that almost all Christmas jumpers have plastic in them. That’s good to know two weeks from Christmas, when everyone has already bought theirs and are now damned for wear it. This weekend I’ll be retrieving my plastic tree

from the garage, which I have done for the past 30 years and covering it in multi coloured baubles and tinsel, which will hide the 2019 Mouse family after Christmas dinner. Alternatively, I could buy a real one at £50, find needles to next July and drive 20 miles in my diesel car to take it to the recycling depot. I called into the supermarket on the way back to pick up a bottle of fizz for a birthday party tonight, to be told I can’t have it till 10am. One of the many joys of living in “The South” means you can nip to Carlisle, where is no minimum pricing on alcohol and you can buy it 24 hours a day. To top it all I’m killing the planet by being one of the 98% of people who eat meat!!!, Christmas day will have been spent with my family around my plastic tree wearing my Christmas fairy jumper, eating steak pie, drinking cheap plonk and NOT feeling guilty about any of it!

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finance Enhanced Tax Relief - Don’t Miss Out

JCB Finance are urging customers who have made taxable profits not to forget about the temporary increase in Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) tax relief that was announced in the 2018 Autumn Budget. The AIA was increased to £1 Million per year until 1st January 2021 to help support British Businesses to invest and grow, by accelerating the relief that would normally be applied over several years. Whilst it may seem as though January 2021 is still a long way off, depending a business’s financial year-end, the cut off for benefiting from the increase can be sooner rather than later. For example, if your financial yearend is March you will need to make the purchase(s) or enter into a Hire Purchase agreement before the 1st April 2020, otherwise the allowance available would begin to reduce and progressively revert to the £200,000, in essence you could end up paying more tax than is necessary! Most businesses can claim the AIA against qualifying assets like plant and machinery or commercial vehicles placed on Hire Purchase just as if you had paid cash so you can preserve your working capital and still benefit from the relief. 84

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Business are also encouraged to check out the lead times on orders of new plant and machinery because the relief is only available in the financial year that you make the purchase. Get the timing of your order wrong and could be costly! JCB Finance’s Finance Director Rob Heldreich says “The temporary increase in the Annual Investment Allowance was a welcome boost for business when announced in 2018. Time is running out to take advantage of this incentive to invest in plant and equipment. I would urge business owners to speak to their accountants and advisors to ensure they get the timing of purchases right to ensure they maximise the available tax savings.” JCB Finance is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. JCB Finance is not a tax or financial advisor - always seek advice from your accountant or finance director, because every business’ circumstances are different. Businesses should not make investment decisions purely on a tax basis - there should be a compelling business case for the investment. For more details from JCB Finance on the AIA or Hire Purchase options available see www.jcb-finance.co.uk


finance Award winning NPD behind Graham’s The Family Dairy’s solid annual results A year of rapid product innovation and further business investment for the Scottish family dairy as they celebrate their 80th year Graham’s The Family Dairy today announces its full year annual results, with notable success driven by continued new product development (NPD) and innovation. The family-owned business and number one Scottish food brand* based in Bridge of Allan since 1939, has had a positive 80th anniversary year. An encouraging growth in year-on-year sales, Graham’s reports a 4.7% rise in turnover up £4.9m in 2018 to £109.0m this year. Profit before tax at £2.2m, is up from last year and the dairy also reports a strong 2019 EBITDA performance of £4.62m. A clear focus on authentic family brand values and development of brand message, as well as continued business innovation, new product development (NPD) and growth; the dairy business has made a total capex investment of £5.6m this year. As a family business Graham’s pride themselves on providing their customers with fresh, top quality and great tasting products, but also being innovative, with NPD being a point of focus to meet and keep up with the fastpaced consumer dairy trends. 2018 saw the successful launch of Graham’s Skyr, a Scandinavian-style cultured dairy product naturally high in protein. Exceeding all sales expectations, to date Skyr is Graham’s best performing new product launch and is available across the UK, as well as now being exported to the Republic of Ireland, France and UAE. Expanding the high protein range, from March this year (2019), Graham’s launched their

Goodness range, introducing a new low-calorie ice cream and flavoured cottage cheese. The deliciously indulgent ice cream developed for the UK market was in direct response to the low calorie and lower in sugar ice cream currently trending in the United States of America. The customer interest has been unprecedented. The dairy also added to their already impressive number of stars at the 2019 Great Taste Awards, winning accolades for Goodness Espresso Caramel ice-cream, Goodness Black Cherry Cottage Cheese, Organic Unsalted Butter, Scottish Salted Butter, Organic Whole milk with cream on top and Natural Quark. Robert Graham, MD at Graham’s the Family Dairy, said: “As a third-generation family business, I am very proud to be celebrating the 80th year of the business that was started with twelve cows by my grandparents in 1939 at Airthrey Kerse in Bridge of Allan. We pride ourselves, not only on working hard to produce high quality and great tasting products, but also being dynamic and innovative to meet developing consumer trends that are very much aligned to dairy products. It is very important that we continue to grow margins in order to be able to continue to invest into the business and keep up this pace of innovation. New product development is a key priority for us to enable us to meet developing consumer trends for great tasting, naturally functional dairy products made with fresh Scottish milk. This clear focus has led to us investing £5.6m in the business this year alone”. *Research by Kantar International WorldPanel 2019.

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THEMONEYMAN Farm Cottages By Charlie Carnegie Over the years as farms became evermore less labour intensive it became common for farms to have surplus cottages no longer occupied by employees and in most cases these are being let out either to long term tenants or in some cases used for holiday lets. The tax treatment is different for each type of income, long term rental income is subject to Income Tax but not National Insurance as it is deemed to be Investment income as opposed to Trading Income. Income from Holiday Lets however is deemed to be Trading income and therefore subject to both Income Tax and Class 4 National Insurance contributions and if part of a VAT registered farming enterprise then would be subject to standard rated VAT whereas rental income is exempt for VAT purposes. VAT can be reclaimed on expenses incurred in both cases, however any expense in connection with the exempt income would be subject to Partial Exemption rules. In simple terms as long as the annual spend on the Let cottages is less than £45000 full VAT can be reclaimed on the expenses. The first time you let out a cottage, if you fully furnish it no tax relief is available on the cost of the furnishings however tax relief is obtained on the cost of replacing furnishings in the future. Furnishings for a Holiday cottage qualify as Plant & Machinery for Capital allowances purposes and 100% tax relief could be claimed on a purchase.

There is a change in the Capital Gains tax rules coming in for disposals of any residential property, excluding a Principal Private residence made after 5 April 2020. For any disposal by a UK resident individual of a residence made after that date, a Return has to be made within 30 days of the date of completion and a payment to account has to be made for Capital Gains Tax for that year. In order to make that Return you have to have full details of the cost of the property to enable a calculation to be made of any potential CGT and if tax is due then that tax has to be paid on the 30th day after completion. If you know that no tax would be payable, assuming any gain is less than the annual exemption then a Return is not required. If more than one disposal is made in a tax year then a Return and a payment on account would be required each time with all of these being included in your Tax Return for the year where any over or under payment would be rectified.

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


machinery New high reach addition to Scorpion range CLAAS has expanded its SCORPION range of telescopic handlers with the addition of a new 9.0m model. In addition the rest of the range will also benefit from a number of upgrades and new features available for 2020 machines. The new SCORPION 960 completes the large platform range of SCORPION telescopic handlers, and joins the current SCORPION 756 and 746 models. The five model small platform SCORPION range remains unchanged. Capable of lifting 6000kg at 600mm load centre, rising to 6500kg at 500mm load centre, the SCORPION 960 has a maximum lift height of 8.79m. These maximum rated lift capacities are a full 1000kg (20%) greater compared to the previous generation Kramerbuilt SCORPION 9055. As with the SCORPION 756, the new SCORPION 960 is powered by a Stage 4, 4.1 litre Deutz engine developing 156hp. Drive is through a three-speed 40kph VARIPOWER PLUS transmission which, in addition to the main 45° wide-angle hydrostatic pump, incorporates a second 32° swivelling variable

displacement pump to provide greater tractive and pulling power. The drive system also benefits from the CLAAS SMART ROADING system which automatically adjusts the engine speed when accelerating and once maximum road

speed is reached. As an option, the SCORPION 960 is also available with DYNAMIC POWER, whereby the engine speed is automatically regulated depending on joystick movement. The use of both these systems in tandem ensures that only optimum engine is used for

the operation in hand, so saving fuel and noise. A 4-wheel drive lock-out is also available on both the new SCORPION 960 and the 756, which for road-work allows the 4-wheel drive to be switched off, so reducing tyre wear and saving fuel.

Vaderstad launch 6m NZ mounted option harrow cultivator Väderstad has launched a new 6m NZ Mounted harrow cultivator with reinforced frame and a unique versatile linkage for accurate contour following, similar to the trailed version. NZ’s versatile linkage is easy to unlock into a floating position, which can then move independently from the tractor, offering exceptional contour following in three dimensions. 86

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The linkage can also easily be locked, without the need for tools. On the new 6m model, tines are fitted on four axles with a tine spacing of 9cm, enabling NZ Mounted 500-600 to deliver an intensive seedbed preparation at constant depth. The new NZ Mounted 500600 will go into production at the start of 2020.


machinery LAMMA launch for Compact TMR feeder Bernard van Lengerich Maschinenfabrick (BvL) launched at LAMMA a new version of the well proven V-Mix mixer wagon specifically designed for use with Compact TMR, which is attracting considerable interest due to its milk yield benefits. Compact TMR originated in Denmark and involves the soaking and pre-mixing of the dry components of the ration with water. This is then left to soak overnight after which the rest of the ration mix is then added. The benefit of this is that it makes it impossible for the dry components of the forage to be separated out from the rest of the mix, either during the feeding out process or by the cow pre-sorting. As a result, every cow is fed a far more consistent ration, resulting in a yield improvement of up to 2.0 litres a cow, in addition to potential improvements in milk quality. BvL had on display a 36m3 triple axle V-Mix feeder designed

specifically for Compact TMR. In place of the standard mixing auger, the Compact TMR augers

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machinery fitted in the mixer are not as tall, but are wider and have extended mixing blades plus an additional auger blade for more intensive

mixing. The mixing augers are made using a V2A rust-proof stainless-steel surfacing for durability.

Due to the need to leave the wet mix in the mixer overnight and the extended mixing time, to protect the mixer body this is also faced

with V2A rustproof stainless-steel and the augers are fitted with a seal to avoid water ingress to the inside of the auger cone

Savannah Series Driers from Perry of Oakley Perry of Oakley Ltd are the UK’s most experienced manufacturer of materials handling & drying equipment. Their latest grain driers, the Savannah series, have significant improvements from their popular ‘M’ Series. The operation of the fans 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 automatically selects the initial fan speed best suited to the crop. The overall drier width has been reduced by 500mm which will help when fitting the drier into existing buildings. The Savannah Series driers still 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 with feedback, to maintain a consistent moisture content of the discharged grain. To ensure drier longevity they are built with a 2mm thick grain column, and 3mm thick top ducts in the to help prevent deformation and wear. 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.

These improvements, and the other key features of the Savannah range, provide a

truly commercial specification grain drier for use on farms and commercial grain stores.

Krone maize header comfort guard launched at LAMMA Alongside kit including Krone’s Swadro TC 1370; Comprima V 150 XC Plus, Comprima CF 155 XC Plus was the company’s XCollect 900-3 maize header with the world’s first integral front guard, designed to improve road safety and operator comfort.

The integral front comfort guard allows operators to prepare the machine for road travel without leaving the cab, using fingertip controls – folding the unit to transport width, securing it in transport position and fitting the lights.

Also on display was an MX forage wagon with a free SpeedSharp unit worth £7,740.00 when ordered with any MX or RX version by 29th February whilst stocks last. Swadro TC 1370 is a four rotor rake and hydraulic rotor suspension

designed specifically for contractor and professional operators. It has a working width from 10.80m to 13.70m, which is a 20cm increase on the Swadro 1400 Plus. Swath widths are from 1.40m to 2.60m. Featuring the Krone LiftTine forward speed can be (continued on page 90)

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machinery increased by up to 20% without compromising on crop losses. Duramax cam track, which is lubrication and maintenance free, provides accurate control of the tine arm to produce a perfect box shaped swath. Transport tyre dimensions are available as 620/40R22.5 or 710/35R22.5 with bogie wheels matching these tyre sizes. The compact rear end has LED lights and warning panels for adequate road safety and good visibility in work. Load sensing hydraulics come as standard, but there is an option for non load sensing too. The precision cutting system has been designed for maximum flexibility with 17 or 26 blades with cutting lengths of 42mm and 64mm. The rotor is made from extra tempered steel with a hard wearing edge on the cutting system to ensure extended use and stability. Novogrip belts and sturdier chains and sprockets ensure bale roll is not compromised.

The Air Compressor and Pressure Washer Specialists

Manufacturers and suppliers, W Bateman & Co has an enviable reputation for manufacturing and supplying both domestic and industrial pressure washers and air compressors. Nationwide DELIVERY on all orders

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01772 862948 email: sales@bateman-sellarc.co.uk www.bateman-sellarc.co.uk

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machinery SlurryKat Expand Duo Dribblebar Range Industry leading equipment manufacturer SlurryKat, have just launched a completely new Duo (Dual Purpose) Dribblebar range ahead of this year’s upcoming umbilical season. With the threat looming of the all-out ban on splash plates imminent, there has never been a greater focus on alternative spreading methods, of which the dribblebar has been the most favoured and cost effective option to date. To meet this increasing demand and to satisfy more intensive users, SlurryKat have developed an all-new 10m and 12m vertical folding dribblebar which can be both tanker mounted or alternatively used on an existing umbilical system. The all new duo dribblebar has been tried and tested over the past season within SlurryKat’s

own in house contracting division where it was put through its paces in various

conditions and terrain. It’s this hands on product development which makes SlurryKat unique

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and allows them to manufacture market leading equipment ready for the tough Irish conditions.

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machinery The 10m and 12m duo dribblebars now feature a lower frame height in order to maximise visibility to the rear when operating the system on an umbilical set up. The frame is again heavy duty and capable of carrying the all new Bak Pak Reeler system which has also been redesigned to now carry up to 1200m of 5” umbilical hose. The dribblebar arms fold vertical initially with the outside section hydraulically folding backwards and down in order to keep transport height to a minimum. When in operation and arms fold down and out to working position and are also supported for use in high stress rough terrain. As always the market leading German manufactured Vogelsang macerator complete with stone trap is used on the dribblebars with a twin macerator option available on the 12m for use on slopes in order to keep an even and steady spread. As with all SlurryKat Duo Dribblebars they have the added benefit that they can be tanker mounted.

Mzuri’s popular Pro-Til Select drill

Mzuri displayed their popular Pro-Til Select single pass drill at LAMMA 2020. Visitors to Mzuri’s stand were able see the versatile Pro-Til 3T Select and have the opportunity to sign up to ClubMzuri - a resource for benchmarking costs and sharing knowledge between growers who are established with the Mzuri system, growers just starting out or growers who are looking to take the leap. As well as all the benefits of standard Pro-Til single pass establishment, the Pro-Til Select series can drill in a choice of narrower or wider row spacings. The narrow 33cm row spacing suits crops such as wheat, barley and oats whilst the wider 66cm rows make the Select models ideal for crops such as maize, oilseed rape and legumes, thanks to better suiting the natural architecture of the plants. The manufacturer advocates the use of wide rows in these crops to generate greater light interception within the canopy and lower levels, promoting 92

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stronger, healthier growth and supporting higher yields. The free flow of air movement helps to reduce moisture and control the associated fungal diseases whereas the extra space between the leaves minimises the transfer of disease by contact. In addition to carrying out multiple operations including tilling, fertilising, drilling and reconsolidation in one pass the Pro-Til system offers several coulter configurations to give users increased flexibility. From wide band, narrow band and precision units the Pro-Til Select can be tailored to different conditions and crops making it the ultimate tool for single pass establishment.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 81



machinery Vaderstad awarded ‘Machine Of The Year’ at Agritechnica Väderstad has been awarded the Agritechnica Machine of the Year Award for its innovation, Tempo WideLining. Machine of the Year is the show’s most prestigious honour, bestowed on the winner by a jury comprising agricultural journalists from all over Europe. This is the third time Väderstad has won the award. “We are, of course, both proud and delighted to once again be awarded “Machine of the Year”. We are always looking to make improvements for the world’s farmers and the Tempo WideLining system is no exception. It’s a development of our precision planter, Tempo, which increases the yield for the farmer still further,” says Mattias Hovnert, SVP Global Sales and Marketing, Väderstad.

Väderstad is one of the world’s leaders in tillage and drilling, with more than 1,500 employees around the world. The company’s machines and methods have been pioneering for generations and, at this year’s fair, it presented no fewer than four innovations, including Tempo WideLining, which, even before the fair, was awarded a silver medal at Agritechnica Innovation Award. The WideLining system is the worlds’ first industry manufactured tramlining system that makes it possible for the farmer to spread liquid manure in a standing silage maize crop, without having to lower the total yield potential of the field. “Instead of preparing the wheel tracks for the liquid manure spreader by shutting off

row units, WideLining instead automatically changes the row spacing on the planter while in operation. This means that 8.3% more seeds can be sown in the field compared to current technology on the market today,” says Mr Hovnert.

Agritechnica is held every other year and is the world’s largest agricultural fair with 2,750 exhibitors from more than 50 countries. Väderstad can now happily pack away another prestigious prize to take home and enjoy a very wellattended stand at this year’s fair.

Claydon to launch new TerraBlade Heavy Duty inter-row hoes Simple, reliable and economically priced, the Claydon TerraBlade Inter Row Hoe effectively eliminates weeds or companion crops growing between the rows in any strip seeding system, complementing the use of herbicides in a conventional arable system and providing the 94

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ideal mechanical weed control solution for organic growers. Launched in response to strong and increasing demand for its existing TerraBlade models from owners of both Claydon Hybrid drills and other makes, the new 6m, 20-tine and 8m, 26-tine Heavy Duty versions


machinery have been designed to operate in even the heaviest soils. Both incorporate Claydon’s unique contour following TerraBlade tines which can be infinitely adjusted to suit any row width, enabling them to be used in any band sowing system, the pressure on the blades being adjustable to suit variations in soil types and conditions. The pure, simple design of the new TerraBlade models deliberately avoids the mechanical complexity, high capital cost and ongoing operating expenses of some competitors. Carried on the tractor’s front linkage and steered manually, they incorporate a heavy-duty box section steel frame with a fixed centre section and two vertically folding wings. The largest 8m model requires a minimum 80hp tractor, has an optimum working speed of 6km/h and provides an average work output of four hectares per hour. Weighing 720kg, it has a

maximum width of 8.15m, but folds to 2.78m wide and 3.73m high for transport.

The TerraBlade range now includes six models, the two new Heavy-Duty units plus four

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standard versions with working widths of 3m, 4m, 4.8m and 6m and 10, 14, 16 or 20 tines.

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machinery Sky Agriculture launches new electronic options, ISObus ready control and a fourth hopper Sky Agriculture had a whole host of updates for its EasyDrill and MaxiDrill ranges at Lamma 2020. The new 20 Series updates to the EasyDrill and MaxiDrill include a new electronics package with blockage sensing, individual row shut off and ISObus control as well as a second “Pro-Hopper� allowing 4 products to be individually metered and distributed at once. With grain and fertiliser main tanks as standard and the possibility of adding one or two smaller Pro-Hoppers, the range of possible applications the machine can be employed

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machinery for is dramatically extended. The operator can now place seed, fertiliser, companion crops and plant protection products accurately in one pass. For example, a oilseed rape can be sown with fertilizer, alongside a companion crop of beans and phacelia to reduce insect predation and insecticide usage. As with the previous generations of Sky drills, 20 Series machines have two outlets, the first being the disc coulter and the second a placement tube with 3 different positions to allow depth to be varied. One pro-hopper places its product into the air flow for the disc coulter whilst the second delivers its metered product into the second airflow for the tube outlet. The double air circuit means the user can manage the air flow of each distribution circuit to suit the type and quantity of product that is metered. For example, OSR at 2.3kg/ha should

have a lower pressure to ensure good placement while DAP fertiliser at 150kg/ha can have a

higher pressure. Importantly the fact that Sky uses two separate distribution systems reduces the

amount of material in each pipe and avoids blockages in damp conditions.

Fendt launches first telehandler Fendt adds the Fendt Cargo T955 telehandler to its expanding full-line product range. The telehandler is marked by its unique lifting cab with vibration damping and its tough, durable build. With a load of 5.5 t and a lifting height of 8.5 m, the Fendt Cargo T can meet the highest demands in loading work. Telehandlers are mainly used on farms where large amounts of material needs to be moved, or where large and heavy loads need to be stacked or loaded. With this in mind, Fendt has added a telehandler to its product range – the Fendt Cargo T955. When it comes moving loads up and down, Fendt’s homegrown Fendt Cargo front loader

has been a best seller for many years. The new telehandler is also marked for its excellence

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in advanced charging solutions. Hence the name; Cargo plus the T for telehandler.

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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Page Turner’s Lee Fletcher

Siemens Digital Industries (Siemens DI) has appointed Lee Fletcher as Business Development Manager to spearhead growth plans and boost its value add to the agritech sector through technology innovation and services. UK agri-tech contributes £14.3bn to the economy and employs around 500,000 people. This important sector has the focus of government with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), recently announcing £22.4 million funding towards new technologies that will transform farming and meet the needs of a growing population. Lee will be focussing on developing Siemens DI’s presence in the UK agri-tech supply chain and exploring how industrial digital technologies that have successfully enhanced productivity in industry can be deployed to aid productivity and outcomes in the agri-tech sector. He brings around 20 years of experience working with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and as a Food and Drink sector specialist as a springboard into his new role. Brian Holliday, Managing Director, Siemens Digital Industries said, “The agri-tech sector will grow over the next few years and warrants this investment. As a technology disruptor, Siemens Digital Industries has introduced cuttingedge simulation, automation and cloud analytics across manufacturing and agri-tech looks equally set to benefit from such innovation. Lee has the right credentials and expertise to engage with key agri-tech companies and help them drive productivity through our well-proven Digital Enterprise technology.

Adam Waugh

Machinery dealers supplying Landini and McCormick tractors in Ireland, Scotland and the north of England are being supported in terms of parts procurement and sales by Adam Waugh (35), a new recruit to the UK & Ireland team at manufacturer Argo Tractors. “Having worked on parts and sales in the family machinery dealership, I’ve seen from the other side of the counter the importance of good parts management to ensure customers can get the items they need when they need them,” says Adam. “I’m already enjoying my new role, visiting and introducing myself to dealers and setting out the new digital technologies that Argo Tractors has developed for parts management.” Adam Waugh is working alongside Tony Burgess, the national parts sales manager based at Harworth near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, who looks after Argo Tractors dealers in Wales and the rest of England. As one of the World’s leading companies designing and manufacturing tractors for farming, commercial horticulture and other rural enterprises, Argo Tractors makes significant investments in its after-sales services.

BOOK REVIEW The Viking Isles: Travels in Orkney and Shetland By Paul Murton

One of the great strengths of Paul Murton’s Grand Tours television series about Scotland’s landscapes is how he connects with the people who call those places home. His new book, The Viking Isles, about Orkney and Shetland does this and more. This is a personal journey for Murton. His father’s Norwegian background and his childhood summers around Bergen instilled a lifelong fascination and affinity with Scotland’s Northern Isles. He therefore comes to these islands from both the Scottish and the Viking sides, and his book is a treat. It is full of stunning photographs, personal anecdotes, historical yarns, and stories of life on the islands today. Take his visit to the northerly Shetland island of Fetlar. Its name derives from Old Norse, meaning ‘fat land’. The ‘Garden of Shetland’, its population flourished and reached nearly 900 souls by 1800. Later that century many tenant farmers were cleared for sheep, a crossbreed of the ancient native stock that had arrived with the Vikings in c.800 AD. Their descendants still roam the island, where there has been a recent uptick in traditional crofting methods. Paul met Joanne and Les Bell, who moved to Fetlar from County Durham, and gave him a lesson in rooing. In the past all Shetland sheep were rooed rather than shorn. As Joanne described it, holding a ewe between her

thighs, ‘You start from the neck and work your way down, using your fingers like a comb, and pulling. The fleece will come away, hopefully in one piece.’ Two Transalpine Redemptorist monks in billowing black cassocks met Murton on the pier at tiny Papa Stronsay (Orkney). Their community continues the island’s longstanding religious tradition. But not all is serene: the island features in a particularly bloodthirsty seasonal tale from the Orkneyinga Saga. Earl Rognvald lost a sea battle but survived to burn down rival Thorfinn’s house. Thorfinn escaped with his wife on his back, while the apparently victorious Rognvald sailed to Papa Stronsay to buy some of its famous malt barley to make a batch of celebratory Christmas ale. Thorfinn ambushed him there, encircling him in a ring of fire. Rognvald escaped the flames but his hiding place was betrayed by his dog, and he was slaughtered on the shore. Such stories have been the stuff of fireside tales for centuries and Murton’s book makes a fine armchair travel guide to these beautiful and remote islands. It will inspire you to visit them, as well as giving a broad picture of the texture of everyday life. Paul Murton’s The Viking Isles: Travels in Orkney and Shetland is published by Birlinn (£17.99, paperback)

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