Farming Scotland Magazine (September - October Issue 2021)

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

Tuathanachas Alba


Grain Dryers Ploughs British Ploughing Championships Muck Spreaders Scottish Game Fair In Focus A problem solved by Vogelsang Topic A time for action on the future of agriculture in Scotland Our Farm Shop Mackenzies Farm Shop & Cafe, Shetland


Flavour of Scotland Scotch Butchers Club Winners!

October 2021

Articles Winter crop preparation with St Catherine’s Seeds The Vertical Farm Increased grain productivity at Balgonie Farm World Farming New Zealand (part 2) Farm Diversification Let’s make ice cream! Made in Scotland Orkney Boreray Sheep plus Northern Isles s Scottish Country Life Farmhouse Kitchen s People Women in Agriculture s Beatha an Eilean The Book Shelf s Food & Drink including our regular news areas and columns



October 2021





Farm Diversification

Farmhouse Kitchen

26 42 51

Grain Dryers Ploughs British Ploughing Championships 54 Muck Spreaders 100 Scottish Game Fair


107 Wendy Barry’s Orkney Boreray Bridies


Made in Scotland



35 38

Winter crop preparation with St Catherine’s Seeds The Vertical Farm Increased grain productivity at Balgonie Estate

Flavour of Scotland 14

Scotch Butchers Club Winners!

Let’s make ice cream!

Our Farm Shop 52

Mackenzies Farm Shop, Shetland

Orkney Boreray Sheep

Travel Scotland 64

Rural life around Loch Ness

Trainview Talk 66

A Livestock Diary

Food & Drink

Northern Isles


102 Stories from Orkney & Shetland

Lambs and Strawbs!

World Farming 48

New Zealand (part 2)

In Focus 24

A problem solved by Vogelsang

Topic 33

A time for action on the future of agriculture in Scotland

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

Beatha an Eilean 104 Life on the Islands

Scottish Country Life 105 With Linda Mellor

Women in Agriculture

Book Serialisation 108 The Cairngorms (Part 5)

The Book Shelf 128 Four books reviewed

People on the Move 130 Who’s going where?

News Areas 6 20 34 36 50 67 80 83 89 90 92 96 99 110 113 114 127

Arable & Root Crops Environment Renewable Energy Technology Young Farmers Livestock Dairy Sheep Pigs People Forestry Estate Equine Finance Clothing Machinery Events


106 Opportunities abound!

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

6 7

Editor’s Bit In my view

ADVERTISING MANAGER Barry Tweed Tel. 07547 588401 Email:

103 15 17 21 23 37 50 76 77 79 82 86 88 95 97 98 111 129

Scotland the Brand R.S.A.B.I. Farming for the Climate Crofting Farm Advisory Service Next Generation Quality Meat Scotland The Vet Hutton Institute NFU Scotland Scottish Government National Sheep Association Scottish Forestry Scottish Land & Estates Conservation Matters The Money Man Southern Belle

Subscriptions 61

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Next Issue Out in November. See our website for details. www.farmingscotlandmagazine. com

Advertising & Editorial Enquiries Please call 01738 639747 or email COVER IMAGE: It’s a pig!

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

ISSN: 2041–918X


arable & root crops Union committed to re-establishing seed potato editor's bit trade with Europe You want quality? Support your local Farm Shop With empty shelves in supermarket stores and the promise of cheap and low welfare farmed produce coming in for the other side of the planet, and God knows where else when the UK Government announces another ‘ground breaking’ rubbish deal, we as a family are having nothing to do with it. Instead, we eat the highest standard of local Scottish farmed produce from a selection of five local farm shops, we are very luck here in Perthshire? There are of course, fantastic farm shops all over the UK, and we must support them all. While this issue was at the printers, we took a break on Skye and the Isle of Lewis, and we earmarked a few new places to visit. I would be delighted to hear from anyone who knows of a great farm shop, wherever it may be, because we want to ‘spread the word’ that Farm Shops are the true bastions of food quality here in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic. I have had the pleasure to visit a few in the North of England, but tell me your favourite farm shop where you live, and we would be more than happy to tell their story.

NFU Scotland Vice President Andrew Connon confirmed the Union’s commitment to seeing Scotland’s valuable seed potato trade with Europe reinstated. Mr Connon was officially opening a new Scottish base for seed potato specialists Solana Seeds at Wester Meathie, near Forfar in August. Speaking at the opening, Mr Connon said: “Scottish seed potato producers have done a tremendous job over many decades in establishing Scottish grown seed potatoes as a leading global brand. We have an industry to be proud of, whilst the degree of specialization and technical expertise within the sector is second to none. “The biggest issue we face is the lack of a current export market to Europe. With more than 75% of GB’s seed potato exports coming from Scotland, this situation has caused chaos

for many growers. The unjust situation in place until the end of June, whereby EU Seed could come in whilst UK exports were halted should never have been allowed to happen. “However, we need to find a sustainable solution to the issue and soon. We continue to lobby hard and are liaising with Scottish Government,

Slàinte, Athole.


the UK Government, Defra, the European potato trade and membership bodies, as well as the wider potato sector in Scotland. It is apparent that European growers want our seed potatoes whilst some UK growers have a need for imports from Europe. The entire situation is purely political and totally unacceptable.

arable & root crops To delay or not to delay… that is the OSR question

In my view By John Cameron Balbuthie, Kilconquhar, Fife

“We wait and wait and wait”

With the new cropping cycle just around the corner, ADAMA recently hosted a Twitter poll to find out when growers plan to drill their new crops of winter oilseed rape. Of the 238 people that responded, the majority (42%) have no set date in mind and will let the weather dictate when drilling can commence. Of the remaining participants, 38% stated that they intend to drill in late July or early August to enable the crop to establish and grow away from the threat of damage caused by adult Cabbage Stem Flea Beetles. The remaining 20% intend to delay drilling until September in order to allow the CSFB migration to have taken place. “Deciding when to drill oilseed rape is always a tricky conundrum,” explains Dr Bill Lankford, ADAMA’s herbicides technical specialist, “not least because of the need to balance the costs of ensuring the crop establishes viably against its overall profitability. “Essentially there’s no right or wrong answer as no two farms are the same and neither are any two rotational strategies. Instead, growers must weigh up the pros

and cons of drilling early versus the benefits of waiting until after the CSFB migration has taken place. “It’s interesting to see that 20% of respondents are willing to delay drilling until after the migration of adult flea beetles: if conditions later in the year enable these growers to establish a decent crop one would expect a lower risk of feeding damage and a reduced numbers of eggs being laid. “On the other hand, 38% are clearly determined to get a crop in and established before the CSFB migration. Whilst this strategy has the benefit of enabling the crop to build sufficient biomass that any feeding at the time of adult beetle migration will be inconsequential, there is always the risk that egg laying will be significant, and a forward crop will foster a large population of larvae which could cause notable damage later in the season. For more information about ADAMA’s autumn herbicide recommendations download a free copy of the latest autumn cropping guide athttps:// autumn-cropping-guide-2021

So far, there have been several sets of proposals from different organisations as to the future direction of Agricultural Policy and support, following our exit from the EU. Many of these have understandably come from agricultural organisations but some have originated from independent institutes and some have been set up by Government itself – for example all of the so called ‘Farmer Led’ groups have been initiated by Government – a move that was welcomed at the time by the industry. In the Government’s Political Manifesto published around election time we were assured that ‘guidance’ at least – if not ‘decisions’ would be forthcoming within 100 days of the new Government. Well like the catchphrase from the old film ‘Casablanca’ we ‘wait and wait and wait’ and in fact at the time of writing we are still waiting! We all accept that changes in policy and support measures are going to develop. Apart from our exit from the EU we have to face up to the implications of Climate Change, ever changing biodiversity requirements as well as changes in the existing agricultural financial support structure. We will meet these new challenges as we always have done but for future welfare and performance of the industry –

because of the long term nature of our productive capacity we need to know the future requirement and the future policy direction of the industry and we need to know it sooner rather than later if we are to achieve our new objectives. What we also need to know is the Government’s reaction to some of the largely unsubstantiated claims made against the industry. For example the requirement for the National Beef Herd to be reduced by some 25% if we are to achieve our emission target, with no reference to the obvious increase in emissions to import even part of that beef deficiency. Secondly what is Government’s reaction to the increasing evidence that in order to protect bird diversity and numbers the successful areas of bird habitat need to be grazed by livestock. Also by way the way – how about some credit for the role of livestock and agriculture in maintaining the social fabric of the less favoured areas. Oh, - I know - how would we measure it?! Lastly – to allow me to complete my feelings I get a bit fed up when our industry is criticised for its emissions by others who are blatantly creating an even bigger problem! Meanwhile for the industry’s future guidance and policy we wait, and wait, and wait!

arable & root crops Plotting a new course An Aberdeen crop trial field which has been providing Britain’s farmers with vital scientific data for 60 years is being dug up and transported a mile along the road. Around 450 tonnes of soil – the equivalent of 90 fullgrown elephants – is being taken by tractor and trailer from Woodlands Field at Craibstone to a pre-prepared field nearby to “preserve the unique historical legacy of the soil’s management”. The soil will be used for new research to better understand the relationships between acidity, carbon and nutrient dynamics and help design agricultural systems with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Operated by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Woodlands Field has been home to a pH gradient rotational experiment since 1961.

The maintenance of the soils at different pHs (levels of acidity) from 4.5 (very acid) to 7.5 (alkaline) has resulted in a range of chemical environments and microbial communities which create a unique facility for investigating how soils, plants and microbes work together to influence productivity as well as address important questions about carbon dynamics in soils. But with the Woodlands Field site now earmarked for housing, the soils from the pH experiment will be used for new research. This is thanks to a partnership with the University of Aberdeen, which owns the recipient field at Ashtown – the steading next door to Craibstone. The two institutions have created the Aberdeen Cropping systems Experimental (ACE) platform, which not only secures the legacy of the Woodlands

Field long-term experiments but has the potential to reinvigorate cropping systems research in the North East of Scotland. The partnership hopes to develop and fund additional crop and soil experiments and instrumentation at the

new site. These will address issues such as climate change, carbon sequestration, novel crops and alternative inputs as well as assess the impacts of extreme soil environments on crop productivity and soil functioning.

Test soil to reach new standard Farmers are being urged to test soil and establish a baseline that will help improve soil health ahead of a new 2022 standard. The Arable Soil Standard was issued in June 2021 as part of the government’s Environmental Land Management (ELM) and Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) plans. To best prepare for the new standard, farmers


should test soil more regularly to identify organic matter content before adding inputs or adjusting their rotation, suggests Eurofins Agro managing director, Daniel Robinson“The new standards will be more easily achieved if farmers accurately analyse their soil before making changes to the rotation or farming methods. Understanding the soil status at the start of the

process, the baselines, helps to provide the data needed to take the correct actions. Our tests provide chemical, physical, and biological insight, offering farmers a better way to monitor, manage and improve the health and fertility of their soil ahead of these new land management targets,” he says. Eurofins offers three new products: Fertilisation Manager®,

Soil Crop Monitor® and Soil Life Monitor®. Fertilisation Manager measures soil fertility. “This includes the chemical values of macro and micronutrients,” says Mr Robinson. “Detailed organic matter and carbon fractions, as well as the overall structure of the soil is also analysed in conjunction with biological components such as fungi and bacteria,” he adds.

arable & root crops Improving oilseed establishment this autumn

The microbial biomass from the sample will help farmers to understand the sensitivity of the soil to conventional farming methods such as ploughing. The number and nature of the

bacteria present in a soil sample will also facilitate the accurate calculation of what nutrients need to be added to the soil to optimise plant health and growth.

Oilseed rape lost appeal for some farmers following the banning of neonics and issues arising from cabbage stem flea beetle attacks. However, prices are on the rise, and many are now considering whether oilseed might be a worthwhile investment. Natalie Wood, Country Arable Agronomist at Yara, recently spoke on Yara’s Grow the Future podcast about how those planning for a 2022 crop can best get started over the next couple of months. “With oilseed rape, it really depends on autumn sowing conditions,” says Natalie. “Last year, we saw an increase as the weather was almost ideal for

establishment. Moisture is key for establishing oilseed… if we have enough in that August to midSeptember drilling window, we’ll see good establishment conditions again. Nutrition is a large factor in the successful establishment of a crop. Where possible, Natalie suggests the use of seed treatments to increase that initial speed of emergence. “Coating the seed ensures that the nutrients in the treatment are concentrated at the source,” says Natalie. “This means as soon as the seed germinates and roots start to develop, nutrients are being taken up.”


arable & root crops Natalie recommends a product containing equal amounts of phosphorous and manganese, both crucial for this early growth stage. Phosphorous assists energy transfer and shoot development, providing a crucial supply for the freshly germinated seed. Manganese plays a role in chlorophyll production, enzyme activation, and carbohydrate metabolism – without it, deficiency will impact photosynthetic efficiency and limit the plant.

How much difference does the right product make? “A trial in 2020 showed weight increases of roots and shoots by about 20%,” said Natalie. “That can make a difference between a vulnerable growth stage to one more able to cope if flea beetle migration has occurred, for example.” Remember: robust plants are more resistant to any threats that could compromise yields.

Beetle hits at OSR emergence prevents damage Natalie Wood, Country Arable Agronomist at Yara


Oilseed rape growers should look to control cabbage stem flea beetle from first emergence to give greatest effects in reducing

damage, to help get crops quickly established. Trials at the Syngenta OSR Innovation Centre, in Norfolk,

arable & root crops have shown a 50% reduction in CSFB damage from a single application of Hallmark Zeon at first emergence. A two-spray programme, with a second application at the three-leaf stage, reduced overall damage by 62%, reported the site’s manager, Dr Max Newbert. Monitoring of CSFB activity on the site highlighted first insect invasion occurred simultaneously with full crop emergence around 25 August, 14 days after drilling. The peak of pest invasion took off in the second week of September. “Previously it has been considered that CSFB feed on the crop for a period, before starting to lay eggs in the soil. This work, studying adult feeding damage

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61

and subsequent larvae populations, indicates beetles migrating into the emerging crop may be ready to start laying almost immediately. “That makes the early control timing a greater priority,” he advised. Work that included trials with various integrated CSFB control techniques, revealed the outstanding result was the combination of buckwheat and berseem clover companion cropping, in combination with the two-spray Hallmark Zeon programme - achieving over 70% overall reduction in damage.

Support for horticulture and potato growers called for The Growers’ Better Levy Group (GBLG) is calling for Defra to support a grower managed research agency run by growers following the ballot

on the AHDB statutory levy for horticulture and potato growers. Made up of a voluntary group of 36 highly influential, independent and representative

business operators in the horticulture and potato sectors, the group believes in a future with a collaborative approach to innovation, research and


arable & root crops development, as well as knowledge exchange and connecting researchers to growers. “The aim of the group is to ensure a healthy and sustainable UK horticultural industry within which businesses can thrive,” said Martin Emmett, an ornamental grower. “The GBLG is group of concerned levy payers, not a democratically elected board.

“We feel that our proposed way forward on how R&D is conducted for the industry is the right approach and has the support of all 36 businesses involved, as well as a number of research organisations and grower groups.” The group has outlined all the priority areas of critical Innovation, Research & Development required by the

UK’s horticulture and potato sectors and has also defined how a grower-run R&D investment board might operate. The Group chair, Phil Pearson, Group Development Director at APS Group, added: “We have met Victoria Prentis from Defra yesterday and explained that we want to see the green light, and Defra’s support for, an independent, grower-

managed research agency funded by an investment levy. “The Agency would emulate models that already exist in both New Zealand and Australia. The R&D would be directed by an elected, independent board of representative growers who would decide on research priorities and projects, in consultation with the wider industry, including businesses and grower associations.”

New mobile washing system creates efficiencies for major UK potato supplier A new mobile washing facility, featuring Tong’s next generation barrel washer, is bringing increased throughput and a highly flexible washing solution for UK potato supplier Wolds Produce this season. Based in East Yorkshire, Wolds Produce Ltd supply high quality potatoes into the crisping, chipping, ware, catering and seed industries, working with a wide base of growers throughout the UK. In order to wash crop across multiple sites, Wolds Produce needed a mobile washing system that would bring effective destoning, washing and inspection of crop at high capacities, for quick yet gentle processing to meet contract demands. Featuring the latest model of Tong’s popular potato barrel washer, the new mobile washing system is built to handle high


throughputs of crop, with a 4m long, 1200m wide barrel washer and integrated destoner for reliable removal of stones from crop prior to washing. Once crop is washed, it is gently transferred to an inspection conveyor with canopy. For ultimate ease of

transporting between sites, the mobile system has been designed with foldable modules to allow the machine to be quickly and easily adapted for transport. Simon Tootell, Managing Director at Wolds Produce “We have worked with Tong for many

years. They supplied our existing washing line at our main site in Pocklington East Yorkshire, so when then time came to look for a mobile system, Tong was the natural choice to work with to design a custom-built machine that we knew would fit the bill.”

arable & root crops Maintain disease vigilance to point of carrot harvest Carrot growers must stay on top of foliar diseases right up until the point of harvest, with fungicides that boast a short harvest interval useful in ensuring crop yield and quality aren’t jeopardised in the final weeks of the season. That is according to ProCam agronomist, John Cairns, who also recommends the use of fungicides with multiple actives and modes of action. “With weather patterns becoming increasingly variable and difficult to predict, carrot growers must ensure their crops remain protected against foliar diseases such as alternaria, sclerotinia and powdery mildew until as close to harvest as possible in order to protect the crop’s quality and, for early top-lifted crops, to promote healthy foliage to aid efficient harvesting,” Mr Cairns explains.

“All three of these diseases have the potential to reduce yield and affect quality in the final few weeks prior to harvest: alternaria, for example, will spread rapidly across a field if warm, wet conditions prevail, while powdery mildew will be the dominant threat in dry conditions. Meanwhile, sclerotinia tends to occur when carrots have filled up and start to drop their leaves onto damp soils.” In addition to using integrated crop protection measures – maintaining good field hygiene, planting disease tolerant varieties and using a long rotation to prevent diseases spreading from one crop to the next – growers should also use suitable fungicide treatments to prevent diseases taking hold, including during the final weeks of growth.



Perthshire farm shop inaugural winner of Scotch Butchers Club Challenge

Gloagburn Farm Shop, Perthshire, is the international judging panel’s choice for winner of the first-ever Scotch Butchers Club Challenge, announced today by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). Judge Jon Brown, from Grogan and Browns, Ireland, said: “The quality of the finalists for a first-time competition like this was impressive and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all the judges involved when I say that the caliber of the counter display entries were extremely high. “What distinguishes Gloagburn Farm Shop’s entry, which was

created by Wendy Donald and Colin Brown, from the rest is the range of product innovation and uniformity combined with presentation and labelling clearly showed the skill levels required to complete a display of this standard.” The fourteen finalists, based across Scotland, were tasked to create a counter display of Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork. Showcasing their craftmanship, the finalists were assessed on their overall technical skill, product innovation, creativity, presentation of the products on

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61 Next issue out November 2021 14

display as well as health and safety. The displays were judged by an international panel of industry leaders from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Holland. Owner of Gloagburn Farm Shop, Fergus Niven, said he was overjoyed to be the inaugural winner of the Scotch Butchers Club Challenge and praised the team of Wendy Donald and Colin Brown: “It was a team effort and great recognition to the effort that independent butchers put into their craft day in and day out. Like everyone, we’ve had to adapt and change during the past 18 months, but we’ve been proud to continue to serve our community and to highlight the skill of what we, as an industry, can do. “We’re delighted to be inaugural winners of the Scotch Butchers Club Challenge and the trophy will be proudly displayed in our shop. We look forward to entering again next year to

defend our title and I would encourage any Scotch Butchers Club member to get involved. Gillespies Family Butchers in Lanark and S. Collins based in Glasgow were awarded second and third respectively. Presenting the Championship Trophy and £500 prize was Gordon Newlands, QMS Brand Development Manager, who said: “It’s been a fantastic experience to create a butchery competition which challenges businesses as a whole, and shines a light on their important place in our community. “New initiatives like this are part of the new Scotch Butchers Club strategy to position butchers as ‘Champions of Scotch’ promoting their skill, craftsmanship and knowledge to consumers. “Congratulations again to the Wendy and Colin at Gloagburn Farm Shop and to all of our finalists.” Butchers can apply to join the Scotch Butchers Club for £75per year.


Scottish berry supplier Angus Soft Fruits to eliminate over 150 tonnes of single use plastic a year


The Brand ‘Food For Life’ Served in Scotland’s Schools By Ruth Watson

Scottish berry supplier, Angus Soft Fruits, will eliminate over 150 tonnes of single use plastic over the next 12 months as the company switches to 100% recycled material in its punnets of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Angus Soft Fruits is working with its long-term supplier, Waddington Europe, which has successfully developed a punnet that is both fully recyclable and made from 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET). PET is considered a highly recyclable plastic, however the food industry has found it hard to collect clean, high quality plastics that can re-enter the cycle as food-grade containers. Angus Soft Fruits supplies most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and last year, produced enough deliciously sweet berries to fill over 42 million plastic punnets. The company is also working closely with Waddington Europe to achieve a 5-10% gauge reduction across all Waddington Europe punnets. Newly appointed Sustainability Coordinator at Angus Soft Fruits, Catherine Russell commented: “We have ambitious sustainability plans

here at Angus Soft Fruits across packaging, carbon emissions, biodiversity and food waste, and we are pleased to announce that almost all the berries we supply will now be packaged in 100% rPET punnets. “Previously our punnets were made from 80% recycled materials as it has always been a challenge for the food industry to find sufficient volumes of clean, high-quality plastics that can be recycled and enter the market as food grade containers. We’re pleased that our longterm suppliers, Waddington Europe, have achieved this and we look forward to working closely with them to continue to promote circularity in soft fruit packaging. We are also looking to increase the monitoring of biodiversity, food waste and carbon emissions on our farms as well as significantly reduce food waste. Ultimately, we want to be net zero throughout our supply chain, from grower to customer, by 2040 and we want to share the best practices that we develop with our overseas growers. Moving our punnets sold in the UK to 100% rPET is a step in the right direction to achieving these goals.”

A quiet revolution is happening in the way local authorities source local food, and it’s something more of us should be talking about. The ‘Food For Life Served Here’ award is a Scottish Government programme delivered by Soil Association Scotland. It develops contacts between local farms and councils with an emphasis on putting our world-class fresh food and drink on school dinner tables. The award is an accreditation scheme with schools pledging to feed pupils freshly-cooked food, from high quality, unprocessed ingredients: councils with 15% of produce coming from organic sources get a ‘Gold’ ranking. The pledge to feed our children the best Scotland has to offer is a fundamental focus of the Scottish Government’s ‘Good Food Nation’ philosophy, and it’s good news for our farmers. Mossgiel Organic Farm recently announced they have been awarded the contract to serve their organic milk – delivered in glass bottles - to all the schools in East Ayrshire. Shetland Islands Council provides a menu which is 96% freshly prepared, while West Lothian Council ensures 88% of all the meat they serve in primary schools comes from Scottish farmers.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s first social enterprise supermarket, Locavore, with funding from the Scottish Government, is expanding their partnerships with local farmers to put lunches made from organic, zero waste food on school dinner tables across East Ayrshire. So how can farmers get involved in this good food revolution? Sarah Duley, Head of Food at Soil Association Scotland, explains. “We work to facilitate relationships and develop connections,” she says. “We help to join the dots between farm and school fork. There is a general recognition among the public about the importance of supporting Scotland’s food and drink producers. The Covid pandemic has strengthened relationships with local suppliers, really showing the value of short chain food supplies.” Building local markets, developing agro-ecology, and cutting food miles not only is good for our communities and the environment, it’s good for local business.

Ruth Watson is the founder of the Keep Scotland the Brand campaign. 15

food & drink Lamb for St Andrew’s Day ‘Lamb Bank’ for Scottish schools announced by Scotland’s Livestock Auctioneers Over the past 10 years, Scotland’s livestock marts and red meat sector has been promoting Scotch Lamb as the meat to eat to celebrate St Andrew’s Day on 30 November. In a bold move to supply free lamb to as many Scottish schools as possible during St Andrew’s week, the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) is launching a ‘Lamb Bank’. The scheme will allow farmers selling any sheep via IAAS marts to donate lambs for the initiative which aims to get as many Scottish school children cooking and eating lamb on and around St Andrew’s Day. “The funds from any sheep being sold via the marts and donated to the Lamb Bank will be used to supply lamb to Scottish schools during the week of the 30th of November,” says Neil Wilson, Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland Executive Director. “The idea of donating lambs for schools was started by IAAS in 2020, when Scottish

marts donated over 50 lambs to promote the Lamb for St Andrew’s Day campaign,” Mr Wilson adds. Over the past 10 years there has been a drive from the red meat sector, led by livestock auctioneers, QMS and butchers to make lamb synonymous with St Andrew’s Day, just as turkey is for Christmas. “For over 1,000 years the Scots have celebrated by feasting and it seems fitting that our modern-day feasts should be celebrating not only our patron saint, but also this iconic Scottish meat,” he says. “The original Lamb for St Andrew’s Day idea came from George Purves and Willie Mitchell as part of the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme.” Last year, 11,600 home economics pupils from 115 Scottish schools signed up to participate in cooking lamb for St Andrew’s Day, and during the last decade over 1,500 farming families and their friends have organised social events to

celebrate and feast on Scotch Lamb. “Between now and 30 November, farmers selling lambs through Scotland’s marts can opt to donate sheep for the Lamb Bank, all they need to do is to let auctioneers know when they book stock in for sale,” John Thomson of C & D Marts adds. “We’d like to get lamb into at least one school in every

town and every rural school in Scotland, but preferably more than that, if the industry is behind us.” QMS has been a big driver of the Lamb for St Andrew’s Day push by promoting the home cooking of lamb via retailers and the butchery trade – including with a ‘twist’ such as in curry – as well as the serving of lamb in restaurants.

Grate Idea!...Head berry breeder claims Brits should ditch cream and sprinkle parmesan over strawberries A berry breeder has revealed Brits should ditch the cream on their strawberries and instead sprinkle parmesan cheese over them. Lucy Marie Slatter claims that the hard cheese, usually scattered generously over pizza 16

and pasta dishes, is the perfect pairing as it is known to bring out the berry’s unique flavour characteristics. In fact Lucy, who is head breeder at AVA Berries, says firm favourite pouring cream should be kicked to the kerb

as it does nothing to enhance flavours. Apparently, it’s not just the Italian staple that goes well with strawberries, with herbs and spices such as basil, mint, black pepper, and chilli pairing well too - along with balsamic vinegar and even crab.

But it seems it’s not just the toppings where Brits are going wrong to get the best out of their strawberries. Research commissioned by AVA Berries revealed that nine out of ten Brits are storing and preparing their strawberries wrongly. More than a third (37%) remove strawberries from the fridge and wash with cold water, which Lucy says drastically reduces the sensory experience. The study found that only one in ten Brits remove strawberries from the fridge and leave to reach room temperature before tucking in. Lucy says that leaving strawberries to come to room temperature for at least an hour is crucial as warmer temperatures allow taste buds and nose sensors to take full advantage of the complex flavours and aromas in strawberries. Brits should also treat whole strawberries as though they’re an expensive whisky and ‘nose’ the fruit, according to Lucy. Smelling your strawberries helps you to pick out flavours and aromas that you wouldn’t be able to detect through eating alone. Lucy said: “It may seem a little eccentric to top strawberries with parmesan cheese and pass on the cream, but if you’re adventurous enough to give it a go, you won’t regret it.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61

A day in life of RSABI’s Welfare Manager By Chris McVey The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most organisations to operate from home and RSABI has been no different. This presents its own challenges, such as the morning 100 metre sprint to catch my toddler to get him ready for the day ahead. However, the early morning routine is the only thing that remains the same as working for an organisation like RSABI, the charity supporting people in Scottish agriculture, means that every day is different. A daily check in with members of the Welfare Team is first on the agenda and an important part of my day as it means I can stay up to date with the latest developments in client cases and discuss how case officers can best approach certain situations when supporting clients.

This might involve working closely with partners to reach a resolution, completing an application for financial support or arranging for clients to get expert help. I also try to help with helpline and outbound support calls to clients. The call out service really came into its own during the pandemic as many people felt isolated and in need of a friendly voice to chat to. Helping with calls keeps me abreast of current issues affecting those involved in agriculture which helps RSABI continue to be responsive to the needs of people in the industry. The variety of work is what I like most about my role as Welfare Manager. Each day is unique and defined by the interactions we have with committed and passionate

Chris McVey RSABI Welfare Manager

people involved in agriculture who, for whatever reason, are struggling to cope or just need someone to talk to. Just as those we help are passionate about agriculture, we are passionate about making sure people involved in the sector get the emotional, practical and financial support they need. Our helpline is open every day from 7am to 11pm on 0300 111 4166 and I’d encourage anyone who is struggling to give us a call.

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

Next issue out November 2021



Get Ready for Winter! A look at markets and conditions for which winter crops to consider drilling this year (Courtesy of Jonathan Coombe)

By Rob Wyborn, St. Catherines Seeds

Autumn 2021 brings a fresh start. Improved growing conditions for current autumn and spring drilled crops, fresh seed stocks across the board and grain values rising due to high demand. Wheat and barley are still regarded as the best performing and most important crops on farm. Popular crops such as wheat and barley benefit from being versatile together with breeding developments to improve yield and disease resistance. Milling wheat, used in food products from biscuits to bread continues to do well on these 18

shores, where we consistently produce a high-quality milling product. Diverse uses for malt see the annual output of nearly 2m tonnes simply increasing. More uses for cereals in animal feed and Food and Drink manufacturers are finding that wheat can provide a rich source of starch and glucose. Not forgetting the increasing demand in Bioethanol markets, which continues to evolve, with plant-based ethanol being used as a petrol alternative. The increasing markets for Linseed may just interest a

greater number of farmers, with increasing demand to grow this under contract. This is proving a popular replacement for oilseed rape with its early sowing and harvesting benefits. It goes without saying that close attention should be made of the recommended list of winter cereals for your particular region. The AHDB Recommended list (RL) provides an expansive list of varieties by region, that are proven in terms of performance and disease resistance. For a more detailed list of recommended varieties in Scotland, take a look

the Scottish Recommended Lit for Cereals 2021/22 from pure. On heavy soils, the most profitable (and sustainable) rotation will be two wheats after a break crop, followed by spring barley. Others may even return to continuous wheat/cereals, but caution must be taken to avoid the Take-All effects on rooting and yield. It is perhaps more challenging on lighter soils where second cereals tend not to perform so well. The key to minimising the financial impact is to look at the

Article gross margin across the whole rotation rather than direct crop replacements. Farm businesses may be considering whole-field stewardship options as one of their replacement break crop alternatives. A two-year legume fallow is an example of an option under the current English Countryside Stewardship which may, in some situations, act as the break crop. As a rule, this will only work for average performers, or poorer land, where the risk vs reward ratio remains higher. For top performers, and good soils, continuing with ‘full’ cropping is likely to be the best way forward. Productivity remains one of the key differences between business performance, certainly not scale. It is simply understanding land capability and having excellent attention to detail. These are often the result of multiple small improvements which when combined deliver large changes to the bottom line. Productivity remains the basic

principle if businesses are to thrive. Drilling dates Factors affecting drilling dates are varied and are dependent on the geographic region. These factors can include: Soil condition A good seed-to-soil contact helps to ensure rapid seed germination and excellent conditions for residual herbicides to work effectively. Control grass weed In some seasons, of low dormancy and moist soils, delaying drilling can allow early glyphosate treatments, but this will not work with dry autumns with high dormancy. Geographical region In particular interest to Scottish farmers, with colder field aspects and located further north, earlier crops can be drilled with less danger of early problems associated with

pests. Early September drilling is achievable in Northern regions, while late drillings can be slow to emerge and in cold winters, crops will stop growing sooner, with a potential knock-on effect and late harvest. In Scotland, it is recognised that the harvest date of the previous crop can certainly have an influence, with the opportunity for stale seed beds being really quite narrow compared to southern England. Risk of diseases and pests The risk of disease in highly affected varieties can increase if drilled early. Mid-September plantings may have substantially higher levels of septoria and yellow rust than those drilled in October. Wheat bulb fly may be problem for crops drilled later on so use of an insecticidal treatment is certainly advised. Early drilling Ideally, varieties drilled in early

September should be slow developing, disease resistant and have good resistance to lodging. Drilling window Nearly all varieties can be drilled from 20th September through to mid-October. If a range of varieties is on farm, it’s advisable to segregate by speed of early development and straw strength. Late drilling Characteristics for later drilling should include fast early development and good tillering scope to ensure best ground cover going into winter. Second wheat Many varieties function as they would in the first drilling. Identify varieties that have good resistance to eyespot, but this is not always reflected in final yield. Quality wheats are often drilled in this slot, as the reduced yield potential can help maintain grain protein content.


environment Consensus breaks out on net-zero farming Farmers, academics and NGOs deliver consensus on the usually contentious subject of farming and climate A panel of farmers, academics and NGO representatives have published a consensus pathway for making Scottish farming climate compatible. In a debate that has been notoriously polarised, Farming for 1.5 Inquiry was able to set out a credible way forward by bringing different perspectives and aspirations around the same table. Agriculture accounts for 20% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Scottish Government cannot achieve its ambitious climate targets without a transformation in farming. After a 2-year long Inquiry, the Farming for 1.5 panel produced a consensus set of policy recommendations, taking the sector from where it is today to net zero in 2045.

Farming for 1.5 was established as an independent inquiry in 2019 by NFU Scotland and Nourish Scotland. It was born out of the desire to explore a viable way forward for farming; one that could deliver for all stakeholders as well as nature and climate. The panel heard evidence from experts on farming practices, environmental impacts and behavioural change; and conducted farm visits. The independence of the Inquiry enabled all panel members to contribute views freely and develop their thinking collectively, without any pre-determined constraints. The key recommendations of the report include: • whole farm contracts to deliver

on farming and nature from 2024; • reducing total emissions from agriculture while maintaining food production per capita; • rapid uptake in low methane breeding for cows and sheep. Nigel Miller, Co-chair of the Inquiry said: “Being part of the 1.5 group has been a fascinating journey which through integrating food production, biodiversity, the wellbeing of both rural communities and landscape into a net zero solution, has left me optimistic about the future of rural Scotland. The inquiry journey has reached into soil health and sustainable cropping, in some ways revisiting principles which were

established in the 18th century with the first agricultural revolution. Cutting edge science, precision techniques and genetics have also been a significant focus. Both approaches will be part of the net zero future. The report, built on consensus, breaks through the tired soundbites that often dominate the climate change debate and block smart solutions. The transformation pathway mapped out by the group is a holistic plan which balances the three core goals; food, biodiversity and the 2045 net zero target. It delivers for society as a whole but also provides an integrated route for farmers, crofters and land managers to deliver diverse and sometimes conflicting policy priorities.”

New projects to develop ecosystem markets Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have won a share of £300k in funding for three projects to develop new carbon markets for regenerative agriculture, saltmarsh restoration and lowland peatlands. These include feasibility studies for a UK Farm Soil Carbon Code and a UK Saltmarsh Code, and the extension of the Peatland Code to include lowland peats. The projects are funded by the Environment Agency’s Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) - a new source of funding for environmental projects in England. The research will be carried out by SRUC’s Thriving Natural 20

New projects will help develop codes to lock up carbon from the atmosphere to tackle climate change

environment Capital Challenge Centre, led by Professor of Rural Entrepreneurship Mark Reed, and Senior Challenge Research Fellow and Data Policy Lead Dr Hannah Rudman. The projects will help lock up substantial amounts of carbon from the atmosphere to tackle climate change. With growing interest from companies seeking to offset their emissions, carbon markets are also set to provide farmers and other landowners with substantial new income streams.

The first project will gather evidence for interventions to be integrated into a pilot UK Farm Soil Carbon Code, working with pilot farms in Gloucestershire in collaboration with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South-West (FWAG) and the Sustainable Soils Alliance. It is estimated this could unlock up to £500m in annual revenues by 2030 for farmers and other landowners adopting regenerative practices that lock up carbon from the atmosphere in agricultural soils.

Investing in net-zero technology £16.5 million to support energy transformation A total of £16.5 million has been awarded to the Net Zero Technology Centre to accelerate a range of energy transition projects that will help deliver Scotland’s net-zero economy. Seven projects will be developed through the centre’s Net Zero Technology Transition Programme (NZTTP) to transform the North Sea energy system, with a focus on emissions reduction. The programme is expected to deliver £403 billion for the economy and 21,000 jobs by 2050. Funding is being provided through the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Fund and will be match-funded by the industry. Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson announced the investment during a visit to Aberdeen South Harbour, where he hosted a roundtable meeting with Energy Transition Fund partners alongside other key North-East energy stakeholders to discuss the sector’s transition to net-zero. Mr Matheson said: “The Scottish Government is wholly committed to ending our contribution to climate change by 2045, and doing so in a way that ensures a just transition to net-zero, making sure no-one is left behind.

“We want to secure jobs for the energy workforce and create new jobs in the north east - and across Scotland - by seizing the huge opportunities our energy transition and wider journey to net-zero present. “The Energy Transition Fund is helping the energy sector to grow and diversify and accelerate the journey to net-zero, and underpin the north-east’s ambitions to become a world leader in this transition. “This funding will help the NZTC, working with industry and academia, to help grow Scotland’s role as a global leader in net zero technology solutions, delivering security of energy supply, diversifying the sector, and creating the next generation of highly skilled, green jobs.” The Net Zero Technology Centre’s CEO Colette Cohen OBE said: “This is an important milestone for the Net Zero Technology Centre which will drive the development of key technologies for green growth in Scotland and the UK, create jobs, attract investment and help establish a world-class net zero supply chain.

The Climate Challenge; benefiting beef and business? Robert Ramsay, Senior Agricultural Consultant, SAC Consulting With COP 26 (United Nations Conference of the Parties) on the horizon, farmers can be sure that the environmental impact of beef production will be back under the microscope. We will hear bold claims, from both sides of the argument about methane, ruminants and the environment. While farmers should be aware of the outcomes of COP 26, it is important to also consider what you can achieve. Global issues, such as feed lot agriculture, water usage and deforestation will be well scrutinised and rightly so. However, these are international issues and very different the systems we operate in Scotland, we need to set ourselves apart and ensure all beef production isn’t tarred with the same brush. There is a huge amount of positive work happening in Scotland, making our current systems even more sustainable than they already are. There are many bodies that will be working hard to showcase Scottish beef production during this 2-week conference. The word efficiency comes up a lot with regards to the environment. However, farmers should be mindful that most of the on-farm climate change mitigation options they have at their disposal will also have a positive impact

on their pockets. While COP 26 is running, farmers will be preparing and heading into winter, the most expensive time of year for most. It is important both in terms of efficiency and profitability to lighten the load and avoid carrying any passengers through the winter. A simple pregnancy diagnosis of suckler cows will cost a few pounds, provide excellent management information which could help reduce your environmental impact and save you a lot of money. Any empty cows found in the autumn should be culled out the system, releasing their capital value and avoiding the burden of their wintering costs. This year, silage and straw stocks are limited in some parts of the country, so it is even more important to remove passengers from the system. While the environmental impact of methane emissions from cattle is argued by many, no one can argue that an empty cow is an efficient one.

For more ideas around practical mitigation measures and ways to reduce emissions from your farm, and to read about what other farmers have done, visit find us on Facebook and Twitter @SACFarm4Climate.


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

WORLD FARMING In the last issue we looked at New Zealand’s sub tropical North Island and the diverse agriculture of this wonderful country, which lies in the South Pacific Ocean, 1700kms from its nearest neighbour, Australia. This month, we will look at the larger South Island, a magnet for Scottish settlers over the years. New Zealand’s South Island is an island of contrasts, ranging from miles-long beaches to 3000m high ice-clad mountains; temperate forest areas with some of the highest rainfall in the world within an hour’s drive of


arid areas; intensive agriculture to extensive ranching covering tens of thousands of hectares. Known as “the Mainland”, it is also known by the Maori name - Te Waipounamu - the place, or waters of greenstone/pounamu. This is because the highlyprized translucent green jade, is only found in some rivers on the South Island’s West Coast. Maori used this hard stone for weapons and ornaments, including the tiki figurines, often seen around the neck of New Zealanders, whether they are of Maori ancestry or not.

After the capital Christchurch, the second largest city in the South Island is Dunedin - Gaelic for Edinburgh. Along with the Southland region, the West Coast was predominantly settled by Scottish immigrants and Southlanders still retain vestiges of the Scottish accent– rolling their “r’s” and adding “wee” into many conversations. Oats for porridge grow well here too! Although 30% bigger than the North Island, the South Island is more sparsely populated with around 1.2M of the national population of 5.1M.

This is due, in part, to the large range of mountains known as the Southern Alps running the length of the Island. The Alps also cause a marked variation in climate between the east and west sides of the Island, with western regions very wet (up to 7 metres of rainfall a year in some places). Dryer eastern regions such as Marlborough, allow for high-quality wine production, with 27,000 ha of vines (75% of national production), predominantly of the sauvignon blanc variety. Canterbury is also dry in summer but is blessed with abundant river and subterranean water, which is used to irrigate nearly 500,000 ha. Predominantly used for dairying, 270,000 cows run in herds with an average size of 760. In the last thiry years, there has been a significant shift to dairying under irrigation in this region. Irrigated arable crops are also found in Canterbury on the best soils, producing average yields of 9.7t/ha for milling wheat and 8.5 t/ha for malting barley. Both the current world record for wheat and barley yields are held by Canterbury farming families. The region also produces a significant proportion of the world’s radish and carrot seed, along with forage seeds and pulses. Dairying has also increased in Southland, and has always been

WORLD FARMING important on the West Coast, both summer moist regions. However, sheep and beef production remains significant in most regions, particularly in hill country, where other landuse options are more limited and climate is still benign enough to allow stock to remain outside all year round. Around 75% of the national farmed deer herd of 850,000, is also found in South Island hill country. In dry alpine regions Merino sheep are farmed on large extensive “stations” for their ultra-fine fibre used in a wide range of activewear and fashion fabrics. Fruit production thrives in the Nelson and Central Otago regions – everything from berry to pip and stonefruit, hops and kiwifruit. Some NZ hops even go to making Guinness and there is a thriving local craft beer industry. As agriculture has intensified in recent decades, so has the pressure on the environment. Mitigation of the impact of farming, features strongly

in the minds of farmers and regulators. Minimising nutrient loss, maintaining biodiversity, and reducing the production of greenhouse gases, being key issues. Efforts both on-farm and in research organisations, are working to achieve positive environmental outcomes. This unique country, allows you to experience a wide variety of rural enterprises and to meet with the local producers. Add to this the stunning alpine, lake and forest scenery, it is clear why agri-tourisim is so encouraged and important to New Zealand and it is such a popular destination with Scottish farming families as it was with their ancestors. Thanks to Farm To Farm Tours NZ and Field Farm Tours UK for their photos and input. Fiona is a freelance journalist based in Dumfries and a tour guide with the Agricultural Tour Company Field Farm Tours.

crofting Let’s talk about the future of Scottish agriculture By Patrick Krause, Chief Executive, Scottish Crofting Federation Taking stock of the many advisory groups that Scottish Government initiated over the past few years, the long-awaited 10th and final report of the Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group (FFPFPG), “Recommendations to Government”, has been published. Set up at Scottish Parliament’s behest in June 2019, this group of experts from industry, academia, research and government was to ‘develop and make recommendations for the future of Scottish farming and food production policy’. They gathered evidence from the policy recommendations made by the National Council of Rural Advisors, the Agriculture Champions, the Greening Group, the Simplification Task Force and from stakeholders. The final report also refers to the Just Transition Commission findings and various policy analyses from Scottish, UK and European bodies. It was the group that reviews the groups. The report finds that “direct support is not evenly distributed, for example the Highlands and Islands account for half of all Scottish farmland but receive only 16% of Pillar I support and 38% of Pillar 2.” It also concludes that agricultural support has failed to deliver on policy objectives, such as climate change and biodiversity. LFASS, is exposed again “for being a highly complex

scheme which uses grazing categories and payment rates that result in the majority of support being distributed to the better quality land within the LFA as opposed to the more marginal farmland.” You can see why we complain. The report then goes on to make a series of recommendations to improve the system, but not all in the group agreed. Judging by the response in the media, the farmers’ union are a principle objector, for reasons unspecified. Scottish Government also set up 5 ‘farmer-led climate change groups’ to look specifically at measures to reduce Green House Gas emissions in the various agriculture sectors. All have reported to the ministers. And, oh dear, there have been still more advisory groups such as the ‘Future Agricultural Funding: Policy Delivery Group’ and the ‘Agricultural policy implementation – EU Hub’. In common, all the groups have the remit: to report to Scottish Government on how to have sustainable agriculture, or words to that effect. Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, has pledged that government will pull all of this together, with yet another group, the ‘implementation board’. Lots of time and money has gone in to this, and enough hot air to threaten climate change has come out. It must be worth it.


Trailing shoe offers whole farm benefits Problem: Splash plate was making inefficient use of slurry Solution: Vogelsang 9m UniSpread trailing shoe places slurry below the canopy

The customer and the problem Jonathan Armstrong works on his 750-acre family farm near Longtown on the English, Scottish border. “Me and my twin brother Thomas are the fourth generation here and we farm in partnership with our parents Mark and Alison,” he explains. The farm has grazing land for


the herd and 250 acres of silage land. There is a further 100 acres of maize and 180 acres of wheat and barley which he also applies slurry to. “We used a splash plate, but we wanted to be more accurate and harness more of the nutrient value from our slurry, so we invested in the new trailing shoe a year ago,” he adds.

The solution The family chose to invest in a 9m UniSpread which is mounted on a 3000-gallon HiSpec tanker. The UniSpread can operate as a dribble bar or trailing shoe and can be attached to a tanker or an umbilical system. It is compact and easy to mount directly behind a tanker using a 3 or 4-point

hitch. The plug-and-play system means it comes fully assembled to reduce any tricky or tedious set up requirements. “It is a very simple machine to operate, and it was fitted very quickly to the tanker. It also has the benefit of only needing minimal hydraulics, just two double acting spools and one freeflow return,” says Mr Armstrong.


This design makes it very easy to retrofit to almost any tanker with minimal fabrication. The right tool for the land Mr Armstrong could have chosen a 12 metre or larger boom width, but the 9-metre width offers operational benefits. “I believe we have a good match to the tanker which is important to make sure we are working efficiently. The 9-metre boom is also easy to manoeuvre, and I can raise the trailing shoes at the headland or if the conditions are good, I can just turn and follow the curvature,” he explains. Unlike some trailing shoes, Vogelsang’s design anchors the neck of the shoe to the spring steel bars, and uses two bolts, which makes for a sturdier construction that is capable of following the ground contours more accurately. “It is reassuring to know that the design is more

resilient, and the build quality will absorb the lumps and bumps of the land,” he adds. Resilience is a factor that Vogelsang clearly considered in the design of the shoe. Some may fear that because the shoe is digging into the ground that it is more likely to sustain damage. However, the tip of the UniSpread shoe is longer providing a longer life and protecting the body of the shoe. “The design is good because it parts the grass and creates a very small groove for the slurry to sit in. This means that less slurry is contacting the leaf and is instead being applied directly to the soil where we want it,” he says. More accurate application The model shares the same trailing shoe design as the brand’s BlackBird range. The design was developed by measuring

Contact: Sion Williams 07817 986561

the flow and behaviour of liquid manure in flow simulations. The beak like elongated shape guides the flow of slurry at the outlet to make distribution more accurate and even. The pointed wearing edge cuts into the ground without damaging the sward. “The boom is easy to lift, and I can raise it up on undulating land, so it doesn’t dig in and damage the grass,” he says. Saving money and better forage The farm is using fewer inputs since changing to the trailing shoe. After a full year of use Mr Armstrong has been able to reduce his bought in N by 25 kilos per acre. “We were applying 100 kilos before we started using the trailing shoe, but now we have been using it for a year we can see the N values in the soil have risen so we have cut back on our bought in N,” he says.

He now spends less time spreading and uses more slurry. Three cuts are taken for silage with a slurry application after each and one application is made directly after the arable crop is harvested. “On a hot day using the splash plate we used to lose most of nutrients before it could get to the soil. This was made even worse in windy conditions. The other benefit is the width we spread at now. The splash plate would struggle to give us 6 metres width and it was slow going. Now we are spreading at 9 metre widths, and I can travel faster too,” he says. “We have moved on a lot in the last few years and with new technology we are able to take on more ourselves and farm more accurately. This is definitely bringing our costs down and we hope that it will also have a positive impact on milk yield in the future too,” he concludes.

Grain Dryers Finding the right individual crop drying solution

Harvest Solutions from Alvan Blanch Harvest is a stressful period for any farmer. Harvesting around the unpredictable Scottish weather requires some luck and many long days and during these times every little helps. Drying harvested crops in batches shouldn’t be another concern. The dependable Alvan Blanch Double Flow drying technology can process any combinable crop, no matter how wet or dirty, and will give you peace of mind during harvest. You can seamlessly harvest and dry your crops, with no batch

loading, saving precious time for other tasks. Alvan Blanch Continuous Flow Driers are highly fuel efficient, recycling the warm drying air in order to reduce fuel consumption. The unique louvred bed system ensures there is no downtime between loads, even when drying different crops. From less than £83,500 you can have a fully installed and commissioned drying system able to dry 330 tonnes/day*. All you need to do is arrange

fuel supply, power supply and build a level concrete base, either indoor or outdoor. The system comes with a pre-wired control panel with additional starters, a ground-mounted Søby

intake and a discharge handling system - both already included in the price. A two-year warranty comes as standard and this offer is backed as well with two years of servicing.

BDC Systems Ltd – Superior Grain Drying Solutions The Svegma Continuous Flow Dryer is a key weapon in BDC Systems Ltd’s armoury of complete grain handling solutions. Originally developed to overcome the difficult drying conditions in Scandinavia, the first Svegma dryer was installed in the UK 38 years ago. There are now over 1,000 installations. Designed using the latest cutting-edge technology, Svegma dryers have an industry leading reputation for outstanding quality and efficiency. As a result, they are used extensively by farmers, farming co-operatives, commercial plant operators and maltsters. Svegma Dryers – Key Features: • Designed and engineered for the UK market by BDC Systems 26

• Auto control panel and shut down facility • Coloured cladding available • Low noise and dust levels • Low power requirements • Compact modular design for easy installation and future extension • Unique lateral fixing maintains clean grain column • Air plenum flanges turned down to self-clean • Fan air volume control for ease of drying small seeds • Optional turboclean dust extraction unit • Efficient variable cooling or run ‘all hot’ • Easy and flexible operation, small batches possible Gibbons Agricultural’s Plug&Cool Barn System is

Grain Dryers another solution in BDC’s armoury. It has been designed with complete ease-of-use in mind and provides a versatile, durable and complete grain cooling solution that will save time and money post-harvest. The package includes a control panel with integrated wireless temperature control system, a wireless probe, 4 x 1.kW Gibbons aluminium pedestal fans and 4 x fan starters,

4 x extension cables and 4 x Plug&Cool Pedestals. “One of the things that sets BDC apart from other providers is that we are not limited to offering solutions from a single manufacturer. We are able to give farmers the grain handling solutions that exactly meet their requirements,” said John Wilson, BDC’s Area Manager for Northern England and Scotland.

Confidence and high standards from Master Farm Services More and more farmers are turning to Master Driers as they offer capacity, efficiency, flexibility, durability and reliability as standard, coupled

with an in house experienced and comprehensive service back up team with over 50 years of experience, these mobile driers are now a serious, cost effective


Grain Dryers and viable alternative when it comes to on farm and contract drying. With various options including our innovative Mastermatic Remote Access Touch Screen Control System now included as standard on Automated Electric Drive Models the savings in both time and money mean that it soon starts paying for itself. For further piece of mind, we have included our Automatic Lubrication System, another positive labour-saving device that sets us apart from the rest. As well as the benefits of Automation, our tried and tested Master Dust Extraction

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61


and Gravity Cleaning System will soon add financial value to your cereal crops as well as giving you a cleaner working environment, and not forgetting plenty of galvanizing to keep your drier looking good for the next 25 years!! And lastly, we offer a 3-year full manufacturers parts and labour warranty as standard meaning that we stand by the quality of our products longer than anyone else. But before all this…., the importance of planning. As with all things in life planning is essential especially when it comes to siting your new Mobile Grain Drier. Throughout the whole process Master Driers will fully discuss with you all the options available making sure we take all your requirements into account and come up with the best drier that suits your needs in the most cost-effective way.

Grain Dryers

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

heat core – heat retaining bricks that ensure a more even and consistent drying temperature with the added benefit of saving up to 10% on diesel costs. The gas fuelled GT range of dryers provide clean, cost effective, controllable heat.

Liquid propane is vaporised in the dryer and burnt in a ring burner to achieve high temperatures and an even safe heat. Both gas and diesel fuelled dryers can be specified for fully automated operation – allowing

you to sleep while they dry! These models load, dry, cool and unload automatically, giving unattended drying hour after hour, seven days a week and require minimal labour allowing more efficient use of farm resources.


Grain Dryers

Drop drying real time control from Kentra New grain moisture management systems from Kentra help growers manage crop drying operations, we explore the technical world of Kentra crop drying and discover the capabilities and possibilities of Kentra’s unique products. Kentra, the Yorkshire-based manufacturer of mixed flow crop dryers, has introduced two new moisture measurement and recording systems for growers, and an automated moisture monitoring system ideal for use at the grain intake, adding to its existing range of crop moisture management systems. The highaccuracy products come from Canadian manufacturer Dryer Master, whose long established DM510 control system fully automates the grain drying process with minimal manual intervention. The new DM100 is a lower cost, less sophisticated version that still provides an element of control to


relieve the workload of whoever is managing the dryer. Grain moisture is measured at the discharge point and adjustments to the discharge rate are made automatically when operator-set high, low and target moisture levels for each of three discharge speeds are hit. Unlike the fully automatic DM510, the DM100 requires the speed set points and moisture targets to be adjusted periodically to maintain optimum performance. The new Moisture Monitor Pro records grain moisture and temperature at the discharge – with the option to add an intake sensor as well – to help operators achieve consistent results from fully manual control. As with the DM510 fully-automatic and DM100 semiautomatic systems, values are shown on a colour display, are accessible remotely using a mobile phone and can be downloaded to farm computer records.

Grain Dryers

Perry of Oakley, a British Manufacturer with 400+ years of experience When thinking about the improvements you want to make to your arable handling, drying or storage requirements I imagine you want to work with a manufacturer who truly understands your needs, are based in the same country, specialise in grain handling with centuries of knowledge, and will support their machines for decades. Perry of Oakley Ltd. tick all those boxes. Our large manufacturing facility in Devon and our nationwide team consult and support farms and commercial grain stores across the country, by designing and manufacturing our range of handling and drying machinery and working closely with a network of dealers.

To meet a range of needs from small farm to commercial grain store we manufacture two drier models: the entry level “Mistral” and the top specification “Savannah” series. Both driers have our own advanced touch screen PLC panel, which can be linked to any smart phone for full control of the drier from any location. A full range of handling equipment is also designed and manufactured in-house including chain & flight conveyors, aspirator precleaners, belt & bucket elevators, belt conveyors, U-trough and tubular screw conveyors, which come in three different performance ranges: industrial (150-1000tph),

light industrial (60-150tph) & agricultural (8-60tph). We also supply a full range of silos to complement our handling and drying ranges. We believe our sales and technical support team, with over

450 years of industry knowledge, are the best in the industry. That combined with our 70years experience in manufacturing of handling, drying & storage equipment, make us the supplier of choice.


Grain Dryers

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


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

voltage switch the augers on and press the start button. The Trayler Drier is designed for combinable crops so it does not matter if it is wheat at 30% or a specialist crop such as Borage. Whatever the crop we can dry it

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


Delivering change A time for action on the future for agricultural policy in Scotland Policy experts map out farmer-led model for delivery

Martin Kennedy, President NFU Scotland

NFU Scotland has set out a clear industry-backed roadmap on how Scottish agricultural policy will meet the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss whilst contributing to Scotland’s ambitious food and drink sector targets. Working with policy experts, it has distilled the concepts and principles from the Scottish Government’s Farmer-led Climate Change Groups (FLGs) and the Union’s own ‘Steps to Change’ proposals to design a uniquely Scottish future agricultural policy framework that will deliver the outcomes required. NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall; Steven Thomson, Agricultural Economist at SRUC and Dr Andrew Moxey, Pareto Consulting unveiled the proposals for future agricultural support at a media briefing today (21 July), chaired by NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy.

Crucially, the proposals will deliver on food production, climate change and biodiversity ambitions simultaneously. It is a policy approach that they believe fully recognises the complexity of current agricultural businesses and the need for a single coherent policy framework that has flexibility in delivery across all sectors, farm business types and sizes, and geographies in Scotland. The basis for support is ‘how’ production is undertaken, rather than ‘how much’, and such an approach will continue to safeguard the rural economy while also meeting recognising the urgency of tackling emissions and addressing biodiversity loss. NFU Scotland and FLGs recognise that agriculture can and should contribute to achieving these goals, as does the Farming for 1.5 Degrees Final Report published this week. Speaking after the briefing, NFU Scotland President Martin

Kennedy said: “This is the time for action as the clock is already ticking. Scottish agriculture needs direction on a future agricultural policy framework that can enable a ‘just transition’ from where we are today to where we need to be in just a few short years. “NFU Scotland, working with policy experts, the Farmer-Led Group recommendations and our own ‘Steps to Change’ policy vision has set out a clear transition to a robust and credible Scottish agricultural policy in the future that will initiate and enable change and, crucially, ensure delivery of the food, climate and biodiversity outcomes expected from our industry. “Critical to success in agriculture delivering against Scotland’s ambitious climate, biodiversity and food sector ambitions is an appreciation by all, in particular Scottish Government, that action is required now to instigate change.

“In the void of alternative models for policy delivery, the approach we are advocating has the backing of the industry and will ensure that farming and crofting across Scotland meets environmental and climate challenges in a uniquely Scottish way while still delivering high quality, sustainable food production that underpins our food and drink sector and maintains the social and economic fabric of our rural areas. “Our message to Scottish Government is that kick-starting change within the industry is required now so that farmers and crofters can start adjusting their systems and businesses through a transition phase to 2025 prior to a new Scottish agricultural policy being implemented. What is set out and achieved in the transition will determine success or failure in Scottish agriculture from 2026 onwards.” “The rhetoric of change must now be replaced by delivery.” 33

renewable energy

Scotland powering ahead! Scotland’s world-leading renewables sector has helped catapult the country into the top three European countries producing electricity from them, according to the latest statistics. Figures for last year from the Scottish Government show that 97% of Scotland’s electricity was produced from renewable sources and, when compared with the latest data from the European body Eurostat, for 2019, Scotland is in the top three, with only Norway and Iceland producing more electricity from renewables that us. Amongst the other nations behind Scotland in the renewables league table are Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Scotland is also well ahead of the UK as a whole with just over a third (35%) of its energy from renewable sources. Last year was a record year for the generation of renewable electricity in Scotland with 31.8


terawatt-hours (TWh) generated – a 4.2% increase on the 2019 figure. A total of 97.4% of gross energy consumption came from renewables, a rise of 8% on the year before. Our renewable generation in 2020 was equivalent to powering all households in the country for almost three and a half years; charging almost 7 billion phones for a year; or running all Scottish fridges for more than eight years. Of the Scottish Government’s renewable electricity target for 2015-2020, onshore wind accounted for 60.3% of the total, offshore wind 10.7%, and renewable hydro 18.1%, with other sources making up 8.3%. The record renewable generation led to Scotland’s figure for net exports of electricity reaching its highest to date at 19.3TWh, which had an estimated wholesale market value of £0.76 billion.


Novel vertical farm to accelerate skills, research and innovation SRUC to open state-of-the-art facility in Edinburgh

A new vertical farm at SRUC will be used for education and research

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) will be the first higher education institute in Scotland to open a vertical farm for research and education. It will build the half million-pound facility at its King’s Buildings campus in Edinburgh next year. The project, which has received a £200,000 grant from the Scottish Government, will be used in key research into plant and crop science and will also be used by students. The facility will grow nutrient-dense fruit and vegetables that have specific human health qualities. It will also analyse crop yield and growth rates with all resource

inputs to compare their carbon footprint to other production systems. It will operate on renewable energy sources from the national grid, supported by battery technology to manage peaks in energy demand. With only a handful of commercial vertical farms in Scotland, the facility will be important for demonstration and knowledge exchange with farmers, growers and small businesses, giving vital support and promoting innovation. Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, said: “As we look to produce more fruits and vegetables locally, vertical

farming could provide us with a way to make better use of our land. It’s an exciting and innovative field that could bring us real benefits and it is important that we have the skills in Scotland to take advantage of this technology. “By supporting the industry at an early stage, we can assess these benefits and help to focus our long-term strategy. We will also be reaching out to the wider industry to explore in further detail the opportunities low-carbon vertical farming offers. We will work together to establish the future of vertical farming in Scotland.” Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive

of SRUC, said: “One of the most critical challenges we face is how to feed a growing global population. We have been teaching farmers for generations but, as the population increases, it is important that we look at growing different, more nutritious crops to support healthy diets and local access to food. “Not only will this vertical farming unit be a valuable asset to our students, but it will also provide us with important data to help optimise and promote innovation into this expanding industry.” The project is currently going out to tender. 35


DataConnect is now available globally across six major digital platforms Mixed-brand fleets now viewable in a single portal of choice

DataConnect, the global initiative to enable viewing mixed-brand fleets in a single web portal, is now fully live with an expanded line of six major digital platforms and available to farm operations around the world. Case IH, STEYR and New Holland now join John Deere, CLAAS and the European farm management platform 365FarmNet, which launched the feature late last autumn. Any farm operation using self-propelled forage harvesters, combines or tractors from any 36

of the participating brands now can view all its data in one participating platform. Previously, viewing such information required managing an additional portal for each brand involved. With this new approach, customers can view five different machinery data parameters from their machinery fleet: • current machine location • historical machine position • fuel tank level • status of the machine in the field • machine speed

Any farm operator/owner who wants to use this option simply needs to provide themselves with permission to view all equipment in the platform that is most convenient for them. Once connected, other manufacturers’ machines appear automatically in that portal. The vehicles are even displayed with icons in the respective brand colours. DataConnect works without any additional hardware and software components and ensures secure data handling.

The solution will apply to hundreds of thousands of already connected machines.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61


New tool launched to help farmers manage their rotational grazing on the hoof

A free online tool to help farmers optimise their grazing, which will in turn improve their productivity and profitability, has been launched by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). Whether rotationally grazing livestock for the first time or developing their system, farmers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with QMS’ new Grazing Calculator. The method of calculation has been developed in conjunction with grass specialists and the tool’s design means it’s quick, easy, and simple for anyone working on a farm - regardless of experience or knowledge - to use. The calculator can be easily accessed from the office computer or smart phone whilst in the field and aims to develop the user’s understanding of the following principles: matching grass supply to livestock demands; measuring grass and using the data; getting a feel

for what grass is available; and, what can be utilised by stock. John Evans, Cattle and Sheep Specialist at QMS commented: “The online tool is primarily aimed at farmers starting out on the journey into managed grazing. However, the calculator will also be handy for the more experienced grazier looking to do some quick calculations ‘on the hoof’. “I would encourage everyone to have a look at the calculator which will allow you to plan grazing rotations, time in paddocks and paddock sizes. You can also trial different scenarios with various livestock groups and save the results for future reference.” Results are provided by entering stock type, average body weight, mob size, grass available and how often you are looking to shift your stock. The new Grazing Calculator is available via the QMS website.

Top tips for entering the poultry sector At a recent FAS event participants heard about poultry production. For those interested in this type of opportunity on their own farm, here are our top tips: 1. Passion – as with any business venture, the key to success is passion, if you’re not passionate about poultry farming then there is no point in entering the sector. Consider working an odd day at a local poultry unit to see if you like it! 2. Market – whether you are planning on direct marketing to locals or supplying a larger processor on a contract basis, you need to make sure that there is a market for your produce and that the terms of any contract you are a part of work for you. 3. Services – chicken sheds need a lot of energy and water. Therefore, when assessing potential sites, having a good water supply and nearby access to a 3-phase power supply will help keep build costs down.

4. Topography – depending on the scale of the poultry enterprise, the area where the housing will be built can be significant, as can the cost of the groundworks. Therefore, selecting a flat site can help keep build costs down. 5. Biosecurity – the prevention of disease is crucially important in poultry farming. Exclusion zones of 3km were imposed on poultry sites affected by avian flu. Therefore, when selecting a potential site, you should consider if there are any local poultry units, how intensive local farming operations are and whether or not there is a considerable presence of wild birds. 6. Finance – diversifying into poultry can be expensive, securing access to sufficient finance is a prerequisite before spending money on planning etc.

If you want to know more or watch a recording of the webinar, please visit the Farm Advisory Service website at If you need help with emergency planning contact the FAS Helpline on 0300 323 0161 – they can arrange for some free advice from a consultant. 37


BDC Systems Ltd and partner Edwards Engineering deliver hi-tech grain drying and processing plant to increase productivity and efficiency for Balgonie Estates Ltd BDC Systems Ltd, working closely with its long-standing partner Edwards Engineering, has successfully delivered a new grain drying and processing plant for Balgonie Estates Ltd at Southparks Farm, Glenrothes. Balgonie Estates now has a modern, productive and efficient hi-tech plant enabling it to increase the amount of its contract stored grain at the same time as retaining the highest levels of crop quality. “Our old plant was over 30 years old and we needed to increase capacity and throughput, plus upgrade our drying and processing


equipment,” said John Drysdale, MD of Kingdom Farming which manages Balgonie Estates’ farming operations consisting of 1,800 acres of arable and storage contracts with various clients. “In particular we needed the capacity to manage an increasing amount of oats, not only from our own farms but those deemed as ‘reject crop’ from a local food processing plant,” Drysdale added. Mr Drysdale approached Edwards Engineering, a multidiscipline engineering firm with more than half a century of experience, to discuss his initial plans for the new plant as Edwards had already

successfully installed a Svegma dryer, supplied by BDC Systems, at his own Kilrie Farm. “Edwards Engineering was restricted to creating the new plant within the existing space of the old plant which would be dismantled. This was a challenge as it required an entirely bespoke design,” explained John Wilson, Area Sales Manager for Northern England and Scotland for BDC, a provider of complete grain plant solutions. “Edwards asked BDC Systems to get involved in the project design right from the initial site meeting.” Liaising closely with Edwards the design of the new

plant was carried out by BDC, addressing changes to the design brief to cater for potential new business opportunities identified by Mr Drysdale and Balgonie Estates. “BDC has become a very important partner for Edwards over the 20 years the companies have worked together. Largely because of BDC’s ability to offer an extensive range of grain handling solutions as, unlike other providers, it is not constrained by the equipment available from just one manufacturer. This means that together we can deliver solutions that exactly meet the individual requirements of customers,” said Sandy Knight, Edwards’ Agricultural Manager. Numerous meetings took place and several draft proposals were presented to Mr Drysdale and the Balgonie Estates’ senior management team over a period of 12 months before a final design was agreed. Designed to dry crops at a higher throughput, the new plant has significantly improved productivity and efficiency; it consists of a large bunker area with a below ground 16m long trench intake conveyor from where the grain is transferred into the plant. The grain is handled throughout the new plant by ten Skandia Elevator H-Line 80tph conveyors and six Skandia H-Line elevators. The grain’s journey continues through the plant via a Cimbria pre-cleaner. From there the grain

Article is transferred outside to the BDC Svegma continuous flow 50tph dryer fitted with vertical turbo clean dust extraction fans, with any overflow returned to the intake bunker. Once dried, the grain returns to the plant through a small BM Silo buffer bin and feeds a Cimbria fine cleaner before being transferred to the floor store buildings. All the equipment within the plant is connected to a JKF dust filtration system which removes all of the dust from the crop to a trash storage building. “At the heart of the new plant is a BDC hi-tech PLC control panel that enables just one person to manage the entire plant from the control room,” said Mr Drysdale. “All the slides and valves throughout the plant are motorised so the plant manager, using the touchscreens on the control panel, can select the required grain routes.” The automated control panel allows the plant to continue to work if the manager is offsite. Crucially, blockage probes, rotation sensors and belt

alignment switches fitted to the grain handling equipment, close the plant down if activated. The manager is immediately alerted via text or email and so is able to deal with any issues without delay. “As well as increasing its overall drying capacity by 50% and improving the cleaning and dressing of the grain, Balgonie Estates is now able to dry high moisture oats and wheat from +24%mc down to storage moisture of 12%mc and to dry crops, including those from sources other than its own farms, down from 15%mc to 12%mc,” added BDC’s Mr Wilson. “BDC and Edwards have a fantastic partner relationship. This meant that I had complete confidence that the grain handling equipment they recommended would provide the best possible solution for Balgonie Estates with no compromises on what we really needed,” said Mr Drysdale. “Between them they managed to successfully deliver our somewhat complex and changing requirements for

BDC SVEGMA 51tph Continous Flow Drier with Turbo Clean Dust Extraction

a completely bespoke grain drying and processing plant that has not only met but exceeded

our expectations, on time and on budget. You can’t ask for anything more!”

About BDC Systems Ltd: BDC Systems, renowned for its superior customer support and comprehensive technical service ability, offers an extensive range of grain drying, cleaning, storage, handling, ventilation, milling and mixing equipment, together with other specialised solutions. In the UK, the company represents a number of world leading manufacturers and suppliers (incl: Skandia Elevator, Svegma, Zanin, and BM Silos) providing outstanding technology, quality, durability and value for money.

About Edwards Engineering: As a multi-discipline engineering firm with more than half a century of experience, Edwards Engineering is ideally placed to manage major projects from conception to completion. With a proven track record as the partner of choice for manufacturers and processors, Edwards Engineering can be relied upon to bring contractors together to deliver, on time and on budget.

John Wilson, Area Sales Manager, Scotland & Northern England. Tel: 01672 838040 Mobile: 07468 698188. Email:


farming diversification

Treat yourself to Scottish ice cream By Janis Hopper

After a summer when temperatures rocketed it’s been a good season for those who’ve diversified into ice cream. We look at five examples of ice cream producers who’ve done things a little differently. ACHRAY FARM USP - GOATS MILK ICE CREAM Achray Farm lies in Brig o’Turk between Callander and Aberfoyle in the heart of the Trossachs, selling goats milk ice cream and fresh fruit sorbets. The flavours are often crafted from fresh herbs, fruits and foraged flavours, growing on or around the farm. The milk comes from Achray’s micro dairy where a small herd of Anglo Nubians/Toggenberg and mixed goats are milked daily. The goat house and milking parlour are situated in listed stone barns, and the ice cream is created on site in a small larch clad cabin. Each pan is individually made using the farm’s goats milk and cream. The idea came to farmers, Nicola Hornsby and Crispin

Achray Farm goat


Hoult, after visiting a ‘cheverie’ in France in 2017, where the couple accompanied a herd of goats on a foraging walk in the Ardeche National Park. Back home and inspired, they invested in their first pair of milking goats, Pan and Ria. Nicola and Crispin sell their ice cream directly from the farm at present from a newly refurbished, vintage horse trailer. Flavours have included blackcurrant, garden mint, elderflower, rhubarb & strawberry, jostaberry, lavender & lemon balm, barley malt, and bramble swirl. The Great Trossachs Path runs through the land so many customers are walkers and cyclists, but consumers also visit the Three Lochs Forest Drive by car. The goats graze on an area of land that

runs down to Loch Achray, and the smallholding is also home to a market garden plus a mix of fowl. The couple hope to take their ice cream horse trailer to foodie events such as the Scottish Wild Food Festival near Balfron, Foraging Fortnight (offering a weekend of foraged flavours at the farm) and Forth Valley Food and Drink Festival in October. Farm stays are also possible in Achray’s three bedroom farm house that sleeps six guests, and a newly renovated bothy should be available to visitors from Autumn 2021.

Nicola at Achray Farm

FOREST FARM DAIRY USP - ORGANIC MILK In the rolling green hills of Aberdeenshire is a long established organic dairy, creating organic milk, yogurt, handcrafted artisan gelato and sorbet. It’s also home to milk vending machines (buy a glass milk bottle and fill it with organic whole milk), alongside other vending machines selling organic fresh curd cheese, halloumi and a host of other cheeses, eggs and dairy treats. Ice cream can be bought in tubs to take home, or grab a cone

farming diversification to enjoy in the farm’s Gelato Garden. Classic flavours include pistachio, pure milk, biscoff and raspberry sorbet. Another highlight, temporarily halted for Covid-19, is the 3.30pm ‘Milking Live’ when onlookers can witness the milking process and learn more about the cows and the farm’s organic approach. CREAM O’ GALLOWAY USP - KIND ORGANIC MILK AND ICE CREAM MAKING WORKSHOP Cream o’ Galloway is set near Rainton Farm in Dumfries and Galloway, and it offers a fun ninety minute event that allows tourists and keen mini tourists to create their own ice cream in a hands-on workshop, selecting ingredients and creating new flavour combinations.

The milk comes from Rainton’s organic ‘cow with calf’ dairy farm, a rare ‘kind’ dairy farm, whereby calves are left with their mothers to suckle for five months. As the homemade ice cream freezes, guests try an ice cream tasting experience, learn trade secrets, and ask any questions they may have along the way. Cream o’ Galloway also runs Ethical Dairy farm tours, cheese making workshops, and a variety of cheeses are for sale (available on site and via mail order) including Fleet Valley Blue, Rainton Tomme, Laganory and Carrick. MACKIE’S ICE CREAM USP - CITY CENTRE ICE CREAM PARLOUR Most farmers understandably offer their ice cream experiences

in the countryside, in close proximity to the farm. Mackie’s of Scotland opted to cater for the city market (where there’s greater footfall) by opening its 19.2 parlour in December 2018. Situated on Marischal Square in Aberdeen, the parlour was named Mackie’s 19.2 after the distance a crow flies from the parlour to the farm. 19.2 allows the brand to have fun with new recipes and test out potential products. It stocks 32 flavours of ice cream, and has tried many unusual offerings for special calendar dates such as haggis & marmalade for Burns Night, pine tree for Christmas and also buttery & jam as a unique flavour from the North East of Scotland. There are over 725,000 possible combinations of toppings, waffles, crepes, sundaes and two ever-flowing chocolate taps. The original, natural flavour ‘Traditional’ remains the most popular. This city centre offering proves that farm diversification projects don’t have to be a rural affair.

STEWART TOWER DAIRY, PERTHSHIRE USP - THE ROUNDHOUSE Stewart Tower Dairy is a big player, creating over 250 Italian gelato style ice cream flavours from its herd of Holstein Friesian cattle. Many flavours have also been recreated in gluten free, dairy free and vegan alternatives. Whilst the ice cream is sold wholesale and can be purchased in public attractions, cafés, parlours, restaurants, theatres and hotels throughout Scotland, it’s also available at the dairy’s Roundhouse. Originally a horse engine house, the Roundhouse was constructed around 1840 and has been transformed into a takeaway ice cream parlour. Alongside indulgent dairy treats, customers appreciate panoramic views of Perthshire from the outdoor seating area, and children are entertained by the farm’s herd of pygmy goats. Next door to the Roundhouse is Stewart Tower’s farm shop that sells quality meat, fruit and vegetables, cheeses and, of course, a large selection of ice cream tubs to take home.

As we head into Autumn take time to chill out with these inventive and imaginative frozen Scottish treats.

Forest Farm milk bottle

Mackie’s Ice Cream Parlour

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



The art of the fine line The latest news on ploughs available today

The Amazone Tyrok 400 semi-mounted reversible plough The Tyrok 400 semi-mounted reversible plough comes in a choice of 7, 8 or 9 furrows and offers higher output, a perfect quality of work and outstanding robustness. At the same time, the Tyrok offers a high level of comfort thanks to its very simple, safe and precise adjustability.

The Tyrok is equipped with mechanical furrow width adjustment as standard but, as an option, the working width can be infinitely adjusted hydraulically from the comfort of the tractor cab. The new AutoAdapt automatic front furrow adjustment means

that, on variable furrow width Tyrok ploughs, the front furrow is automatically adjusted

hydraulically when the overall working width is changed. As a result, changing soil conditions,


AGRICULTURAL SERVICES LTD. Main Dealers for Pöttinger ploughs

D-K-R AGRICULTURAL SERVICES LTD. Westfield, Coulter, Biggar, Lanarkshire ML12 6HN 4EL s &!8 E-Mail: dkrcoulter@hotmail-com 42

Ploughs or slopes, can be responded to safely and quickly, thereby enabling perfect matching to the last furrow. The working depth is adjusted either mechanically or hydraulically via the substantially suspended support wheel that not only ensures precise depth control, but reduces soil compaction. In addition, the standard hydropneumatic suspension of the support wheel ensures maximum driver comfort and safety on the road. The easily adjustable pull line minimises side pull resulting savings in pulling power and in fuel consumption. The Tyrok can also be optionally equipped with traction control for reduced slippage. In this case, a hydraulic cylinder transfers weight to the rear tractor axle to provide maximum pulling power and even higher fuel savings. The new SpeedBlade plough body, with its patented extra-large front shin on the mouldboard,

means minimal wear on the main mouldboard. With increasing forward speeds, the main wear point is automatically shifted further towards the centre of the

plough body and, as a result, any wear on the body is taken by this enlarged front shin and not on the main part of the slatted or solid mouldboard meaning,

therefore, even at those higher forward speeds, that only the front shin of the mouldboard has to be initially replaced on the Tyrok.

Kuhn extends Master plough range The Multi-Master L extends KUHN’s Master mounted plough range, sitting between the Master 153 and 183 models. Available with 4, 5 or 6 bodies, there are both in-furrow and on-land formats suitable for tractors from 200 to 300 horsepower. On-land models can be set up to also work in-furrow. A new working width adjustment system allows furrow width to be set at 35, 40, 45 or 50cm without removing any bolts. Kuhn’s patented Pro Set system allows tool-free adjustment of levelling, offset, depth and


Ploughs skimmers. Whilst saving time, the ability to quickly and simply maintain optimum configuration of the machine according to furrow width and conditions always ensures peak performance, thereby reducing fuel consumption and wear on the plough. Also new on the Multi-Master L is an integrated adjustable press arm that enables simultaneous furrow pressing to conserve moisture and create optimum seedbed conditions. With a reinforced anchor, the press arm is designed for use with the heaviest rollers on the market and is adjustable either mechanically or hydraulically from the tractor cab (as an option). The press arm is designed to allow ploughing up to the edge of the field and is suitably compact in transport to fit within the dimensions of the plough. As with other ploughs in Kuhn’s Master range, the MultiMaster L is available with traction bolt or non-stop hydraulic safety. The optional Opti-Drive headstock suspension system provides additional protection of both plough and tractor when in work or in transport.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out November 2021

Kverneland introduces 2300S mounted plough The 2300S auto-reset plough is a new addition to the Kverneland range, replacing the popular EG200 model. The lightweight, fullymounted reversible plough is available in three-, four-, four plus one, and five-furrow builds, and can be specified with 85cm or 100cm point-to-point clearance. Underbeam clearance is increased from 70 to 80cm compared to its predecessor, creating more generous trash clearance, and all models are available as vari-width ploughs, offering hydraulic adjustment of furrow widths from 30-55cm. Receiving features found on much larger ploughs such as the aero-profile plough leg assembly, the 2300S can be specified with the optional trailer-transport headstock. This development, first seen on the innovative i-Plough, allows the plough to be towed so it follows the tractor, just like any other trailed implement. This eliminates the overhang usually associated with carrying a fully-mounted plough, and

simultaneously improves road safety. Skimmers offer a single point of adjustment, and a revised autoreset spring protection system sees pressure increased from 1200kg to 1700kg, keeping the plough working in tougher conditions. For extreme conditions, one additional spring can be easily added to the outside of the spring pack, lifting the pressure by a further 100kg. A wide range of depth wheel options are available, including a hydraulically adjustable depth wheel. Depth wheel design is one that uses a swivelling bracket,

allowing the wheel to hang as the plough is turned over. The 2300S is also available with XHD Carbide – Kverneland’s extra heavy-duty plough parts that use a new design of tungsten carbide tile that wraps around the leading edge of parts. This corner tile design prevents the hard-wearing elements from being damaged or knocked off by hidden obstructions, when leading edges are put to work. Alongside the plough point, XHD is available for short and long landsides, shins and skimmer shares.

Lemken Juwel 10 for large HP tractors well received in UK The Juwel 10 plough from Lemken was introduced in 2020. It is Lemken’s most powerful reversible plough with up to seven furrows in shear bolt specification and six furrows with a full hydraulic auto reset system. With a performance spectrum of up to 450 hp depending on the number of furrows and equipment chosen, it can even replace a more expensive semi-mounted plough. The on-land version plough can operate with tractors up to four metres in width, with 44

wide base tyres or for track laying tractors. The 160 x 160 mm frame and 130 mm diameter turnover axle make the Juwel 10 a powerhouse, which can handle the most difficult of conditions. A damping cylinder in the plough headstock reduces the load on the tractor and protects the unit components on the headland and in road transport. The transport function is convenient, as the upper linkage does not have to be uncoupled when travelling on roads, which

Ploughs also contributes to operator safety since there is no longer a need to handle machinery between the tractor and the equipment. The onland version of the Juwel 10 ‘really impresses’ comments Lemken UK General Manager Paul Creasy. ‘The adjustment is constructed in such a way that sufficient distance is always preserved to the edge of the furrow’ comments Paul. If, due to certain conditions, the soil surface should make transfer of traction impossible, the Juwel 10 can quickly be adjusted to ploughing in the furrow. Like the Juwel 8, the Juwel 10 is available with hydraulic angle adjustment with memory option, from the tractor cab. For good reconsolidation the Juwel 10 can be used in conjunction with the Lemken range of VarioPak furrow presses. For more info visit www.


Maschio range of ploughs Offering the latest technology Maschio ploughs are built for versatility and reliability. Mechanical variable width is standard across all Maschio ploughs ensuring the line-of-pull remains true, a hydraulic option can be specified. Shearbolt or non-stop hydraulic (NSH) autoreset safety options are also available across the range and remove the challenges created by stony ground. • UNICO M - mounted reversible range is available with 3 - 5 furrows, up to 200hp • UNICO L - mounted reversible range is available with 4 - 6 furrows, up to 300hp. Standard point to point clearance for the UNICO range is 95cm with an under-beam clearance of 80cm. • MIRCO - semi-mounted reversible range is available

with 6 - 9 furrows, up to 400hp. Standard point to point clearance is 105cm with an under-beam clearance of 80cm. Introduced to the UK in 2020, The MIRCO semi-mounted is available as either ‘in furrow’ or ‘on land’. A simple adjustment of the offset ram and a positive

mechanical stop means the ‘on land/in furrow’ model can be changed to suit wheeled tractors for ‘in furrow’ use or tracked machines for ‘on land’. The ability to turn the plough over without closing the offset, combined with the luxury of smooth turnover and a turning circle over 1000, means headland turns are quick efficient and effortless.

Ploughs The beam alignment ram memory function on the UNICO (optional on 3 furrow models) makes turning the plough simple. The ram extends automatically to ensure nothing hits the ground and once back in its working position it returns to the preset position. This means less wear for the pins, bushes and link rods, resulting in less maintenance. The hydraulic alignment ram also doubles as a hillside function on the UNICO range to maintain true line on hillsides. Long style MP4WD bodies with wide shares enable larger tyres to be used in the furrow and the bodies ensure complete inversion from 10cm down to 35cm (4” - 14”). Prices for the UNICO M start from £18,359 the UNICO L starts from £26,274 and the MIRCO starts from £49,295 depending on specification. All Maschio ploughs come with a 3 year manufacturer warranty. A full range of optional extras is also available.

PSX range of ploughs from New Holland

PSX-OL On Land/In Furrow plough - New Holland has designed the PSX range of ploughs for high capacity ploughing. The range is available in ultra-high capacity five to eight furrow configurations. All models benefit from robust frames that offer high ground clearance. The range of PSX ploughs incorporates heavy duty beam housing technology. All models feature high ground

clearance and are fitted with one of the largest wheel dimensions available on the market – 15.5/80-24 – when fitted, this delivers low pull resistance during field work, and high stability during road transport. The PSX range is compatible with tractors of up to 360hp. Easy transport - The PSX range’s overall narrow transport width, low centre of gravity and ideal weight distribution make

for easy and efficient transport, even when travelling over rough and uneven surfaces. On-Land extension - A factory fitted On-Land extension can be specified on 6, 7 and 8 furrow variants. This extension can also be retrofitted on farm to enable flexibility for both onland and in-furrow ploughing. An optional front wheel delivers additional stability when ploughing.


Ploughs Stone protection - The PSXV range is fitted as standard with individual shear bolt protection, however, those operators working in stony ground can select the optional, fully automatic hydraulic stone release system. The New Holland stone protection systems feature one of the highest release heights on the market, the shearbolt system giving a maximum of 40.5cm clearance, and the hydraulic auto-reset offering 54cm clearance. Excellent clearance - A large area of free space around the large rear depth wheel allows residue material to flow past and makes for trouble free ploughing in difficult conditions.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61

Ovlac celebrate their 85th year Ovlac continues to expand its presence in Scotland recently appointing George Colliar. Marking Ovlac’s 85th Anniversary (1936-2021) have introduced an additional range of mounted ploughs to complement its vast range of more than four hundred ploughs variations! Appley named the Xperience range (Mounted range ) the range comprises of 4-6 furrow with a choice off head stocks 220300Hp. Setting apart this range from its existing range , features a parallelogram design with hollow centre turnover shaft allowing for neat and safe passage of the hydraulic hoses, also a gauge for the hydraulic front furrow width. Permanent connection to the tractor for hydraulic pressure trip regulation. As with all Ovlac ploughs Hardox is used throughout construction ,and a wide choice of 8mm case hardened mouldboards or 10mm slats which provide excellent Inversion, whilst

leaving a wide furrow bottom to accommodate up to a 710 tyre. To celebrate this 85th Anniversary of Manufacturing Ovlac have produced a bespoke mounted Plough. This plough is a fully loaded XPHV (Xperience Hydraulic trip Vari-width) and finished in a truly stunning Santorini black metallic and silver livery.

Ovlac are running a free to enter competition to win the free use of this plough for 12mths With the LUCKY WINNER being drawn at the next Lamma Show! Jan 2022. To enter the competition Simply go to contest/ and complete the form at XPHV Black Edition 19362021.

Pottinger Servo Plough Range Pottinger a name more readily associated with grassland equipment has been a plough manufacturer for 44 years, having acquired the German plough manufacturer Landsberg am Lech in 1975. Today the Pottinger SERVO plough range is manufactured at the companies modern facility in Vodnany, Czech Republic, the range now


encompasses models from 2 – 9 furrows with fully mounted and semi mounted models available: All mounted Servo models on offer in the UK feature unique inner beam strengthening supports. These supports are hidden from view, but allow the plough beam to tolerate high loads and forces without the need for external strengthening

gussets being welded to the beam. These strengthening struts are bolted in place and are not subject to fatigue as often found with welded joints. All models can be specified with either shearbolt or auto reset (Nova) protection systems. The Nova models feature a unique individual hydraulic furrow protection system that ensures break away pressure is maintained on all furrows whilst one or more furrows may be tripping. This does away with phantom tripping often encountered with mechanically sprung systems available. Standard models feature a bolt adjustable manual variable furrow width, for those requiring hydraulic control of furrow width Pottinger offer the Plus models which give a full range of infinite hydraulic furrow width adjustment between 12” – 20”.

SERVO 45M new models The popular SERVO 45M range now includes 6 furrow models with hydraulic auto reset (Nova) and hydraulic vari-width (Plus). The larger models are constructed on the popular tried and tested 45M design. Plough beam pivot cylinder All SERVO 45 M and 45 S models are available with beam pivot cylinders, this option is standard on 6-furrow models. Prior to reversing the plough, the beam is hydraulically aligned and pivoted to allow for maximum ground clearance. This system insures a small number of pivot points, resulting in less wear.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Next issue out November 2021



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

Clarkson to the rescue?

By Rebecca Dawes Love him or loth him, Jeremy Clarkson is doing what many have tried to do for years. Clarkson’s Farm is showing the reality of farming in the UK and in doing so is connecting the public to the agricultural community. The good and the bad, the vast range of skills required, the extensive use of technology and science, the high costs, the importance of health and safety, and the complexity of managing the farming calendar, to name just a few topics that have been covered in the first few episodes. For many, the fear was Clarkson would discredit an industry that has worked so hard to bridge the gap between the consumer and farmer, making the sector look amateurish. But through his lack of knowledge, and humour, he has done quite the opposite. He has sought help from his local agricultural advisor, NFU, NSA, his team, vet, auctioneers, and other farmers, demonstrating the extensive expertise and careers available. Together they have showcased the basics such as drilling crops, worming sheep and buying machinery, through to the complex discussions such as why a field of OSR failed, costing the business £4000 due to cabbage stem flea beetle,

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

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

SRUC tops Young University Rankings in Scotland Latest Times Higher Education list published Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has been named best in Scotland in this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings. Scoring the world’s best universities which are 50 years old or younger, the rankings also list SRUC as sixth best in the UK and 104th in the world. Ranking 475 universities, up from 414 in 2020, institutions are judged across all their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook – to provide “the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available”. Already ranked among the top 500 in the THE World University Rankings, Professor Jamie Newbold, Academic Director at SRUC, said the high placement in the Young University Rankings showed that SRUC was continuing to go from strength to strength. He added: “It’s been a very challenging year for everyone,

including our students and our colleagues, with many of us quickly having to learn to adapt to new ways of learning and teaching. Whether it’s an HNC in Agriculture or a Degree in Vet Nursing, our courses will help play a vital role in Scotland’s economic recovery and this ranking is a great accolade as we gear up for the new academic year.” SRUC was established in 2012 through the merger of the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) with Barony, Elmwood and Oatridge Colleges. It is now on a journey to become Scotland’s enterprise university at the heart of the sustainable natural economy. Its mission is to create and mobilise knowledge and talent – partnering locally and globally to benefit Scotland’s natural economy. To find out more about studying at SRUC, visit

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61 Next issue November 2021

British Ploughing Championships celebrates 70 years The British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival will be celebrating 70 years when the event is held on 9th and 10th October 2021 at Mindrum Mill, Northumberland, by kind permission of D Harvey & Son. In all that time, this will be only the third time the event has been held in the county. Entries are coming in from all sides for the event. Space for trade stands, shopping stalls and agricultural machinery demonstrations is being snapped up after many shows have been cancelled. As there are fewer to attend, visitors are actively looking for somewhere else to go and this year, the 70th British National Ploughing Championships & Country Festival will give them something different than the norm.

Ploughing entries are coming from ploughmen and women from all over the country with some competitors travelling well over 400 miles to take part in the Championships from as far afield as Devon, the Isle of Wight and Kent. They will compete in one of fifteen different ploughing classes over the two days – including world style conventional and reversible, vintage classes for trailing, hydraulic and classic ploughs, horticultural ploughing, crawlers, tractor high cut and magnificent heavy horses. There are also tractor club classes for Ferguson, Ford & Fordson and David Brown. In five classes, the top 10 competitors from the first day will take part in a Plough-Off Final on the Sunday to find the British Champion in each section.

There will be something for everyone alongside the ploughing competitions, from steam ploughing engines, vintage tractors and machinery displays and working vintage demonstrations. Machinery manufacturers and local dealers will have an area for demonstrating the most up-to-date machines they have for sale and for those farmers who want to shop or browse, there will be agricultural trade stands with everything from tyres to tools. More shopping will be available with shopping stalls and country crafts. The site at Mindrum Mill is looking good and the crops are almost ready to be harvested. The 250 acre site is very close to the Scottish border, between Wooler and Kelso and is sown with wheat and oil seed rape. After a recent site visit, President of the Society of Poughmen, organisers

of the event and host farmer, Ian Harvey said, “I have been planning the crop rotation around this great event since 2018 and there is a lot of local and national interest and excitement about the Championships coming to North Northumberland next to the Scottish border. It will be an honour to host such an outstanding event!” Main sponsors of the Championships are Bridgestone/ Firestone and Continental Tyres and further support has been given by Tama, Cereals Event, Ivor King, Friends of Ferguson Heritage and CBS. The event is a huge outdoor affair, so social distancing should be very easy and it will be run according to government legislation at the time. For further information visit



I’m Hazel Mackenzie, born in Shetland and brought up on the South Mainland Croft at Aister in Cunningsburgh. Our family have been stewards of our croft for, literally, hundreds of years! Together with my Husband, Kenneth and family we own Mackenzie’s Farm Shop & Cafe (Shetland’s only Farm Shop & Cafe and Britain’s most northerly Farm Shop & Cafe to boot) and Nortower Lodges - two 4 star self catering holiday lodges. We enjoy knowing that we provide a destination for visitors and locals alike that is warm (sit and relax next to our real fire), welcoming and has knowwhere-it-came-from homegrown food! Our Visit Scotland 4 Star accommodation is on our working Croft, where visitors can meet the animals, enjoy the


peace & quiet and have exquisite wildlife, flora & fauna literally on their doorstep. ‘It all started with an egg!’ We had extra eggs one week and needed an outlet - so we put an honesty box at the end of our road once a week. This proved so popular that we added more produce (and The Shetland Times). Our honesty box was soon too peerie (Shetland word for small) and so we put our (very clean) Livestock trailer to good use and added lots more local produce such as bakery and dairy products. Our newly build Nortower Lodges guests were also asking where they could buy and eat ‘local produce’ when they arrived for their holiday. So, on discussion with my late Fatherin-law around our kitchen table,

the idea of a Farm Shop was born! For us, as a family, we regularly sit down to eat meals that are completely produced on our croft. We know that our produce is mouth wateringly delicious as we took care to plant, breed, birth, harvest, rear and fatten it! We are situated on the edge of Shetland’ cliffs and the air and water are pristine. Our animals eat the finest of what Shetland has to offer - be it banks (cliff) grass, arable silage, neeps (turnips), meadow hay, Shetland Kale or heather moorland plants – all these homegrown foods for the animals make the meat taste truly delicious. Mackenzie’s Farm Shop is situated at the side of the main A970 that runs through Shetland. My dream was to

create a destination that is also a community hub. It’s spacious, modern & clean. We succeed in finding products that are different. Our Chef & Cooks make delicious foods using our own and local produce. Our local food supper nights are legendary! We’ve a Beauty Salon, free wifi, visitor information, toilets, ample parking, and an outside seating area for people who want to bring their dogs. We have easy access for those with restricted mobility throughout the whole building. There are super walks around about us and locals & visitors alike park up, go for a walk and then come back along for lunch/afternoon tea. Why not visit our Peatland Restoration Project up on our hill above the Farm Shop? My sister-in-law makes our own range of jams, marmalades (available onboard Northlink Ferries), chutneys and relish in our Farm Shop kitchen. Our Spiced Pepper & Tomato Relish is delicious - it has just won a prestigious 2-star award from The Guild of Fine Food Awards! It’s only available in our Farm Shop at present. Another favourite is our award-winning Beetroot Chutney made with delicious home-grown Shetland beetroot. We’ve recently released our newest product - home grown Aister ‘oo’! We shear our 100+ native Shetland sheep by hand and the wool is processed into a beautiful range of natural and dyed shades. We’ve had patterns made up of gloves and keps (hats) and the results are very satisfying for both the sheep and the Crofter!

OUR FARM SHOP Home of Aister ‘oo’ - our range of wool from our Croft with hundreds of years of heritage! Winner of The Prince’s Countryside Award in conjunction with Marks and Spencer’s Farm Resilience Award - Scotland 2019 Guild of Fine Food Great Taste 2-Star Award 2020 for Spiced Tomato & Pepper Relish Great Taste 1-Star Award 2019 for Beetroot Chutney

Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards 2018 Mackenzie’s Farm Shop & Cafe have been awarded: Highly Commended for New Business Award A Finalist for Independent Food & Drink Retailer of the Year Award Visit Scotland 4 Star Business Award Visit Scotland Taste our Best Award

Hazel Mackenzie and Claire Saunders of The Princes Countryside Fund

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm Saturday 9.00am to 4.00pm Sunday 11.00am to 4.00pm Hazel Mackenzie | Mackenzie’s Farm Shop & Cafe Cunningsburgh, Shetland, ZE2 9HA T: 01950 477790 | E: |


Muck Spreaders

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

Fleming Muck Spreaders Fleming Agri offer a range of side discharge muck spreaders with capacities from 1 cubic yard to 9.5 cubic yards covering both compact and agricultural uses. The bodies of all Fleming Agri muck spreaders are welded both internally and externally to give added support under load. There are 2 models in the compact range, the Minimuck which is three point linkage mounted and has a capacity of 1 cubic yard and the MS150 trailed model which has a capacity of 3.35 cubic yards. Both models have a reinforced 3mm body and starter bars for quick start up. The power requirement is geared down through a simple chain and sprocket drive line mounted on heavy duty bearings to reduce the power demand on the tractor and increase fuel efficiency. The compact range of muck spreaders are suitable for tractors from 30hp upwards. In the agricultural range, Fleming offer 3 models; the MS450 has a capacity of 4 cubic yards, the MS700 with a capacity of 6.5 cubic yards and the MS1000 which has a capacity of 9.5 cubic yards. The new and improved MS1000 comes with a heavy duty galvanised, hydraulic opening lid. It has 8 stud axles with 550x60x22.5 wheels as standard. The MS1000 has 36 chains to give an accurate and even spread pattern and is fitted with 6mm end plates. Fleming Agri muck spreaders offer value for money with high output, and an even shred and spread of muck. Suitable for all types 54

of manure, including semi-solid and poultry litter as well as farmyard manure. All Fleming Agri products are designed and manufactured in house, with a range of options to suite a wide range of uses. Here at Fleming Agri we manufacture products with simplicity and strength at the core, with a growing global dealer network, currently spanning over 20 countries. A full list of our machinery and any optional extras can be found on our website www. If you would like more information or images please don’t hesitate to get in contact with your local Fleming Agri rep and we will point you in the direction of your nearest Fleming dealer. Contact our Offices for more information on +44 (0) 2871 342637.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61 Next issue out November 2021

Muck Spreaders

Harry West Maelstrom Rear Discharge Spreaders

Built to specification achieving a up to 12M

a high-capacity and capable of spread width of (40ft), the West

Rear Discharge Spreader is particularly suited for farmyard manure. With the optional hydraulic rear door, it can also

be used with poultry muck and semi-solids. The twin rear vertical rotating beaters operate at a powerful 400

rpm from the PTO input drive of 1000 rpm. For trouble free maintenance the rear beaters are fitted with replaceable blades


Muck Spreaders and feature a protected two-piece driveline with a PTO and slip clutch as standard. The rear discharge machine has large diameter tyres (580/70R38) to minimise any ground pressure and is fully equipped for road use with hydraulic brakes, hand brake and lighting also standard. The wide mouthed design of the main body allows for easier loading with modern telehandlers with larger buckets. It also enables the load to be increased to greater capacities. The introduction of body extensions alters the model number to reflect the increased load capacity. Additional options are available for all the West Maelstrom Spreaders including electric in cab controls for the bed chains, mudguards & weighing systems. Six different models are available in the West Maelstrom Rear Discharge line up ranging from 8M3 up to an impressive 18M3 machine.

Hi-Spec slurry tankers meet all needs The Hi-Spec tanker range includes a wide range of models with capacities from 800 gallons (3,600 litres) up to 5,000 gallons (22,700 litres), all available with numerous filling and other options, allowing you to tailor tankers to your specific needs. All Hi-Spec vacuum tankers are manufactured using high quality British steel and incorporate internal implosion rings and a collared dished end as standard to ensure the strongest possible construction. All tanks are fully supported by the complete chassis frame and models are available with both standard or stepped recessed axles. The recessed axle lowers the centre of gravity, which not only improves stability both on the road

and on undulating ground. A number of filling options are available, including on larger tankers a 11,000 litres/ minute vacuum pump, filled via a 6 inch diameter Autofill arm hydraulically operated from the cab. The intake system can also incorporate a Vogelsang Rotacut 5000 chopping unit to avoid any potential blockage to the injectors caused by straw or silage in the slurry. All the tankers can be supplied with a unique low profile spreading system with a spread pattern up to 12 metres wide. Alternatively they are suitable for use with a wide range of applicators, including the new Hi-Spec Trailing Shoe. Available in working widths of 6.0, 7.5, 9.0 and 10.5 metres,

the Hi-Spec trailing shoe features a robust chassis mounted mast which ensures that the tanker and shoe are perfectly balanced and that the shoe is properly supported to the tanker. The 7.5m, 9.0m and 10.5m versions feature double folding to reduce the overall height for transportation. There is also the ability to use both fill points and splashplate at the rear without any modifications. The 9.0m and 10.5 trailing shoe also features a unique hydraulic self-levelling system, whereby each arm of the trailing shoe will lift as it passes over a side incline. This ensures that the shoe continues to work perfectly over the incline without excess pressure being applied to the

West Dual Spreaders, Models 1300 - 3000 Capacities ranging from 7T - 16T West Rear Discharge Spreaders, Models M8 - M18 Capacities ranging from 8T - 16T

Harry West (Prees) Limited office 01948 840465 • email • web


Muck Spreaders

outer boots. The Hi-Spec trailing shoe can also be used as a dribble bar if needed without any contact with the ground.

Alternatively a wide range of disc injectors (Bomech), dribble bars (Vogelsang or AgQuip) and trailing shoe (Bomech

or AgQuip) can be used in conjunction with the tankers. Further information on the Hi-Spec tanker range

and the wide range of options available can be found at


Muck Spreaders

A wide range of spreaders available from Joskin

Joskin has got the widest range of muck spreaders starting with an 8m3 Siroko single axle model designed for small farmers to 25m³ muck spreaders with TORNADO3 and Ferti-SPACE2 available on single double or triple axle designed for big farmers and contractors. To better suit all types of customers Joskin has designed different types of beaters : vertical and horizontal. The vertical beaters available on models from 8m3 up to 25m3 have been designed for customers who want to spread heavy matter with homogeneity on wide surface. The horizontal beaters available on the TORNADO3 and Ferti-SPACE2 from 14m3 and more have been designed for customers who want to spread light and dry matter and be as accurate as possible on spreading width up to 25m. 58

Both TORNADO3 and Ferti-SPACE2 are designed for heavy duty work standard fitted with the highest grade of steel and gearboxes/transmition with wide spinning discs and beaters they however are different. The TORNADO3 is designed with a narrow body and wheels on both sides of the body allows to have a low gravity centre and get the spraying table as close to the ground as possible to be as homogeneous as possible with light matters. The FertiSPACE2 has been designed with a wide body and wheels mounted underneath the body to increase the stability of the machine. Those different models are now available under the name ADVANTAGE. This new concept is based on the « mass » production on dedicated production lines of high end

machines at best price. Thanks to the purchase of large quantity of raw materials and an efficient organisation of the working

forces Joskin is now able to offer different spreading solutions to better suit any customer during the year.

Rolland’s Rollforce range of muck spreaders The Rolland Rollforce range includes seven models offering 13cu m to 22cu m capacities with three different side heights to choose from. These being 1230mm, 1550mm or 1700mm. Inside the spreaders there are no angles for material to get stock in as the strengthened

16mm thick chains are now closer to the sides, while channel slats make for smoother emptying. The drive has also been strengthened with wider bearing blocks. A new rear door design all means there are no corners to resist flow when opening and the front viewing

Muck Spreaders

panel and been didened so that you can see inside the spreader beyond into the field when

spreading. A new A-frame drawbar also offers more strength and stability, and the

drawbar can be specced with either spring or hydraulic suspension.

This also allows the operator to alter ride height, which in turn changes the spreading width.


Muck Spreaders

Titans from Teagle

The Titan muck spreader range (6 - 20m3) has benefited from various design changes in the last 2 years. These revisions have culminated in producing a series of muck spreaders that are more stable, more robust, and even more accurate. The upgraded range includes the following: • Larger diameter bed chains, up to 18mm. • Redesigned sprung drawbar providing improved ground clearance


• Unique tubular rear bed drive shaft for improved stability • For ultimate driveline protection, swinging flails at the base of the beater assembly fold back under excessive loading • Upgraded rear sprockets are now 33% heavier in duty • Heat Treated Boron Auger Flight • 75mm diameter rear bed shaft To ensure that operators of Titan spreaders gain the greatest

benefit from the nutrients in their manure, the focus of the designers was to optimise the discharge beaters to ensure that muck is effectively shredded and evenly spread behind the machine, continually. There is a lot of value in manure if you can apply it evenly and consistently, so the new Athene ISOBUS Variable rate Weigh Cell System (available on Titan 10 – 17) makes that easy. Configure your machine, your way

Various options now included to suit your individual needs: • ISO BUS Variable Rate Weigh Cell System • Electric Bed Speed Control • Side extensions for extra capacity • Poultry Paddles • Hitch variations • Wheel and tyre options For more details contact Teagle sales desk: 01872 260592

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Made in Scotland The Lost Flock with a New Fleece of Life By Wendy Barrie Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife Director of Scottish Food Guide Our Scottish ancestors were made of strong stuff and the same can be said for their sheep! Back in 1930 the folk on St Kilda archipelago left for the mainland: some perhaps with a sense of relief that the decision was out of their hands but for others they were left bereft, leaving their home for the last time… also deserting their feral flock of sheep on Boreray. Sixtyfour kilometres west-northwest of North Uist, out in the North Atlantic, the remote St Kilda group is famous for the Soay Sheep Project but also the lesserknown incredibly rare Boreray

A Boreray sheep


Sheep. The island of Boreray is virtually inaccessible – indeed one wonders how the islanders ever harvested any wool or meat! The acrobatic sheep grazed the elevated rough land bounded by high cliffs with little refuge from the wild elements. The stunning landscape is otherworldly and uninhabited. The story of the Boreray is a fascinating one. Orkney Boreray Sheep are the last DNA link to the now extinct Scottish Dunface or Old Scottish Shortwool as it is also known, with a probable seasoning of Hebridean Blackface in the distant past. They are

Boreray flock

Boreray mum and lamb

real characters, with heavy spiralling horns; particularly fine wool desirable for spinning and fabulously gamey meat. Forty years after the St Kilda evacuations, a small flock was helicoptered to the mainland and the Orkney Boreray, reared by Jane Cooper, are the pure-bred descendants of these original sheep. Known as the ‘Lost Flock,’ they were formally identified by RBST in 2017 and placed on a register separate to all other registered Boreray sheep, making them a unique DNA genebank. It was several years ago I first met Jane, a lady of great tenacity and passion for old breeds. Unlike chefs and many smallholders, her initial interest was in the Boreray fleece rather than meat. From 2013 onwards, with the support of her husband Paul, Jane has been determined to protect, preserve and promote the Orkney Boreray flock by creating a breeding programme. She is now supporting young farmers – all in her own time with no funding - and promoting the Orkney Boreray brand as it goes from strength to strength, launching the Orkney Boreray Community in July 2021. Their smallholding at Settisgarth has a terroir similar to that of Boreray. Unlike Orkney’s North Ronaldsay sheep, the feral Boreray flock couldn’t access any beach, instead grazing on the island’s machair and rough pasture, so Orkney land and herbage offers the ideal alternative – albeit Jane’s land is considerably more hygge than Boreray, with shrubs and rushes for shelter and al fresco lambing! The newly formed Orkney Boreray Community currently has four established flocks, a genebank and a common agricultural ethos, with Standards set down to ensure high welfare and protection of the flocks and their genetics. It is exciting to see such a rare breed ensured a safe future, thanks to Jane: not only for meat production but with a Community including a butcher and heritage food expert, chefs and weavers, bone and leather experts. At the heart of the Community is Jane’s wish to ensure the safety of the breed as she supports young farmers with starter flocks on

Hoy, Stronsay and Shapinsay in addition to the ‘mothership’ at Settisgarth. With regular visits and communication, she nurtures her ‘flock’ and their routes to market. One of the fundamental challenges for us early doors was the lack of an abattoir on Orkney – something that needs addressed across Scotland if we are to maintain our rich biodiversity, our natural wealth and high welfare standards. Jane’s flock was steadily increasing in number with no route to market so that was the top priority! We approached Jock Gibson, the experienced and highly regarded butcher and game dealer in Forres. Jane would personally take her sheep to Dingwall from where Jock and his team at Macbeths would take over, through hanging and expert butchering to ensure the finest results. Chefs can purchase whole carcasses if they wish whilst others can opt for whole or half butchered boxes from the Forres shop or online, ensuring a food network with a short supply chain; a high welfare product, delivered in perfect condition. Orkney Boreray is normally sold as 2-3 year old mutton, enabling the sheep to lead a good life, and giving their meat the opportunity to mature. The naturally spiced

mutton has a tremendous depth of flavour brought about from breed and feed, expressing the terroir of these maritime isles. I recommend slow-cooking for mouth-watering results; served as a pot roast, casserole, minced or pulled for a great range of delicious meals. Every last scrap and bone can be used to create flavoursome broths and hearty stovies. Nothing need be wasted. Slow Food Cooks Alliance Member Fred Berkmiller, chef patron of L’escargot, is a stalwart ambassador for Scottish heritage breeds including the Orkney Boreray as is fellow member Neil Forbes of Café St Honore, both in Edinburgh. Across the world there is a growing number of knitters, weavers and textile designers who appreciate the quality, textures and natural shades of Scottish heritage wool. Uradale on Shetland is proof if such is necessary that the market is increasing year on year, with customers for their Native Shetland meat and wool as far afield as the Nordic countries and London’s fashion world. The Orkney Boreray has equal potential. Their doublecoat sheds naturally in spring, giving sturdy outer-wool and finer undercoat yarns suitable for throws and weaves, knitwear and shawls

respectively. The wool is spun at the North Ronaldsay mill, keeping as much production as possible in the island economy. Their incredible spiralled horns and bones are also being used for traditional crafts, made into fabulous imaginative gift items by a local craftsman. Last year, Macbeths launched the first harvest of Orkney Boreray mutton to market and sold out online over one weekend. It is marvellous to see such a satisfying alliance and thanks to farmers, crofters, craftsfolk, butchers, chefs and cooks, the Orkney Boreray Community is set to thrive. Indeed such is the success of this project, in late summer 2021 it becomes Scotland’s second Slow Food Presidium, and one of only five in the whole of UK. For such an honour, the product must not only already be held in high esteem on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste but also demonstrate evidence of community and collaboration, working together for the good of the breed. Orkney Boreray does that in spades and is a fine exemplar for others to follow. Orkney Boreray https://www. Uradale, Shetland https://www. See Farmhouse Kitchen page: Orkney Boreray Bridies

Jane, Wendy and Boreray


Travel Scotland

Living the Rural Life in Loch Ness by Janice Hopper Loch Ness is naturally beautiful but there are unexpected farming links along the way. Search out Highland cattle, goats milk treats, farmyard glamping and luxury country hotels. Goat-ally Brilliant En route to our Nessie-friendly accommodation we stopped at the Lyne Mhor Croft. Run by Jane Mason, Lyne Mhor welcomes families (for free) and introduces them to livestock. After all the privations of lockdown Jane wished to encourage little ones to get up close and personal with creatures great and small. Visitors meet rare Oxford Sandy and Black pigs, Texel cross

sheep and a host of fowl, but the highlight are the goats. Jane has twelve Toggenburg cross goats including two that are milked twice a day, and Jane creates goats milk soap on site. The soaps are moulded into delicate, pretty shapes, and as well as looking attractive they’re apparently good for sensitive skin and psoriasis. In terms of produce, a mix of pork, lamb and goat’s meat is available to

Uncover rural life at the Clansmen Centre


purchase, so stock up on food from a local producer with ridiculously low food miles. Highland Coos Highland cattle are always popular with tourists, and Loch Ness leaves visitors surprisingly spoiled for choice. The first option is setting sail with Loch Ness by Jacobite from their Dochgarroch departure point. Here, three Highland cattle are grazing in the fields, awaiting visiting admirers. The animals were initially borrowed from Jonathan Coats at Cairnurenan on the Black Isle. This year Loch Ness by Jacobite bought the stotts who are just over a year old and sourced in Skye. The plan is to winter them just outside Inverness, and then return the animals to Dochgarroch ready for next season’s visitors. A second option, on the southern side of the loch, is Cameron’s Tea Room and Farm Shop. Not only does it offer local produce and indulgent afternoon teas, there’s also a chance to admire Highland cattle in the fields nearby. It’s well situated for a walk to the scenic Falls of Foyers waterfall. The Camerons also offer holiday accommodation, with a smart barn conversion that sleeps six across three bedrooms, a spacious lounge with an open plan kitchen, and dining area with wood burning stove. It’s dog and family friendly too. A third attraction with Highland coos is Loch Ness

Glamping and Apartments at Andersen Farmhouse. Run by farming couple, Sonia and Graham, this rural escape offers a converted stables block for families, a ‘Posh Pad’ in the farmhouse including a private patio and fire pit/BBQ, plus six glamping pods called ‘Armadillas’. Glamping pods can vary hugely, but these ones offer a wet room with toilet, shower and wash basin, TV, wifi, private BBQ/fire pit and access to two Finnish BBQ houses. Guests can meet, feed and potentially groom livestock that include Highland cattle, Shetland sheep, and horses, set within ten ares of land. Extras include a games room, table tennis, trampoline, sauna, and continental or cooked breakfasts delivered to the door. Salad from the farm garden and fresh organic meat can also be purchased for a taste of the country. Get Active & Get Sightseeing Loch Ness is part of the natural boundary of the Great Glen and the Caledonian Canal that splits Scotland in two, and the land around this iconic stretch of water has been valued and fought over for centuries. Sites such as Urquhart Castle’s atmospheric ruins demonstrate how armies destroyed great buildings while fighting over territory here. For something more active, equestrian tourists can enjoy a hack from Drummond Farm in Dores. Experienced riders can book rides and lessons, either

Travel Scotland privately or in small groups. Dores is also home to one of the few native juniper crops in Britain. Loch Ness Spirits has combined this precious natural resource with a private water source to create gins that offer a combination of the loch and the land. The distillers have also created a new absinthe recipe, featuring aniseed, wormwood and fennel, but this is the first absinthe to contain Scottish Wormwood, grown by the Loch Ness Spirits team. To immerse yourself in nature, walk or cycle the Loch Ness 360 Trail. It cuts through farm land and estates, as well as offering historic pitstops and great views of the loch. And be sure to stop at the Suidhe Viewpoint to truly appreciate the scale and majesty of the land here. Finally, head back into town, to Fort Augustus, for a dash of engineering prowess. Farming is often as much about logistics as it is about produce. The finest crops in the land need to be readily transported to market, to

new customers and to expectant clients. The Caledonian Canal arguably enabled and connected rural communities. People and goods could now be transported through Scotland, from Inverness to Fort William and beyond, rather than having to sail around the coast, or cross country by land. Drop by the Caledonian Canal Centre in Fort Augustus to discover more, and to enjoy the café’s light bites in a scenic setting. Be sure to watch Thomas Telford’s engineering in action, as the locks open and close, lifting boats up and down the water. Take time to drop by Fort Augustus’ Clansmen Centre to discover the details of rural clan life in Highland Scotland. Rest Your Head The accommodation in the area offers rich pickings and variety. For a sumptuous childfree escape sweep your partner away to Foyers Lodge with its blissful views over Loch Ness. An inn at Foyers was first built in the mid 1600s, used mainly by cattle drovers moving livestock

to and from the markets in the south. Today it’s a chic, dramatic boutique hotel, ideal for a romantic retreat. Alternatively, the Whitebridge Hotel offers welcoming family friendly accommodation, a smart restaurant with a strong menu, a cosy rustic bar, and traditional after dinner games to play in the lounge. This long established Highland hotel was built in 1899 on the site of a King’s House (a hostelry used by soldiers stationed in a specific area). This King’s House was used by the soldiers of General Wade, and building roads was one of the troops’ duties - guests can still see the original bridge built here in the 18th century. The hotel is formerly an old hunting lodge and fishing hotel with quirky relics of its history dotted around the building. Overall Loch Ness is a monumental escape and a scenic wonder. A place where people work the land, yet Loch Ness retains an untamed wild quality that draws tourists from around the world.

Find out more at:Visit Inverness Loch Ness Lyne Mhor Croft Loch Ness by Jacobite Cameron’s Tea Room Urquhart Castle Loch Ness Glamping Loch Ness Spirits Clansmen Centre Dores Horse Riding Loch Ness 360 Trail Caledonian Canal Centre - destinations/fort-augustus/ caledonian-canal-centre Foyers Lodge - foyerslodge. Whitebridge Hotel

Courtesy of VisitScotland - Luigi Di Pasquale

Urquhart Castle

The locks of Fort Augustus

Suidhe Viewpoint



Oh how nice it is to finally have the warmth and sunshine on our backs once again! Grass supplies were getting tight however now as expected the grass is now shooting ahead of the livestock and there is a wonderful shine on their backs to prove it. However since the rain has stopped it just feels like the floodgates have opened on our workload. Lambing is complete and all have had their 1st dose of clostridial vaccine and a drench to cover them for nematodirus. We got away without doing these last year as we were on ground that hadn’t seen sheep for few years but the cold dam spring was hard on them so best to cover ourselves and not live to regret it. The day we did it in fact must have been one of the most dreich! However with the help of friends and fellow sheep and flower farmer Kelly and her husband Gavin we got the job done in double quick time…even in our usual make shift pens with a web of farmers friend holding it all together! After saying we wouldn’t get to any shows this year we had our arm twisted by well known Lincoln Red breeder Andrew Mylius to take our Lincoln Red heifer to the Royal Highland Showcase. The breed was supposed to make its’ return in 2020 after an absence since 2003. We felt it important to help support the breeds comeback even though it will be far from a normal Highland. I think more than anything we are looking forward to the break albeit just for one night! Most of my time is taken up with the flowers at Blooming Bees just now and it has to be one of the latest and strangest Springs I have seen in over 10 years of growing 66


Diary page By Valerie Orr

Changes for the better flowers. The normal seasonal window of crops like tulips has been extremely late with us still harvesting them up to the end of May…un heard of normally. In flower growing we do tend to have a ‘May Gap’ between the Spring and Summer flowers starting but it was more like a ‘May Void’ this year! Thankfully like the grass the crops are jumping and the slow start has made for excellent quality. It’s also great to be able to get back out selling at

farmers markets such as the one at Forfar Mart, getting back out to seeing and talking to customers is good for the soul after the past year of doing most sales behind the computer screen. We are also getting out there now to sell our wares to local florists. Brexit and the pandemic have made the international flower trade quite volatile with significant price increases and with import checks delays in delivery leading to some quality issues. An

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

livestock Salers safeguarded from myostatin to maintain the maternal magic In 2019 the Salers Cattle Society of the UK took the decision to protect the Salers’ leading maternal traits, especially it’s unrivalled calving ease, by implementing a five-year program to eliminate the various mutations of the myostatin gene. From 1st January 2024, registrations will no longer be accepted into the main herd book of animals with an unknown myostatin status or known carriers of the myostatin gene. To support breeders in the transition period, where it is advantageous to ascertain the myostatin status of their breeding females, the Society has reduced the cost by more than 50% of registrations of U3month females born in 2022. Registrations meeting the same criteria in 2023, will also attract significant discounts. Myostatin has the potential to negatively influence traits such as pelvic size, milk production

and fertility. The Society believe this policy is essential to protect the breed and its sought-after maternal traits, enabling suckler

farmers to continue to capitalise on the unrivalled calving ease of Salers, whilst having the freedom to select any sire, including

strongly muscled terminal sires, that suits their system! #salers #maternalmagic #suitsanysire #suitsanysystem #theultimatesuckler

MSD Animal Health UK Launches Breakthrough Poultry Vaccine Poultry producers across the UK are set to benefit from a new vaccine launched to tackle three of the most infectious diseases facing the industry. MSD Animal Health UK, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, has today announced that the INNOVAX®-ND-ILT vaccine is now available to customers. Among some of the most commercially disruptive flock diseases, Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT), Newcastle

disease (ND) and Marek’s disease (MD), are highly transmissible and affect the nervous, respiratory, immune and reproductive systems in poultry. Historically, a combination of vaccines was needed to protect against these diseases. “The new vaccine is the first to provide long-term* protection against three of the most infectious poultry diseases in a single vaccination,” explains Katie Pitman, technical

veterinary adviser at MSD Animal Health UK. INNOVAX®-ND-ILT is a dual HVT construct vaccine that can be administered either in-ovo or subcutaneously at the hatchery. “This new vaccine offers the convenience of a single immunisation to improve flock immunity and minimise operational disruption, without the risk of reversion to virulence or interference with other respiratory vaccines.

“More efficient disease control can improve flock health. The addition of this new vaccine to the INNOVAX® range will enable producers to pick the most appropriate option for their system and create space in busy on-farm vaccination schedules,” concludes Ms Pitman.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61 67

livestock Boost suckler genetics using free KPI app

Suckler producers can dramatically improve performance and financial returns by monitoring key breeding indicators – but manual recording is laborious and time consuming. Now, farmers can record everything on their phone using a new feature on the free Breedr app, generating automatic reports and easy-to-understand graphics. The new breeding feature aligns with AHDB Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and helps farmers to identify the best animals to breed from, whether that’s producing beef calves to finish or heifer replacements. “Genetics affects almost every element of suckler cow performance, and by benchmarking farmers can speed up the rate of genetic improvement – particularly if they are calving at two years old,” explains farmer and Breedr

founder Ian Wheal. “Our free tools enable farmers to analyse the genetic performance of their herd and individual animals quickly and easily.” The best place to start is logging when females are bulling – this will create an alert for 20 days later so producers can check to see if they’re cycling again. Logging the AI date or when bulls are turned out, as well as any pregnancy diagnosis results, will automatically calculate and flag the likely calving date. “At calving, you can log the birth in seconds ready to sync with BCMS, and enter the calving ease, calf weight and vigour – by linking with the dam and sire, this makes it easy to identify the best cows and bulls to use,” says Mr Wheal. Medicine records and activities like disbudding can also be kept in the app, so that all of the animal’s information is in one place. When weaning, calf weights can be captured in just 10

seconds with the Crush Mode tool, and when more than one weight has been recorded the app will predict future growth rates to help with finishing plans. “According to AHDB, achieving 10kg higher weaning weights can increase output by an average of £20/head,” explains Mr Wheal. “This can be

influenced by a compact calving period; the more calves born in the first three weeks of calving, the older they are at weaning, so the heavier they will be.” Farmers can use the KPIs to select the most fertile females to breed from, achieving a tighter calving period and ultimately boosting profitability.

IAAS welcomes new report on role of auction marts in rural communities Response to the Prince’s Countryside Fund report, More Than A Mart, from Neil

Wilson, Executive Director of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland. (continued on page 70)


livestock The Institute welcomes the Prince’s Countryside Fund report and its recognition of the fundamentally important social element and community connection that marts provide to rural communities, as well as their role as vibrant hubs for knowledge exchange, business, and physical and mental health checks of farmers. As the report points out though, if marts are not commercially successful, they will not be there to provide all of these vital benefits. We need Scotland’s marts to be fully utilised by the livestock chain for the buying and selling of stock; for marts to be an active tool in farmers’ boxes and regulators of fair trade. There is no better space than live marts, for buyers and sellers, to achieve the best and fairest price. Coronavirus has shown the professionalism and role marts play in helping to keep rural economies moving, even when

the chips are really down. As we ease out of a challenging 18 months, IAAS will be returning to our pre-Covid plans to bring together young auctioneers to look at the mart of the future,

and how to ensure that it remains a centrepiece in the agricultural economy for years to come. In the meantime, as restrictions ease, I hope we’ll soon see the marts back to being

that social, noisy, enterprising, exciting, fun hub, and that farmers jump in their pick-up in the morning with a trailer on the back and look forward to their day.

Whitebred Shorthorn Association Ltd The ideal crossing sire for easy care, suckler cows for any breed s %ASY CALVING s %XCELLENT MATERNAL ABILITY s $OCILITY s -ILK ABILITY s ,ONGEVITY s (ARDY s 6ERSATILE s 7INTER OUT s 3IRE TO THE WELL KNOWN "LUE 'REY Contact the secretary for any information 01434 344716 or email Pedigree Autumn sale 5th November 2021 at Harrison and Hetherington Auction mart Carlisle Join us at the Agri Expo Friday 29th October 8am onwards at Harrison and Hetherington Auction mart Carlisle


livestock Calf rearer improves sales with Breedr

A Welsh calf rearer has embraced new technology to sell her livestock, enabling her to improve efficiencies and save time. Cheryl Reeves rears 600700 Belgian Blue, Aberdeen Angus and Friesian calves a year at Woodcroft farm, Wrexham, and has adopted a new app to streamline stock sales. She was initially looking for an easier way to record cattle movements when she came across the free Breedr app. “I thought there’s got to be an easier way of doing all this – I was sick of updating the spreadsheet, going onto Cattle Trading System (CTS) online – it just all felt a bit messy.” Mrs Reeves began using the app for cattle movements and medicine records but soon branched into trading through it. “It’s just really quick, when a customer rings up and asks how many Belgian Blue bulls or heifers I have, rather than getting my laptop to go onto a spreadsheet, I can open Breedr and tell the customer there and then. “Another positive is showing the customer how the calves

have been looked after – it’s been really good for selling.” Over 3,000 farmers are registered to trade on the app, and it takes just minutes to set up for the farm, with trading listings showing the cattle weight, growth rates, health and movement history. Mrs Reeves sells the calves at either four months old or between 14 and 16 months. “We have a two-shed system – they stay in the milk shed for six weeks then they move into the weaning shed for six weeks before they’re sold at four months old, or we keep them on our rotational grazing system until they’re 14 to 16 months old.” She has been delighted with trading through the app. “It’s great, putting up an advert probably takes 15 minutes at most.” With Breedr, payments are secured before the animals are released and then passed on within two working days of transport. “It’s a simple process; I do worry sometimes about cheques because it’s not a small amount but with Breedr it’s secure and reliable,” says Mrs Reeves.

livestock Significant proportion of Scottish livestock still failing to meet market specification With close to 40% of sheep and 30% of beef cattle in Scotland still failing to meet market specifications resulting in financial, productivity and efficiency costs, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) is encouraging more farmers to utilise their virtual carcase grading tool, Meat the Grade. Developed to help farmers boost their bottom line by improving livestock selection and management for slaughter, the virtual Meat the Grade tool was launched in late 2020. Beth Alexander, QMS Cattle and Sheep Specialist who helped develop the tool, said that livestock that are overfat and overweight are two of the most common reasons for ‘out of spec’ carcasses.


livestock “Only 72.7% of the steers and 60.9% of lambs processed by Scottish price reporting abattoirs in 2020 met specification. When we’re talking about specification, for lamb we are talking about an E, U, or R grade for conformation, a 2 and 3L for fat and up to 21kg deadweight with a large number of processors not paying for any weight past 21kg. “For cattle, again an E, U, or R grade for conformation and a 2,3 and 4L for fat. Many processors are inflicting penalties for carcasses over 420kg deadweight, though

some have reduced this to 400kg. It depends how, when and where you are marketing your livestock.” The tool gives producers the opportunity to learn about the requirements of the whole supplychain – from abattoir grading systems and hygiene requirements to consumer preferences for consistency to allow for planning and to improve their productivity and profitability. Developed alongside processors to help farmers boost their bottom line by improving livestock selection and

management for slaughter, Meat the Grade, has been met with positive feedback from farmers utilising the tool. Alongside her position at QMS, Beth also works on the family’s upland beef and sheep farm in Perthshire and has found, in practice, that the tool is helps to realign yourself to what processors and consumers need. “It’s really worthwhile familiarising yourself with the tool as there is a lot of practical information about grading and what processors are looking for.

“Tools like Meat the Grade benefit the whole supply chain as we can get a better understanding of how we can all work together for the benefit of the end consumer. “It’s important to us that farmers provide feedback on the tools we develop to ensure they are beneficial for possible for everyone across the supply chain.” Users are able to provide feedback via the Meat the Grade tool which is now available to access by visiting the Quality Meat Scotland website: www.

Hen charity leads the way in facilitating first research into pet chickens The British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT) is once again leading the way in hen welfare by launching a pioneering new forum to facilitate research into pet chickens. This online forum, nicknamed The Coop, will pave the way for ground-breaking studies by scientists and researchers around the world into hen welfare and hen keeping. Hens have been sadly neglected by the world of evidence-based academic research, with only two known papers written about their welfare – one of which concluded that there was a need for more research. Now, the tide appears to be turning and researchers are beginning to study our backyard flocks. As well as providing an online space for scientists and researchers to communicate and share their studies, the BHWT is also promoting their research surveys to its supporters to help them gain insight into frontline hen-keeping. Jane Howorth MBE, Founder of the BHWT, says, “It is wonderful to see the world of academic research realising what we’ve always known – that our pet hens matter! They are just as deserving of scientific studies 74

as our other animal companions who have been more extensively researched. “The research about to be undertaken ranges from exploring how hens benefit our mental health to seeking good veterinary care and appropriate drugs. They will also examine

how the pet hen population has grown over the years and reasons for keeping them, and which homegrown remedies are used and which work. “We have European Councilfunded research being carried out on non-human life in London and Delhi and a close look at end-of-

life options and decisions. Calls and emails into our Hen Helpline will also be analysed so we can better understand what health problems our adopted hens face and better inform our adopters on how to handle them.” Some of the first research to be supported by the BHWT

livestock How breeding and feeding can help meet the methane debate head-on By Beth Alexander, QMS Cattle and Sheep Specialist There is no denying that beef production emits methane. We could debate how the cycle of methane is less damaging in comparison to exhaust emissions but in the long term how much time can we afford to spend changing a sold story? Methane is a waste product so ultimately it is in our best interests as beef producers to reduce methane produced by cattle to improve efficiency. Approximately 6 to 8% of the energy from feed consumed is emitted in the form of methane. There are two main approaches we can take to reducing emissions: breeding or feeding, genetics versus diet. There is a lot of research being carried out in Scotland by SRUC and abroad on the effect feed additives have on methane emissions. Altering the composition of the diet, by increasing proportion of concentrates and reducing fibre content can reduce methane output by up to 30%. Research in Canada has looked into the effect of methane inhibitor 3-NOP which has the potential to reduce emissions by 40% plus. Much of this research has been carried out on uniform feedlots or on animals with a supplemented diet. With the majority of our suckler herd in Scotland not supplemented for a proportion of the year, how can we apply these principles? One easy win for the industry is better quality feed. The better quality the silage, the more digestible, with less fibre requires less work for the rumen to digest therefore less methane emitted, win – win scenario? In a growthy season like we have been experiencing this year, taking more cuts of better-quality fodder is certainly

achievable. Opting for a range of grass varieties or legumes rather than perennial rye is another veritable option worth considering for grazing animals. When accounting for reduced requirement for nitrogen the effect could be confounding. Selecting for feed conversion ratio seems to be the big hitter for reducing methane through genetics. Studies by Rainer Roehe and colleagues from Scotland’s Rural College and the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen has paved the way for an approach to reducing methane produced by cattle farming using modern breeding approaches. By linking bovine host genetic variation and the influence on rumen microbial methane production is a step towards selecting for low methane emitting and efficiently feed converting cattle. But really, we need to take it back one step further. By improving the number of calves reared per cow we can produce the same number of calves with less cows. Less inputs and the same, if not more, outputs, good for the bank and good for the environment. Reducing emissions and improving profitability are not mutually exclusive! There is no one solution for reducing methane emissions for Scottish beef farmers but the important thing is there are achievable solutions on any scale. While adding to or altering diets offers an immediate reduction, breeding can give small but cumulative gains allowing the industry to advance for the next 20, 30 years and beyond. But still the number one way of reducing emissions is by improving efficiency of kilograms of beef produced.

will be a study called ‘From the Backyard to our Beds’ by Jenny Mace BSc, MSc AWSEL, FHEA, Visiting Lecturer on the MSc in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law at the Centre for Animal Welfare at the University of Winchester. The survey by Jenny, who has previously adopted ex-

battery hens, will collect muchneeded data on the care-taking practices and attitudes towards chickens of non-commercial chicken carers. For more information visit:

Genomic engineering offers solutions to endemic viral diseases and livestock emissions Widespread use of anti-viral drugs for animal healthcare creates a risk for human health. A new genomic engineering approach has proven successful in reducing spread of a respiratory disease in pigs, and offers an alternative approach to containing disease. One of the scientists behind the breakthrough, Professor Helen Sang of the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, is a speaker at the Agri-TechE event ‘Advances in Breeding for Agriculture – New Tools for New Solutions’ on 23rd September 2021. Professor Sang explains that use of genetic engineering has potential to be a much safer and more effective means of disease control in livestock: “In China, where over 5 billion chickens are currently raised, the management approach for bird flu is to use antiviral drugs. “Antiviral drugs that are very similar to those used in human healthcare are a really bad idea for use in farmed animals, as their usage can cause resistance to the drug, which then removes the efficacy of the drug for use in humans if the disease does end up spreading.

“Finding a genetic way, either by conventional breeding or genome editing, to embed the resistance in the genetics can be a good tool for combatting disease.” Genome editing is one of a number of advanced breeding techniques to be discussed at the forthcoming Agri-TechE meeting. Director Dr Belinda Clarke comments: “The use of New Genomic Technologies is currently restricted by legislation that predates the sequencing of the human genome and does not reflect the increasing diversity in the technology. Making legislation fit for purpose could bring many benefits.” Among the speakers will also be Mike Coffey, Professor of Livestock Informatics and Team Leader for Animal Breeding & Genomics at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), who will be discussing how breeding for particular traits can reduce the environmental impacts of cattle, while Professor Sang will describe the welfare benefits. Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS) causes breathing problems and deaths in young animals and pregnant sows to lose their litters.

livestock Professor Sang continues: “Vaccines are available for PRRS but are not fully effective, resulting in PRRS being an endemic disease of pigs in the UK, with the consequent economic losses and animal welfare challenges. “A genetic approach that would give pigs protection against this disease would be good for the welfare of the pig and good for the farmer. The PRRS virus binds to a particular protein on the surface


of cells of the pig, which enabled the use of genetic engineering by Professor Sang and her colleagues at the Roslin Institute to edit that protein in order to prevent infection by the virus. “Colleagues used CRISPRCas9 to chop out part of the protein from the pig’s gene – they showed that the pig is still perfectly healthy and happy, but if you try and infect the pig with PRRS, it just won’t become infected. That shows really strong genetic resistance.”

Bold plans to eradicate BVD and sheep scab by 2031 The livestock industry has set out bold ambitions to eradicate sheep scab and Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) by 2031, among other goals, following a Ruminant Health and Welfare (RH&W) workshop held on 29 June. The workshop included over 70 leading farmers, vets, researchers and industry stakeholders from across the four nations of the UK. Attendees set the agenda in advance by singling out ‘actionable’ sheep and cattle diseases from a list of priorities identified in the RH&W grassroot survey results released in May. RH&W chair Nigel Miller explained that by setting management, control and/or eradication targets for the year 2031, the workshop participants were aiming to create a new high-health environment across farms of the four nations before the next decade. “We need this health platform to elevate animal welfare and play a part in securing export markets,” he explained. “We are going into a period of extraordinary change; we have got to be willing to push back on the accepted boundaries of health and production. World

class economic efficiency and the building pressures of low carbon production demand a higher national flock and herd health status; mapping out clear change targets is a vital step to secure that goal.” Sheep scab, now endemic in the national flock and affecting 10-15% of farms with about 8,000 outbreaks each year costing up to £202 million, was one of the most popular topics selected for debate. The group set out coordinated control, mandatory annual screening, flock traceability, and vaccination for sheep scab as key objectives on the way to eradication. Dr Stewart Burgess at Moredun Research Institute said a new vaccine would help in the long term, but interim goals like notifiable or reportable status would create a traceable, sustainable framework. “The reality is that there are imminent threats and the status quo is not working,” said Dr Burgess. “Modelling studies have shown that focussing control on disease hotspots not only makes gains in those targeted areas, but can also have a significant impact on sheep nationwide.”

VET Wasting Away It’s funny how on certain days there seems to be a theme to my clinical calls. Last week I had thin bull, a young cow loosing weight, an older cow loosing weight and a group of second calvers in poor condition all on the same day. All beef, all at grass and all seemingly well enough in themselves - just not doing. Where’s there’s nothing obvious to hang your hat on its a case of ruling out possibilities. Top of the list is parasites. Most adult cattle have developed a resistance to worms, but liver fluke can cause disease at all ages and adult cattle don’t appear to develop resistance to fluke in the same way. So with thin animals I’ll always want to rule this out as a cause. Fluke egg counts on dung samples is what we do routinely as its quick. It does of course rely on adult fluke being present to lay the eggs. There are alternatives: an ELISA blood test that looks for antibodies against the fluke which reflects infection in the past 8wks or so, and a copro antigen test that is now used in sheep quite a bit to get a diagnosis before disease has reached the egg laying stage so you can treat quickly. The traditional assumption that cattle need to have been grazing wet , marshy, “flukey” pasture no longer holds true in my opinion. We seem to see fluke on all types of pasture now probably a reflection of wetter weather over a period of years, or a wider distribution of the small snail that completes the lifecycle. When treating for fluke be aware of three things. 1. The fluke lifecycle. Immature fluke take 12wks to become adults

By Andy Cant Northvet Veterinary Group 2. The products. Different products kill different stages of the fluke. Eg some kill only adults, some kills adults plus immature down to different ages. 3. Timing of treatment. After housing its unlikely cattle will pick up fluke infection, so if a product claims to kill fluke down to 6wk immature, leave it 6wks after housing and you should kill out everything and have fluke free cattle at turnout So back to my clinical calls. The bull had no fluke but a significant worm egg count and liver tests showed it to be damaged. The young cow had rumen fluke which can be significant but probably a red herring in this case as the cow developed respiratory problems later in the week. The old cow had no fluke but was Johne’s positive. The second calvers had no fluke and at the end of the day probably were needing their calves weaned off them and a bit of respite care. The best strategy for fluke is of course to look for it routinely and have a treatment plan in place so you know its controlled then it wont be top of your list. But as you can see from the above cases other causes are available!


livestock The sheep scab ELISA blood test was a real game changer, according to Dr Burgess. “It can detect scab in the first two weeks of infestation and before clinical signs – a new version is in development and would offer on-farm results in under 20 minutes at a cost of under £5.” A future vaccine was also under development at Moredun. “In its current form it has up to 80% efficacy and will offer sustainable control of scab.” Kate Hovers, vet and consultant at Wales Veterinary Science Centre, added that disease control schemes and health certification for scab offered benefits throughout the sector – both in controlling disease and offering a premium for certified stock. “But it’s also important to preserve the use of macrocyclic lactones and organophosphates for sheep scab control – we need to know there’s an effective treatment available, and we already have


scab mites resistant to the macrocyclic lactones present in the UK flock.” BVD eradication, another priority for the group, is already

in progress through different statutory and voluntary efforts in each of the four nations. But introducing mandatory control will be the next step with

co-ordinated messaging and approaches. Sam Strain, chief executive at Animal Health and Welfare Northern Ireland (AHWNI),

was heavily involved in establishing NI’s compulsory BVD programme, and strongly advised that legislation was critical for eradication. “We live in an archipelago where animals are often travelling across borders,” he said. “Any control programme needs to have co-ordinated messages between the four nations – being cognisant of international requirements such as the EU Animal Health Law.” Re-engagement was high on the list of interim goals. “It’s clear that different sectors have their own priorities and timeframes for BVD control which has led to the diversity of UK schemes,” explained Dr Strain. “Co-ordination between the schemes is crucial to controlling this infection across the UK. “A key challenge is the retention of persistently infected (PI) calves; industry initiatives like making the retention of BVD positive animals a non-conformity for the NI beef and lamb farm quality assurance scheme have made significant contributions to the NI programme, encouraging the timely removal of these animals from the population.” Another ambition from the workshop was to reduce dairy cow lameness by 30% yearon-year. Steps to achieve this goal include better utilisation of current tools and policy, with a whole food chain approach, consideration of contextual factors on farm, and the collection and use of robust and consistent data. Martin Green, professor of cattle health and epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, said that lack of data had been identified as an obstacle by the AHDB mobility steering group. “Data is needed to better understand the scale of lameness and what is achievable in terms of targets and sustainability year-on-year,” he said. “Mobility scoring is extremely valuable and encouraging widespread uptake with support and mentoring from the industry will be key in meeting industry targets.”

Calling on livestock farmers: views sought on use of anti-microbials

Researchers from the James Hutton Institute are calling on livestock farmers in the UK to help develop a greater understanding of the use of on-farm anti-microbials. It is widely believed that overuse and improper use of anti-microbials in livestock farming is contributing to the emergence and spread of anti-microbial resistance, causing a significant threat to global public health and food security. Although human and animal health requires the use of anti-microbials, it has been estimated that two thirds of the future increase in anti-microbial use worldwide will be in animal production. Improving the management of anti-microbials in farm livestock is therefore a critical component of dealing with anti-microbial resistance

whilst optimizing production in the livestock sector. However, antimicrobial use prescription and distribution strongly varies according to national and local contexts, production systems or sectors. Therefore, there isn’t one common solution to promote transitions towards prudent anti-microbial use. To homogenise anti-microbial use reduction across Europe, research is needed to identify the different factors that explain these variations and offer solutions to work on them. Scientists at the James Hutton Institute, in association with 17 partners and multiple stakeholders from across Europe, are working together on an EU funded project called ROADMAP (Rethinking of Antimicrobial Decision-systems in the Management of Animal

Production) to develop options for reducing anti-microbial use in consultation with farmers, vets, advisors and consultants at national, European, and international levels. Understanding these diverse factors will enable efficient, context-adapted and socially acceptable innovations that stakeholders, producers and animal health professionals will be able to adopt and convert to large-scale market opportunities. To gain a better understanding of farmer’s experiences and views, UK livestock farmers, farm partners and farm employees are invited to complete an anonymous survey at HuttonROADMAP – you can also scan our QR code. There will be a £5 donation to farmers charities for each completed survey response.

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.

dairy Regenerative agriculture and British Friesians Dairy Farmers facing the challenge that is termed regenerative agriculture may find they have a head start if keeping British Friesians. Breeding from a proven background of grazing and grass-based systems has ensured that mobility and fertility are embedded in the genes, contributing to longer term sustainability. The major part that our grasslands can play in the carbon capture cycle, whilst at the same time producing milk and meat, contributing to our basic nutritional needs, is immense. Trees do not produce food! Further improvements could be made by introducing or extending rotational grazing and might be an option for those setstocking youngstock. As we know, the Friesian steer, whether crossed with Aberdeen Angus or pure

bred, is highly suited to finishing economically on an all-grass system. The good growth rate of the dairy animal combined with its ability to retain body condition is how this is achieved. An interesting prospect is that of mob-grazing for those with suitable land. This could bring this land back into production. The longer grazing and manuring cycle contributes more to carbon capture and soil structure, including water retention. An exciting prospect for those of a technical nature would be the increasingly popular use of virtual fencing in order to manage this system. Government National Statistics (2018) showed that agriculture contributed about 1.5% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Further good news is that emissions from UK agriculture

have fallen by 20% since 1990. Subsequently, it has been proved that methane disperses after about 10 to 12 years and does not accumulate, unlike CO2 but, to date, Government has not recognized this. An explanation can be found in a podcast given by

PrecisionCOW: New technology collaboration from Cogent Breeding and Nedap PrecisionCOW is the latest addition to the Cogent Precision product portfolio, helping dairy farmers run a more productive and profitable business. This state-of-the-art technology, developed and powered by Nedap, accurately monitors the fertility, health and location of each cow 24 hours a day, providing the insights needed to make informed decisions and provide peace of mind. The solution has proven itself worldwide and is known for its reliability and innovation. Ben Hogg, National Business Development Manager for Cogent, explains “Cogent is continuing to drive new product


Prof. Frank Mitloehner (UC Davis, USA) during this year’s online Cattle Breeders Conference and can be found on YouTube. As livestock farmers, we all need to be armed with this information, critical as it is to the defence of our industry.

developments and improvements to farming processes, one of which is supplying a high-quality herd heat and health detection service through PrecisionCOW. Supplying the best products to our customers further illustrates our commitment to driving genetic gain and,therefore, profits on farm. We are pleased to work with Nedap, with their track record for quality health and management systems for farmers.” “Advanced herd monitoring and management technology has become a vital element for successful dairy farms across the UK and the entire globe,” adds Bas Driessen, Business

dairy Development Manager for Nedap Livestock Management. “Our reliable, innovative and integrated monitoring system leads the way in helping dairy farmers become more profitable and successful. It is easily harnessed to provide essential

heat, health, nutrition and location insights to control each cow and the entire herd. For more information on the PrecisionCOW heat and health detection system, visit or contact 0800 783 7258.

Mole Valley Farmers first to openly declare carbon footprint of feed on labels

Farmers will be able to instantly gauge the carbon footprint of their compounds and blends thanks to a commitment from Mole Valley Farmers to include the information on feed labels as standard. All conventional dairy compounds and blends produced by the British farmer owned business now include a carbon footprint (CFP) figure in kg CO2e per kg of feed. This will sit alongside the usual list of nutrients detailed on the label and will be included on all products, regardless of whether they’re bespoke mixes or off the shelf products. The carbon footprint figures have been calculated using the latest environmental impact information for individual feed ingredients from the Global Feed LCA Institute (GFLI). These have been combined with ‘best estimates’ for production and transport to provide a total CFP figure up to delivery onto farm. The figures will be

independently audited using a specialist consultancy firm. The move marks the next step in Mole Valley Farmers’ Climate Positive Agriculture initiative. This has already seen the business develop their Precision Nutrition rationing programme so they can calculate the carbon footprint, methane and nitrogen output of a total diet, including forages. They are also about to launch the new Climate Positive range of feeds, which have been specifically formulated to have a low impact on the environment. Dr Chris Bartram, Head of Nutrition for Mole Valley Farmers says: “The dairy industry is starting to move towards rewarding farmers for reducing their environmental impact. We want to help producers to more accurately calculate their business’s carbon footprint by providing them with the information they need about the environmental attributes of the diets they feed.”


NFU Scotland

Could the prospect of a Private Member’s bill help tackle the unsightly blight of flytipping in Scotland’s countryside?

Asks NFU Scotland’s Environmental Resources Manager Sarah Cowie

The all-to-frequent, dreaded scourge of abandoned, sometimes dangerous, waste is not simply an eyesore on Scotland’s beautiful countryside; it can, and does, cause harm to livestock, crops, nature and wildlife. It is an issue that farmers are having to deal with more often, costing them not just in terms of money but also large amounts of their time. Despite recycling centres re-opening, flytipping and illegal dumping incidents are still being recorded daily by NFU Scotland members. Cases in the past year alone have included rotting meat, hazardous asbestos waste, domestic appliances, household waste, builder’s rubble, garden cuttings, pallets, and garage waste including tyres and car batteries lined with poisonous lead. Late July resulted in some welcome, and promising, discussions to target the problem. A workshop brought together

key stakeholders including the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland, SEPA, local authorities and national parks, among others. Also, Murdo Fraser Conservative MSP held a roundtable with NFU Scotland, the Woodland Trust, Scottish Land & Estates, Police Scotland and Keep Scotland Beautiful to discuss ways to tackle flytipping. He believes that fly tipping is such a major issue across Scotland that action needs to be taken in the form of a Members’ Bill to change the law when it comes to dealing with those responsible. Such positive action to tackle flytipping is something NFU Scotland would wholly support. Key issues relating to flytipping including improving how the issue is reported and dealt with; how data on flytipping is collated and shared; stronger penalties to act as a deterrent; and introducing extended producer responsibility on

the most commonly flytipped items. While there are many innovative and creative ideas, there is no one single “silver bullet” to tackle the issue of flytipping and what is instead required is a joined-up and collaborative approach which looks at everything from accessibility of household waste recycling to the latest technology that allows people to report flytipping with ease. The members’ bill could consider changes to the law, shifting the liability for cleanup to the source of the waste rather than the innocent landowners. NFU Scotland welcomes the positive discussions that have taken place recently and will continue to work with stakeholders including the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and Murdo Fraser and other MSPs to help to find positive solutions that will end the blight of flytipping that affects farmers, rural communities, and the natural environment.

dairy £21m to make dairy industry cream of the crop A digital dairy project aiming to create 600 new jobs in South-West Scotland and Cumbria has been awarded more than £21 million of funding. Led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), it is expected the Digital Dairy Value-Chain could generate an additional £60m a year for a region which produces nearly two billion litres of milk a year. Globally, the industry produces around 3 per cent of greenhouse gases related to human activity. As well as helping to decarbonise the region’s dairy industry, the project will help to develop and retain a skilled and innovative workforce in the area to create new products and new ways of working. These will be special to the region but also globally relevant in best practices and changing the perception of dairy as a high-value product. Working with partners operating in the region, including the University of Strathclyde, University of the West of Scotland, CENSIS, First Milk, Lactalis UK & Ireland, Kendal Nutricare, Cows & Co Group, National Milk Records and SmartSTEMS, the project will provide a platform for research and business innovation in advanced, sustainable, highvalue production and processing. The project team will work with the dairy industry to develop and implement technologies for sensing and data handling, as well as infrastructure to support innovation and growth for local businesses, nurturing young entrepreneurs and teaching and training of new skills and capabilities.


NSA turns up the volume on the sustainability of British sheep farming The National Sheep Association (NSA) agrees deep cuts in emissions can help stabilise climate change, while emphasising that UK sheep farming systems are already contributing to atmospheric cooling. Recent severe flood, drought, and fire related incidents around the globe have sent sobering reminders of the dangers of climate change. Therefore, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report released yesterday (Monday 9th August), warning we are at ‘code red for humanity’, is something society cannot ignore. NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “The cuts we have seen in grazing livestock numbers in Britain, coupled with efficiency gains, are considered by Dr Miles Allen of Oxford University to have already contributed to ‘atmospheric cooling’, there is of course always more we can do. Changing grazing regimes and reducing waste through improved health management are of note, but my strong belief is that British sheep farming is already at a general point of harmony that brings climate, social and biodiversity benefits. “We should not consider sheep farming as ‘indulgent’ but should look deeply enough to understand that we are involved

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61 Next issue out November 2021

in maintaining probably the most stable and resilient plant habitats on earth – grassland. Managing grassland, for climate resilience, fire avoidance, health and wellbeing and nature, requires grazing and in doing so also converts plant growth into a highly nutritious food and fibre to sustain us. In addition to pasture-based agriculture, introducing sheep into arable rotations produces soil fertility and raises organic matter and helps us return to a more mixed approach to farming – something most nature lovers would welcome.” NSA does not claim the UK sheep sector cannot do more, but maintains that reducing the national flock is not the right approach. Mr Stocker continues: “Sheep farming is part of the solution to climate, nature and health problems and needs recognising as such. A clearer distinction must be made between what is essentially a natural gaseous cycle that has been going on for centuries, and the problems caused by fossil fuels and industries heavily reliant on them”.



120 years of Blackface Sheep Breeders Association August 1901 – August 2021 The second half of the 19th Century saw an enormous increase in the reputation and numbers of the Blackface Breed. After 1860, the number of Cheviot hill flocks in Scotland steadily declined, displaced by the hardier Blackfaces, which also became increasingly popular for crossing with lowground breeds such as the Border Leicester. By the late

1880’s a writer could state that the breed was the most numerous and widely distributed in Britain and gave the opinion that it ‘may ultimately become the most extensively farmed breed in the world’. Much of this was the result of the work of a small number of Blackface breeders whose work was improving the size and quality of the breed

Charles Howatson, ‘The Laird of Glenbuck’


laid the basis for its growing popularity. It was these breeders who favoured the establishment of the Blackface Sheep Breeders’ Association, partly to display their pride and confidence in the breed, but equally to promote the further development of the breed. It was against this background that a group of prominent Blackface sheep breeders met on Tuesday 20th August 1901, in the Clydesdale Hotel in Lanark to discuss the formation of an association to protect the

Woolfords Rams - 1930

general interest of Blackface breeders, ‘since theirs’ was the only important breed having no association to protect its interest’. Presiding over this meeting, and a driving force behind the move to establish an association, was one of the most prominent figures in Scottish Agriculture, Charles Howatson, ‘The Laird of Glenbuck’. Howatson was a leading expert of the need to adopt the best techniques and practises, and this had already led to his involvement in the establishment

sheep of the Scottish Farmer. He was also a breeder of Blackface sheep, who had attained an almost legendary status in his own lifetime – in the year that the Blackface Sheep Breeders Association was established, he won the prize for best Shearling at the Highland Show for an unprecedented tenth year – and he was to continue to do so for another two years. The committee that was formed to frame a constitution for the new Association was a Who’s Who of leading Blackface Breeders at the start of the 20th Century. Apart from Howatson, it included John Archibald of Overshiels, whose family has played a role in the development of the breed since the 1850’s which rivalled that of Howatson; together with James Hamilton of Nether Wellwood and James Cadzow of Stonehill, members of families which were to play a dominant role in the development of the breed in the first decades of the 20th Century. Other prominent breeders on the committee were Robert Buchanan of Lettre, John McMillan of Glencrosh, Captain Duncan Stewart of Knockrioch, James Moffat of Gateside and Donald McDougall of Claggan. There was even an English representative, a Mr Rawlinson of Docker Hall,

Kendal. The initial meeting also discussed a number of major issues, of which probably the most important was whether it should be a pedigree association with its own flock book. Some of the earliest supporters of the establishment of the Blackface Breeders Association had argued that the Association should maintain and publish a flock or stud book common to the breed. However the general consensus at the meeting seemed to be that it would be impractical to keep a flock book – a view supported by Howatson, even though he was reputed to be able to tell potential buyers the pedigree of any particular Ram stretching back for six generations and the decision not to compile a flock book has, of course remained unchanged to this day. The other major topic of discussion concerned the ideal characteristic of the breed, the principal argument revolved around the merits of long wool with ‘feeders’ such as William Anderson of Cramalt clearly opposed to ’18 inches of wool trailing on the ground’ and arguing that the carcase not the wool was the thing to work for. Predictably, no clear consensus could be reached and similar arguments continue to excite breeders to this day. Although wool in those days would have paid a shepherd’s wage, and nowadays

the wool cheque doesn’t cover the shearing costs!! The new Association properly came into existence the following month when a second meeting drew up the rules and regulations of the Association based upon the work of the committee established in August. Howatson was to become the first President of the Association, a position that he held until 1912, when ill health forced him to stand down. He was replaced by James Moffat, who had been Vice President since the establishment of the Association. Thereafter the Association adopted the current practice of biennial presidencies, with the Vice President succeeding to the Presidency, subject to the approval of membership at the Annual General Meeting. The new Association immediately turned its attention to the issue of showing and judging sheep, since it was felt that greater consistency needed to be achieved in the interests of breed development. Howatson was therefore asked to represent their views on the matter to the Highland Agriculture Society. The Blackface Sheep Breeders’ Association was up and running and 120 years later

on has just over 1290 paid up members. The popularity of the Blackface ewe on the hill has never waned, they are still the most numerous pure breeds in Britain with the vast majority found in Scotland. They are one of the hardiest sheep breeds in the country and are the backbone of the Scottish sheep industry, being the pinnacle of our stratified sheep industry. As a maternal hill breed, the females have a strong mothering ability to rear lambs in extreme terrain. The breed is easily hefted, making it ideal for large areas of hill country and can produce sheep for every climatic condition, thanks to the different distinct types within the breed, which have evolved over the years influenced by climate, environment and grazing quality. Alec Telfer, current President said “It is with great pride that I join the list of illustrious names who have headed the Blackface Sheep Breeders Association since its inception in 1901. Fashions change to suit the markets of the Blackies, which is the most numerous of all hill breeds. However, the enthusiasm and ability of current and future generations of breeders will carry the Association forward into a very positive place”


Farming support payments

By Mairi Gougeon The COVID-19 pandemic and impacts of Brexit continue to make this an incredibly challenging time for Scotland’s farming community. Financial stability is more critical than ever, which is why I am delighted that we have delivered improved performance across all scheme payments in 2020 compared to 2019. We have paid more than half a billion pounds of farming support payments ahead of target and, in many cases, months before we did so in the previous year. A total of 99.5% of Basic Payment Scheme, Greening and Young Farmer funds were paid by the end of June, with the 95.24% target having been met by the end of February – four months earlier than the previous year. The Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme, Upland Sheep Support Scheme and the Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme also delivered more than 99% of payments by the end of June. Meeting these targets during a global health pandemic is a huge achievement. Working from home, our teams have

ensured that CAP payments are made swiftly and the Scottish Government will continue do everything it can to support farmers and crofters as we gradually and safely move out of lockdown. Our approach has been to focus on the Single Application Form (SAF) in order to deliver payments at volume and get the industry paid as soon as possible. I would like to thank everyone who has supported this process, helping us provide our farmers and crofters with much-needed certainty, clarity and above all else, financial stability. Earlier this year we set out our timetable for when we aim to start making payments through our Payment Strategy for 2021, providing financial support and certainty needed to continue their work and support our wider rural economy. It is important to note that we set this strategy with confidence that we will meet these timelines but there are some risks to delivery that remain. But we will do everything we can to ensure farmers and crofters get their support payments on time, as we have done this year.


SCOPS launches Code of Practice to ensure safe and effective sheep dipping

A new Code of Practice has been launched by the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) group, in conjunction with the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC), to ensure access to the best advice on effective treatment of sheep scab with organophosphate (OP) sheep dip, minimising risks to users and the environment. Confirmation of resistance in sheep scab mites to the injectable macrocyclic lactone (ML) scab treatments, coupled with increasing concern that the use of these products is accelerating resistance to the MLs in gut-worm populations, means more and more sheep farmers have been turning to OP dipping for the treatment of sheep scab. In contrast, the number of farmers with their own dipping facilities has continued to fall, due to tighter regulation of the purchase, use and disposal of

OP dipwash. This means they have increasingly been turning to professional mobile dipping contractors – highlighting the need for support to those service providers. Reflecting the cross-industry reach of the SCOPS group, the new code has been developed by in conjunction with a number of industry partners, and is for everyone involved in the dipping process – from prescribers through to the end users on farm. Phil Stocker, National Sheep Association (NSA) Chief Executive, highlights why such partners viewed the iniative as being of such importance. He says: “If we are to safeguard the future of OP dips against the risk of scab mites developing resistance to the dip and protect the people involved and the environment, we must ensure dipping is carried out properly. This code, has the backing of organisations

sheep throughout the industry and offers reliable and responsible guidance to all those involved in mobile dipping, including farmers, prescribers and dippers.” Bryan Lovegrove of the Animal Health Distributors Association (AHDA) supports this view. He says: “The code brings clarity and understanding to what is required in the safe storage, prescribing and use of OP dips by both contractors and sheep farmers. OP dip is a vital treatment against sheep scab and the code will encourage best practice.”Stephen Dawson, Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) Secretary General, adds: “All sheep medicines, including OP dips, must be prescribed and used responsibly. AMTRA supports this initiative, which will enhance standards and ensure OP dip used by professional contractors. It should be read by all Registered Animal Medicine Advisors (RAMAs) and others involved in prescribing OP dips so that they can play their part in ensuring OP is used correctly”. Jill Hewitt, NAAC Chief Executive, says: “This code will help sheep farmers and dipping contractors work in partnership to ensure high standards are always met. Mutual agreement is vital on sourcing dip, siting the mobile dip and the disposal of the used dip to ensure the whole job is done safely, legally and without harm to the environment. A simple written agreement is recommended so that everyone is clear of their responsibilities.” Mark Cokayne, Bimeda UK General Manager, commented: ”As a manufacturer of OP dip, we are delighted to support the new code. It represents significant progress in the fight against sheep scab in the UK and is a positive step towards protecting the efficacy of the only available active against which sheep scab mites have currently demonstrated no resistance, while also ensuring human and animal welfare and safety.” The Code of Practice is available on the SCOPS website at www., where there is also information on the various partners involved in the initiative.

The ’Southie’ at 130! The Cheviot Sheep Society which looks after the interests of the South Country Cheviot breed, was formed on 27th February 1891 and was the first breed to have a Flock Book, with Volumes 1 & 2 published in 1893. An abstract from the first book – “The perfect Cheviot is one which will live and thrive well on the hardest keep” – is as true today as it was then. The South Country Cheviot, or ‘Southie’ as it is affectionally known, was predominantly bred in the Scottish Borders and Northumberland. It has spread far and wide in the past few years as this hardy and versatile native breed offers new opportunities and multiple profitable routes to market for commercial farmers. More than 20% of rams forward at last year’s Annual Sale at Lockerbie went to Wales, others sold as far south as Devon & Cornwall and as far north as Sutherland & Caithness which highlights the universal popularity the Southie has in today’s marketplace. The Cheviot ewe suits the modern ethos of hill farming today with a low input system. At the same time, she will produce hardy lambs which are much sought after both as breeding sheep, as well as producing quality carcases for the meat trade. To highlight this, a leading breeder sold 819 pure Southie prime hoggs through Longtown Mart in the spring to average £127 at an average weight of 43.7 kgs. These were fattened entirely off grass at a cost of £24/head. David Smith, farm manager of Middleton of Glasclune, near Blairgowrie in Perthshire is one who has been impressed with the Southie by purchasing 320 in-lamb ewes earlier this year. David who worked in Sutherland with North Country Cheviots, before moving south, choose the Southie when increasing ewe numbers. The ewes run on a hard heathery hill and David commented – “I have been surprised by their ability to thrive on the poor ground, lamb with little assistance and produce

plenty of milk from very little in the way of inputs. Ewes have a maternal instinct as good or better than any other sheep I have worked with.” This has been proven by his first draw of lambs selling straight

off their mothers, weighing 40.5 kgs and selling for £98.00 at Stirling in the first week of August. David finished by saying – “At the end of the day, you have to like the look of what you are working with, and we do.”


sheep United message from sheep sector experts on the use of newer wormer actives Sheep farmers are being urged to start using the newer group 4-AD and 5-SI wormers now, to help meet crucial productivity metrics and slow a concerning upward trend in wormer resistance. In an open letter to the sheep industry, National Sheep Association (NSA), the Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep group (SCOPS), Moredun Research Institute and the Sheep Veterinary Society (SVS), highlighted that despite the presence of anthelmintic resistance on 98% of farms, 85% of farmers still believe that the wormers they use are working as well as they always had. This is largely down to the fact that the majority of sheep farmers do not monitor treatment efficacy or growth rates, and they are therefore not being alerted to what is essentially an invisible, yet highly consequential, problem. According to vet Matt Colston, ruminant technical consultant at Elanco Animal Health, this is a dangerous strategy, and many farmers are inadvertently increasing the growth of resistance to group 1,2 or 3 wormers, while also limiting efficiency and profitability. “Because most farmers can’t physically see the reduction in lamb performance, they’re often reluctant to adopt new management practices. Yet we know, swapping a dose of an older group 1,2 or 3 wormer to a group 4-AD (orange) or group 5-SI (purple) wormer in the latter part of the grazing season, will give a visible improvement in performance in most cases, as worms left by previous treatments are removed,” says Mr Colston.

“Integrating the newer group wormers now will also slow the development of resistance to the older group 1,2 and 3 wormers. This is crucial, because once resistance has developed it’s irreversible, and we want as many available worm treatment options as possible, for as long as possible.” SCOPS advises that one of the two newer groups to be used on all sheep farms at two points in their worm control plan. Firstly, as part of their quarantine treatments for all incoming sheep, and secondly as a one-off treatment for lambs, in the latter part of the grazing season. “To gain the maximum benefit from the treatment for lambs, it’s important that the wormer is given towards the end of the grazing season - as a midlate season break dose - and when a treatment is deemed necessary though a significant worm egg count. All lambs remaining on the farm should be treated,” says Mr Colston. To avoid the risk of resistance to the newer group 4-AD and 5-SI wormers, he emphasises that it is very important to not dose and move lambs to cleaner grazing straight away. Lambs should be returned to the same fields for four or five days before moving them. To help support the transition to a more sustainable worm control programme, producers are encouraged to use the Sheep Wormer Checker to inform decisions as to which wormer to use when. Find the checker here: https:// sheep/sheep-worms/sheepwormer-checker

By Grace Reid, NSA Scottish Region Coordinator

Yet again, the year has flown by and we have made it to September! The peak of our lamb crop is coming on nicely and the traditional buzz is already starting for the tup and breeding stock sales. Thankfully, we have even managed a few weeks of hay weather which is safely stashed away for those long winter months which will hopefully show us some mercy into 2022. Every lambing, we all get that excitement when we see a ewe labouring to produce a lamb which theoretically is the most advanced and superior genetic combination of its time. Whether it be a tup or a ewe lamb, there is high hopes for it ultimately to become a flock progressor or in some cases a flock builder. Each step of its growth is engrained in memory alongside those who came before it - a true genius of stockmanship. Uncertainty is the normal when it comes to selling

livestock. We all have a rough idea when we have something special but when putting a value on things it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where the hammer will fall. Even the more experienced shepherds still get that feeling of ambiguity just before they step into the ring with the labours of the past year (and many more) on show for the world to see. Heading into the winter months, we are still none the wiser about some of the consequences of the raft of things we seem to be juggling. However, we do know that at every step we have someone who is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that sheep remain a priority to sustainably fuel future generations. No matter what type of sheep enterprise can be found, they all have a purpose to fulfil. This is the true beauty about our industry – there is something for everyone!

pigs High cost of freedom farrowing systems Pig Farmers will face £millions in extra costs for installing new farrowing systems, according to a housing company. “Legislation on higher welfare farrowing pens – both in the UK and the EU – is inevitable. It’s a more a question of when, not if,” says Tim Miller, environment specialist with ARM Buildings. Many pig farmers are already installing these systems and the true costs are now emerging, Due to the larger pens, fewer sows will be accommodated in standard-sized buildings so, just to maintain the size of their breeding herds, farmers will have to put up new buildings, even if they convert existing houses. “It is clear that the total cost to the industry, factoring in the extra equipment and other aspects, could easily top £200 million,” said Mr Miller who has

been involved in probably more installations than anyone else in this sector. He believes that, if the industry is not to be put at a disadvantage, pig farmers and their representatives, should ensure that governmental legislators are aware of the full extent of these costs, which can amount to as much as £6,000 per sow place – 30 to 40 per cent more than conventional farrowing systems. “Most farmers I deal with are in favour of the higher welfare pens but there should be proper recognition of the eye-watering costs. When sow stalls were unilaterally banned in 1999, the UK industry virtually halved in size and production of pork and bacon was simply exported to the continent where it was produced under the same systems that were banned here,” he said.

A challenging winter has been followed by a strong recovery in Britain’s pig market The pig industry in Scotland continues to face a complex set of challenges emanating from the temporary closure of the key pig processing site at Brechin in January. According to the latest market commentary by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), along with the legacy of extremely challenging market conditions faced across the UK last winter, pig producers in Scotland have been faced with additional uncertainty, with Brechin now operating at around 50% capacity. Iain Macdonald, QMS Senior Economics Analyst, said that the coming months will prove critical for the long-term confidence of pig production in Scotland. “After a challenging winter of depressed pig prices and rising production costs, the pig market has recovered strongly between spring and summer

2021. Indeed, from a low of 138.5p/kg in February, the GB price for standard pig carcases (SPP) climbed by 15.5% to reach 159.9p/kg in the week to July 10th.” Between mid-February and early July, the increase was double that of the historic trend, taking per kilo prices from around 2% below the five-year average to 5.5% above it. However, there have been signs of the market beginning to soften as we approach the traditional summer high, with the rate of increase slowing. To assess the prospects for the autumn, Mr Macdonald says that we first have to look back. “Since the SPP was introduced in 2014, farmgate prices have fallen between July and December in five of the seven years. In 2020, the decline was

the strongest of the period. The exceptions were 2016 and 2019, when surges in pork imports to China had boosted the global market. “Prospects for the second half of 2021 are once again likely to depend on global market forces, with the 2020 fall coming despite firm domestic retail demand.” Highlighting global exposure, Defra’s meat balance sheets estimate that around 30% of UK pigmeat production was exported in 2020, up from around 25% in the middle of the last decade, while 50% of total UK market supply was imported, down from an average of 55% from 201519. High levels of trade reflect differences in consumer demand, with imports and exports balancing supply and demand across the product mix.

“Effectively all of the UK’s pigmeat imports come from the EU,” said Mr Macdonald. “Producers in the EU saw even sharper price declines last winter, with GB prices averaging around 25% above EU levels between October and February. While reduced demand from the catering sector limited import volumes, falling EU farmgate prices did pass through to the cost of importing pigmeat to the UK, and the option of a cheaper alternative will have pressured prices across UK supply chains,” he continued. Like in GB, EU prices made a sharp recovery in spring 2021, narrowing the price gap between GB and the EU to around 5% between mid-March and midApril. The average price of imports to the UK also began to rebound. 89

people Tony finally calls ‘time’ on million mile sales journey I’Anson Bros long serving salesman reflects on 60 years around the roads and farms of the Yorkshire Dales When a 22 year old Tony Morris finished his National Service and joined a small, animal feed company he had just three colleagues and the business counted less than 100 local farm customers on its books and generated sales of little more than £100,000 a year. As he marks his formal retirement sixty years and one million miles around the roads of the Yorkshire Dales as a salesman later, the company he joined has somewhat changed. Today, I’Anson Bros of Masham, North Yorkshire is one of the leading, independent, family owned and managed animal feed producers with

annual sales in excess of £40 million, serving 2,000 farm and trade customers around the UK and exporting its award-winning equine feed to more than 40 countries worldwide. Staff numbers in the business have grown to 95 and production mushroomed from the 3,400 tons a year when Tony joined in 1962 to more than 150,000 today. During his six decades with the business, he has worked with three generations of the I’Anson family and is ‘Uncle’ to the current family members, Chris, Sarah and Will, a relationship created when Tony’s father – who also worked as a sales rep for I’Anson - married into the family. Reinforcing the family ethos within the firm, Tony’s son Paul has been with the company for more than 30 years and

another son also worked there for a number of years. He also served for some 30 years as a Director of the company and continued to visit long-standing clients until the pandemic outbreak forced him to finally call a halt to his travels.

Tony formally marks his retirement as I’Anson’s embarks on the biggest single investment in its 120 -year history with the £20 million+ development of a state-ofthe-art, new feed mill at Dalton New Bridge which will complement its facilities on the outskirts of Masham.

Donna’s getting her fundraising kicks for Rabi and Yana on Route 66 The finance director of one of the UK’s leading agricultural machinery manufacturers is getting her kicks for charity by tackling one of the United States’ most iconic road trips. Donna Hall, who works for GRIMME UK, has set off on a charity challenge, aiming to run, ride and walk the distance of Route 66. One of the most famous roads in the United States, Route 66 originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona ending in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California. Having read about a drastic reduction in donations to charities caused by the pandemic, Donna decided to do something to help the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI), and You Are 90

Not Alone (YANA), both of which support agricultural workers. When she heard about the Route 66 virtual challenge on the website Donna saw it as the perfect charity challenge and embarked on the 2,278 mile sponsored walk, ride and run. Having recorded just 190 miles on Strava in 2020, Donna is aiming to complete the challenge well within’s two year target and is looking to raise more than £2,278. People wanting to support Donna can donate DonnaNewsonHall

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people Humble Bill’s lasting legacy nurtures engineers of the future A talented JCB engineer who amassed a multi-million pound fortune thanks to his interest in cars has made a life-changing bequest to a Staffordshire school dedicated to nurturing the engineers of the future. Bill Turnbull spent almost a decade working at digger maker JCB as Chief Engineer helping to develop the company’s first ever mini excavators. He retired in 1995 at the age of 65. When he died in 2019 aged 88, he left more than £4.2 million in his will thanks to an investment he made more than 50 years earlier in a rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S – paying just £1,500 for the car. He had been lovingly restoring the prized vehicle in secret in the workshop of his home in Tean,

near Cheadle, Staffordshire ever since. Only 42 of the cars were ever produced at the factory in Molsheim, France. The native of New Zealand and adopted son of Staffordshire left instructions to his executors John Seddon and Clive Rollinson to make discretionary bequests from his huge estate. Now, in a nod to his life-long interest in engineering, the JCB Academy in Rocester, Staffordshire, has been given a total of £125,000 towards the construction of automation and robotics centre. The new facility will be called the Bill Turnbull Suite in memory of the benefactor. “Bill was a very humble man and also an extraordinary engineer, who never forgot his links to JCB and the friends he

made while working there”, said Executor John Seddon. “He would be absolutely thrilled to think that a bequest had been made to the JCB Academy and will be used to develop the next generation of engineers in the UK.”

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “Bill was a remarkable and talented engineer. This is a very fitting tribute to his lifelong devotion to engineering and will ensure his memory is kept alive for future generations following in his footsteps.”

New entrants making the most of community-owned croft on Colonsay A tenancy termination by the Crofting Commission on the Isle of Colonsay paved the way for new entrants Lizzie & Darragh Keenaghan to bring a croft back into purposeful use. In less than two years, The Wee Croft has, and continues to, positively contribute to the social and environmental fabric of the island community.

After a summer internship in Alaska on an organic vegetable farm, Lizzie realised that she wanted to do something similar – just a bit closer to home. “My time as an intern in Alaska many years ago was a really formative experience for me. I always had it in my mind that this is what I wanted to do, but Alaska is a long way from home, so I started

looking for similar opportunities in Scotland,” said Lizzie. Darragh, who has a Masters in Environmental Sustainability from Edinburgh University, had a similar experience while living and working on a small farm in Beauly which cemented their desire to find their own croft. “It took us a long time to find the right croft - a place we could afford,” said Lizzie. “We put adverts in newspapers looking for a few acres and spent time traveling across Scotland searching for the right place, but we weren’t having much luck.” After trips to Colonsay in the southern Hebrides for beekeeping courses, the couple heard that there were community-owned crofts on the island. In 2012, Colonsay Community Development Company, with aid of the Scottish Land Fund, purchased land creating five bare land crofts; the purpose being to

offer opportunities and encourage more families and individuals to the island. “We registered our interest with Colonsay Community Development Company, but at the time all crofts were tenanted. Things changed and, in 2019 after an application process, we were offered the tenancy. We renamed the croft ‘The Wee Croft’,” said Lizzie. Since taking on the croft, it’s been a busy time for Lizzie, Darragh, and Lizzie’s parents, who also relocated to Colonsay. As a family they have managed to turn what was once a neglected croft into one that is providing for their family and the wider community. “We worked closely with the Woodland Trust last winter to plant over 700 broadleaf native trees as a shelterbelt, and through the CAGS grant scheme, we’ve been able to afford new fencing which has helped diversify the croft with the introduction of livestock. 91

forestry “Positive progress” on tree planting Figures published recently show that despite the impact of Covid-19, Scotland’s woodland creation continued at pace with around 89% of the 12,000 hectares target being achieved. Last year, 10,660 hectares of new woodland was created – the equivalent of over 21 million trees in the ground. Ongoing COVID restrictions, combined with heavy rain and snow across most of Scotland in March, resulted in unavoidable delays to planting. However, Scottish Forestry has been working closely with woodland managers, and much of the delayed planting was able to be achieved in April and May, before the end of the planting season. The combined area of new woodland generated by England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 2,750 hectares. This means that Scotland continues to produce around 80 per cent of all new woodland planting in the UK. Màiri McAllan, Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform, said that the tree planting activity across Scotland was ”positive progress” by land managers both large and small: “Despite the significant impact of COVID-19, there has been a tremendous enthusiasm for tree planting in Scotland, and we are confident that as grant claims are

made over the summer, we will meet this government’s first 100 days commitment to complete the creation of 12,000 hectares of new woodland.” “We need to build on this and create more woodlands to tackle climate change, boost our economy and improve our environment. And we must expand our forests and woodlands in a careful and considered way. “Future planting levels look very encouraging. Scottish Forestry has already issued approved contracts that will realise nearly 9,000 hectares of new woodland this year and there are many other woodland creation proposals under development. “What has been achieved is quite remarkable in the most trying and unprecedented of years. I’d like to praise the hard work of land managers and everyone else in the forest industries who have helped in the national effort and planted for Scotland.” Of the total new woodlands at least 3,000 hectares were native species, meeting the commitment in the Biodiversity Strategy to plant between three and five thousand hectares of native woodland each year. Scotland has ambitious woodland creation targets which are rising from 12,000 hectares a

year to 18,000 hectares a year by 2024/25. Scotland’s forests and woodlands play an important

role in tackling climate change by soaking up around 9.5 million tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions each year.

Scientists will study how trees can help the UK reach net zero emissions Six research teams across the UK will develop new tools and approaches which will help trees and woodlands adapt to climate change and enable the UK to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The research will also improve our understanding of the value of trees to people and the planet, and support the expansion of treescapes across the UK.

The projects will receive a share of £10.5 million funding from UK Research and Innovation to: • Understand how local authorities are meeting their tree planting targets, the cultural significance of trees to communities and how well they capture greenhouse gases • Work creatively with young

people to co-produce new approaches to caring for treescapes that benefit the environment and society • Investigate how trees respond to stress and pass on that memory to future generations • Assess the potential of woodland restoration along over 200,000 km of England’s rivers and bodies of water • Examine how community

forests enable stakeholders to work in partnership to deliver multiple benefits from forests • Study whether trees can adapt effectively to climate change, pests and diseases Trees, woodlands and forests play a vital role removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and nurturing biodiversity. Thirteen per cent of (continued on page 94)



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the UK* is covered by woodland, and the UK government has pledged to plant millions of trees every year over the coming decades. Expanding the UK’s trees, woodlands and forests will play an important role in realising the government’s ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However, our treescapes need to become more resilient to pressures such as changing climate, disease, and competing demands for land in order to reverse decades of decline in biodiversity and environmental quality. This November, the UK government will host the COP26 climate negotiations in Glasgow where countries will be expected to set out their plans for reaching net zero by 2050. The Future of UK Treescapes programme

will contribute evidence to help policymakers and land managers expand our treescapes and reach this target. Involving multi-disciplinary teams from thirteen universities and research institutes, over 40 non-academic partners and supporters, and with funding for three years, this funding forms part of the £14.5 million Future of UK Treescapes Programme, involving: • Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) • the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) • Welsh Government • Scottish Government • Forestry Commission

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61 Next issue out November 2021

forestry Savills has brought a rare opportunity to purchase a small woodland plantation close to Glasgow to the market Skiff wood, Howwood, Johnstone, Renfrewshire, PA9 1AE : Offers over £655,000

Savills forestry investment team has launched an attractive small woodland plantation to market. · Skiff Wood in Renfrewshire represents an opportunity to buy a highly accessible plantation which includes an attractive mix of woodland, close to Glasgow. The property extends to an area of about 43 hectares in total, with the primary timber species being Sitka spruce. While parts of the wood date back to the 1920s and 1950s, the majority of the commercial timber at Skiff Wood was planted in 2000, with areas of replanting carried out in 2012 and most recently in 2020. The wood has great character that can be enjoyed from a circular track, with scope to clear and improve a number of viewpoints.

· James Adamson of Savills said: “With far reaching views over the Renfrewshire Hills and towards distant Ben Lomond, Skiff Wood provides a buyer with the opportunity to get back to nature and enjoy an area of woodland they can call their own, but also benefit from a commercial timber investment over time. The timber on the property mostly at mid-rotation stage, so probably 15 years away from harvesting. “Given the current price forecasts for forestry and the race to purchase outdoor rural space of all kinds, it is no surprise that Skiff Wood is attracting a great deal of interest from both commercial investors and lifestyle buyers.”

Growing trees and your farming business By Virginia Harden-Scott, Scottish Forestry Planting trees to boost a farm business can offer can offer considerable benefits and there’s a wealth of support out there too to make it happen. Smaller woodland owners, farmers and crofters accounted for almost 200 of the 320 woodland-creation schemes approved under the Forestry Grants Scheme (FGS in 2021. In Central Scotland, where I work to promote woodland creation, the average size of a new woodland was around 20 hectares, so we are not talking large scale forestry at all. Scottish Forestry is working closely with farming communities to help them weigh up the benefits of adding trees into their existing businesses. The main mechanism for financial support is through the Forestry Grant Scheme, which is run by Scottish Forestry. Farmers can receive grants of up to £6,210 per hectare towards the costs of new woodland planting, with monies for fencing and tree protection available too. Landowners located within the Central Scotland Green Network area may also be eligible for a special contribution of up to £2,500 per hectare.

The FGS is a competitive scheme and open to applications all year round, which means that farmers are able to complete applications in less busy periods. Under current rules, land planted under the FGS remains eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme. In my patch, the Central belt, around £60 million worth of grants, covering 10,299 hectares of woodland creation, have been approved over the past few years. A relatively new initiative that we have launched is the Small Woodland Loan Scheme. It provides a loan to allow landowners to carry out the work required, before receiving the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) claim. I have also been running free Farm Woodland Assessments in the central belt. These assessments help farmers identify the opportunities for integrating trees into existing farm businesses – detailing grant options, exploring predicted expenditure and cash flow through the Forestry Grants Scheme until the woodland is established.

A further project round is planned for Autumn 2021, to register your interest in the assessments contact virginia.

estate Two Scottish landholdings gain prestigious wildlife conservation accreditation Two Scottish landholdings have retained their prestigious international accreditation to recognise their ongoing work in wildlife management and conservation. Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) accreditation has been awarded to Glenmuick Estate and to Rottal Estate, both of which are nestled in the Cairngorms National Park. WES is a national version of the European Landowners Organisation’s Wildlife Estates (WE) accreditation scheme and is driving forward best practice in land management throughout Scotland’s farms, estates and other rural landholdings. Glenmuick is a traditional mixed highland estate near Ballater offering sporting, tourism, housing and agricultural opportunities. The estate works to ensure a balanced environment

Glenmuick Estate


with the primary focus on best practice wildlife management and conservation, including regular and comprehensive breeding surveys. During a dedicated butterfly survey in 2020, 30 species of butterfly were identified on the estate including the near threatened Scotch Argus. Glenmuick are also involved in a collaborative project to restore nutrients on the River Muick in the hope it will rejuvenate algae, insects and aquatic life including juvenile salmon over the coming years. Rottal, meanwhile, is an upland estate with approximately 2600ha of moorland made up of both dry and wet heathland, 200ha of woodland, riparian woodland and scrub and natural regeneration and 400ha of improved and unimproved grass land. The estate farms sheep, has

a grouse moor, red deer, holiday lets and events and also produces electricity via a hydro-electric scheme. The estate is involved with a catchment wide contour tree planting initiative designed to improve natural flood management, control diffuse pollution, improve landscape and habitats and increase biomass and timber production. Rottal has planted 120,000 trees running almost the entire length of the estate and created a number of hedges and riparian plantings along burns. It has also been involved in extensive peatland restoration programmes, creating wet areas, ponds and scrapes. This spring, the estate hosted four curlew nests on an area of restoration. Caroline Pringle, Project Officer at Wildlife Estates Scotland, said: “Landholdings

across Scotland are embarking on vital conservation work that greatly benefits society but often comes at significant cost to the business. Land managers see themselves as custodians of their local habitat and this is especially true at Glenmuick and Rottal. Both estates should be very proud of retaining their WES accreditation following a rigorous process which sets a high benchmark for best practice.” Andrew Walker-Okeover, owner of Glenmuick, said: “The aim of Glenmuick is to do our very best for our shared natural environment and to manage the business of the estate in an ecologically responsible way. The Wildlife Estates Scotland scheme is a great initiative to encourage the sharing of knowledge and best practice management and we are very

Rottal owner Dee Ward and head keeper Mark Palmer on estate using raptor monitoring app

estate pleased that the hard work of everyone on the estate is being recognised for enhancing and safeguarding biodiversity.” Dee Ward, owner of Rottal Estate, said: “We want Rottal to be managed in an integrated and sustainable way and recognise the decisions we make can lead to different outcomes. We want to see biodiversity on our estate such as black grouse, mountain hares, ring ouzels, curlew, lapwing, golden plover and a host of raptors and we work to accomplish that every day. This can still be pursued whilst running a successful business and our involvement in Wildlife Estates Scotland assists us in achieving that aim.”

WES was developed in Scotland by rural business organisation Scottish Land & Estates and was launched in November 2010. Financial support has been provided by NatureScot (formerly SNH) and the scheme’s Advisory Board and Technical Committee has a broad spectrum of representation from organisations including the Cairngorms National Park Authority, RSPB, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust as well as the Scottish Government. Scotland currently sits second in the league table of accredited land in Europe, with only Spain ahead on approximately 1.6 million acres. WES aims to double the accredited land to 2.5 million acres by 2023.

Natural capital and rewilding boosts sales of Scottish estates

Auchavan Estate

Rural property consultancy Galbraith says demand for land for natural capital and rewilding is boosting the market for Scottish estates, alongside the desire for shooting, fishing and stalking. The firm has sold and bought estates valued in excess of £50m over the last two years. The increased variety of motivations for acquiring

an upland estate has stimulated the market further which was already benefiting from the booming forestry sector. Demand outstrips supply by a considerable margin, as only around 15 estates will change hands in a typical year. Average prices are increasing, alongside significant premiums being paid for hill farms and planting land.

Diversity of thought By Stephen Young, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates Summer is usually a quieter time in the world of agricultural policy, as politicians enjoy recess and farming is in full swing trying to make the most of some decent weather. However, for the policy geeks among us, this period has seen the publication of two interesting reports: Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy, and the Farming for 1.5 report. Taking the food strategy first, it includes some interesting points. Having already published part one in July 2020, the final report continued in a similar vein. While the proposed ‘sugar tax’ gained the tabloid headlines, along with concerns this could be just a short leap to a potential red meat tax, looking beyond that is where the real value is. A key message is around education, to try to break the association with junk food and convenience, using any tax income to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for lowincome families. The report also discusses future rural support, recommending guarantee of budgets for agricultural payments until at least 2029 and although this report is for Westminster, it will have a knock-on effect on Scotland. It also reinforces the importance of high production standards in the UK and the need to offer safeguard these in future trade deals. The Farming for 1.5 group also reported with some interesting outcomes, considering the myriad of expectations on land use, such as food production, carbon management and

aiding biodiversity. It is refreshing to see measures of success moving away from a simple carbon calculation, which oversimplifies issues and underplays the benefits of integrated land management. The key to all of this is moving away from a situation where agriculture and the environment are somehow seen as exclusive of each other. There are ways of farming which produce food and are beneficial for the environment, however this is hard to do if carbon is the sole measure of success and the benefits of woodland and peatland sequestration are measured against a different target when in reality it is the same people managing the same land which create both. Best practice and advisory services are also discussed at length and one final interesting point made by this report is the importance of diversity of thought when looking at the future. When talking of the implementation boards for the recent farmer led groups, the report “encourages the government to ensure the membership has diverse expertise and backgrounds.” This seems very important - while practical experience is hugely important, and it is essential that the industry voice is heard, we must not be insular and resistant to outside information and advice. Diversity of thought can be hugely beneficial during change and solutions can come from many corners - circling the wagons and looking inwards seems a flawed idea.

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estate Emma Chalmers, Partner of Galbraith said: “The interesting change is there is now a range of buyers with a variety of interests and no longer are the buyers just interested in the more traditional sports of grouse shooting, stalking, fishing and low ground shooting. “The sales of Glenlochay Estate in Stirlingshire and Auchavan Estate in Angus, sold in 2019 and 2020 respectively, both prompted a number of natural capital buyers to come forward alongside those who were primarily interested in traditional pursuits. However, the sale of Kinrara Estate earlier this year saw the majority of potential buyers with interests in woodland creation and natural capital above all else. This was further experienced when a stock farm was marketed and sold privately, also earlier this year, with a natural capital buyer secured. Thus, demonstrating the changing nature of the market.” Galbraith reports that buyers include corporations, institutions and investment houses, as well as private individuals with a variety of motivations and interests. Private sales have increased considerably as a percentage of the overall market. Emma Chalmers continued: “The Scottish estate has always been sought after, formerly principally driven by interest in traditional sports, together with the desire to ‘get away from it all’. Demand has always outstripped supply, with only about 10 to 15 estates offered for sale each year, either privately or on the open market. “However, we are seeing with the accelerating understanding

of climate change, growing desire to offset carbon usage, both personally and by business, the need to be more visibly green or indeed by some to meet their net zero targets, the traditional estate, together with the hill and stock farms, are attracting increased interest from this new natural capital purchaser. “Some buyers look to plant well designed productive forests, others native woodlands or indeed a diverse mixture of both, with the newer peatland restoration also now coming into the mix. However Natural Capital isn’t meaning the ceasing of the traditional sports as there are many buyers who look to retain some or all of the sport whilst introducing or expanding natural capital elements. “Now, we have demand from buyers motivated by woodland creation, habitat restoration, traditional sports, together with other opportunities with the potential to generate an income such as installing a hydro scheme, wind turbines or perhaps creating a distillery, holiday lets or a wedding venue. Land is being acquired by businesses to offset carbon emissions whilst providing a financial return from other parts of the estate.” The average price for a Scottish estate continues to rise. Hill ground, until recently priced in the region of £600 to £800 per acre, can now see that figure more than double, particularly where natural capital potential exists. With increased demand and more closing dates this has successfully helped drive sale prices to their maximum achievable level.

FARMING SCOTLAND MAGAZINE Subscription details on page 61 Next issue out November 2021 98

How good is your game? By Ross MacLeod Head of Policy, Scotland Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

After a year’s hiatus during the pandemic, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Scottish Game Fair is taking place again between the 24 and 26 September at Scone Palace grounds, near Perth. With trade bookings and entry ticket sales buoyant, it is a positive sign that life is returning to something approaching normality. With farmers and gamekeepers increasingly required to show how their work generates environmental benefits such as the presence of key species and the sound management of key habitats, the theme for the GWCT’s central ringside stand at the Game Fair focuses on demonstrating evidence of best practice. Looking at how this can be achieved in moorland and lowground game management settings, as well as across Scotland’s farmed landscape, the exhibit will set out the background to this drive for evidence. For game managers, this will illustrate how they can go the extra mile to ensure their work delivers ‘net biodiversity gain’.

For farmers, the exhibit will highlight how collaborative working in ‘farmer clusters’ can also deliver environmental benefits at landscape-scale. The display will also explore how information can be collected to benchmark progress, particularly through the Trust’s innovative use of mobile app recording. A particular feature of our 2021 exhibit will be the Moredun Research Institute’s Bio-bus, packed with demonstrations and interactive displays, adding a very important extension of the best practice theme to cover disease management aspects. GWCT has been collaborating with the Moredun to help fund research and development of a new louping ill vaccine, which will greatly assist upland managers in the fight against the scourge of tick. Our professional advisors and researchers will be available on stand throughout the Scottish Game Fair to talk about our wide-ranging services in the uplands, wetlands, lowlands, on farms and in woodlands.

equine Research identifies a key reason for equine pregnancy loss Research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has demonstrated that a chromosomal defect is the reason why a significant proportion of horse pregnancies fail within the first two months of development. This will pave the way for new diagnostic tests for, what could be, one of the most common causes of pregnancy loss in mares. Pregnancy loss is a notoriously difficult condition for veterinary surgeons to manage, as the underlying cause is often unknown. In this pioneering study, researchers from the RVC have determined aneuploid pregnancies, which is when a copy of a whole

chromosome is either duplicated or lost (similar to Down’s Syndrome screened for in human pregnancy), as a key cause of equine pregnancy loss. The researchers, led by Dr Mandi de Mestre, Reader in Reproductive Immunology and Head of the Equine Pregnancy Laboratory at the RVC, collaborated with seven different veterinary practices to gain access to samples from across the UK and Ireland and found that around 20% of the pregnancies lost were aneuploid. Charlotte Shilton, RVC PhD student who performed the analysis, applied three different

genetic approaches to confirm the results. Work is now underway to identify the underlying cause of these aneuploid pregnancies, with early data from this study suggesting it is most commonly introduced via the egg or sperm. Until now, chromosomal defects such as aneuploidy have only been reported as a rare condition in young horses with developmental disorders. This study explains why the condition is so rare in horses, with most embryos and fetuses possessing this genetic change dying very early in development, as is

also observed in human pregnancy. The study highlights the need to reconsider this genetic condition both in pregnancy loss but also for early developmental disorders. Dr Mandi de Mestre, Reader in Reproductive Immunology at the RVC, said: “Early pregnancy loss remains a very frustrating condition for clinicians to treat as the underlying cause is unknown in around 80% of cases. These findings will allow researchers to develop new diagnostic tests for pregnancy losses, which would offer hope to thousands of owners of breeding mares that suffer this condition.


Top 10 things to do at The GWCT Scottish Game Fair 2021 A spectacular celebration of conservation and the countryside for over three decades, The GWCT Scottish Game Fair, sponsored by NFU Mutual, will return to Scone Palace in Perthshire this year from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September, for its 32nd year. The three-day event attracts over 30,000 visitors and will see more than 400 exhibitors come together to showcase some of the country’s finest crafts and clothing, activities and advisory stands. Whether you’re interested in gundogs, falconry, local food & drink, fly fishing, deer stalking or game shooting, there’s plenty to see and do. To make things easier, here’s just a few of this year’s highlights: Gundogs Whether you own a gundog or simply want to see man’s best friend in action, the gundog area is one not to miss. There’s a jam-packed schedule of competitions including the Four

Casting a line


Nations International Gundog Competition which takes place on the Saturday and sees teams from Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales competing with spaniels in the morning and retrievers in the afternoon. There’s also the Any Variety All Age Spaniel and Retriever Tests taking place on Friday with the Any Variety Open Tests plus a Junior Handler Competition on Sunday afternoon from 12.30 to 1.30. The Scurry takes place on all three days and is open to all handlers and any breed of dog with first, second and third place prizes awarded for adults and juniors (£3 entry). There’s a great selection of prizes up for grabs like a Tuffies Dog Bed, Tankards and

dog food vouchers. This year’s Gundog area is kindly sponsored by Skinner’s dog food. The Main Ring Across all three days, visitors can expect to see a huge variety of demonstrations of everything from falconry to pipe bands. Marvel at the spectacle of the birds of prey display from Elite Falconry which will include owls, hawks, vultures and falcons. Sunday will see a special demonstration of working hill ponies from the Balmoral Estate. Stud manager Sylvia Ormiston will discuss the training process of this versatile Highland breed. Across the weekend, visitors can also see the Vale of Atholl,


Blairgowrie and Perth & District Pipe bands plus displays from the Jedburgh Hounds and Dynamic Dogs. Food Theatre Peckish visitors should definitely pay the Food Theatre a visit, with plenty of great talks and demonstrations to get taste buds tingling. Join Amy Rankine on a foraging expedition and see her cook with what you find. Amy will lead two foraging walks through the grounds of Scone Palace, one on Friday and one on Sunday, ending at the food theatre for the 12.30 session preparing a dish or two from the gathered ingredients. Booking for the walks is online but

Scottish Game Fair the presentations are open to all. Watch Praveen Kumar prepare a delicious game bhuna curry and discuss food from the Southern Indian region and how best to source ingredients locally. With five presentations a day there’s more than enough for visitors to sink their teeth into. The Covey The GWCT Covey education tent will be hosting family-friendly interactive stands including the well-known Perthshire ceramics artist Julian Jardine who will be running regular wildlife ceramic workshops all weekend. Why not try your hand at creating your own work of art, whether it’s a perfect partridge or a hopping hare? Get there early to book your slot. Katrina Candy from Bidwells (property and agribusiness consultants) invites families to take part in their ‘Planet Positive’ workshop craft and create sustainable products to decorate their home. There’s also a ‘Planet Positive Superhero’ competition in which the best idea or invention to stop climate change and create a more sustainable environment will win a prize! On top of all that, there will be storytellers in the popular birds’ nest all weekend and the Bio-bus from the Moredun Research Institute will showcase some of their best educational resources including microscopes. VIP Enclosure Add a level of luxury to your visit to this year’s event by taking advantage of one of the VIP packages available. The Grouse package (£87) includes entry to the event along with a copy of the

official show guide, plus access to purchase an otherwise sold out forward parking spot, along with a delicious breakfast created by chef Tim Maddams and all-day entry to the VIP Enclosure, garden, lounge, cash bar and snack menu. The Stag package (£137) includes all of this plus a two-course lunch again with a specially curated menu from Tim. Bushcraft & Countryside Skills Channel your inner Bear Grylls and learn how to set traps and snares for catching game, light a fire and bake fresh bread over the camping stove. Visit Activity Row where Amara Bushcraft tutor Lolly Clark - who was the head instructor for Ray Mears for six years – will be on hand along with an expert team to help improve your outdoor survival skills. Lolly was also a consultant for Bear Grylls and has trained all sectors of the military services and many outdoor instructors throughout the UK. There will be a series of open sessions throughout the day along with information on how best to ‘leave no trace’ when camping and alternatives to using fire. Fishing Whether you’re a seasoned angler or simply curious about casting, there’s plenty to do on Fisherman’s Row; located on the banks of the River Tay. Learn about everything from fly tying and fishing conservation to casting techniques and the latest equipment and accessories on the market. Pop by the Casting Clinic where GAIA fly casting instructors and guides will be on hand to teach you how to cast the fly or will help you iron out any existing casting

The Food Hall boasts great Scottish produce

problems. If you feel inspired by watching the daily fly casting demonstrations, you might want to enter one of the fly fishing competitions. Running on the Saturday and Sunday for amateur ladies, gents and youths; there are prizes in each category for the best casts of the day, with the top prize casting event, the Ballathie House Hotel Scottish Open Spey Casting Championship, open to both amateurs and professionals alike. Shooting With clays organised by Pentangle Shooting Services and Buchan Fieldsports, the ever-popular shooting area offers a range of experiences and competitions for experts and beginners alike. There are stands set up for novices to come and try the clay shooting experience. Qualified and friendly instructors will be on hand to guide you with a shotgun that suits your needs. Clays, cartridges and safety protection are provided. Entries for competitions open at 10am at Shooting Control, where full details of rules, entry requirements and prizes can be found. Competitions include a 40-bird competition (for participants, with their own gun with daily prizes for each category: open, ladies and junior (under 18). Ladies day – taking place on the Saturday – offers the chance for an exciting shoot-off with fantastic prizes that include a day’s shooting for two at Gleneagles. Visitors can also take advantage of the on-site storage for your shotguns. If you wish to temporarily store your shotgun during the event you must produce a valid shotgun certificate.

Falconry Learn everything there is to know about the 4,000-year-old art from the team at Elite Falconry. With fun, amusing and educational commentary, the team will present a whole variety of birds of prey including owls, eagles, hawks, vultures, and kites. Far from showcasing tricks and gimmicks, the birds will only fly in a way that demonstrates their behaviour in the wild. With two demonstrations a day taking place in the main ring at 11.30 and 15.05, handlers will put together a scene to show how the group finds and surrounds a carcass. Visitors will be able to see how the hierarchy between the scavenger birds works and learn more about the significance of nature’s cleanup crew: vultures, who are sadly in critical decline. There will be an opportunity to view the birds up close during a static display where visitors can ask staff any burning bird questions. Shopping With over 400 exhibitors showcasing everything from the finest fudge, gin, smoked salmon and cheese to quality country fashion brands, fieldsports accessories and much more, there are plenty of opportunities to shop. Buying something big or heavy? Don’t despair, you can take advantage of the Shop & Drop service so you can safely leave your purchases in a tent manned by volunteers from Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, who will also be running the car park shuttle buggy service to take your purchase right to your car.

The food hall



25th year for Orkney Auction Mart The epicentre of the county’s agricultural community, Orkney Auction Mart, hit a 25-year milestone recently, and staff have been looking back on past triumphs, and forward to future goals. The mart was established in 1996 — the same year that its current senior auctioneer Graham Low was born! Mr Low said: “I would argue Orkney Auction Mart is one of the central hubs of the Orkney community, but to see it celebrate its 25th anniversary is quite important going forward — that people keep supporting us so we can go from strength to strength. “I’m 25, so I’m actually the same age as the mart!” The £2.7million facility, in Kirkwall’s Hatston Industrial Estate, had its first sale in August, 1996, but was officially opened on September 5, by the Scottish secretary under John Major, and Conservative MP for Stirling, Michael Forsyth. The opening of the building was marked rather appropriately with the smack of a gavel, rather than the cutting of a ribbon. Now, on Monday, August 16, the mart is holding its anniversary sale of store cattle, and is offering up a cash prize for the best individual steer, heifer and more, to encourage farmers to bring out their best beasts. But how have things changed over the years? Mr Low said: “I would say the biggest change from the mart’s point of view would be the advancements in livestock shipping. They’re at a standard now higher than we’ve ever seen before. Welfare-wise, I’d say 102

Graham and Jim

Orkney and Shetland shipping is some of the highest standards in the country. Which is good because more people are trying to make sure that the welfare of animals is to the highest standards, and we’re already there.” Aside from the everchanging weather, the mart has faced its fair share of challenges. Foot and Mouth disease in 2001 was a “nightmare,” Mr Low said, hitting just five years after the mart’s opening. It brought about the closure of the mart for six months, as numerous restrictions were placed across the country. More recently, livestock numbers seem to be dropping. “Sale-wise, I’d say numbers are getting less, cow numbers are slowly disappearing more and more every year, the sheep number will be back considerably

over the 25 years — so there will be less stock about. “We’re relying heavily on young folk coming into farming.” Mr Low therefore is encouraging keen young folk to get involved with the mart, and to give auctioneering a try, to combat an ageing farming population. “It’s like no other job, every day is so different,” he said. “You’re doing office work one day, you’re out in the countryside most days, you’re socialising with the farmers, it’s a really enjoyable job. The fact that you’re generating profit for the whole islands is quite a rewarding feeling.” One of the biggest challenges for the mart however was also its most recent. “When lockdown struck us last March, and the mart shut for that two weeks, it

was definitely a massive worry,” Mr Low added. “The whole community of Orkney was very much on the edge”, said Mr Low. “We were able to do sales with a limited capacity, and the support we got from our customers was pretty overwhelming. I would say even more so in autumn last year when we were able to get our buyers up, our numbers were higher than what we’ve had for the previous five years.” Perhaps the recent lockdown has highlighted the importance of local marts, and reaffirmed the need for communities to support them. “Support local, shop local, back local — it’s an attitude that seems to have come round again.” Looking ahead, Mr Low said it would be really interesting to see where the mart will be in the next five to ten years. “The mart is always expanding”, he said. “We are actually in the process of putting an extension up for extra penning.” This should assist with long sale days, ensuring smoother running on days with large numbers of livestock. They’re also looking to add further lairage facilities for when livestock are stuck overnight, improving welfare standards, comfort for livestock, and additional space. With buyers from across the country, ranging from Aberdeen to Edinburgh to Inverness, Orkney has a firm standing in the country’s agricultural stage. “The fact that there’s such a high demand for Orkney stock makes you quite proud that you’re in the middle of it,” Mr Low added.

Destination Shetland! Shetland’s scenery and culture have long gone hand in hand to attract more visitors, but now working dogs are on the cusp of bringing greater numbers of tourists to the isles. North Mainland crofter and experienced sheepdog-breeder David Murray is carving a niche in rural tourism – one which will aim to allow travellers to see for themselves the experience dogs can gain from working with sheep. Mr Murray is from the croft at Fethaland, where he stays with his partner Isla and family. He is the man behind the Shetland Rural Experience Centre, which aims to provide visitors with an up-close and personal look at Shetland’s sheepdogs doing their absolute best. The Covid crisis has, so far, prevented his plans from reaching fruition, but Mr Murray hopes visitors will be coming to his door from next spring once the virus is held at bay. “We thought we would have a demonstration with dogs for tourists. Then we would have Shetland sheep on display and Shetland ponies, just so visiting tourists could see them,” he said. “There is a lot of interest in it.” Other possibilities include “clinics” for local folk looking to train their dogs in order to help them get the very best from their canine friends. “There could be open days for school bairns to learn about it and hear about it,” he added. “There is usually a litter of puppies knocking around

somewhere here that they would like to see.” Certainly, Mr Murray appears well qualified to pass pearls of wisdom to the next generation. He benefits from 40 years of experience breeding dogs, with more than 20 currently at Fethaland – including a litter of eight pups. “There is a lot of job satisfaction when you see a young dog coming on and maturing into a good working dog,” he said. All those years of experience have, of course, given him an eye that can tell what makes a good working sheepdog. “They vary,” he said. “It’s the same as bairns. They all develop at a different speed. You have to allow them time to mature, because if you work them too hard or too early they go sour – they go off, and get fed up with it.” He added: “It’s a very fine line between not enough and too much work with them.” He said other dogs were keen to work from the get-go. “Some dogs are just really full on. They’ll work day in, day out,” he said. Having dogs can come in handy for working with the sheep. Mr Murray keeps around 300 pure Shetland and Shetland cross Cheviots at Fethaland. Rams are Cheviot or Texel. But he is no stranger to rounding up sheep at competition level, too – even at international level, where his dog Sweep qualified fifth in the Supreme championships of 2019.

David Murray

That makes him the only Shetland trainer to compete on the continent. His experience with sheepdogs is only one area where Mr Murray has shown willingness to diversify, however. Last year Fethaland became the first hosting site for rockets in Shetland and one launched in the summer of 2020. He has previous experience in the oil and gas industry, which once brought him work in Dubai and the United States. More recently he has developed expertise in peat restoration and has played a key role in restoring landscapes. Having created the specialist Peatland Restoration Services three years ago, he is playing a role in the Viking Energy project.

There, he has been called upon to landscape the roadsides of the new Sandwater road. He will aim to restore the natural environment by sowing a bespoke Shetland seed mix. By its very nature, agriculture concerns itself with the land around us. That said, Mr Murray says restoring, or protecting, the environment should prove to be even more of a key aspect of crofting as the sector moves forward. It is an environment Mr Murray is very much a part of. He was brought up at Fethaland – famous for its industrious fishing station, which operated for hundreds of years. His father was the final inhabitant of the peninsula, and only left with his family in 1944.

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Beatha an eilean Com-pàirteachadh coimhearsnachd aig cridhe dhreuchdan ùra Coimisean na Croitearachd Tha Coimisean na Croitearachd a’ cur fàilte air leudachadh a thaobh Sgioba Leasachaidh Croitearachd a stèidheachadh a tha cuimsichte air coimhearsnachdan croitearachd. Tha an sgioba ùr a’ cruthatharrachadh na dòigh san urrainn don Choimisean taic a chur agus conaltradh ri croitearan, agus tha an t-àite sa bheil an dithis oifigearan ùra taobh a-staigh nan Eilean Siar a’ ciallachadh gu bheil iad ann an deagh shuidheachadh gus sin a dhèanamh. Tha an Coimisean cuideachd a’ dol tron phròiseas ann an neartachadh na sgioba Còmhnaidheachd is Cleachdadh Fearainn, le dà oifigear ùr gu bhith a’ tòiseachadh an dreuchd a dh’aithghearr. Leudaichidh na ceithir dhreuchdan ùra comas na buidhne ann a bhith ag obrachadh le coimhearsnachdan croitearachd agus ann am meudachadh fhaicinn ann an croitean gnìomhach. Cuiridh an dà oifigear obaircùise ann an Còmhnaidheachd is Cleachdadh Fearainn ri obair nan sgiobaidhean a thaobh sparradh dhleastanasan croitearachd. Dhaingnich Calum MacMhathain, Neach-gairm ùr Bòrd a’ Choimisein: “Tha sparradh dhleastanasan croitearachd na àrd-phrìomhachas don bhuidhinn agus tha sinn dealasach a thaobh an taobh chudromach seo den Choimisean a neartachadh.” Cuiridh croitearan fàilte air an naidheachd a’ leantainn air foillseachadh air an t-suirbhidh 104

Sgioba Leasachaidh Croitearachd

co-cheangailte ri fo-chleachdadh agus faotainneachd air croitean, a chunnaic 87% de luchd-freagairt a’ comharrachadh chroitean nach robh air an obrachadh, mar dhuilgheadas san sgìre. Tha Karen NicRath à Sgalpaigh far Eilean na Hearadh a’ tighinn gu Coimisean na Croitearachd mar aon den dithis Oifigearan Leasachaidh Croitearachd. A’ toirt iomradh air a dreuchd, thuirt i: “Bha mi dìreach air mo dhòigh an dreuchd seo fhaighinn. Tha mi air a bhith ag obair do dh’Urras Taobh Tuath na Hearadh airson

grunn bhliadhnaichean agus tha eòlas mòr agam air a’ choimhearsnachd croitearachd ionadail.” “Tha croitearachd a’ cothachadh ri mòran dùbhlain, agus tha mi a’ coimhead air adhart ris a’ chothruim a bhith comasach air croitearan a chuideachadh. Eadar gur e a bhith a’ toirt chroitean air ais gu cleachdadh gnothaicheil no a bhith a’ toirt taic do dh’iomadachd, tha sinn an seo gus a dhèanamh cinnteach à leantainneachd phròiseil croitearachd agus a bhith a’ cur ri eaconamaidh dùthchail na h-Alba.”

Còmhla ri Karen mar an t-Oifigear Leasachaidh Croitearachd eile, tha Lynne Nic a’ Mhaoilein à Uibhist a Deas. Chuir Lynne 14 bliadhna seachad roimhe mar Oifigear Taic Gnothachais aig Business Gateway. “Is e àm brosnachail a th’ ann a bhith a’ dol chun a’ Choimisein le foillseachadh air an Sgìoba Leasachaidh ùr. Is e pàirt chudromach de ar dreuchd a bhith a’ stiùireadh chroitearan agus a’ cumail taic ri coimhearsnachdan croitearachd gus gabhaltas chroitean, cleachdadh chroitean agus stiùireadh air fearann ionaltraidh a bhrosnachadh.” Thuirt Heather Mack, Ceannard Leasachaidh Croitearachd aig a’ Choimisean: “Tha mi dìreach air mo dhòigh gu bheil Karen agus Lynne nan dithis a’ tighinn chun a’ Choimisein. Cuidichidh an sgilean cothlamaichte agus an in-shealladh air na dùbhlain agus na cothroman taobh a-staigh croitearachd le tuigse nas fheàrr a thogail do dhleastanas a’ Choimisein taobh a-staigh na coimhearsnachd croitearachd. “Is e amas iomlan na dreuchd ùr leasachaidh seo taic a chur ri neartachadh air croitearachd sna h-Eileanan an Iar a thuilleadh air tarsainn na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean air fad.” Gus conaltradh ris an Sgioba Leasachaidh Croitearachd, cuiribh post-d gu: scot

The seasonal wheel continues to turn and edge us closer to the cooler months, and I’m delighted! Honestly, I am. I have always considered my love of the winter months was due to a birthday in mid-January. I love the snow, frost, and low temperatures. The baking heat in July was no fun at all, but one insect loved it – Clegs. Everyone talked about Clegs, also known as Horseflies, and how numbers had doubled. I was able to verify this on a trip up to a hill loch one fine sunny day, and gained firsthand experience of the biting menace. Summer in Scotland generally means the beasties are out, with the number one terror being the midge. This year’s long dry spell didn’t agree so well with the midge as it loves cooler, cloudy and humid weather but the clegs thrived in the July high temperatures. Of course, when it’s hot we wear less clothing, exposing more skin and creating an easy-accessible feasting buffet for the biting female cleg. As many discovered, the clegs didn’t need exposed skin, and happily took a bite through clothing too. It’s no wonder the red deer herds head up to the high tops when the weather is hot and sunny to escape the beasties. The weather is a topic we always discuss because

by Linda Mellor

SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFE it impacts our daily lives, especially so if you work outdoors, and need to know what the weather is doing, especially during the extremes – the freezing temperatures, and snow blizzards in winter, and the high temperatures of the summer. There are risks to life involved with both extremes. Sadly, this summer, there were a number of tragic deaths as people took to the water during the heatwave in July. Each year, the Scottish countryside populations goes through a transformation, more so during the summer months and into early autumn as road traffic increases when people flock to the open spaces to walk, explore and camp. It’s wonderful for people to explore

the outdoors but there’s a worrying lack of responsibility (this was compounded by the lockdown restrictions and people desperate to get away). Of course, many people embrace the ‘leave no trace’ approach but, from what I have seen, they are in the minority. People seek out a countryside experience, wishing to connect with the outdoors, but many just use and abuse this access. If the wave of countryside disrespect continues, the very things Scotland is famed for, our wildlife, remote bothies, vast open spaces, and scenery, will suffer from damage and may never recover. In some areas, campers cleared up their mess when they left. Positive points for doing so... however… instead of taking all their rubbish home, they dumped it in residential bins at the bottom of rural driveways, and if their rubbish: tents, seats, bin bags full of rubbish, mattresses (not your inflatable camping ones, the kind you have on your bed at home), and tables didn’t fit inside the bins (no surprise there!), it was piled high on the verge. Roadside free-range eggs, plants and jams for sale disappeared and takings boxes were stolen. What can be done to transform the lack of respect and antisocial behaviour into thoughtful, appreciative, and respectful conduct? In Perthshire, the county has Visitor Rangers watch over the countryside and temporary

toilets have been installed in busy areas. The rangers patrol the popular beauty spots to advise campers, prevent parked cars damaging verges and blocking roads. Car parking numbers are monitored, and cars are turned away if there are no spaces available, wildfire risks are promoted on social media in an attempt to stop visitors lighting campfires and BBQs. As the World warms up, we need to adapt our behaviour because we are going to see more and more incidents directly and indirectly related to climate change. Warmer weather means more people outdoors, and more vehicles travelling around rural Scotland. Scotland’s countryside needs help now before it’s too late. People fail to understand the impact of a tinder-dry, sun scorched landscape and the risks of lighting a campfire, and why parking on a verge on a tight corner of a narrow country road is not only dangerous, but also blocks the route for emergency vehicles. Rural fire stations are usually understaffed and over-stretched and, during the summer months they are on high alert due to the large influx of people visiting rural spots. There are many ways to support your local fire service, volunteering (it’s paid) is one way, and attending a fundraising open day is another. https://www.firescotland. 105

0pportunities are out there for you! By Heather Wildman The aim of Women in Agriculture Scotland is to support, inspire and develop women in Scottish Agriculture to achieve their aspirations and create a more progressive, successful and inclusive industry As Vice Chair of the Women in Agriculture Committee it is a privilege to be asked to write this article sharing my experience of investing in self-development and sharing some of the opportunities that are available I moved to live and work in Scotland in 1999 since then my path has taken many twists and turns, high’s and low’s. Losing our first child, being made redundant, moving home and careers 3 times being blessed with 2 gorgeous healthy daughters, divorce, and starting up a new business. Having no clear career plan, leaving school at 15 I have been lucky and worked in many areas of agriculture and paid to travel most of the UK but re-entering employment after taking 3 years off to have my girls was much harder than I had envisioned but thanks to an excellent back up team of neighbours and professional child care we got by. At age 39 and the girls 8 + 7 I started to feel frustrated, sometimes misunderstood in my work and that I could do more? This was when I was introduced to Scottish Enterprise Rural Leader. I had never been on any leadership or personal development program and it was terrifying and fantastic, I met the best people, I was out of my comfort zone meeting politicians, high profile speakers, life coaches and pushed and stretched, I rose to this challenge and flourished in the new dynamic, and realised that when I was frustrated and angry at work , it was no use blaming others – I could not change them – 106

I could only change myself! This led to me changing my job and me realising that I actually had a lot to offer. In 2012 I was introduced to another Leadership programme Nuffield Farming Scholarship - here you get paid to travel the world…. (I know!) you write a report and the world is your oyster. I had never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be accepted or that I would be good enough but I was and I am. I spent over 11 weeks travelling through Chile, Peru, Brazil, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Canada, America, Ireland and Wales it was the most amazing opportunity, cowboying in Montana, sailing up the Amazon, locked in a high Intensive Prison in Canada, meeting politicians, scientists, researchers, ranchers, heads of massive companies, entrepreneurs, developers, farmers, families, people. It was a privilege to meet all of these people to listen to their stories their scarifies and their successes. On returning I wrote my report on “ Communication- how to influence and motivate change” In 2014 I left full time employment and set up my own business Saviour Associates Ltd - “Saving asses and kicking asses, soft skills with a sledge hammer!” I specialised in staff management, motivation & communication, Leadership, Resilience and then in 2016 I branched into Family Succession facilitation. I have been fortunate and I have had the most amazing opportunities but I have to say that this is all down

to being brave enough to listen to others (the right kind) step out of my comfort zone, take time away from the family and prioritise myself and most importantly invest in myself. Agriculture and Agriculture in Scotland is a small place and I love it when I bump into and work with many of the people that I have met through my work and leadership programmes – networking is the key that unlocks potential – it’s not what you know it’s who you know that helps to open doors and make amazing things happen For Women in Agriculture in Scotland never has there been more opportunities, people want you to succeed, people want to support you – there are numerous opportunities now you just need to find the right one for you, believe in yourself, apply and you will and can make time for it if you really want it. Check out and see what is the next step for you: SAYFC – Cultivating Leaders Scottish Enterprise Rural Leaders - optimise-your-team-performance/ rural-leadership-programme Scottish Government Be your best Self - news/women-in-agriculture-1/ Nuffield Farming Scholarships -

Women in Food and Agriculture Summit - https://www. We also have 2 webinars to sign up for and to put in your diaries : Women in Agriculture Scotland In collaboration with AHDB on the 31st August – how to get your Ducks in a row – to book your place uk/events/getting-your-ducks-ina-row What does every family farming business need to know and consider – join an accountant, solicitor, book keeper/consultant + a family facilitator who will all share their tips and key messages on succession, understanding your tax, budgeting & cashflow, key performance indicators and looking more in depth at your business on an enterprise level Following a survey we are also offering a webinar with NERFERTITI https:// on the 21st September where we will learn more about how women in Agriculture from other countries entered into farming, their hopes, aims and challenges, what training and support they have had and if there is more required? To keep abreast of all that is happening please check out our social media Twitter @WiAScot Facebook Women in Agriculture Scotland Instagram womeninagriculturescotland Go on, what’s stopping you?

Orkney Boreray Bridies By Wendy Barrie

Ingredients: 250g minced Orkney Boreray mutton Half a large onion, peeled & chopped Scottish sea salt & freshly milled pepper 1tbsp homemade breadcrumbs 1dessertspoon pickled nasturtiums (or capers) – a few more if wished 1 dessertspoon chutney – optional 1 egg 1 batch rough puff pastry – or readymade

Photograph © Wendy Barrie

These can be successfully batch-made and frozen for tasty picnics or easy lunches. I used the same recipe to make mouth-watering sausage rolls with this filling or alternatively you could make one large plaited centrepiece – all equally delicious just with different cooking times depending on size.

Method: s &IRST COOK THE MINCE BY DRY FRYING IN A PAN ADDING ONIONS AND SEASONING AS THE MINCE STARTS TO BROWN AND RELEASES SOME FAT s 7HEN THE MUTTON IS THOROUGHLY COOKED STIR IN BREADCRUMBS CHUTNEY AND PICKLED NASTURTIUMS 3ET ASIDE TO COOL s 0RE HEAT OVEN ª# s 2EMOVE PASTRY FROM FRIDGE AND DIVIDE INTO 2OLL OUT EACH PORTION INTO A CIRCLE USING A MEDIUM SIZED PLATE TO GUIDE YOU s "RUSH THE PASTRY EDGES WITH BEATEN EGG AND PLACE OF THE lLLING ON ONE HALF OF THE CIRCLE &OLD OVER TO CREATE A HALF MOON s 0INCH EDGES TOGETHER SLASH TO ALLOW ANY STEAM TO ESCAPE AND GLAZE WITH EGG 2EPEAT WITH THE REMAINING PASTRY AND lLLING s "AKE FOR MINUTES UNTIL PASTRY IS CRISP AND GOLDEN AND lLLING HEATED THROUGH Makes 4 good- sized bridies or a feast platter of rolls! Any leftover pastry can be chilled or frozen for another day – just lay the scraps on top of one another and roll. Don’t be tempted to knead together or you will destroy the layers. One batch of rough puff pastry: 400g strong flour ½tsp sea salt 300g hard chilled butter 250mls whey, if available, or cold water + 4tsps lemon juice Beaten egg to glaze Method: s 4O MAKE PASTRY ADD SALT TO mOUR AND RUB IN OF THE WEIGHED BUTTER #UT REMAINING BUTTER INTO SMALL CUBES AND DROP INTO mOUR coating each lightly with flour to separate the pieces. s !DD ALMOST ALL THE LIQUID AND BRING THE DOUGH TOGETHER COMBINING GENTLY WITH A SMALL PALETTE KNIFE ADDING REMAINING LIQUID as necessary. s 4IP THIS ROUGH MASS ONTO A mOURED SURFACE AND SHAPE INTO AN ELONGATED BRICK USING THE PALETTE KNIFE OR A ROLLING PIN &OLD OVER this rough oblong in thirds. Don’t handle unnecessarily. s 2OLL OUT GENTLY ON A mOURED BOARD INTO A THICK RECTANGLE &OLD PASTRY IN AND TAKE A QUARTER TURN TO THE LEFT 2EPEAT ROLLING AND folding 3 more times, creating layers. After a total of 4 roll-and-folds in all, wrap in clingfilm to chill in fridge until ready to use. Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife, Wendy Barrie is a highly respected campaigner for local sustainable food, popular cookery show presenter and food writer. Founder & Director of award-winning & Wendy is Leader in Scotland for Slow Food Ark of Taste & Member of Slow Food Cooks Alliance.



The Cairngorms The search for the El Alamein In the penultimate edited extract from his book ‘The Cairngorms: A Secret History’, Patrick Baker tracks down its lost high-level shelters

a few still remain: the tiny Garbh Coire Bothy; the Hutchison Memorial Hut in Coire Etchachan; the Fords of Avon Refuge and the famous Corrour Bothy.

For years, I had heard rumours about this mysterious refuge. That it was supposedly situated at over 3,000 feet somewhere on the steep western flank of Strath Nethy, but was almost impossible to find. There was one shelter, however, that had been largely forgotten about. It was neither actively used, nor completely yet vanished; instead, its continued

existence had become something of a myth. For years, I had heard rumours about this mysterious refuge. That it was supposedly situated at over 3,000 feet somewhere on the steep western flank of Strath Nethy, but was almost impossible to find. The positioning of the El Alamein refuge was a mistake. It was never intended to be built on the northern spur of the Cairn Gorm mountain, tucked literally out of sight and notionally out of mind in a rarely venturedto part of the Cairngorms. The story goes that its placement was a navigational error. Built

by members of 51st Highland Division and named after one their most famous battles, a mix-up in grid references led to its construction not on the high plateau, like its sister hut the St Valery, but on an incidental ridgeline. Distanced from major climbs and too close to the edge of the range to be of practical use, its obscurity and lack of purpose eventually became the reason for its survival. It was, apparently, still there: a jumble of rocks, clustered around a metal frame, barely noticeable among the broken moraine of the Strath Nethy hillside. My plan Picture: Lee Haxton

The Curran, St Valery, Jean’s Hut, Bob Scott’s Bothy, the Sinclair Hut: the names of the old Cairngorm shelters held an undeniable mystique for me. They seemed redolent of a bygone, pioneering era of mountaineering. Most of the shelters have long since disappeared. Bob Scott’s Bothy was destroyed by fire, rebuilt and destroyed by fire again; Jean’s Hut and the Sinclair Hut became derelict or were dismantled; the Curran and the St Valery demolished after the 1971 Feith Bhidhe tragedy in which five schoolchildren and their instructor died. Elsewhere in the Cairngorms

The Cairngorm plateau looking towards Ben Macdui, Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine


BOOK SERIALISATION was to try to find it, and visit the other two high-level sites, the Curran and the St Valery too. The Curran Bothy, at a bridging point between the bulwark of the Northern Corries and the highest point in the range, seemed a logical place to build a shelter: a refuge at a place of extreme exposure, a halfway point and crossroads in the wind, though it was badly positioned and often lost beneath the snow. A couple of kilometres to the south of the col was the oldest surviving shelter of the plateau: Sappers’ Bothy. Now just a loose collection of stones, resembling a sheep pen more than a building, it had once housed the men from the Royal Engineers, who mapped the area for the Ordnance Survey in 1847 from their makeshift base near the summit of Ben Macdui. Positioned above the exit point for several major climbing routes, the St Valery straddled a wide featureless expanse on one side and a terrifying void on the other but was notoriously hard to find. In the appalling weather conditions during the Feith Buidhe disaster, even an experienced mountain rescue team, tasked with checking the hut, failed to locate it. As I turned to leave, I caught sight of a rectangular stone tablet, grey against the pink rock. It was a plaque, roughly two feet by one foot, with florid dots of lime-green lichen pock-marking its surface. Running across the centre, barely noticeable at first,

was an incised line of weathered text: St Valery Refuge. Below, there was a date – 1962 – and the insignia of Highland Division –the men who built St Valery. I had not expected to find anything of the St Valery still remaining, and my unexpected discovery spurred me northwards, across the rolling levels of the plateau, back towards my starting point and the ridgeline that held the remains of the lost shelter of El Alamein. I had a grid reference and it was marked on my map, so I thought it would be easy to find. There appeared to be little scope for error. In one direction, the land slipped steeply down into Strath Nethy’s deep ravine just as the contour lines suggested, and in the other ran the finger of ridgeline that extended from the summit of Cairn Gorm. The shelter was surely somewhere in between, yet I couldn’t find it. Perhaps the shelter had simply crumbled back into the mountain. Perhaps I was, at that moment, sitting amongst the clutter of its remains. Perhaps the shelter was now truly lost. Months later, when I went back, I found the shelter almost immediately, barely twenty feet below where I had walked earlier in the year. Now, though, in intense sunlight and shadow, the shelter appeared in clear definition. The El Alamein was like nothing I had ever seen before on a Scottish hillside and I was astounded at the sight of it. Its position seemed improbable.

In the sunshine, the El Alamein shelter on the steep slopes of Strath Nethy, proved a lot easier to find

Teetering on what looked to be the last available patch of horizontal land before an almost sheer drop into the glen below, it reminded me of mountain structures I had seen in the Alps: hay-barns and cattle-sheds perched on tiny balconies of grass thousands of feet above deep glacial valleys. Perhaps it had been the disappointment of not finding the shelter the first time, or the months of ruminating about its possible whereabouts, or simply the uniqueness of its form and position, but the refuge seemed no less enigmatic, no less exceptional in real life. More so in fact. The construction looked worryingly unstable. Rocks of various sizes had been stacked with an unfathomable logic of placement, forming both the outer walls and the roof of the building. In between the boulders, a natural mortar had developed. Vivid green mosses and grasses grew where, over time, earth had collected in the gaps. At the base of the wall nearest to me, I found another granite tablet, similar to the one at Stag Rocks, placed like a keystone with rocks loaded upon it. This time the engraved writing was much clearer: ‘El Alamein Refuge’, and ‘1963’, had been carved expertly in an elegant serif font. At the narrow entranceway there was a small metal door. I pushed it gently and it creaked open on its metal frame. The internal framework was wrought iron, rusted to a deep umber.

Vertical shafts had been cemented into ground with the roof supports bolted to them at forty-five degree angles. A metal mesh had been welded to the structure and sack cloth hung around it. Running the length of the shelter, a leftover section of the mesh had been bent double and was fixed as a six-foot long bench. It felt calm inside, protected and enclosed, despite a quarter of the roof missing. It reminded me somehow of a grotto, a deliberately conceived place of reflection and veneration. No longer a place of practical purpose, but a curiosity, a mountain artefact. A structure not just to be linked to one terrible event, but representative of an entire mountaineering cultural heritage. The embodiment of centuries of exploration of Scotland’s high places and a reminder of a time when seeking shelter in the Cairngorms was not only a necessity but an integral part of the outdoor experience. This is an edited extract from The Cairngorms: A Secret History by Patrick Baker (Birlinn, £9.99pbk). Readers can buy it and/or Unremembered Places: Exploring Scotland’s Wild Histories, also by Patrick Baker (Birlinn, £14.99 hbk), with 15% off while stocks last. Both free p&p in the UK. To order, phone 0845 370 0067 or log on to Quote code CAIRNFS2020. Offer ends 31 December 2021.

The inscription at the El Alamein refuge, bearing the insignia of the Highland Division


finance Providing for non-farming children Passing assets on to non-farming children may seem complicated but there are options to do so while keeping the farm intact. For any farming family with more than one child there will be a point at which the topic of inheritance is raised and how the assets will be divided, particularly if not all the children are involved in the farming business, explains Julia Banwell, director and chartered financial planner at rural accountant, Old Mill. “On the whole, most will want to keep the farm as intact as possible, so how can parents provide for their nonfarming offspring?” Splitting the inheritance fairly doesn’t necessarily mean equally, she says. “Fair is your own assessment of what you believe is right. So when you are considering how to divide assets between the children, the most important thing


is that you are comfortable with the split, whether that is equal or not.” But when it comes to assessing assets, what should be considered? “Family farmers often have farm cottages, pensions, savings or buy-to-let properties which can be used to provide a lump sum to non-farming children,” says Mrs Banwell. Though cottages often remain with the farm, they could be left to non-farming children with the Will containing a set option or covenant for the farming child to have first refusal to purchase them if and when sold. If property assets are off-farm, like buy-to-lets, this is less likely to be a necessity. “There is also an option to nominate pensions upon death to the non-farming children, and savings and cash funds could be similarly used. However, it is

important to work through the cost of inheritance tax to understand exactly what will be left for them after the tax bill has been met,” she adds. “Where there are no off-farm assets, there is the option to divide the farm – though this is rarely the preferred choice. In this situation, the main farm area could be left to the farming child, with outlying land allocated to the other children – again perhaps with an option to purchase stated in the Will for the farming child,” explains Mrs Banwell. “Alternatively, the entire farm could be left to all the descendants, with some or all of it in trust. This means that if land is sold, the proceeds will be split between all of them.” Where some of the farmland has development potential, it may be sensible to treat it differently to

the rest of the farm. “The potential development land could be left in trust to all of the children, with a proviso that it can be let to the farming child while it remains undeveloped,” she says. “Or it could be left to the non-farming children only, with an expression that there should be the option for the farming child to rent it prior to development.” “And transferring this type of land to a trust before death could lock in Agricultural Property Relief or Business Property Relief as they are set at present.” Another option is to put in place a Whole of Life insurance policy, suggests Mrs Banwell. “This is a policy which pays out a lump sum upon death – providing the premiums are paid throughout your lifetime. “Though it involves paying a premium every month, it can be

finance far more cost-effective than the farming child needing to borrow money to pay off their siblings.” As an example, if a male aged 65 and a female age 62, both nonsmokers, wanted a £1m pay-out with a fixed premium, it would cost £1,663/month for the rest of their lives – or just under £20,000/ year. “It would take more than 50 years for them to have paid into the policy the amount to be received,” she explains. In comparison, if the farming child has to take out a £1m loan upon death to buy out their siblings at an interest rate of 3.5% over 25 years, this would cost them £5,006/month; just over £60,000/year. “Borrowing funds after death means that they would need to repay both the original borrowed sum of £1m, plus interest - taking the total cost of actioning this post death to around £1.5m. Like most things, it is significantly less expensive if it is possible to plan for this in advance. “There are many aspects and options to consider before drawing conclusions,” says Mrs Banwell. “It is sensible to involve all parties to help you reach the most equitable solution for your own family, providing significant peace of mind in later years.” For more information contact Ben Carter on 07825 620052.

Integrated Farm Software keeping Desk Time to a minimum Farmers are facing ever increasing demands for legislative, financial and performance data for their enterprises from government bodies and produce buyers (and for their own piece of mind and business management needs). Straightforward practical software solutions come in more than handy to take the strain.

THEMONEYMAN The going green considerations for rural businesses By Ian Craig The environmental conference COP26, hosted by the UK government, takes place in Glasgow in November. More than 150 countries will come together to outline how they will reach the goal of netzero carbon emissions by 2050. The UK is set to announce its hydrogen strategy, designed to shift consumption away from fossil fuels and its boiler strategy, which will outline how consumers will be encouraged to swap oil and gas boilers for hydrogen. The total bill by 2050 is estimated to be £400 billion, and the Chancellor committed £12 billion at the last Budget for green infrastructure and new technologies. This commitment was targeted at larger scale renewable projects, rather than smaller scale projects many rural businesses have developed in the past. The Feed-in Tariff scheme which previously encouraged many rural businesses to develop their own projects was successful, if measured on the number of renewable installations that have appeared across Scotland over the last 10 years. The tariff was a financial incentive designed to offset the initial risk of investing in renewable technology, but I do not believe we will see this scheme reopened. Renewable electricity generation is encouraged at a much larger scale or in projects that can make a financial return without subsidy at

Ian Craig, Partner at Azets

all. For rural businesses, there seems to be a shift away from generation of power to utilisation of greener technologies. As technologies evolve, market forces push prices down and this will eventually need to happen with hydrogen and heating systems. The problem is the journey needs to start somewhere and initially these technologies will be expensive for businesses. Whether there will be financial incentives available to consumers in the short term to support a switch in technologies remains to be seen. As we emerge from Brexit and COVID-19, inflation is driving up costs in the food supply chain and for farmers that is difficult when capital expenditure was already a big cost to justify. Retailers are reluctant to pass price increases onto consumers to protect market share and instead look for efficiencies from suppliers. There is little or no efficiencies left in the chain, and although I expect consumer prices

will rise, primary producers will still need to be efficient to be competitive. Changing behaviours takes time, and for farmers to invest or take a risk in green technology, tax incentives and meaningful levels of grant need to be introduced. Currently, there are few tax incentives available for investment in green technologies. Buying a new electric car through your limited company is quite attractive, but aside from that there is not much else worth mentioning. The current strategy relies on the supply chain making other businesses comply and is perhaps overly reliant on the self-imposed environmental obligations of business. In order to kick start green investment a bolder tax strategy needs to be considered by Government and the innovators will embrace it. Given the capital-intensive nature of farming, I don’t think expensive technology will be a barrier to some businesses, who may also be happy to overcome labour issues at the same time. The supply chain is already benchmarking farmers on their environmental credentials, and there is no doubt supermarkets are going to turn up the volume on this. Some more specific guidance on environmental improvements would be beneficial so businesses know what to focus on, and use of alternative fuels on farms is not far round the corner.

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

finance SUM-IT’s integrated Total farm software (covering Farm Accounts, Livestock and Field records) is designed to ensure farm data need only be entered once. Providing both financial and physical records, updating all relevant areas of the farm management database and interacting with external bodies, from HMRC to ScotEID to QMS and many others. Alongside, Mobile Apps give multiple operators access to their records and an opportunity to view and update animal and field data events as and when they happen away from the office, rather than later that evening from a scrap of paper pulled out of your pocket. As SUM-IT’s software is specifically designed to cater for farmers’ needs, all the idiosyncrasies of farm accounts (such as contras like commission and levies) are easily processed and relevant auto-populated reports can supply an accurate up to date analysis of each enterprise’s performance.


Initial set up data, such as current cattle on holding, can all be downloaded and imported from relevant bodies to minimise

the initial effort of setting up such systems from scratch. SUM-IT’s friendly software support services manned by staff

with farming backgrounds also quickly smooths off the learning curve. Go to for more information.

Farmers: Make your cash work harder Farmers traditionally reinvest any surplus cash straight back into the business, or hold it in a current account where typically no interest is paid – but their money could be working harder. By using a separate savings account, farmers can earn interest on their cash while still having it readily available for use. In order to facilitate this, Oxbury, the agricultural bank, has just launched a new 35-day Notice Account, paying market-leading interest rates to help farm businesses get more from their money. “At Oxbury, most of us have farming backgrounds, so we are

truly dedicated to supporting British agriculture,” explains co-founder Tim Coates. “We know cash is king and cashflow management is crucial. However, we believe any cash surplus should be working as hard as possible, so have introduced this new Notice Account to help farmers have the best of both worlds – earning decent interest rates while still having access to their cash within a month.” The new 35-day Notice Account pays a rate of 0.71% which includes an active farmer bonus - while the bank’s existing 95-day Notice Account pays

0.81%. There is also a oneyear bond available to farmers, paying 0.86%. “We do have savings accounts open to the public who want to support British farming, but these farm business accounts offer market-leading rates just forfarmers,” says Mr Coates. “We understand the importance of supporting British farmers so everything we do is designed to help make their businesses better.” To find out more and to open an account, visit, www.oxbury. com

clothing How hi- vis safety footwear can save life as well as limb Much has already been written about the worrying record of injuries and fatalities in farming so let’s firstly focus on a breakthrough in personal safety: hi – vis safety footwear. Buckbootz is Scotland’s own safety footwear brand and is the pioneer and leader in hi- vis safety footwear. The company launched the first ever range of high visibility and reflective leather and Cordura® safety boots called Buckz Viz in 2018. Cordura® is one of the world’s toughest man-made fabrics. Buckz Viz

was followed by the neoprene/ rubber hi – vis and reflective BBZ 8000 safety wellington in December 2020 to bring totally new dimensions of personal safety along with 360ª reflectivity to working environments on the farm. Many of the fatalities, injuries and close calls at

agricultural locations involve reversing vehicles and machinery movement. You tend to think about hi – vis clothing in these circumstances but in many cases the first things you see in mirrors when reversing are legs and feet. (Nowadays many cyclists wear hi -vis footwear as well as clothing and what’s the first t h i n g w h i c h catches your eye? Moving feet). Buckz Viz and BBZ 8000 have literally made end users sit up take notice and there is one very important point to remember: reflective on its own is not sufficient. Hi – vis is effective in all light, in all conditions, round the clock and all year round. With autumn and winter approaching vehicle and personnel movements in poor light and darkness increase and so does danger to life and limb. The Buckz Viz range comes with full EN / UKCA S3 standards certification. They are waterproof and non-metallic too and the hi – vis Cordura ® material is easily and quickly cleaned when required with some warm water and a soft brush. BBZ 8000 comes with a host of safety features and one outstanding innovation: full EN / UKCA certified ankle protection. At last, a wellie which protects your toes from impact, stops nails going through the soles and prevents those painful bangs to the ankle bones. The configuration of the ankle protection also brings protection to the achilles area too and contributes to making BBZ 8000 the most snug fitting wellie ever. However, be on guard. There are safety footwear products with high and niche market profiles which only have safety toecap protection. These carry the EN / UKCA code, “SB “. If “P” is not also shown in the label code then the footwear does not provide nail stop protection. Safety footwear carrying the EN / UKCA codes S3 and S5 have both safety toe and nail stop protection as part of the specification. Buckbootz has championed personal safety in farming since 1998 and is using this unwavering commitment to create new and exciting products to help drive home the safety awareness message in all farming environments; indoors, outdoors and in all weathers.


machinery Valtra’s smart front-loader Valtra’s extensive experience with factory-fitted front loaders culminates this year in a completely new front-loader control experience. Together with its fifth generation of tractors, Valtra is launching the completely new Precision Lift & Load app for G, N and T Series SmartTouch models. Precision Lift & Load takes front-loader work to a new level and further strengthens Valtra’s position as the ideal front-loader tractor and developer of easy-touse technology solutions. The new app enables the tractor operator to use and measure loading tasks in a completely new way. The precision of work is significantly enhanced by the loader scale function, which weighs the loads of different materials, such as the weight of hay bales when feeding livestock. The app collects weighing data, and once the task has been completed, the operator can transfer the data to an Excel spreadsheet for invoicing purposes. The app also enhances work productivity and safety, as the

upper and lower limits for loader movements and the maximum angles can be set, stopping the loader automatically when the limits are reached. There is also an easy-to-use shake function that helps the operator ensure that no materials remain in the bucket such as wet snow or sand.

These new features make front-loader work even easier, more efficient, more comfortable and, most importantly, safer. The app is operated from the touchscreen on the award-winning SmartTouch armrest and does not require any separate controls or displays. Adjusting the settings of the Precision Lift & Load app is

easier than using a smartphone, so the operator can relax and enjoy the work while the tractor automatically takes care of all the front-loader settings. Precision Lift & Load functions for different frontloader tasks can be saved as profiles in the SmartTouch interface.

Standen Engineering to supply AVR Harvesters and Crop Handling Equipment Standen Engineering would like to announce that they are to begin supplying AVR selfpropelled potato harvesters and in-store equipment to the whole of the UK. AVR are renowned for their user friendly machines with long


service life and low maintenance costs. As a result the Belgium based company’s self-propelled harvesters are amongst the most popular in mainland Europe. The AVR range includes 4 row self-propelled harvesters as well as 1 and 2 row trailed bunker

harvesters. Their in-store crop handling product offering includes elevators, conveyors, receiving hoppers and pick-up loaders. The launch of AVR harvesters and in-store equipment further strengthens Standen’s UK product offering

in the specialist potato and vegetable machinery market and sits perfectly alongside their own manufactured range which includes; Standen BX Bedformers, Powavator Bedtillers, Megastar and Uniplus Stone & Clod Separators, SP


Planters, FM-2 Flail Toppers, QM Windrowers, T2xs & T3 Harvesters and Baselier Hook Tine Cultivators, Haulm Toppers and Combination Planters.

Martyn Gardner, Sales Director at Standen said “We are excited about this new partnership as it gives us a range of products that we haven’t

had before, particularly the self propelled and off-set bunker harvesters. We remain dedicated to our core business areas and see this as a massive boost for

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ourselves and the growers of the UK, who will have access to the AVR products with the support of our Service and Parts departments across the UK.”

machinery Complete new TRION combine range designed to ‘Fit your Farm’ With the introduction of the new TRION range of combines, CLAAS has completed the final stage in the total replacement of its combine range, which started with the introduction of the new generation LEXION 8000/7000 combines in 2019. The TRION is a completely new range of combines, with a total of 20 models available including not only conventional 5- and 6-straw walker machines, but also single and twin rotor hybrids, plus the availability TERRA TRAC and MONTANA hillside versions. The wide range of farms, crops and climates in which CLAAS combines work around the world, mean that combines of this size have to be versatile.


machinery This is reflected in the extensive range of variants, features and options to ensure that the new TRION provides customers, whether they be a small mixed arable farm looking for a simple, straightforward machine or a large arable unit looking for a more technically advanced combine to maximise output, with a TRION model that can be specified to truly ‘Fit your Farm’.

While at its heart the new TRION relies on well proven CLAAS straw-walker and HYBRID threshing technology, it also incorporates many features that set completely new performance standards on combines of this size. Several key new features within the TRION set it apart: • The extensive range of 20 models available

• The range of threshing systems available: straw walker, single rotor HYBRID and twin-rotor HYBRID • The massive separation area for high-capacity threshing • JET STREAM standard across all models • New British-built Cummins engines that provide optimum power for the size of combine

• Wide availability of wheeled, tracked TERRA TRAC and MONTANA hillside models • A new design of CLAAS cab that brings higher cab comfort standards • Tank capacities that set a new standard for this size of combine • Extensive range of chopping options

McCormick X5 - new engines and even better performance For customers in search of power and comfort, McCormick offers the new X5 range, ideal for open field and round the farm work. There are three models available: the X5.100, X5.110 and X5.120, which respectively deliver maximum power outputs of 95, 102 and 114 HP. The range is offered in two different trim levels: Premium, which is intended to completely satisfy all the customers’ needs, and Efficient, which offers entrylevel specifications. In addition to those indicated above, there are also two high clearance models available, the X5.100 HC and X5.110 HC, which are particularly suitable for horticultural crops. The new and more captivating design has maintained its compact size, but offers improved operator visibility and comfort. The Stage 3B/Tier4 Interim engine on the previous range has been replaced with a Stage V model. The new FPT F36 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 3.6-litre, Turbo Intercooler engines with Common Rail electronic injection are equipped with EGR/DOC/ DPF/SCR technology. The exhaust gas treatment system is integrated under the bonnet, thus ensuring maximum visibility from the driver’s seat.


machinery The diesel tank’s capacity has been increased to 135 litres, with an AdBlue® tank of 13 litres, thus ensuring greater daily performance with a 10% reduction in fuel consumption and decreased emissions. The new hydraulic circuit is designed to increase productivity, offering flow rates of up to 82 L/min for the spool lines and 32 for the steering line, with up to 35 litres of oil available for use. This translates into greater operational convenience for the operator, thanks to faster execution, the possibility of performing multiple operations simultaneously, reduced consumption, lower engine speeds, and decreased noise and vibrations.




machinery LEMKEN drilling combination with front hopper LEMKEN, the specialist for professional arable farming, has optimised the front hopper and coulter bar system: The latest innovations to the Solitair 23+ front hopper and OptiDisc 25 coulter bar add even greater versatility to the LEMKEN range of seeding machines. The ISOBUS capabilities of the combination ensure precise, convenient adjustment as well as optimal utilisation of the machine fleet. ISOBUS technology is new in the Solitair 23+. Adjustments, for example to the seeding rate or width section control, can be made via the MegaDrill control on the tractor terminal. This takes strain off the operator and ensures the efficient use


machinery of consumables and seeding without overlap of up to four width sections. Combined with the rotary harrow Zirkon 12 and the OptiDisc 25 coulter bar, the Solitair 23+ front hopper forms a compact, agile drilling combination. This delivers a better distribution of weight compared to rear-mounted systems, allowing smaller tractors to be used for efficient drilling technology. The front hopper is suitable for both seeds and fertiliser and is therefore ideal for sowing maize in combination with the Azurit precision seed drill. In addition to the 4 and 4.5 metre folding versions already on the market, the OptiDisc 25 coulter bar will be available in 3 and 4 metres rigid and 5 and 6 metres foldable versions. These new folding variants feature an additional transport system for road use. The transport support wheels take loads of up to 3.5 tonnes off the tractor’s rear axle, ensuring that the tractor’s


maximum permissible axle load and gross weight are complied with. The additional transport system locks and unlocks in just a few steps.

The proven parallelogramcontrolled double disc coulters are at the heart of the OptiDisc 25 coulter bar and depth control rollers ensure seeds are placed precisely at the

pre-set depth with both mulch and conventional tillage. Also, coulter pressure can be mechanically or hydraulically adjusted independently of the seed depth.

The new 7 Series TTV from Deutz-Fahr The new 7-Series TTV by Deutz-Fahr includes the 7250 TTV and 7250 TTV HD, which offer greater comfort and higher traction force paired with highest efficiency through the new SDF TTV Compound Transmission. So confident is Deutz-Fahr of the 7-Series high quality, reliability and lowest running cost too, that the engine oil replacement interval has been increased to 1000hrs, while the transmission has been increased to 2000hrs.

machinery The Deutz TCD 6.1 Stage V engine now offers up to 247HP and a maximum torque of 1072Nm. The new SDF TTV Compound Transmission – equipped with the PowerZero function and the wellknown PowerShuttle – ensures amazing pulling performance and highest acceleration, while reaching 60kph at less than 1800 engine rpm (40kph @ less than 1200 engine rpm).

The TTV transmissions offer the perfect combination of two extremely efficient hydrostatic units paired with optimized mechanical components. The new powertrain guarantees extreme robustness through a high mechanical power flow in typical working conditions at low and high speeds. Larger diameter rear tyres (2.05m) are now available for

the new 7-Series TTV and the payload has been increased to up to 6.5t, with a gross vehicle weight of 15.5t. This increases to 16t with the 7250 HD version. Intelligent front axle suspension is available, as are dry disc brakes, for improved road safety. The turning circle has also been reduced by almost 2m. A new steeper hood and raised cab, ensures greater

all round visibility. The front 5450kg lift capacity can be coupled with the DUAL SPEED front pto to provide a change of the pto speed from 1000 to 1000ECO in the InfoCentre. ECO PTO speeds at the rear too, allow the operator to work at partial speeds, providing clear advantages in terms of consumption and reduction of wear.

New HORSCH Avatar M drill expands the range HORSCH’s new M model in the Avatar drill range offers operational reliability in difficult conditions, minimum soil movement and erosion protection. From Australia to Central Europe and North America, farmers already rely on the Avatar direct drills, available in working widths up to 12m, to provide performance, flexibility and operational reliability. HORSCH is expanding the range with the Avatar M line. This line is based on a new central frame concept for the seed wagons to create different options for hopper partitions and hopper systems.

To begin with, it will be available with an 18m working width. The new Avatar 18 M is equipped with a triple tank system with three separate chambers and offers a significantly larger hopper capacity than other machines that already exist on the market. The division of the three hoppers in 2000 litres, 5300 litres and 5300 litres allow for metering up to three components separately and precisely. These can be placed simultaneously by the well-proven SingleDisc seed coulters. Using the optional weighing system, the driver can see from the tractor how much

is in each hopper. This adds another safety factor in addition

to the standard residual quantity calculation.


machinery New Landini Serie 5, excellence evolves When tradition reinvents itself, timeless excellence is born. This is the case with Landini, which has extended its range with the new Serie 5 tractors, utilities that will surprise you with their comfort, versatility and performance. “With performance comparable to machines in a higher category, the new Serie 5 Stage V”, comments Antonio Salvaterra, Marketing Director of Argo Tractors, “is perfect both for working in the open field and on the farm, performing any task with maximum efficiency and offering excellent operator comfort. The Landini brand has always been characterised by passion and innovation, which guide us along a path of research and development, designed and manufactured to meet the needs of every farm, with particular attention to the human factor and to style: a winning mix that has led to the Landini 5-120 Dynamic model being nominated

WILKS BROTHERS Main dealers in Perthshire for DEUTZ FAHR Tractors

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


as a finalist for the ‘Tractor of the Year 2022’ award in the Best Utility category”. Three models are available, powered by FPT F36 4-cylinder, 16-valve, 3.6-litre, turbo intercooler engines with Common Rail electronic injection, delivering up to 115 hp. Thanks to EGR/ DOC/DPF/SCR technology, the new Serie 5 are Stage V compliant, meeting European regulations. The exhaust gas treatment system is integrated under the bonnet, thus safeguarding full visibility from the operator area. There are eight possible transmission configurations to meet every need: from the Speed Four 12 AV + 12 RM with mechanical reverse shuttle to the T-Tronic 48 AV + 16 RM with Hi-MediumLow, hydraulic reverse shuttle and creeper. The Landini Serie 5 with hydraulic reverse shuttle can also be equipped with Park Lock, a mechanical transmission locking device that makes it possible to safely park the tractor even on steep slopes.

machinery John Deere launches biggest ever trailed sprayer John Deere’s new R975i sprayer is the biggest trailed model the company has ever produced. This 7500-litre machine will join the rest of the R900i Series line-up, with tank capacities of 4400, 5200 and 6200 litres, in 2022. As with other sprayers in the range, this new model benefits from John Deere Precision Ag technologies, enabling customers to profit from additional smart solutions. The R975i is designed to meet customer requirements for larger tank volumes and wider booms, as well as higher accuracy, reduced chemical use and more comfort when filling and operating the sprayer. The machine’s new larger volume will mean farmers and contractors can spend more time in the field spraying, and so increase

productivity by covering larger areas with one tank. The proven PowrSpray dual-circuit solution system also helps to speed up filling times, improves spray application and increases accuracy. For the first time on John Deere sprayers, the M900(i) and R900i Series models will offer 25cm nozzle

spacing as an option. This is an ‘On Centre’ solution that means an additional nozzle is placed between each 50cm nozzle body on the spray boom. John Deere has also added a nozzle body plus an additional nozzle at each end of the boom to offer full coverage and eliminate underdosing at the boom ends.


machinery JCB’s most compact mid-range Loadall gets Dualtech VT drive JCB has launched a new telescopic handler that combines the size and agility to work efficiently in and around farm buildings with the ultimate in transmissions technology for top performance and productivity. The Loadall 53260 Agri Super features JCB’s award-winning DualTech VT transmission, which exploits the best characteristics of hydrostatic and powershift drives, and a new 130hp (97kW) JCB DieselMax engine with fuel-saving auto shut-down feature. The newcomer also has a 140-litre/min, 240 bar loadsensing hydraulics package as standard, which together with

Made in Britain

fast lowering regenerative hydraulics for the telescopic boom, delivers the quickest loading and handling cycle times of any model in the Loadall range. John Smith, JCB Agriculture Managing Director, said: “Early in 2020 we introduced the 532-60 to Agri specification with a four-speed powershift transmission to give small- to medium-size livestock farms a more sophisticated and capable 3.2 tonne, 6m telehandler option with all the attractions of our new high visibility Command Plus cab. “With the 532-60 Agri Super featuring the unique DualTech VT, we now have a machine that

outperforms hydrostatic-only telehandlers and provides all the productivity, ease of control and

Standard Spec: - Tanalised wooden floor and sides - Aggressive auger beaters - Hydraulic control of floor and XC belt - NEW wider 24” XC belt - Increased auger speed from beaters for greater chopping and mixing

Foster’s range of Forage Boxes come in 3 sizes on farm from under £14k. For feeding clamp silage and additives for beef, dairy or sheep. Simple to use, easy to maintain. D750 feeding clamp silage

For a leaflet or more info and advice contact: Sales Tel : 07901 338473 email: website:


economy characteristics of the best transmission you can have in any telescopic handler.”


New format for 2022 NBA Beef Expo at Darlington Farmers Auction Mart The 2022 NBA Beef Expo will return to the farming calendar on Saturday 28th May 2022, taking a new weekend format in a bid to make the event more accessible to visitors. Bringing together the very best in British commercial and pedigree cattle, equipment, ground-breaking developments and show classes for everyone involved in the industry, NBA Beef Expo is a celebration and exploration of everything British Beef has to offer.

“The NBA is delighted to be able to hold its flagship event at the new auction, business and conference centre, and we’re delighted to be face-to-face with key industry organisations, businesses, producers and NBA members after a two-year hiatus,” explains NBA Chief Executive Neil Shand. “We hope the Saturday event, due to working around busy market days, will mean more visitors will be able to attend and benefit from the event.”

A spokesperson on behalf of Darlington Farmers Auction Market, adds, “The whole team is excited to welcome Beef Expo to Darlington Farmers Auction Mart.” “The event in 2022 will be made even more special because, due to Covid -19, the brand new facilities did not get the opening ceremony we hoped for. Beef Expo will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase Humbleton Park to the beef industry and we ensure

a terrific North East welcome to each and all.” Exhibitor trade stands and Breed Society bookings are now available via the Beef Expo website at www. nationalbeefassociation/beefexpo/. Sponsorship opportunities and trade stand information is available by contacting Julie Holmes on 07393 463225 or julie@nationalbeefassociation. com.

RABI launch ‘Let’s Picnic’ fundraising initiative After months of restrictions on events and social activities, RABI is inviting people to enjoy the great outdoors and support British farmers with its new Let’s Picnic fundraising initiative. Izzy Shaw, programme manager at RABI explains, “After the past year, we wanted to introduce a really simple fundraising activity that anyone could get involved with. Let’s

Picnic is a fantastic way to celebrate the amazing food and drink produced by British farmers while socialising safely with friends and family in line with current guidelines. “We’re encouraging people to explore their natural surroundings, or simply have a picnic at home, while raising money to support our farming people. Let’s Picnic is the

perfect summer pick me up that everyone needs right now.” RABI’s regional managers and county committees are organising events in their local areas during the summer months, details of these can be found on RABI’s local social media channels. Alternatively, anyone can choose to host their own picnic and make a suggested donation of £5 through RABI’s Just Giving page.

Take part in Let’s Picnic: Support farming people by making a suggested donation of £5 when you host you own picnic – The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution JustGiving For more information about regional events or to set up your own event please email:

English Winter Fair to return in November Farmers and the rural community will be brought together again at the Staffordshire County Showground on 20 and 21 November for the 2021 English Winter Fair, it has been confirmed. The Fair’s return follows its cancellation in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions.

Some of the UK’s best cattle, sheep and pigs are expected to enter the Fair and the National Pedigree Calf Show, which takes place over the weekend. Alongside the livestock classes, farmers and food producers can enter their best carcass and food products to be judged while visitors can experience shopping,

and food and drink, providing activities for everyone to enjoy in the lead-up to Christmas. Tickets are £8 in advance or £10 on the gate and the car park opens at 8am. For more information and entries go to: www.staffscountyshowground.


THE BOOK SHELF ‘JEN - A Border Milly cow gives Collie’s Tale’ milk By Peter Kerr

Narrated by Jen herself, an old farm dog looks back on her life in this light-hearted story of a ‘working’ Border collie with a firm conviction that work is for creatures of a lesser intellect than her own. For Jen, ‘freedom’ is what it’s all about. Fun-filled, occasionally sad, yet doggedly down-to-earth (and just a wee bit sweary!), this is an

By Deborah Chancellor & Julia Groves Published by Scallywag Press

entertaining, easy read that should appeal in equal measure to folks already familiar with the crafty quirks and endearing eccentricities of Border collies and to those yet to have the pleasure. 220 pages. Paperback (£7.99) E-book (£2.99) available online from Amazon.

First in a topical collection of four titles to show children where their food comes from and how precious it is. A child follows a day in the life of Milly the cow, as she munches grass with her friends, drinks gallons of water, makes cow pats in the field, and visits the milking parlour with her farmer. Milly’s milk is made into butter, cheese and yoghurt. Shows animals with respect,

having their own personalities and lives. Encourages children to be environmentally aware, and understand the hard work involved in producing food. Full of information that has been fact checked, yet presented in a simple and stylish way to spark the interest of both young children and adults. Hardback, £10.99, For ages 3+

Defending Beef (Second Edition) The Ecological and Nutritional Case for Meat By Nicolette Hahn Niman ‘Nicolette Hahn Niman sets out to debunk just about everything you think you know [about beef] . . . She’s not trying to change your mind; she’s trying to save your world.’ - LA Times As the meat industry responds to COVID-19, the climate threat, and the rise of plantbased meats, Defending Beef delivers a passionate argument for sustainable meat production and consumption We’ve all heard the narrative that red meat (and beef in particular) is killing the environment. The public has been led to believe that cattle erode soils, pollute, damage 128

wetland ecosystems, and decimate wildlife populations. Yet, in Defending Beef, environmental lawyer turned rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman argues that it’s not so simple. That actually raising animals for meat can have a profoundly positive impact on nature and our health. With new studies and strong scientific evidence, she shows: • How ruminants are beneficial to biodiversity and restoring the environment • How regenerative agriculture can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and replenish soils • Why animal fats and proteins

are nutritious, providing vital nutrients for optimal health • How farmers can lead the effort to healing ecosystems and human health This book is at once a defense of cattle and an indictment of industrial agriculture, substandard animal welfare and poor diets. Done with care, cattle husbandry enriches our human experience and enhances the natural world. Nicolette argues that we must move beyond simplistic solutions like banishing cattle from our landscapes and replacing beef with lab-grown (highly refined) meat. It’s time to focus on improving how we raise animals and turn them

into beneficial, nutrient-rich food. Only then can we tap into the full ecological and nourishment potential these remarkable creatures provide. £14.99 • Paperback • 304 Pages ISBN 978-1-64502-014-1


The Night Before Morning By Alistair Moffat

What happens when one of Scotland’s finest narrative historians is locked down on his Borders farm without access to the people, places or archives he would usually be seeking out for his books? He starts making it up, that’s what, and Alistair Moffat’s turn to fiction has produced a fantastic, fascinating, page-turner of a first novel, The Night Before Morning. From the striking cover image, you can tell that this is going to be a book in the same vein as Robert Harris’ Fatherland or Philip K Dick’s The Man in the High Castle: a classic Edinburgh view, looking along Princes Street from Calton Hill, is chillingly altered. In the foreground, the monument to Enlightenment economist and mathematician Duguld Stewart is topped by a swastika, planes fly over Edinburgh Castle in formation. In Moffat’s fictional world, Britain has fallen under Nazi control. This is a powerful and provocative set-up, and it is enthralling to travel into this counterfactual, speculative scenario alongside Moffat’s protagonist David Erskine. The action begins in 1944. Erskine, a young soldier, lands on the Normandy beaches on D-Day and progresses through France and Belgium. He’s in Holland when he witnesses the seismic event that

changes the course of world history. After a daring escape from a POW camp, he becomes a fugitive in Scotland, determined to fight back and thwart the Nazis on his home soil. This resistance plot begins in the Borderlands, where David enlists the help of his fiancée Katie. The university town of St Andrews is harbouring a secret research laboratory and the pair end up in a helter-skelter race across Scotland. It’s reminiscent of that other Border novelist John Buchan, full of his spirit of adventure and feats of derring-do. The stakes are high, and you will be gripped. Moffat’s descriptions of the landscape and the indomitable people who aid David and Katie on their mission are written from the heart, by an author who knows the ground on which his characters tread. Plenty of whisky is consumed along the way. You can tell that Moffat’s imagination roamed free during lockdown, over his beloved Border hills all the way to the peninsula of Rhu by Arisaig in the West Highlands. This thrilling novel is the result. We hope that more will follow. The Night Before Morning by Alistair Moffat is published by Birlinn (£8.99, paperback)

Southern Belle Belated Birthday and Belated Heads Up Well, we finally did it! Seventeen months after my 60th Birthday, on the day of lockdown and after four attempts, we managed the birthday lunch, organised by my lovely neighbours. Lunch in a local restaurant followed by an impromptu BBQ on our new lock down patio or “terraaace” as we like to call it. What do you do when twelve people drop in for dinner? You raid the freezer, which is nearly empty and BBQ pheasant, venison, wild boar and salmon, making you look like the poshest house in the village. Dig up some of the tatties from the garden and courgettes, the crop that just keeps giving. Throw in a collection of wine, whisky and port from around the village and a frozen pavlova, held off from a previous donation from one of the guests (which made her night) and the perfect birthday is the result. Despite not being able to dance without a mask on, tour guiding is looking more likely so I decide to get a jump on my vaccine certificate, ready to go.

Nightmare!!! Belated heads up for anyone doing this. You should have kept your vaccine letter from your first vaccination (binned immediately) as that’s where your user name is and the date of your first vaccine, which you need to allow you to register. Who knew?! After an hour of trying to find out how to get the information, I had the genius idea to check our village facebook page, as that was how we found out that there was “an administrative error” which meant I was invited to go for my first vaccination the day after the appointment. Scroll back to Feb and there it is! Sorted. From a household of three, two letters arrived late, one second vaccination organised after no letter and four phone calls and this week a letter to say that you still haven’t had your first vaccination when the happened weeks ago the second one is due next week!!! Hey Ho…roll on travel for anyone vaccinated and anyone who isn’t…just get it done!.



Malcolm Mathieson The Crofting Commission has announced that Commissioner Malcolm Mathieson has been appointed Convener, after the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands invited Commissioners to select a new Convener. The new appointment is due to the resignation of Rod MacKenzie from both the post of Convener and Commissioner from the East Highlands. This change in Convener will remain until the election of a new Board in 2022. “Like all organisations, the past 12 months have been difficult with very little access to Great Glen House and staff having to adjust to home working. This has brought about challenges to the Commission, but our staff have risen to that challenge and there are some exciting projects currently being undertaken which will continue to improve our operating performance over the next nine months,” said Commissioner Mathieson.

Hannah Baker Hannah Baker has joined NFU Scotland, taking on the role of Policy Manager for Livestock and LFA. She will lead on a broad policy portfolio covering all livestock issues affecting NFUS members and will be responsible for service to the Union’s Livestock and Less Favoured Area committees and related working groups. A qualified rural surveyor (RICS) and a member of the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters’ & Valuers’ Association (SAAVA), Hannah joins the Union from Davidson & Robertson where she worked for 4 years across Argyll, the Central Belt, and the Borders as a senior surveyor. She graduated from Harper Adams University with a degree in Rural Estate and Agricultural Land Management.

Grant Bisset Agriforest Ltd has appointed Grant Bisset as their Harvest Operator & Site Foreman. Agriforest was founded in 2016 by Douglas Mathison. The forestry company specialises in managing small to medium sized farm and estate woodlands in Scotland and the North of England. As their newest hire, Grant brings with him 28 years’ experience in arboriculture as a climbing arborist. He has a deep understanding of the fores…t industry and will now be responsible for all manner of sites, from complex forestry work and utilities to farm and estate opportunities.


Stephen Mackie Continuing to build on its farming presence across Scotland, Virgin Money has appointed a new Agri Customer Relationship Manager to work across Ayrshire and the South West of Scotland. Stephen Mackie, who has worked in various roles within Virgin Money and previously Clydesdale Bank for over 35 years ago, will use his in-depth knowledge of the business and agricultural sectors to support clients, as the industry undergoes a period of significant change. This appointment highlights Virgin Money’s commitment to employing the very best talent available to further strengthen its agricultural division. To drive their rural support and agricultural financing strategy, the bank’s highly experienced advisors provide localised, specialist guidance to farmers across the UK. Virgin Money’s proactive team delivers diverse financial products, to help future-proof farming enterprises at all levels. Andrew Joret The British Egg Industry Council has announced that Andrew Joret has been re-elected Chairman of the BEIC, supported by: Elwyn Griffiths, BEIC Deputy Chairman; Duncan Priestner and James Baxter, joint BEIC Vice-Chairmen; Jeffrey Vergerson, BEIC Treasurer; with Mark Williams continuing his role as BEIC Chief Executive and Secretary. Welcoming his reappointment, Andrew Joret reflected on the positive state of the industry and his hopes for the future: “While the pandemic saw a sharp rise in egg consumption with around 8bn* eggs sold at retail last year, an increase of more than 1bn on pre-pandemic levels, there has been consistent long-term growth for more than a decade. Overall, the industry remains in a good place and perfectly positioned to capitalise on growing consumer appreciation of the health benefits of eggs, as well as their convenience.” New Crofting Development team The Crofting Commission has seen a welcome expansion to establish a crofting community-focused Crofting Development Team. The new team transforms the way the Commission can support and engage with crofters and the location of the two new officers within the Western Isles means they are well placed to do so. The Commission is also in the process of strengthening its Residency and Land Use team, with two new officers soon to join the team. The four new appointments will expand the organisation’s capacity to work with crofting communities and see an increase in active crofts. The two new Residency and Land Use casework officers will contribute to the teams work on the enforcement of crofting duties. Malcolm Mathieson, Convener of the Commission board highlighted: “Enforcement of crofting duties is a top priority for the organisation and we are committed to the strengthening of this important Commission function.”

Articles from Farming Scotland Magazine (September - October Issue 2021)

5 min read

National Sheep Association