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Farming Country Issue eighty-five • August 2012

Be sure to pick up your September Issue of Farming Country published by; at your local newsagent, Co-op Store or at Tarff Valley, Dumfries. It will be packed with on farm features, interviews, news and views from across Scotland and Northern England.


Farming Country Issue eighty-five • August 2012

I Eilidh MacPherson

Farming Country EDITOR: Eilidh MacPherson Marbrack Farm, Carsphairn, Castle Douglas, DG7 3TE Tel: 016444 60644 Mobile: 07977897867 PUBLISHER - Eilidh MacPherson ADVERTISING – Eilidh MacPherson – 016444 60644 Cover - John MacDiarmid, Brae Eynort, Skye & family: Donnie, Heather and Georgia Text and photography by Eilidh MacPherson unless otherwise stated.

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Frances Gill

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t is all change here at and rather exciting times. As you have probably noted by now I’m rebranding the magazine and the title has changed to Farming Country. The publishing company will still retain the name – With increased distribution and postage costs I have decided to make it a paid for title so this is the last free magazine. Next month – the September issue – will be on sale at £2.00 at your local Co-op store or newsagent or Tarff Valley. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the outlets; auction markets, farm retail stores, tractor dealers and SEERAD offices and friends who have distributed the magazine for me for the past nine years. I’d also like to thank you the readers for all your positive comments and feedback. I’m indebted to the advertisers, many who have been placing adverts from the start, for their continued support over the years. I’m looking forward to producing a fully packed publication covering both arable and livestock sectors with news, reviews, on farm features and more in the issues ahead. As it is the Jubilee year – 60 years since Elizabeth became Queen – I decided to look at Scottish farming news from 1952. My Granny – Margaret Hope MacPherson – wrote a column for the ‘Scottish Farmer and Farming World and Household,’ at that juncture. Her first column is on page 20. It was fascinating to see how much things have changed over the years. A

queries and answers section, where farmers wrote in to find out information seems so out dated as nowadays most of the younger generation, certainly, will ‘google’ or surf the net to find out what they require. The publication consisted of only 12 pages with very small print (font), bolstered up to 16 pages the week before and the week after the Royal Highland Show. Adverts were sparse and included one for elastic hosiery at the beginning of 1952! But the last week in March saw the first full page of adverts. New Zealand seemed to get a fair bit of coverage with a ‘Notes from New Zealand’ section every so often. The death of the King, electricity installed in the Dunbarton area, a permanent site for the Royal Highland Show, at Dalkeith, rejected, David Pottinger (Halkirk YFC) of Greenland Mains, Castletown, Caithness, the first Young Farmer to go on a six month exchange to New Zealand and special steamers put on for Ayr Show to sail from Arran and Campbeltown, were some of news topics of the era. A Hill Farming Conference in Kelso, covered ‘thorny subjects’ which are still in debate today – the lack of shepherds and the over feeding of tups pre-sale. And my Granny wrote about land reform or rather the lack of it, which is very topical at the moment. It’s a bit of a ‘family affair’ this issue as my Uncle Allan has reviewed the book – The Changing Nature of Scotland – on page 21.

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Sheep BF National Show

8 Dairy 10 1 2 Cutting Edge

1 3 Monitor Farm

1 4 Arable 15 1 6 ATV Kawasaki 17 1 8 Machinery Record 19 20

Sixty Years Ago Letter From Skye

2 1 Book Review

Page 10 - NFU Page 11 - SAC Page 11 - UA Page 12 - QMS (top left) Page 13 - QMS

2 2 Young Farmers Graduations 23

Page 17 - John Deere Page 18 - Robin Moule Page 19 – Simon Wyatt Page 22 - SAC Page 23 - Young Farmers




Callumkill Estate – Islay


n the market for the first time in 60 years is the Callumkill Estate, in the south east corner of the Isle of Islay. The estate was purchased by the owners’ grandparents, John and Marjorie Macgown, in 1952, when they responded to a small ad in The Times for a Scottish sporting estate. They visited Islay, walked up to the top of Callumkill’s first ridge, took one look at the view over the fields, ridges and hills and out to the sea beyond and knew they had found a


very special place. They both lived out the rest of their lives there; at 110 years old, Marjorie lived to be the oldest woman in Scotland. It is not hard to see why the Macgowns fell for it. The main house is set high on a ridge with views over the low ground estate grazing and the pagodas of the Ardbeg and Lagavulin distilleries, to the sea. On a clear day you can see the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim in the south, and Arran and the Mull of Kintyre. Callumkill is a manageable farming

and sporting estate in a very private position about three miles from Port Ellen, the main ferry port for the island. Extending to over 2,100 acres in total, the land is within a single block and ranges from in-bye grazing near the coast to rugged hill ground further inland. The lochs and rivers of Callumkill supply Lagavulin and Ardbeg distilleries, helping give the distinctive whiskies the peaty full flavour for which they are renowned. The in-hand farming operation on Callumkill is run by the owners, with

the help of one full-time employee, who manages the farm and lives on the estate. The hill farm carries about 70 cows, and about 200 breeding ewes. Silage is taken off some of the low ground fields and supplemented with distillery draff – easily obtainable locally – and some bought in feed. Callumkill has rough and driven shooting for pheasant, woodcock and snipe and is the only estate on Islay that has red, fallow and roe deer. Both red and fallow deer are stalked, but while there are a few roe on the ground, they are not currently stalked, in the interests of building up numbers. Islay’s red deer are believed to be one of the few remaining herds of pure red deer and are particularly large; the second heaviest stag recorded in Scotland in 2011, a Royal, was shot on Callumkill. Between 12 and 16 stags are culled per annum. Changing terrain and views offer wonderful stalking. On foot from Callumkill House, a walk into the hills, takes you through ancient oak woodland, over rocky outcrops, across peaty hillside and past lochs. The summit of Bheinn Solumh at 347m above sea level, is the third highest peak on Islay and has wonderful 360 degree views of the island. Grouse have been seen and eagles nest on the hillside. Callumkill is part of the Islay Deer Management Group and has a culling policy, which works sympathetically with the

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five

Beltex Export Scheme unbia and Beltex have extended their export marketing scheme to Scotland where, during the coming season, farmer owned lamb marketing co-operative, Farm Stock (Scotland) Ltd, will be active in procuring Beltex-sired lambs for the Dunbia Beltex Lamb Export Scheme. Dunbia will offer a competitive bid price as well as a bonus of up to 30p/kg throughout 2012 on selected lambs destined for top end European markets, which according to the processor, are more sheltered from the current European trading conditions. The Beltex and Dunbia Lamb Export Scheme 2012 is for an all year round supply of up to 1200 Beltex cross lambs per week for the Belgian market. To be eligible, lambs must be sired by a registered Beltex ram, finish between 15kg to 21kg dwt and be sourced from a Farm Assured unit. The scheme will pay co-op members an attractive bid price on R2 and R3L lambs, with an additional bonus of 20p/kg on U2 and U3L and 30p/kg bonus on the extreme lamb carcass of E2 and E3L. The arrangement follows on from a pilot scheme launched by the Beltex Sheep Society and Dunbia south of the Border in November 2011. Sheep farmers producing Beltex cross lambs demonstrated they were able to deliver a high percentage of carcasses


within the scheme specification required by Belgian lamb buyers. Beltex Sheep Society chairman, Maimie Paterson comments: “We welcome Farm Stock’s involvement and the extension of our exclusive arrangement with a leading processor to Scottish commercial producers. We are confident that it will reward those using a registered Beltex ram to achieve the premium lambs required by a very specific and expanding high quality market, particularly at a time when lamb prices, in general, are coming under pressure. We are confident that Dunbia’s attractive offer will not only achieve a positive response from Farm Stock members already producing Beltex cross lambs, but also encourage other commercial producers to make a first time purchase of a registered Beltex ram to supply the co-op.” Dunbia’s Michael Dundon said; “European economic conditions are impacting on demand for lamb this season, in particular from the middle end consumer bracket. However I am confident that Beltex cross lambs will be able to defend themselves better than ordinary standard lamb simply because they are targeted at the quality market – high end butchers and chefs trading with more affluent customers who will remain less affected by the economic downturn.”

farming enterprise and the preservation of the ancient oak woodlands. Brown trout could be introduced to the two hill lochs to add fishing to the estate. In addition to a comfortable four bedroom farmhouse, there are two cottages, which are situated off the main estate drive, a respectful distance from the main house. A traditional quadrangle of stone and slate farm buildings behind the house offers potential for development and there is a good modern shed for the

farm. The main house and Shepherd’s Cottage were refurbished in 2010 and are let as self-catering units when the owners are not in residence. In 2011 they were booked for 30 weeks each between March and January. Visitors vary between whisky and wildlife tourists in the spring and summer and sporting clients in the autumn and winter months. The estate has its own website – Callumkill means Keill (chapel) of

St Columba. The chapel of Callumkill is long gone, but the farmhouse is built on its site and uses some of the stones, an example of which is the sandstone around the kitchen fireplace. There is no formal record, but the house is believed to have been completed before 1851. The earliest record of Callumkill is in a Crown Charter dated 23rd February 1760, granting Daniel Campbell of Shawfield the lands and Barony of Islay. Archaeological features abound

on the estate, including a chambered cairn, numerous standing stones and St Michael’s or St Columba’s Well, a natural well in the side of a ridge up near the ruins of Solumh, a village where the community was wiped out by plague in the late 18th century. Savills Edinburgh office is marketing Callumkill as a whole, at offers over £1.5 million. Contact Anna Henderson, Savills, Edinburgh on 0131 247 3704 is rebranding the magazine Next month the magazine will be available at local newsagents across the country and in your local Co-op store or at Tarff Valley, Dumfries. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the outlets – auction markets, farm retail stores, and SGRIP offices who have distributed the magazine for me for the past nine years. I’d also like to thank the readers for all their positive comments and feedback. I’m indebted to the advertisers, many of whom have been placing adverts from the start, for their continued support over the years. Looking forward to producing a fully packed publication covering both arable and livestock sectors with news, reviews, on farm features and more in the issues ahead.

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five




Blackface National Show 2012


he third Blackface Sheep Breeders’ Association National Show, staged, this time, at United Auctions, Stirling was well attended by competitors and over 800 spectating breed enthusiasts. South type judge Angus Kennedy, Mitchellhill, Broughton was delighted at the standard of stock forward. He certainly had his work cut out in classes of over forty ovines. “I found the ewe lamb class the hardest to judge as there were 10 cracking lambs with not much between them,” he commented after the event. The Masters of sheep showing and presentation across many breeds – J Wight & Sons of Midlock – scored a double whammy taking out both the female and male championships. A two crop, homebred ewe, by a £36,000 Dalchirla out of a ewe by the £22,000 Dalchirla, took out the female title. She was Royal Highland Show Champion earlier this year. The Midlock team also took the Champion Male with a Nunnerie bred shearling, which they purchased for £35,000 in partnership with Connachan and Dalchirla. Reserve Male went to Stuart Heads and Rab McInnis from Aitkenhead with a home bred tup lamb sired by the £30,000 Aitkenhead ram and out of a £10,000 Auchloy dam. Angus Kennedy placed the Midlock ewe as his Overall Champion and he also awarded the reserve title to Bill Ramsay & Sons, Milnmark, Dalry with their home bred gimmer which was reserve champion at the Highland. She is by a £26,000 Crossflat and out of a ewe by the home-bred Emperor. The North section saw Judge Alan Petrie choose Mathew Hamilton from Woolfords to lift the overall Championship ticket with a home bred Shearling off a £6500 Woolfords tup. Standing reserve was David Nicol from Viewmount with a home bred tup lamb by ‘Joe Smith’ – a Woolfords bred tup. The Champion female was also won by Woolfords with a gimmer bred the same way as their overall Champion. Stephen Duncan, Achdregnie took reserve female spot with a home bred ewe by a £12,000 Harkin sire out of a £700 Newmill mother. The North of England exhibitors’ judge – James Herdman – picked his Male Champion from A Murray & Sons, Sewingshields – a home bred Shearling by ‘The Beast’ a home bred son of a Yatesfield tup – as Overall Champion. Reserve was presented to the Female Champion, a ewe lamb from Robert Robson, Tofthouse. The Reserve Male title was awarded to the tup lamb from Selby Robson from Yatesfield, he was off a £2200 Highleam, with a mother by a £6200 Townshields. Dan Walton from Troughend took the Reserve Female Champion with a ewe lamb. Main sponsors of the event were VG Energy, Aberfeldy Distillery and United Auctions.


Farming Country – August 2012

South Section Class 1 – Aged Ram 1st J Wight &sons, Midllock 2nd S. McClymont, Tinnis 3rd I.R.S Bond, Glen Gatehouse 4th J. Duncan Millar, Remony 5th D C & J Marshall Gosland Class 2 – Shearling 1st J Wight & Sons, Midlock 2ndTroloss Farms, Trolosss 3rd J R MacGregor (Dyke)Ltd., Dyke 4th S. McClymont, Tinnis 5th A MacGregor, (Allanfauld) Ltd Class 3 – Tup Lamb 1st Heads & McInnes, Aitkenhead 2ndGlenrath Farms, Glenrath 3rd Messrs. Wm Dunlop, Elmscleugh 4th W. Ramsay & Sons, Milmark 5th J R MacGregor (Dyke)Ltd., Dyke Class 4 – Ewe 1st J Wight &sons, Midllock 2nd T. Renwick & Sons, Blackhouse 3rd Heads & McInnes, Aitkenhead 4th Andrew Patn & Co., Craig 5th W. Ramsay & Sons, Milmark Class 5 – Gimmer 1st W. Ramsay & Sons, Milmark 2ndHeads & McInnes, Aitkenhead 3rd Burncastle Farming Co. 4th T. Renwick & Sons, Blackhouse 5th J R MacGregor (Dyke)Ltd., Dyke Class 6 – Ewe Lamb 1st J & F Burns, Craignell 2nd Messrs. Wm Dunlop, Elmscleugh 3rd Troloss Farms, Trolosss 4th J Wight &sons, Midllock 5th J & F Burns, Craignell

Farming Country – August 2012

North Section Class 7 – Aged Ram 1st = Doldy Farms, Doldy David Nicol, Viewmount 2nd R C Myles & Son, Dalbog 3rd Cadogan Estates , Auchnacloch 4th Doldy Farms, Doldy 5th M Hamiton, Woolfords Class 8 – Shearling 1st M Hamilton, Woolfords 2nd T Paterson, Craigneich 3rd R & S Duncan, Achdregnie 4th T & M Paterson, Craigneich 5th R & S Duncan, Achdregnie Class 9 – Tup Lamb 1st David Nicol, Viewmount 2nd Anna MacKinnon, Auchnacloch 3rd R & S Duncan, Achdregnie 4th D Beaton, Newmill of lnshewan 5th David Nicol, Viewmount Class 10 – Ewe 1st R & S Duncan, Achdregnie 2nd Cadogan Estates, Auchnacloch 3rd Cadogan Estates, Auchnacloch 4th David Nicol, Viewmount 5th R & S Duncan, Achdregnie Class 11 – Gimmer 1st M Hamilton, Woolfords 2nd T & M Paterson, Craigneich 3rd R & S Duncan, Achdregnie 4th Doldy Farms, Doldy 5th David Nicol, Viewmount Class 12 – Ewe Lamb 1st T & M Paterson, Craigneich 2nd David Nicol, Viewmount 3rd Cadogan Estates , Auchnacloch 4th R & S Duncan, Achdregnie

North of England Section Class 13 – Aged Ram 1st R A Robson, Toft House 2nd Neil Robson, Town Shields Class 14 – Shearling 1st A Murray & Sons, Sewingshields 2nd Wanwood Prtns,Wanwood Hill 3rd Neil Robson, Town Shields 4th Wanwood Prtns, Wanwood Hill 5th A Murray & Sons, Sewingshields Class 15 – Tup Lamb 1st Selby Robson, Yatesfield 2nd Dan Walton, Troughend 3rd Dan Walton, Troughend 4th R A Robson, Toft House 5th Wanwood Prtns, Wanwood Hill Class 16 – Ewe 1st T A Bates, Nilston Rigg 2nd T A Bates, Nilston Rigg 3rd A Murray & Sons, Sewingshields 4th Wanwood Prtns, Wanwood 5th Dan Walton, Troughend Class 17 – Gimmer 1st Wanwood Prtns., Wanwood 2nd A Murray & Sons, Sewingshields 3rd T A Bates, Nilston Rigg 4th Wanwood Prtns., Wanwood 5th Selby Robson, Yatesfield Class 18 – Ewe Lamb 1st R A Robson, Toft House 2nd Dan Walton, Troughend 3rd Wanwoodhill Ptnrs, Wanwoodhill 4th A Murray & Sons, Sewingsheilds 5th Dan Walton, Troughend

South Section Champion Male Midlock (aged tup) Reserve Champion Male Aitkenhead (Tup Ram) Champion Female Midlock - Ewe Reserve Female Champion Milnmark - Gimmer Overall Champion J Wight & Sons, Midlock with Ewe Reserve Overall Champion W Ramsay, Milnmark with gimmer Best Bred by Exhibitor J Wight & Son, Midlock North Section Champion Male Woolfords shearling Reserve Champion Male Viewmount Tup lamb Champion Female Woolfords Gimmer Reserve Female Champion Achdregnie ewe Overall Champion M Hamilton, Woolfords Shearling Reserve Overall Champion Dave Nicol, Viemount – Tup Lamb Best Bred by Exhibitor Woolfords North of England Section Champion Male Sewingshields shearling Reserve Champion Male Yatesfield tup lamb Champion Female Tofthouse ewe lamb Reserve Female Champion Troughend ewe lamb Overall Champion Sewingshields shearlng Reserve Overall Champion Toft House ewe lamb Best Bred by Exhibitor Sewingshields shearling




AminoMax-R Offers Great Value Compared to Soya by Mark


igh protein prices are likely to be with us for some time and livestock farmers have to look critically at the feeds they are purchasing. Soya is of particular concern and has now gone over £400/t; it is getting to the point of being too expensive for most cattle and sheep diets compared to other protein sources. Today soyabean meal is around £175 per tonne more than oilseed rape meal, however, there are very few alternatives that can supply good levels of DUP (digestible, un-degradable protein) and energy, particularly when balancing dairy cow diets based on grass or grass silage. The only home produced protein sources available to us in any quantity are oilseed rape meal and distillers grains from either the drinks industry or, increasingly, bio-fuel plants; but in their raw state, these ingredients have a relatively low proportion of their protein as DUP. This is why in recent years considerable work has gone into developing processes, which “protect” the protein in rape from digestion within the rumen and increasing the proportion of DUP in the finished product. Long term, there will also be increasing pressure on food producers to cut their carbon footprint. This means producing milk more efficiently in terms of carbon emissions by, for example, increasing milk yield, calving heifers at two years of age rather than two and a half, or using feedstuffs with the lowest carbon footprint. Soyabean meal has currently been given an average carbon footprint value of more than 10 times that of oilseed rape meal. If in future years we see a higher proportion of soya grown on land that was rainforest, this will only increase. National average milk yields have risen from 6000 litres per cow in 2000 to 7400 litres in the 2010/11 milk year. As yield per cow increases, so the cow needs a higher proportion of the protein present as DUP to sustain performance, therefore on current trends the need for DUP is


increasing each year. One excellent option is AminoMax-R (protected rape), manufactured using a patented process, that can be fed at 1.2kg per cow per day, replacing 1kg extracted soya to achieve the same animal performance at lower cost. At current prices 1.2kg AminoMax-R costs between 15% and 20% less than 1kg soya depending on location and haulage costs. Recent trail work confirms that AminoMax-R production process significantly increases the rumen by-pass protein content of extracted rapeseed, whilst ensuring the protein remains digestible to the cow. Typically the DUP content is double that of unprotected rape extract and is high in Lysine and Methionine, making it the ideal complement to grass silage which is deficient in these essential amino acids. “It is important to be aware that when choosing which high protein feed to use there are big differences between so called similar products; both in the degree of rumen protection and the digestibility of the by-pass protein,” says Duncan Rose, Chief Technical Officer of Carrs Billington. “A product could have 100% protein by-passing the rumen but if it was indigestible, passing straight through the intestines, it would be useless. We know AminoMax-R performs consistently well, both from repeated trial work and successful use on farm over many years.” “There are three different types of protection for rapeseed products marketed in the UK. One uses heat alone and the product produced by this method usually has the lowest digestible, un-degradable protein content. The second involves chemical treatment, typically using formaldehyde. As a company, Carrs Billington Agriculture have taken the stance not to market any formaldehyde treated feed products and prefer to use the third method, using natural materials, which combine sugar and protein in the

presence of heat and steam. The sugar combines with the protein reducing its break down in the rumen but the undegraded protein that leaves the rumen is still highly digestible in the small intestine, releasing amino acids for absorption into the blood stream. We believe this to be most effective process available in the UK and the finished product is 31.5% protein, with a high DUP content that is over 90% digestible.” Extensive trial work over several years in the USA, South Africa and

Holland as well as here in the UK has proven this method of protection works consistently well. Typical responses have been an extra litre per cow per day over unprotected rape and lifts in milk protein and casein have also been achieved. Beef animals with the genetics to lay down muscle rapidly can also benefit from the extra DUP and protected rape has been successfully used to reduce the overall level of protein in cattle diets without reducing performance.

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five



New Parlour Control System


nnovative new parlour software featuring the first milking point mounted LED colour display available in the UK will give dairy farmers new information to help them streamline dairy cow performance. The M37LED and iFeed LED systems from milking parlour specialists Vaccar in partnership with Panazoo have been designed to make full use of the data that can be collected during milking by making it available in a real time and highly visual form. They can be retro-fitted to any make or configuration of milking parlour. The M37 LED system is based on an ICAR approved milk meter with both options allowing individual cow feeding at each point, along with optional automatic identification and segregation.

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five

“Analysing the information produced when a cow is being milked can give a real insight into how she is performing, her health and how well the milking routine is operating,” explains Vaccar director Simon Larner. “Changes in the physical characteristics of the milk and assessment of milking speed can indicate potential problems. By having a display screen on every milking point it is possible to get a quick and visual assessment of performance, allowing prompt and effective corrective action to be taken.” The system provides a graph of milk flow as each cow is being milked. Mr Larner explains that the 30 second flow rate is an excellent way to assess the effectiveness of pre-milking routines and milk let down. Observing flow rates at the end of

milking will indicate the extent of any over and under-milking. This data can help to reduce the physical damage to the teat as a result of incorrect milking. The screen also automatically highlights potential problems by changing colour if triggered by c ertain events. The normally blue screen turns red if milk temperature deviates from the norm. High milk temperature is an indicator that the cow’s temperature is elevated which indicates she is fighting an infection. The systems include an automatic conductivity reader which turns the screen yellow if the cell count rises. “This striking visual approach means that problem cows can be identified sooner, which means problems can be dealt with quicker.

The system also allows gates and shedding gates to be operated from any point making it simple to separate cows requiring attention. “Finally the unit helps reduce wear and tear on the milking machine. It monitors the length of time the parlour is running the system and flags up when liners need replacing or when the parlour needs servicing. Together these will help optimise milking efficiency and reduce costs. “As farmers look to increase efficiency to combat the squeeze on margins, the sooner problems are sorted and the more efficiently cows are milked the better. The M37LED and iFeed LED systems provide real time data which will be invaluable to farmers and vets.”




Dairy Farmers Unite by Bob Carruth, NFUS


ore than 500 dairy farmers from across the UK rallied behind the urgent need for dairy farmers to get a fairer milk price and for dairy farmers to secure a stronger negotiating position in the future through collaboration. Farmers from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland attended the rally, held in Lanark Market. Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead and fellow Dairy Coalition partners, Farmers For Action also addressed the meeting, arranged by NFU Scotland. In recent weeks, milk price cuts proposed by the milk processors Wiseman Muller, Arla and Dairy Crest created an unprecedented level of anger and frustration amongst dairy farmers. The proposed cuts, although rescinded, came on top of price cuts previously imposed on farmers earlier this summer. The price threat sparked concerted action by the Dairy Coalition – which includes NFUS, NFU England and Wales, NFU Cymru and Farmers For Action – at processors and supermarkets


up and down the country. This generated a huge wave of consumer support behind calls for farmers to receive a fair price for their milk. In addition driving forward milk prices, NFU Scotland is looking to develop collaboration between farmers to improve their negotiating position and has launched a ‘Dairy Farmers Together’ initiative to help dairy farmers to collaborate. That will also enable groups to maximise any benefits that a new voluntary code of conduct for the sector, to be negotiated in August, may deliver. That collaborative drive is to be supported by £100,000 from Scottish Government. Speaking at the meeting, NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said: "The Dairy Coalition deserves immense credit for what it has achieved in a few short weeks. We have gone from a position of retailers having no money in the kitty for milk and processors planning cuts to a stage where farmers are on a better footing. "However, that is just the start and

work now begins to drive milk prices to a level this autumn where dairy farming families can start investing in their businesses and planning for a future that involves milking cows. That is what the general public clearly expect processors and retailers to help deliver. Commenting on the need for greater collaborative strength and the support to be provided by a new dairy farmer umbrella group called Dairy Farmers Together, NFU Scotland Milk Committee Vice Chairman, Rory Christie said: "The past two weeks of action must galvanise producers into working together to strengthen their hand in the supply chain. Part of the long-term solution lies in better collaboration between farmers themselves if we are to avoid being back manning the barricades in the future. Having Scottish Government support to examine all options is a tremendous boost to taking this sector forward. "We need a definitive long term outcome not a series of short term

wins. We need to change the whole dairy industry not just a single part so that we don’t have to keep fighting outside processors or retailers depots every time they decide to steal a bit of our livelihood. "I am sure we can make a difference and drive change through a collaborative organisation that brings together all dairy farmers. The presence of English, Welsh and Northern Irish farmers here today suggests the appetite for change is across the UK. Dairy Farmers Together can be an umbrella organisation that takes nothing away from the individual organisations but instead adds to the strength of the whole. "I am sure we can make a difference and drive change through a collaborative association, one that can bring together dairy farmers and their groups, one that can create a dairy industry pricing process that is stable and transparent and one that means we can hand our farms to the next generation in a much better state than they are now."

Farming Country – August 2012



Bull Sales Rebrand


nited Auctions (UA) are to rebrand the Perth Bull Sales as the Stirling Bull Sales. Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists have taken the decision to update the Bull Sales’ brand to reflect its Stirling location. The world-famous event, established in Perth in 1865, takes place annually in February, May and October and attracts more than 22,000 UK and international visitors each year. The Sales were transferred to Stirling in 2009 as part of the company’s amalgamation of its Perth and Stirling businesses into a single centre of operation at the new Stirling Agricultural Centre. While it made sense to retain the internationally recognised brand at that time, it has become clear that the name creates misunderstanding regarding where the Sales actually take place as well as ambiguity in how to refer to them. David Leggat, Executive Chairman of UA, said: “We are incredibly proud

of the Perth element of the Bull Sales’ heritage, which is held dear to many people, including myself. However, the event has been known anecdotally as the Stirling Sales since they moved here nearly three years ago and we feel the time is right to officially adapt the name for clarity of location.” Bruce Crawford, SNP MSP for Stirling said: “Changing the name to the Stirling Bull Sales makes sense and should help avoid confusion. I also feel that this change of name reflects the fact that the Bull Sales have been a very welcome addition to the Stirling area in recent years that have made this area at the very heart of Scotland’s agricultural industry. “After great success in recent years, I am sure the Stirling Bull Sales will go from strength to strength in the years to come.” The format and all other aspects of the Sales will remain the same. The new brand comes into immediate effect with the first, official Stirling Bull Sales being the Autumn Sales held from October 22nd-24th 2012.

If Farming Country is not available at your local newsagent in the first week of September please hand this in to your local newsagent: Please reserve a copy of Farming Country for me on a monthly basis. Name: Address:

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Farming Country – August 2012

New Zealand Trials


n a recent visit to New Zealand, SAC soil specialist Dr Bruce Ball went from a (then) glorious Scottish summer to endure record low temperatures and dumps of snow in Canterbury in New Zealand’s South Island. He was gathering information on soil research and KT for SAC’s DairyCo research partnership project and to contribute his expertise in soil and greenhouse gas measurements on a new long-term experiment on stock grazing on winter forage at Lincoln University. Public concern about soil quality and pollution is increasing in NZ as intensive dairying spreads. It is particularly significant in winter as stock are not housed and can cause soils significant poaching damage, especially in wet areas of the S Island. In addition it can lead to significant nitrous oxide emissions. These can be mitigated by using nitrification inhibitors, which are strongly recommended for use on dairy pasture as they also reduce nitrate leaching and can increase dry matter production. The forage experiment at Lincoln is massive – 1.2 km by 0.36 km using either kale or fodder beet. Lysimeters and large cores of soil have also been taken from the site back to Lincoln University to allow measurement of greenhouse gas emission and nitrate leaching after controlled hoofing and nitrification inhibitor application. Bruce advised on soil and

greenhouse gas measurements as well as taking his turn at artificially hoofing the lysimeters. While at Lincoln he took the opportunity to test the Subsoil version of the Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure, which is currently being developed and evaluated in several countries. He also spent some time with Graham Shepherd of BioAgriNomics in the North Island learning how dairying can succeed at low levels of nitrogen input by making most use of the soil biology. This demands well-adjusted soil chemistry and the addition of natural compounds to encourage soil microbial activity. Bruce was struck by the similarity of the pollution and soil problems being faced by the dairy industry in New Zealand and UK. SAC and Lincoln University in particular have much more expertise to share and develop. While living in Christchurch, Bruce learned the true meaning of the term ‘deconstruction.’ Almost 80% of the city centre is being demolished and reconstruction is only just starting. Nevertheless there are positives. The people and organisations are learning to co-operate in innovative ways and to work together to recover and to re-develop the city centre from an almost blank sheet. Within two days of returning to SAC, he was hosting a visit by one of his Lincoln University contacts. Prof Hong Di visited Crop and Soil Systems and the SAC Dairy Research Centre at Crichton.




Lamb Marketing

MacDougall Removals!


uality Meat Scotland (QMS), the public body which works to improve the efficiency and profitability of the Scottish red meat industry, has appointed Ian MacDougall as its new Technical Projects Manager. An agriculture graduate from the University of Aberdeen, Ian (46) has joined QMS having been employed most recently as Business Development Manager with Biobest Laboratories where he developed their cattle health services over the previous six years. Ian was brought up on his family’s beef and sheep upland farm, Nether Linkins, near Castle Douglas with continued involvement more recently on the family’s unit in Cumbria producing pedigree sheep and cattle. In the early part of his career he worked with Grampian Country Food Group, Highland Glen Producers and Meadow Valley Livestock before gaining wider industry experience with Ford Motor Company’s national business to business development team.

Ian’s role with QMS will involve managing and developing knowledge exchange activities for the sheep and cattle sectors to maximise business development opportunities for the supply chain. He will also work on the continued development of the Monitor Farm and Business Improvement Groups (BIG) programmes as well as focusing on the best routes to communicate information from these programmes and research findings in line with QMS’ research and development strategy. “Ian has a wide knowledge of animal health and livestock as well as rural and general business and I am delighted to welcome him to the team,” said Andy McGowan, QMS Head of Industry Development. “QMS has around 100 research and development projects on-going aimed at improving the efficiency and profitability of the Scottish red meat industry and I am confident Ian will make a valuable addition to the organisation and our delivery of this work.”

Ugg Boot Market Falls to Fleeces!


in overseas sales of the classic Australian ugg boot has triggered a collapse in global sheepskin prices and left farmers with a pittance for their once highly prized hides. American footwear giant Deckers, the predominant company in the international ugg boot market, has reported a sharp fall in sales growth for the shoes, prompted by a mild northern winter and Europe's economic woes. Sales of the company's Ugg brand boots slowed markedly in the three months to March this year, spurring a fall in sheepskin prices by up to 70 per cent and signalling a change in fortunes for the global juggernaut, which sold more than $US1.2 billion worth of Ugg shoes last year. Even the best quality skins, usually


a lucrative by-product for sheep farmers, now fetch as little as $10 a piece, down from $30 during last year's peak. An increase in Australian lambs to slaughter after years of drought has also helped push prices down. There are now stockpiles of skins and boots as orders from China, have dropped substantially. Hailed as a wardrobe must-have ugg boots unleashed international sales mania eight years ago after being embraced by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, who famously bought 350 pairs for her staff. As shops ran dry at the peak of the craze, bidding for a pair on online auction sites topped $US500, and the trend soon spawned designer collaborations and, more recently, novelty styles such as a wedding range.


he Scottish prime lamb market has been something of a roller coaster over the past two months. Market returns were particularly disappointing during May but recovered strongly through June to a point where they were just ahead of last year. However, the first week of July saw prices fall sharply and dip back below last year’s levels before recovering slightly in the second week. With the Muslim holy month of Ramadan starting on 20th July there is some prospect of demand remaining reasonable in the short term. “The variability in the market is making it difficult to determine the short to medium term prospects for lamb producers,” said Stuart Ashworth, Economist for Quality Meat Scotland. “A number of elements are influencing the market. New season lambs have been slow to arrive on the market, perhaps not surprising given the impact of poor weather on growth rates. However, by the end of June the numbers coming forward were slightly ahead of last year and although auction volumes dipped in early July the total lamb kill remains slightly ahead of last year.” As volumes built and major retailers could be assured of supplies prices improved, said Mr Ashworth observing, however, that it is normal for prices to slide during July as volumes build even more. Nevertheless, he said, it looks like this week’s price has recovered to a level very similar to this time last year. “Evidence from price reporting abattoirs does suggest that the weather has taken its toll on lamb quality and the proportion of lambs grading R3L or better is a couple of percentage points lower than last year. Meanwhile the price for R2 and R3L lambs has not fallen as far behind last year as R3H or R4L lambs – in other words the lambs that more closely meet the market requirements have retained their value better than out of specification lambs.” The UK market is currently relatively well supplied with lambs

and so too is Ireland. Lamb slaughterings in Ireland are running ahead of last year by about 10%, perhaps not surprising given the increase in breeding ewe numbers reported in the Irish December census. Furthermore, there are reports of more plentiful supplies of Spanish and Portuguese lambs on the French market. So not only is the UK market reasonably well supplied with lamb, so too is our main export market. Furthermore, French producers are currently receiving 2.5% less than they did last year while Spanish producers are getting 4-5% less making the export market much tougher even before unfavourable Sterling exchange rate movements are considered. A further complication on the lamb market is the influence of skin values which, have taken a tumble over the past quarter. “Sheepskin prices have fallen globally and while Scottish sheepskin prices may not have fallen the 60% reported in Australia they are certainly well below year earlier levels. While the general global economic gloom continues sheepskin prices are not expected to recover,” he observed. Turning to the demand side of the equation the latest UK market research information suggests some modest improvement in consumer demand for lamb. Although over the past year household purchases of lamb have fallen in volume terms, data for the most recent four weeks into early June showed a modest increase in volume. That increase was the result of increased purchases of leg roasts, which may reflect weather conditions or some heavy discounting to clear the market, but it is a start. “The average retail price of lamb during May was reported around 6.7% higher than 12 months ago while the average beef retail price increased 16%. Lamb may remain expensive but it’s relative price position against beef has improved. The challenge for the industry is to build on this modest improvement in consumer demand so as to sustain producer prices at current levels in the face of a slightly better supplied market.”

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five


by Carol McLaren


he Kintyre monitor farm group donned life jackets and set sail from Campbeltown to Stranraer for their most recent meeting to seek information on a low-cost out-wintered suckler cow system, which was also productive and easily managed. Their destination was Drumdow Farm, north of Stranraer, a 465 acre unit farmed by, Robert Parker, who from 2004 - 2007 was the Wigtownshire Monitor Farmer, part of the national programme led by QMS. Over the last 15 years Robert has developed a closed, spring calving suckler herd of 180 “Black Baldies,” a rotational cross of Hereford and Aberdeen Angus, selling the female progeny for breeding, with the steers sold store. Kintyre monitor farmer, Duncan Macalister, runs 140 predominantly spring calving Aberdeen Angus cows, on his 1,730 acre Glenbarr Farms, just north of Campbeltown, with all progeny, other than retained females, finished. Until last year only Aberdeen Angus bulls were used. Having read of Robert Parker’s Black Baldie enterprise, Duncan invested £5,200 in a Hereford bull in 2011 with high maternal trait figures, with the intention of breeding female replacements with milk, hybrid vigour, fertility, ease of calving and management, and crucially – capable of out-wintering on his coastal, sandy fields. The first calves of Ervie L1 Achiever 91161F, were born this spring. “It will be at least two and a half years before I will wean calves from my first Hereford cross heifers, which will give an indication as to whether or not I have done the right thing,” commented Duncan. “So the chance to visit Robert’s herd, see the environment they live in, how they’re managed and with their calves at foot, was a great opportunity!” The community group travelled through several Drumdow fields of cows with their spring-born calves at foot, with either a Hereford or AA bull running with them. Robert explained that to maintain hybrid vigour, any female with a Hereford passport is put to an Aberdeen Angus bull, and all females on Aberdeen Angus passports go to a Hereford.

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five

To ensure tight calving, the bulls, which are semen tested prior to use, stay in for twelve weeks. Any females not in calf at weaning are culled. “This helps to lift the natural fertility of the herd,” explained Robert. “This year 90% of the cows calved within the first six weeks. And as I sell the progeny in groups, the tight calving gives me an evenly grown calf crop to draw from. “When selecting bulls I look for high maternal EBV figures, with emphasis on milk and daughter calving ease. Physically, in particular I look for length – a lengthy breeding female has plenty of room for her calf to develop inside her and a lengthy beef animal has far more frame on which to hang the meat!” Mature cow weight target is 600 to 650 kgs, with heifers aimed to calve at two years old. The first Black Baldies arrived at Drumdow in 1997. Prior to that Robert had sourced continental cross heifers from his brother’s neighbouring dairy unit and crossed them with continental bulls. “My brother’s decision to increase the Holstein influence, in pursuit of higher milk yields, resulted in poorer


Black Baldies Impress quality heifers for my beef herd. So things had to change.” “I was keen to close my herd to minimise disease risks, while retaining hybrid vigour, so needed to work with two breeds, which would compliment each other, with neither being extreme. Ease of management was also important, along with the ability to thrive on a mainly forage diet. And with no cow winter accommodation, the cows needed to be able to out-winter. I found the Black Baldie ticked all the boxes.” In November the cows and calves are turned onto 120 acres of rough grazing, divided into 20 to 25 acre blocks with electric fencing. This area provides good natural shelter and a month later the calves are weaned with the calves staying indoors. After a couple of days “cooling off ” at the buildings, during which time the cows are pregnancy diagnosed and bolused, they return to over-winter on the rough grazing, where they receive silage. During his monitor farm term Robert had experienced some “scepticism” from the community group regarding his policy of “turning back the clock” to two seemingly old fashioned native breeds as the genetic entirety of his breeding herd. At the time half of the cows were still continental crosses, with Charolais terminal sires used over all cows. Monitor farm analysis of the

comparative figures for Charolais crosses from the two dam breeds, however, silenced the doubters. Prior to weaning, the steers grew at the same rate (1.3 kg/day DLWG). Aided by a better calving percentage, the Black Baldie progeny grossed substantially more kilos of weaned calf weight than the calves from the continental crosses. The heifers out of the Black Baldie dams had finished 42 days earlier (531 days v 573), with a deadweight of 4 kgs heavier (307 kgs v 303). The Black Baldie cows also required considerably less feed. For the last few years, no continental bulls have been used at Drumdow, with Robert now concentrating on producing Black Baldie breeding heifers. Breeding female numbers have increased from 150 to 180. Ewe numbers have consequently been cut back from 520 to 300. From the 2011 calf crop, all but one of the heifers were either retained or sold for breeding, with the majority selling for £1,200 per head at 13 months, and the last ten cashing for £1,000. The 84 steers were sold store through UA at Stirling, at just under a year old. Weighing between 380 – 385 kgs, they averaged £825.00 per head. The next Kintyre monitor farm meeting will be in early September.




GB Planted Area up but Yields Uncertain


trong GB forward prices and good planting conditions in England have driven up total GB planted area by 3% for harvest 2012, although recent wet weather has cast doubts over final yields, according to AHDB Market Intelligence. The AHDB HGCA 2012 Planting Survey shows that total GB area for wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape for this harvest is estimated at 3.810M hectares, up 3% on 2011 and similar to levels seen in 2008. These area gains are likely to have come from reductions in other crops such as pulses. AHDB HGCA Senior Analyst Jack Watts said: “Strong GB forward prices at planting time, combined with good planting conditions in England are most likely to be behind the increase in planted area. Although Scotland saw a wet autumn, the weather was much more favourable in March this year, which enabled farmers to plant more spring barley in place of winter wheat.” “However, weather for developing crops has been poor over recent weeks, with low sunshine levels and high rainfall during the critical grain filling period. As a result, uncertainty remains around yields. “This is particularly true for oilseed rape, which has seen record GB planting levels which may not translate into record production.” According to this year’s AHDB HGCA Variety Survey, which was carried out at the same time, 17% of the GB wheat area is estimated to be planted to nabim Group 1 varieties, 9% to Group 2, 21% to Group 3 and 52% to Group 4. Comparing 2012 to 2011, at the GB level, the area share amongst the four nabim Groups is relatively static with a decline in Group 2 and an increase in Group 3 this year. However, care must be taken when comparing to 2011 data as steps have been taken this year to improve methodology. Regional variation in varieties is large – mainly as a result of increasing specialisation in the English regions. For barley, 67% of the GB area is estimated to be planted to malting type varieties. DK-Cabernet and


Excalibur appear to be the most popular GB oilseed rape varieties, accounting for an estimated 21% and 12% of the GB area respectively. Wheat The GB wheat area for harvest 2012 is estimated to be 2.002M hectares, up 2% on 2011 and the highest level since 2008 when 2.068M hectares were planted. With the exception of the North West and East Midlands, all English regions show an increase in wheat area. In Scotland, the wheat area is estimated to be 6% lower than the record 115k hectares planted for harvest 2011 at 108k hectares. This is the lowest area since 2009 and is likely to be a result of the wet autumn conditions that made planting difficult. Oilseed rape (OSR) The GB OSR area for harvest 2012 is estimated to be 712k hectares, up 5% on 2011 and a new record. This is the second consecutive year the crop has posted a record area as strong global oilseed prices has made OSR increasingly competitive against other break crops as well as cereals. However, the record area of 2012 may not translate into record production as crops have been subjected to poor weather conditions in recent weeks. Against the GB trend, the Scottish OSR area is seen 6% lower at 36k hectares, again driven by the poor autumn planting conditions. However, this is the same area as grown for harvest 2010. Total barley The total GB barley area for harvest 2012 is estimated to be up 5% on 2011 at 986k hectares. This is historically low and remains beneath the 1M hectares mark that was common place pre-2005 and seen again in 2008 and 2009. Winter Barley The GB winter barley area for harvest 2012 is estimated to be 5% higher on 2011 at 368k hectares. However the 2012 area is historically low – the second smallest area behind 2011. The Scottish winter barley area is estimated to be 4% lower at 44k hectares, a record low and likely to

have been driven by the difficult planting conditions of autumn 2011. In England, area increases are estimated in the North East, Eastern, South East and South West regions. Attractive malting premiums at planting, relatively strong feed barley prices against feed wheat, a desire for more home-produced feed / animal bedding and the attraction of a wider harvest window are all possible reasons behind the increase in winter barley area. Spring Barley The GB spring barley area for harvest 2012 is estimated at 618k hectares. This represents the highest level since 2009 when 718k hectares of spring barley were grown in GB. The strong 2009 area was fuelled by wet conditions in the autumn of 2008 across GB, which diverted land to spring cropping. Scotland is the main driver in the spring barley area increase. The Scottish spring barley area is estimated to be 301k hectares, up 16% on 2011 and a new record. The main driver is likely to have been the wet Scottish autumn in 2011, diverting land from winter to spring cropping. Continuing optimism in distilling demand may also have been a contributory factor. Based on these estimates, Scotland now accounts for 49% of the GB spring barley area, up from 44% in 2011. In England, the spring barley area is estimated 4% lower at 303k hectares, but still above the 2010 level (266k hectares). With the exception of the North West and South West, all English regions show declines in spring barley areas. This decline was likely to have been driven by the good autumn conditions in ‘11, which enabled farmers to plant winter crops at the expense of spring areas. Oats The GB oat area for harvest 2012 is estimated at 110k hectares, up 4% on 2011. However despite being higher than 2011, the area is historically low. The increase in 2012 may have been driven by an increase in the number of growing contracts available as well as strong prices fuelled by domestic supply concerns.

Higher feed prices are imminent and will heap more costs onto what has become an expensive summer for livestock producers in Northern Ireland. Over the last few weeks an on-going drought in the USA, coupled with wet weather in Britain, has forced the price of grains and oil seeds to new highs. Soyabean meal, the main protein source in local livestock rations, is being quoted at just under £400 per tonne - an increase of nearly £100 per tonne in three months. With barley at around £200 per tonne and wheat at £215 per tonne, the immediate prospects for rations are not encouraging. Some compounders are looking at price increases next week, with dairy rations likely to be hit first. Price rises of £6 to £12 per tonne are possible, with the bigger rises for higher protein rations. Sources in the feed trade maintain that most companies have very little raw material bought forward, meaning that they are increasingly being exposed to the higher prices. Just how quickly they all have to step into the market and buy product will depend on how long current stocks (and the bad weather) lasts. There are also reports that some straights are not currently available to farmers to buy at any price, as the feed trade is holding what they have. In a recent press release, the body representing the local feed trade (the NI Grain Trade Association - NIGTA) described the outlook for feed prices as "grim". They pointed to a surge in demand for US soya beans as driving soya prices and indirectly driving the price of other protein sources such as rape meal, distillers' grains and corn gluten. According to NIGTA, the prospects for the coming soya harvest in the US are poor with much of the crop suffering stress from hot, dry weather in the principal growing areas. The dry weather is also having an impact on the US maize crop, forcing compounders to look towards feed wheat as an alternative, and driving wheat prices up. In Europe, grain harvests have been delayed by variable weather and the markets have firmed in response to concerns about the harvest and the late arrival of new crop material. This is particularly the case in Britain where delays due to the wet weather have meant that no new crops are available, thereby forcing up the prices of old crops.

Farming Country – August 2012



More to Potatoes Than Meets the Eye


otato Council has been working with the supply chain to develop a new approach for the fresh retail sector. This key market accounts for one third of the GB crop. Central to the strategy is showing shoppers that there’s more to potatoes than meets the eye; helping them to understand the different tastes and textures, rather than just focusing on skin finish. Head of communications for Potato Council, Sharon Hall, said: “This is an opportunity to direct research to address what consumers would like to see in the market place. Helping them get ‘under the skin’ of potatoes and make purchase decisions based on more than just size or visual appearance. The first step is to understand how agronomy impacts on the different taste and texture characteristics, which will then enable us to focus on meeting consumer

needs profitably.” What is clear is that this is a real opportunity for the GB industry to lead the way in driving fresh potato sales and delivering value for the entire supply chain, right back to the farm gate. It has been backed by a year’s worth of research that proves there is a real shopper-need – 85% of shoppers want to understand more about potatoes and nine out of 10 would find a simple classification to help them choose, useful. Head of marketing, Caroline Evans, added: “This strategy will build a stronger connection between consumers and potatoes; educating them by highlighting taste and texture with simple, shopper-led signposting. A common language will provide a clearer understanding of the wide range of varieties and promote consistency across the category, thereby encouraging shoppers to

Vital Role of Hi-tech Ag


he Crop Protection Association (CPA) has welcomed the publication of a major international report highlighting the importance of agricultural science and technology in meeting the world’s burgeoning demands for food, feed and fuel. The latest OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook report, released earlier this week, concludes that agricultural production must increase by 60% over the next 40 years to meet the rising global demand for food. This equates to an extra 1B tonnes of cereals and 200M tonnes of meat per year by 2050 compared with 2005/07 levels. Additional production will also be required to provide feedstock for an expanding biofuel market set to consume an estimated 16% of oilseed output, 14% of cereals and 34% of sugar cane by 2021. But with less than 5% more arable land available to bring into production, and 25% of existing farmland already degraded, the OECD-FAO report concludes that increasing crop productivity on existing farmland will be essential to contain food price rises and reduce food insecurity. Welcoming the OECD-FAO report’s central conclusion that access to yield-enhancing technologies such as crop protection and advanced plant breeding methods will be critical to delivering these productivity gains, CPA Chairman Stephen Henning

Farming Country – August 2012

‘trade up’. “This has the potential to drive up the value of the industry. Increasing the average cost per kilogramme paid by the shopper by just 1p, would add up to £8.7m over the course of a year. Perhaps more importantly, building a stronger relationship with consumers will help ensure long term loyalty and demand for potatoes.” The first week in October will be the launch pad for consumer focused activity. A nationwide advertising

campaign is set to reach an audience of 10million, supported by over 100 regional sampling days, the distribution of 500,000 leaflets and a strong online presence. Suppliers to the processing sector can use the Week to raise campaign messages when talking about the high specification potatoes they produce. Working together as an industry we can show consumers that there is more to potatoes than meets the eye!”

endorsed the call for Governments worldwide to create the right commercial, technical and regulatory environment for the development and adoption of agricultural innovation. “The challenge of feeding a growing world population, in the face of weather-related variability, price volatility and increasing pressure on finite natural resources, will require an integrated approach to the ‘sustainable intensification’ of global agriculture. This report underlines the importance of controlling pests and diseases using modern pesticide products, and warns that current annual losses of between 26% and 40% of the world’s potential crop production could double without the use of crop protection practices.” “The contribution of advanced plant breeding techniques, and the significance of biotech crops as the most rapidly adopted crop technology in modern agriculture, are also highlighted in the report, not only as the basis for sustainable yield and farm income gains, but also as a route to developing more climate resilient and resource-efficient crop varieties. “Access to such advances will be essential to address the global food security and sustainable development challenges, and we welcome the report’s recognition of the need for science-based regulation, effective intellectual property protection, and a progressive R&D agenda to support the required growth in sustainable agricultural productivity.”




Kawasaki King


week with a Kawasaki KVF650 on farm was an absolute pleasure. An ‘armchair with grunt,’ was how husband Richard described it. It certainly lives up to it’s name in the USA – Brute Force. Comfort came top of the list with the Kawasaki KVF650 – it probably rates the highest of all the quads that I have trialled so far. Power was a close second – it could fair shift on both farm roads and tarred country lanes. Teamed with the ability to leave a light foot-print over sensitive terrain, this quad is the ideal farm work horse and run around. Features include: a belt service warning system, which warns the rider of impending belt failure or

excessive belt wear and reduces engine power until the problem is corrected; manual override of reversing speed limiter for steep gradients and heavy loads; handy electrical outlets at the front (120w) and rear (60w); selectable 2WD/ 4WD; limited slip differential for negotiating hills and slippery surfaces – a real benefit by supplying power to the wheel that is able to provide the most traction. High mudguard design emphasises the large wheel travel and underscores this model’s excellent off-road capabilities. Retailed at £6559 the Kawasaki KVF650 is a sound investment to add to any farm fleet.

Not Such a Glorious 12th!


ccording to Savills, despite disappointing grouse counts following the wettest summer on record, there are glimmers of hope for a sector which contributes in the region of £25 million to the Scottish economy each year. Roddy Willis of Savills Rural Department said: “There will certainly be pain this season for the shooting sector and for the economy as a whole. The appalling summer weather has taken its toll on a new generation of grouse and many chicks have perished. However hen birds who were put off their nests in May following torrential rain have laid again, and late broods are apparent among this year’s counts. This may well allow for late shooting on some moors towards the end of September and into October. “In addition, grouse have an


extraordinary ability to bounce back if allowed to breed. Thankfully, sensible decisions are now being made by estate owners to cancel or adjust shooting programmes. Bear in mind, if 100 brace are left alone to breed in pairs a further 400 brace could be added to the stock next year.” Grouse reports vary from one grouse moor to the next throughout Scotland. Rory Galloway of Savills said: “Counts in the Lammermuirs and parts of the Borders and South West Scotland have been encouraging and most shooting programmes remain intact. However, in Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, parts of Inverness-shire and in Angus Glens, where there has been an impressive revival over the past five years, rumours of cancellations and reduced shooting programmes are now being substantiated.”

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five



New 4x4 Gator Finance


ohn Deere Financial has announced a new interest-free finance programme for Gator 4x4 utility vehicles. UK customers may order any new HPX or XUV Gator model from their John Deere dealer at any time until 30th September 2012. The offer is for 2 + 22 monthly payments at zero per cent interest, with the amount financed limited to 60 per cent of the retail value. John Deere manufactures the widest range of utility vehicles in the industry. The four-wheel drive HPX and XUV Gator utility vehicles are ruggedly designed for a wide range of transporting, loading, hauling, dumping and general materials handling duties, especially in

challenging off-road conditions. Options include fully enclosed cabs, a wide range of tyres, a road homologation kit, rear hitch, utility trailer, front and rear blades and a winch. Other manufacturers also sell a number of specialist attachments to further increase the Gator’s versatility; these include seeders, sprayers, spreaders, trailers, line markers, snow blowers, containers and tool holders. Other credit profiles are available on request, and the availability of finance is subject to status and to terms and conditions – further details are available at: www.JohnDeere or from John Deere dealers nationwide. Lanarkshire Monitor Farm


South Lanarkshire farm, run with minimal Single Farm Payment, has been appointed as the first Clyde Monitor Farm. Carstairs Mains near Carstairs, run by Andrew Baillie (32), was selected from a strong line-up of applicants to be the area’s first Monitor Farm, supported by QMS and the Scottish Government’s Skills Development Scheme. Mr Baillie has been running the 650 acre farm for two years with his wife Jen and the couple have two young children, Rachel and Cameron. The unit includes 215 acres of grass and 150 acres of woodland along with 200 acres of spring barley, 20 acres of

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five

fodder beet, 13 acres of winter wheat and 10 acres of chicory. The business runs 75 suckler cows, which go to Limousin and British Blue bulls, with the Blue cross heifers kept as replacements and the remaining heifers sold as stores. The bull calves are left entire and fattened for bull beef. Mr Baillie also buys in 150 dairy bull calves from two local farmers – his brother William and Alan Trainer. All the bulls are finished and sold direct to Scotbeef at 10-12 months and 550kgs. The 200 head sheep enterprise is a combination of commercial and pedigree animals – 100 pure Beltex

ewes, 30 pure Texels and 40 Beltex cross Texel ewes. Both flock and herd are operated on a closed basis, with only bulls and tups bought in. Mr Baillie previously rented East Yardhouses Farm at Carnwath before buying Carstairs Mains two years ago. He said he was “over the moon” the farm had been selected. “I first heard about Monitor Farms when I was working in New Zealand 10 years ago and I was impressed with what I saw over there. “Since then I’ve been keeping an eye on how the programme has been developing in Scotland so I was delighted when I heard about the opportunity to get involved in our area. “I’m very open to suggestions on how we could do things better and I’m hoping my whole farm will benefit. We’re farming with minimal Single Farm Payment so it’s difficult to make a profit and I’m certainly up for trying any new ideas which could improve farm profitability.” Mr Baillie is also keen to take advantage of new technology. “We’ve introduced EID into our cattle herd

and we’ve really seen the benefits it can deliver with the bull beef side of our business, where we now have much more feedback on performance.” Two SAC facilitators have also been appointed to support the Clyde Monitor Farm – Grant Conchie based at Lanark and Raymond Crerar from the Ayr office. “The aim of the Monitor Farm is to improve the profit of the business involved, as well as improving the profitability of those who are members of the community group, by close examination and trial of new ideas in key enterprises in the business. “Peer review and knowledge exchange are hugely important to the process and ultimately we aim to see smarter farm businesses that have learnt from participating in the project,” said Ian MacDougall, Technical Projects Manager, QMS. The impetus to set up the Clyde project, as well as the Forth Monitor Farm, which is due to be announced very soon, came from members of NFU Scotland’s Forth and Clyde branches.




Spotlight on Skipton by Robin Moule


kipton Auction’s Mart’s summer sale of working sheep dogs produced two outstanding successes – the second highest price in the world ever paid at an official sale, plus a four-figure price for a pup under six months. Lancastrian Shaun Richards, of Watson Laithe Farm, Hapton, Burnley, achieved the first feat with a 15-month-old black and white dog that made 5,000 guineas, or £5,250, while Beverley Fort, of Brighton House Farm, Steeton, Keighley, sold a five-and-a-half-months-old brown and white bitch pup for 1,000gns. Mr Richards’ classy dog Marchup Sam, an excellent prospect for the trials field, achieved the top call on the day by far. The world record price, also set at Skipton in February last year, is 6,000gns, or £6,300, for a 13-month-old tri-coloured bitch, Dewi Fan, sold by North Yorkshire’s John Bell, of Parks Farm, Selby. The previous world record price of 4,900gns was also jointly achieved at Skipton several years ago by two dogs – another from John Bell and a second from then World Sheep Dog Trials champion, Welshman Aled Owen, of Penyfed, Corwen, Denbighshire. Marchup Sam was bred locally by Andrew Throup, of Silsden. Her dam is Calderdale Sue, while the sire is Aled Owen’s Roy, with whom he won the International Sheep Dog Society organised World Trials in 2008 and the 2007 International Supreme –

and who figured prominently as the sire of other high-priced dogs sold on the day. It was Mr Richards’ best-ever performance in terms of price at the North Yorkshire venue. He said the achievement was even more fulfilling, as he had only been working with Marchup Sam for a little over a month. While he sold locally and will be used as both a work and trials dog, the buyer requested anonymity. In addition, Mr Richards made 3,500gns (£3,675) with his two-year black and white bitch Poppy, who found a new home in Aberdeenshire. Poppy is also by Mr Owen’s Roy, out of Maddie, bred in Caton, Lancashire, by Tom Huddleston, secretary and treasurer of the English National Sheep Dog Trials. Beverley Fort’s 1,000gns bitch pup Marchup Roxy was also bred in Silsden by Andrew Throup. She is a daughter of his Jace, while the sire is Staff, from J Richardson, who has produced many winning trials dogs. The same parents were also responsible for Mr Throup’s 2011/12 Yorkshire champion Bob and Roxy’s new owner, Tracey Sutherland, of Caithness, is hopeful her smart acquisition will also go to prove herself on the trials field in next year’s nurseries. Tracey, a relative newcomer to the trials arena, had made the 16-hour return journey from her home near John O’Groats, where she and her father John raise

Charolais cattle and Blackface sheep. The second highest price of the day at 3,800gns (£3,990) fell to an exciting nursery prospect, Hillmoor Blu, a 22-month-old tri-coloured bitch from Skipton sale debutant John Atkinson, who is shepherd on the Escrick Park Estate near York, owned by renowned conservationist and sporting gun Charlie Forbes-Adams. Through his White Rose Sheep Dogs operation, Mr Atkinson is a well-known trainer of trial dogs and has been responsible for two Scottish National champions and an International champion. He also sells dogs extensively across Europe, Japan and America. Blu is yet another product of Mr Owen’s prolific sire Roy, out of S E Mobberley’s Irwell Mika, whose own sire Sid is a former World Sheep Dog Trials runner-up in the hands of trialing legend Jim Cropper. Mr Atkinson said he was “extremely pleased” when selling his first-ever Skipton dog to regular buyer Joe McRobert, of Cheviot Sheepdogs, based in the Scottish Borders at Fingland, near Biggar, Lanarkshire. The penultimate dog to take to the trials field sold for the day’s third highest price of 3,300gns (£3,465). The 18-month-old red and white bitch, by Alistair Lyttle’s Jack, was presented by Ireland’s Brian White, of Dermotstown, Dublin. Another late runner, Moss, a September, 2010-born home-bred black and white dog from Weshman B Williams, of Bryn Amlwg, Bridgend, made 3,000gns (£3,150) when joining Arthur Temple, of Holmrook in Cumbria, a regular buyer at Skipton. Northumbrian breeder Tony Ilsey, of Shirlaw Hope Farm, near Alnwick, achieved 2,700gns (£2,835) with his 23-month-old black and white dog

Rick, by Tan Hill-based Alec Baines’ Rick, out of Gem, from J B Fothergill, Hawes. Already a dual nursery trial winner before progressing to become Northumberland nursery champion and Northumberland v Durham Interclub runner-up, the full bother to Jim Cropper’s Yorkshire nursery and open champion Max found a new home north of the border with Brian Ross, of Mid Gruinards Farm, Ardguy, Sutherland. Hill farmer Mr Ross, who breeds Cheviot and Hebridean sheep, plans to use his new acquisition for both work and trial. “I am delighted with him – he is just the type I like.” Also selling at 2,700gns (£2,835) was a much younger entrant, the 12-month-old red and white dog, Highgate Glen (by R Saxon’s Cammen Rip, out of WG Hallam’s Harriot) from South Yorkshire‘s Derek Cheetham, who is a shepherd on the Broomhead Estate, Sheffield. The buyer was Trevor Smith, who, though now semi-retired, continues to breed sheep near the west coast of Lancashire at Pilling. Mist, March, 2011, home-bred tri-coloured bitch from Scotland’s JH Weir, of Inverhayle, Argyll 2,000gns (£2,100). With a total entry of 83 dogs and pups forward, registered broken dogs sold to 5,000gns and to an overall average of £2,302, the highest for some time and well up on the £1,905 average achieved at the last sale in May. Registered part-broken dogs sold to 1,500gns (av £1,010), unregistered broken dogs to 2,300gns (av £1,319), unregistered part-broken dogs to 500gns, registered pups to 1,000gns (av £390) and unregistered pups to 200gns (av £150). Skipton’s next seasonal working sheep dog sale is scheduled for Oct 26.

Farming Country – August 2012



Quadtrac Record *∑ Fifty Case IH Quadtracs come together in one field * High-hp tracked tractors converge on Lincs farm from as far away as Wilts and Aberdeenshire * Cultivate land for almost eight minutes to set working record


ase IH Quadtrac owners from across the UK gave up one of the summer’s best harvest days to gather their machines in a single Lincolnshire field on July 28 and help raise more than £20,000 for Cancer Research UK, in the process setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of such tractors simultaneously at work. The event was the brainchild of Neil Maddison and Helen Rainthorpe, of JJR Farms, based at Welton Cliff, near Lincoln. Tractor driver Mr Maddison has operated Quadtracs for JJR Farms for many years, and Miss Rainthorpe, after forgoing her career in teaching to manage her family’s business upon the premature death from cancer of her father, John, two years ago, decided with Mr Maddison upon a unique way of marking Mr Rainthorpe’s memory and raising funds for research into the disease. Well-known for his forward thinking on using the latest technology to grow crops in a cost-effective yet

environmentally-friendly way, Mr Rainthorpe was a keen proponent of the Case IH Quadtrac, well-known for its soil-protecting, fuel-efficient properties as the only pivot-steered, rubber-tracked, high-horsepower tractor available. Because of her farm’s long-term involvement with Quadtracs and her father’s respect for the design, Miss Rainthorpe decided last year to create a working gathering of the machines, with the aim of raising funds from entrants and visitors to make a significant donation to Cancer Research UK. A programme of organisation, advertising and charity collection, which began six months ago started the process of fundraising and signing up entrants and this culminated in the record gathering. Fifty Quadtracs from as far afield as Wiltshire and Aberdeenshire were hauled to the site near the family farm and lined up in an impressive array in front of over 3,000 visitors. At exactly 1.30pm, their drivers, each

Farming Country – August 2012

production tractor on the market, almost all variants from the Quadtrac’s 16-year history were in the 50-strong field. “We were delighted to help Helen Rainthorpe with her idea and do what we could to help generate as much money as possible for a very important cause,” said Mr Blessley. “It was a fantastic day and a great tribute to all the hard work she has put in. To have Quadtrac owners travel from so far and with such an array of machines, at such a busy time of year, is a great illustration of the generosity and spirit of the people involved in UK agriculture.” Most importantly, donations from entrants and those visiting to watch the spectacle took the amount raised for Cancer Research UK to more than £20,000. Further information on the Quadtrac Record and the Cancer Research UK funds it was set up to raise can be found at

Duncow Smithy Kirkmahoe, DG1 1TE tel: 01387 710285

WA GEDDES River Street Wick KW1 5EB tel: 01955 60 22 07

with their machine coupled to some form of cultivator, fired up their machines and travelled away from the crowds to the opposite end of the field, whereupon they turned, lowered their implements and powered towards their audience for seven minutes and 47 seconds in a wall of engine roar, blaring horns and blazing headlights. That time total ensured a new entry into the Guinness Book of World Records, as adjudicated by a representative from the publisher, and Helen Rainthorpe was presented with a certificate to that effect. Each entrant was given a replica of the certificate, and 1/32 scale model Quadtracs were awarded by Case IH marketing manager Charles Blessley to the drivers of the oldest, highest-houred and furthest-travelled machines. With representative tractors from the earliest models of the mid 1990s up to the latest Quadtrac 600, the most powerful

Croft Bank Garage, Brora, KW9 7LW tel: 01408 62 12 20

Thomas Cairnie & Son Ltd 19



Letter From Skye

by Margaret H MacPherson


t was with a sigh of relief that I woke to find the ground white with snow. The wind has been so cold and biting that snow could be the only outcome. At the moment our good weather is behind us. In the middle of February we escaped from the snow and gales which had been our winter fare and the weather became mild. For March, for nearly a fortnight, temperatures were much above normal and winter seemed to drop a long way behind. Naturally that could not last and this spell of northerly winds and frosts at nights will have given stock a setback, but the ewes should, on the whole, reach lambing time in much better condition than they were in last year. Out-wintered cattle too, are in fairly good heart with only some six weeks to go. Wintering has been more plenitful and there should be enough all round to see us through. People have taken advantage of the dry weather to get ploughing done and that is well forward for the time of year. LAND SETTLEMENT I wonder why it is that successive Governments have taken so little interest in land settlement schemes. Land settlement is the policy of the Opposition and the pious hope of those in power but, beyond paying it lip service, they do nothing at all about it. The last land settlement schemes were undertaken by the D.O.A.S. in the ‘twenties – now over 30 years ago and soon to become matters of history and legend. Estates were then broken up, people were brought from overcrowded to half-empty places and on the whole, these schemes have been successful. They have arrested depopulation, at least for a time, perhaps altogether.


Then, why stop? Is it because there are now no empty glens or straths needing new blood? There are indeed, but for one reason or another they are closed to crofters. Is it because there is now no overcrowding in the islands? This too is not so. There are still very many clinging to two or three acres of barren soil who might successfully be moved to mainland glens. Thirty years ago the crofters built their own houses and steadings with the help of local tradesmen. Living standards, however tend to go up and men (and possibly even more so their wives) would prefer to take over a holding already equipped. What, then, happens? It becomes known (after the last war) that the Department will now put in order and rent holdings at equipped rents. So we wait and wait and at last, at the end of 1951, one equipped holding is ready and the tenant goes in. It is an excellent holding on some of the best land in Skye. It has a bungalow house fitted for easy working and enough to bring tears of envy to any ordinary housewife’s eyes. The steadings are grand and just behind them lies a sheep fank, admirably planned for easy handling of the flock. Well this is all excellent and then we look around for the other holdings equally well equipped and we find nothing! Not one. This is the sole and only contribution to land hunger, land settlement, call it what you will, in the island of Skye. THE YOUNG LEAVE Perhaps more is done elsewhere? I do not think so. Of course the Department only carries out the plans of the Government. But we ask, are no plans ever to go beyond the paper stage? In a little while no one will have either hope or interest. The

young women, seeing the water schemes fading into the far future, will go for easy employment to the towns – and who can blame them? The young men will follow suit. Who, then, will remain to bring up children in the country, their natural home? The Department’s one equipped holding will remain as an exhibition piece. Things were not done on such a niggardly scale in Eire, where the great estates were broken up and the peasants settled each on 20 to 30 acres of land. Every effort was made by the Government to get increased production, better marketing, better stock and so on. Only one thing was forgotten – that, while some people prosper others have losses and hard times and so the prosperous neighbour buys up his neighbour’s

croft. Now he has 50 acres. He is on the way to making his heir a landlord in his turn and the break-up of the big estates useless. But, of course, all that is needed is an amendment to the Act making such amalmgmation illegal. Was there not in the laws of Jews the law of Jubilee, which insisted on the return of his land to a slave at 50-year intrevals? Such problems seem to recur throughout history. With the sudden arrival of warm weather in March, I found winter aconites, snowdrops, crocusses and daffodils all flowering at the same time, a thing I have never observed before. The garden looked very gay for a time, but is now less so with only the daffodils bending before the blast.

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Farming Country – Issue eighty-five

Book Review


his book contains the papers presented to a conference held in Perth in September 2009, hosted by SNH to consider the recent changes affecting the natural environment across Scotland. There were some seventy seven papers presented dealing with one of eight themes: an initial overview of the changing nature of Scotland and then its seas and coast, fresh waters, lowlands, woodlands, uplands, health and the economy and settlements and built development. The book was published in 2011 and its content had been updated to reflect recent changes. Activities making sustainable use of the natural environment are estimated at £17.2 billion a year, which represents 11% of Scotland’s economic output and supports 242,000 jobs, 14% of all full-time jobs in Scotland. Thus the natural environment ‘under pins the Scottish economy.’ There is a belief that further opportunities for growth exist in wildlife tourism, forestry and locally produced food. Because of the Scottish Government’s climate policy commitments there could be further growth in employment in efforts aimed at mitigating climate change. Encouraging sustainability should develop stronger links to the environment in industry sectors where these are weak at present. Consequently the importance of the environment for Scotland’s economy is likely to increase over coming decades. Scottish soils are said to be under pressure from a range of climatic, socio-economic and biophysical factors. There is a need, therefore, to develop methods which detect the magnitude and direction of changes in some key indicators which can be used to protect Scotland’s soil resource. Wild deer numbers are thought to

Farming Country – Issue eighty-five

have increased substantially but caution is urged against uncritical acceptance of the published statistics. Regional populations and their trends are helpful for the delivery of sustainable management of populations. Trends in Scottish butterfly numbers are reported as being mixed with some species contracting in numbers and range while others have increased significantly in both these characteristics. The number of resident species has increased but many species important to Scotland’s distinctive natural heritage are under threat due mainly to the deterioration and destruction of habitats. The Scottish Government uses butterflies as one of the indicators of the state of Scotland’s biodiversity. Targeted research, advisory work and monitoring schemes are said to be vital if we are to understand and measure the changes happening to Scotland’s butterfly population. Bird populations are also monitored and a bird atlas measuring changes in distribution and abundance is being compiled. This can then be compared with earlier atlases compiled in 196872, 1988-91 to identify areas and species undergoing changes over a 40-year period. Throughout Britain and Ireland some 90 million birds have been counted. The process was still incomplete at the date of publication but one trend was clear – the common buzzard population had expanded eastwards and into many lowland areas increasing its range by 10% between the first two surveys and a further 14% in the last 20 years. The data will be used for monitoring and predicting the consequences of land use change; e.g. to illustrate how bird populations react to changes put in place by the new SRDP, CAP reform and the new Scottish Forestry Strategy.

Have the arctic-alpine birds e.g. dotterel and ptarmigan already been affected by climate change and what future impacts can be expected? Atlas information should be invaluable in assessing development applications, including risk mapping for onshore wind farms, urban development and forestry expansion. SNH set out a vision of what Scotland could be like in 2025. For farmland it envisages a sector committed to farm assurance standards, quality branding and meeting objectives in relation to rural development, public access and management of the natural heritage. With respect to climate change farmers are to be encouraged to contribute towards mitigation measures including better retention of carbon in vegetation and soils, the development of renewable energy generation where appropriate, low carbon management practices, the development of new habitats and management strategies for invasive species. The loss of set-aside subsidy puts a new emphasis on the need to manage some areas to increase their value for wildlife. The ongoing focus is on delivering multiple benefits through integration of agriculture with natural heritage objectives. With respect to settlements the focus is to be on increased provision of greenspace and more community involvement in the management of local natural heritage with a greater importance placed on quality of life. Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, wrote; ‘If we can create something with our environment that is meaningful, something that makes people want to go out and participate in it, this is how we will generate good health.’ For coasts and seas the 2025 vision is to have thriving coastal communities which have an active role in the management of coastal and marine environments, with a local economy based on sustainable fishing, aquaculture and diversification into leisure and tourism. Woodlands are to have a high biodiversity value and play a key role in the development of habitat networks with a good mix between forestry and open ground for better amenity. It should also place a greater emphasis on climate change mitigation through biomass energy production and low carbon planting strategies. The vision for hills and moors is based on safeguarding nationally important flora and fauna, a greater role for recreation and tourism, mixed with traditional uses to ensure the viability of upland communities. There is to be an increasing focus on the links between land management and climate change including carbon storage and sequestration. Renewable energy developments will also exert pressure. Due to changes in support through CAP reform there have already been significant reductions in

by Dr Allan MacPherson numbers of hill sheep and cattle which will have implications for the natural heritage and local economy. Fresh water management has close links to land management strategies and should have controls in place to minimise pollution. Effective flood management strategies will help to ensure community resilience to flooding events which are predicted to be more frequent in future. New controls for aquaculture and fresh water fisheries are now in place and should help to protect wild fish populations and achieve sustainable management of the resources. Having been through the book I was left with a feeling of sympathy for farmers, who have largely bequeathed us the environment that we have and enjoy today and who are still major stakeholders in the countryside but who now as a result of umpteen directives, regulations, forward strategies and strategic frameworks, control orders, planning policies and delivery plans and policy drivers must spend considerably more of their time thinking about compliance rather than in productive work. This issue is addressed in the book by Johnathan Hall, NFU Scotland. He says there are at least 20 different policies related to agriculture and several of these place conflicting demands and expectations on farmers. He says that the complexity of some of the policies means that they are not understood by farmers and that better communication by all agencies is required, which will then make it more likely that the aims of the policies will be met. It appears to be increasingly the case that farming does not exist merely to put food on our tables, but delivers benefits to everyone. Farming support will need to meet the cost of providing wider rural development benefits. The book deals with why changes in our natural environment matter to us and their effect on our businesses and health. It looks at the reasons for change and what can be done to ameliorate them. It is a very nicely produced publication, well-organised into its relevant sectors each with an introductory chapter giving an overview of the topic addressed. It is well illustrated with relevant graphs, maps and diagrams and with some beautiful photographs. It also has a comprehensive and useful index which should prove helpful. The Changing Nature of Scotland Edited by Susan J Marrs, Simon Foster, Catriona Hendrie, Edward C Mackey & Des B A Thompson. TSO, Scotland, Edinburgh 2011 ISBN 978-0-1149-7359-9 Hardback 528pp Price: £27.50 Also available by free pdf download from Scottish Community Land Network




Amazing Grace


rue to form new SAC graduate Grace Smith kicked off her celebrations with milk following the SAC Graduation Ceremony in Bute Hall, University of Glasgow. Not only had the hard working dairy farmers’ daughter from Sanquhar (D&G) gained a First Class Honours Degree in Applied Animal Science, but she also collected a number of other prizes, adding to her Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers / Dairy Crest Dairy Student of the Year award, collected earlier this year. “It was a lot of effort, but now it’s all worth while,” said Grace. “The next step is finding a job where I can stay connected to farming and hopefully, make a difference. I am apprehensive about life after college, but excited as well.” Grace (21), who studied at SAC’s Riverside Campus, Ayr, was awarded the Watson Peat Trophy as the most outstanding student at Ayr. She also gathered the Worshipful Company of Woolmen’s prize for the best Honours Dissertation, the Society of Biology Prize for the best fourth year student in Biological Science and the R Stewart McDougall Prize for Applied

Animal Science. Grace was the first ever female winner of the prestigious RABDF/Dairy Crest award in its 22 year history. At present Grace has a summer job working with the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspectorate Directorate in Dumfries. However last summer she had a traineeship placement with SAC’s Farm Business Services and hopes to find a career in consultancy, specialising in dairying. “Despite recent events and the price cuts I believe it is an industry with a long term future and I would like to be part of it. I am just grateful to my parents, friends and lecturers for helping me get this far.” Grace was one of 418 students graduating from SAC this year. Together they had chosen to follow 50 different, specialist courses from Degree to Diploma, HND to HNC, Graduate and Post graduate. In his address to the Students SAC Principal, Professor Bob Webb said: “It is my sincere belief that your time at SAC will have equipped you with the knowledge and skills to prosper in this rapidly changing world”.

Outstanding Olympian


s one of SAC’s bright sparks, Huntly student Kay Jaffray (24), celebrated the second highlight of her year to date, after being awarded an Honours degree in Agriculture at SAC’s graduation ceremony in Bute Hall, Glasgow. Only last month Kay carried the Olympic Torch on its journey through Aberdeen. Now she has that torch, letters after her name and a prize to help her remember a very special time in her life. “It’s been busy but exciting” she said,” the whole period at SAC seems to have gone so quickly since I left work to go to college. This makes it all worth it. I’ve enjoyed the friendly atmosphere at Craibstone and while I might be called a mature student there were quite a few others so it was never an issue.” Kay’s Degree follows the HND in Animal Care she gained in 2006 while studying at Aberdeen College. After a job with the Thainstone (Inverurie) office of the Government’s Animal Health, Veterinary Laboratory Agency, Kay wanted more practical work with


livestock and applied to study Agriculture at SAC. The SAC course allowed her to build on her previous HND so she needed just three years to achieve an Honours Degree, specialising in Livestock and Animal Science. She also won the SAC Trust prize for the best fourth year student. Outside college Kay has worked regularly for dairy company Mackies, ever since she first applied for a weeks work experience and they invited her back. Kay is also deeply involved with the Girlguiding UK as District Commissioner for Clashnoth (Huntly and Rhynie) and running her own Guide unit. It was through this link she was nominated to carry the Olympic Torch through Bieldside recently. “That was another special but all too brief experience and a real privilege. I am glad I did it, just like the decision to go to college.” Inspired by her studies Kay is now considering applying for an MSc course in animal genetics, delivered by SAC in conjunction with University of Edinburgh.

Farming Country – August 2012



East Area Rally Results:

by Helen McLaren Regional Events Manager SAYFC


he Harbro sponsored East Region Rally was held on Sunday 22nd July 2012 at Pitmurthly Farm, Redgorton by kind permission of the Smith Family. Fifteen teams fought it out to amalgamate points for the Silverware – the Bibby Shield. Kinross JAC came out on top with East Fife JAC coming in second and Bankfoot lifted third place and the Small Clubs title. Sports and Tug of war competitions were dominated by East Fife & Strathearn with the latter winning the Tug of War competition and the former the Overall Sports. Arts & Crafts saw local

Tug of War overall – 3rd Aberfeldy 2nd East Fife 1st Strathearn Sports Overall – 3rd = Perth, Aberfeldy & Bankfoot 2nd Strathearn 1st East Fife

Arts & Crafts Overall – 2nd = Brechin & Kinross 1st - Forfar & Bankfoot Small Clubs Cup – 2nd - Carse of Gowrie 1st Bankfoot Overall Club Gaining Most Points 3rd Bankfoot 2nd East Fife 1st Kinross

club Bankfoot JAC and Forfar JAC coming first equal with Brechin JAC & Kinross JAC coming 2nd equal. Chairman, Anna Dickinson was thrilled with the day as over 150 East Region members attended and over 25 stewards, judges, staff and committee members helped to make the day a great success with the help from sponsors Harbro. Hosts for the day – the Smith Family – were delighted to reminisce that 26 years ago, in 1986, the East Region Rally was held at Pitmurthly. Farmer Gregor Smith happened to meet Val, a Canadian exchange Young Farmer that day – she is now his wife!

Kinross JAC East Fife JAC

Strathearn JAC

Farming Country – August 2012

Forfar Ladies JAC

Bankfoot JAC


Issue 85  

Agricultural magazine covering Scotland and Northern England. Magazine - previously titled­ has been rebranded as Farm...

Issue 85  

Agricultural magazine covering Scotland and Northern England. Magazine - previously titled­ has been rebranded as Farm...