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62 MAGAZINE 5/2/10 10:26 am Page 1 Issue sixty-two • February 2010

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CONTENTS Issue sixty-two • February 2010

farmingscotland Issue sixty-two • February 2010

H Eilidh MacPherson

farmingscotland is written, edited and designed in Scotland. This publication reports industry wide over the whole of Scotland and N of England and is distributed free for farmers and crofters to abattoirs, livestock markets, farm supplies and SERID offices from the Borders to the Butt of Lewis, from Stranraer to the Shetland Isles and Clitheroe to Cumbria. EDITOR: Eilidh MacPherson Marbrack Farm, Carsphairn, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway, DG7 3TE Tel: 01640 440 640 Mobile: 0797 7897867

ope you enjoy this months effort and promise to have a bumper issue next month. With Valentines coming up and February renowned for being a rather dismal month, we have spiced it up with a couple of great prizedraws in this issue. Check out the back pages and sign up for the newsletter for a chance to win a meal for two at some of the top restaurants across the country with the Scotch Beef Club. Our January winner of the Venison Cookbook was JM Howey, Broomiebank Farm, Westruther, Gordon in the Borders. Remember that once you have signed up your name will be included in every prizedraw. I’m well over my deadline so will have more time for chat next month.

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Beef Galloways

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Monitor Farm Beef

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Sheep Shearing







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Rural Retail Scotch Beef Club

PUBLISHER - Eilidh MacPherson Cover - Ullswater, The Lake District Text and photography by Eilidh MacPherson unless otherwise stated Page 8/9 - words & pics QMS Page 14 - words lh column QMS


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Galloways and Garden Centres at Shancastle

Bob Gault

Manager: Scott McKinnon Farming: Shancastle, operating as Klondyke Farms 2800 acres, owned 700 acres rented Location: Moniaivie, Dumfriesshire Cattle:

560 suckler cows: including 80 Galloways


500 Mules gimmered 35 pure Texels winter 1000 hoggs



Shancastle purchased the 30 head pedigree herd of Galloway cattle from Marbrack a decade ago this week. Ten years on they have almost trebled numbers of pure breds and are successfully crossing commercially. 4

he vision of Klondyke Garden Centre guru, Bob Gault, when he initially bought Shancastle, was to have a herd of native cattle. His plan was to be able to sell beef from Shancastle in his chain of 25 Garden Centre ‘farm shops’ across the country. Farm manager – Scott McKinnon has seen and implemented many changes at Shancastle over his twenty years on the property. “When I first came here there were 270 sucklers with their off-spring sold store at Stirling. Blackface ewes tallying 700 were crossed for Mule ewe lamb production and 700 Mule ewes roamed the then 1800 acres of Galloway hills.” Bob Gault purchased the estate in 1999 and has since upped the holding acreage to 2800 acres in hand and a further 700 acres that are rented. With the introduction of three large finishing sheds cattle numbers were raised dramatically to 600 head, “but we down sized before the Single Farm Payment came into play,” explained Scott, who in hindsight reckoned it was the wrong thing to do. This move is being reversed as next year the cattle numbers will revert to 600 head, including pushing the pure Galloways up to 100 cows. Presently all the 100% Galloway beef is sold through the Klondyke Garden Centre farm shop at Carlisle and this increase should meet demand with a steer hung up each week of the year,

giving customers the choice of pure or cross Galloway beef. A local bull – Blackcraig Gusto – The Galloways from Marbrack were joined the Galloways when they arrived at their new residence. And true to his title Gusto is still performing ten years on, maybe not with quite so much enthusiasm, he serviced the crossbred cows last summer! Diamond B Knockout, a Canadian import, shared with Jock Finlay of Blackcraig was the only other stock bull used until Scott injected some new European bloodlines with a couple of imported bulls from Germany a few years back. He is currently awaiting a new German consignment of two or three bulls from North of Hamburg. Diamond B Knockout is also still in action, serving cross cows, proving the longevity of native breeds. Of the last German importation, Holstein Barron is still working. His cohort Holstein Ed was injured. Trade with Germany has been a two-way street, with Shancastle exporting some bulls and heifers. “We swap bulls, with no money changing hands,” said Scott. “We’re crossing Limousin cross Holstein/Friesian cows with a Galloway bull and keeping the females, which are then covered by Charolais bulls. Our idea was to breed medium sized cows, producing more calves that are easier fed and

Scott, a stockman, a tractorman and two general farm workers & two self employed guys when required

fleshed but not losing too much on carcass weight, explained Scott.” It was evident in one shed, where on one side fifty cross Galloways still had feed in front of them and the feed pass in front of the opposite barrier, holding fifty cross Continental, cattle was bare. “The Galloway crosses in this shed eat 300kgs less a day than the Limousin crosses and they will produce more calves in their lifetime.” “We are quite a commercial farm and at the end of the day my boss is a businessman and things have to pay their way.” The resultant Galloway cross bullocks head to Highland Meats at 350-380kgs, grading out at mostly R4L’s and head to the American Chain, Wholefoods Supermarket based in Kensington, London. The commercial cattle are hung up at Scotbeef between 360-390kgs; aiming for R4L grades, with 30% hit U grades. When sourcing a bull Scott says, “First and foremost I look for the same the same as here – size and length and different bloodlines as that is where the breed is falling down as the good ones are being used over and over again.” In the past he has bought from Blelack, Allanfauld and Corrie. “I had a bad experience with a bull from Ireland and the TB in the South worries me so I buy mainly Scottish bulls and tend to buy on figures.

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“When we were breeding suckled calves I looked at shape and size and we were all chasing bulls with big backsides. But now I’m aiming for low birth weights and high growth weights and a long back, but these bulls tend to be expensive.” Scott tends to go to one Bull sale a year, be it October or February as he prefers to only have to buy one new bull annually as “if you have to buy two it can leave quite a hole.” This year Shancastle has three Galloway bulls and five heifers on offer at the annual Castle Douglas show and sale. Klondyke Powerplay, a Gusto grandson out of the same cow, who produced last years show stopper – Overdrive – who sold to 4000gns is on offer. The other two are Klondyke Rascal and Radar, sons of Holstein Ed, the first bulls of German linage to be sold at Castle Douglas, so Scott is looking forward to a reaction. They are both out of Diamond B Knockout daughters. With all crossbred cattle housed for the winter it is a busy time of year

Scott, who buys forward 100t of rape meal at a time. Barley is purchased locally, while the other ingredients come direct from the docks at Liverpool. Rapemeal, beet pulp or citrus pulp make up the ration. “We sometimes substitute citrus pulp for beet pulp as it is about £18/t cheaper. The analysis is the same but sheep won’t eat it. We are on citrus pulp this winter and rape meal is the cheapest form of protein we can buy at £138/t. “From the start of autumn I have a meeting every six weeks with my vet and nutritionist and walk round the farm. I find it fairly beneficial.” Other cost trimming exercises at Shancastle including doing all their own haulage. A JCB Fast track was purchased solely for roadwork, with the cattle hauled to Scotbeef at Bridge of Allan and Saltcoats and the locally sourced barley and sawdust also moved in house. At calving time, Scott uses a dairy practice and has the vet pre-booked every Monday at 2pm. “If we spy a lame cow on a Thursday or a cow that

for the staff. Two thirds of the cows calve in the spring and the rest in the autumn. “The spring calvers are receiving 30kgs of grass silage and 3kgs of straw at the moment. At 5-7 months of their pregnancy they get 2kg of concentrate to avoid dwarfism. They calve mid March and are kicked outside in a couple of days to fields with wooded shelter. They are fed a 2kg magnesium based ration till early June to keep them milking till there is enough grass.” By the beginning of August creep feed is put out for the calves and they are eating 2kgs of homemade blend by the time they are weaned. Scott works closely with John Naylor, nutritionist with Carrs Billington. “He keeps me right as to when it is cheapest to buy my straights as forward stores,” informed

has not cleaned properly, he’ll deal with it on the Monday. It is peace of mind and the vet bills have gone down.” Scott has started a trend in the area as seven of the larger local beef farms have followed suit. At silage time they ‘neighbour’ silage trailers with Neil Gourlay. The contractor sends in a chopper for the two cuts but staff fill the six silage pits. The 160 acres of whole crop is also chopped and ensiled. Sheep enterprises at Shancastle have been simplified, by buying in 500 Mule ewes and gimmering them. Half are bought privately from John Park, Dalpeddar, Sanquhar and the rest from the market. They are sold through the rings at Castle Douglas and Dumfries. Wintering 1000 hoggs from Kirkconnel and Ben Lomond is another source of income, while the continued on page 7


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Solway Lamb Safety Biomass uptake generates economic and business boost


he growing popularity of biomass as an alternative heating fuel for Scottish businesses is helping to develop a new economic sector that is bringing jobs and wealth to rural communities across the country. A new report – published by Forestry Commission Scotland – shows that Scotland’s industrial and commercial sectors currently make use of 450,000 oven dried tonnes of woodfuel each year. (equivalent to around 900,000 green tonnes of wood) This level of demand – which has increased by 300% in just four years and is set to increase by another 100% in 2009/10 – is making a substantial contribution to Scotland’s drive to cut emissions and help tackle climate change. Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham said: •“This phenomenal increase is down to the fact that more and more businesses across Scotland are recognising that – with significant cost savings to be made – switching to biomass makes sound economic sense. •“And if that were not enough of an incentive, companies can also rely on being able to source supplies locally, which together with the move to biomass offers a major boost to their carbon rating. •“There is a real sense that the business, biomass and forestry sectors are gathering momentum in the drive to develop biomass to its maximum


potential. •“This is driving the growth of the woodfuel and biomass production sectors and helping to create sustainable, green jobs in rural communities – and that is going to play a big part in Scotland reaching its emissions and renewable energy targets.” Wood fuel projects currently operating in Scotland are estimated to save some 381,610 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, a rise of 12% from the carbon saving (47,590 tonnes) in 2007-2008. The Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets aim to see 50% of Scotland’s electricity consumption – and 11% of heat usage – generated from renewable sources by 2020. Small-medium sized enterprises in Scotland that are thinking of installing a heat-only biomass boiler can apply to the £3.3 million Scottish Biomass Heat Scheme for grant assistance. The SBHS is funded by the Scottish Government, Forestry Commission Scotland and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). For more information about the report visit emandUsageScotlandUpdate09.pdf/ $FILE/WoodFuelDemandUsageScotl andUpdate09.pdf For advice and assistance on the support available for a switch to biomass visit

SAFE compartments to save newborn lambs are now available and easily attached to Solway Recycling lambing pens bought this season. These safe compartments reduce lamb losses from hypothermia and due to mothers lying on them by providing a warm, secure area over the first few critical days, yet ensure the ewe still has contact. As an option safe compartments can have a heat lamp, which attracts the lamb to lie in them and also helps bonding between twin lambs prior to being let out of the pen. As heat lamps cost from just 25p a day to run this is a cost effective way to save lambs.

When launched at the Welsh Winter Fair farmers were amazed by the simplicity of the product as many had previously made do with pallets a fire risk with heat lamps! In response to suggestions from farmers Solway Recycling has introduced two types of these safe compartments for lambs; one in the main pen and the other as a rear extension ideal for bigger lambs from pedigree sheep. The safe area, where lambs lie within sight and smell of their mothers, can be simply shut off for a few hours to save new arrivals form being laid on.

Check Your Clover Now


arly spring is a good time to check out the state of the white clover in swards, see how well it has survived the winter, and to plan strategies to manage it, says DairyCo extension officer Chris Duller. “There won’t be a mass of leaf material at this time of year, but what is important to see is a good healthy stolon structure. Stolons are creeping stems that spread outwards across the surface producing roots and leafing points as they go. They act as an energy storage reserve for the clover plant as well as allowing the clover plant to spread. “If there are lots of stolons that are 2 or 3mm wide, extend out for 20cm or more and have lots of rooting points then the plants are healthy and will cope with the pressure of the coming grazing season,” explains Chris. “If the plants are small with thin stolons and few rooting points there is a risk that if they aren’t managed carefully this spring they could disappear altogether.” To encourage the recovery of small clover plants consider the following:• Check out and correct soil chemistry, clover plants are very sensitive to soil pH and P and K levels so pH of 6-6.5 and P and K indexes at 2 are essential. • If you have sheep on the farm – keep them away from these vulnerable clover plants. • Ryegrass starts growing at lower soil temperatures than clover. Graze off covers at around 2500kgDM/ha in early rotations to prevent grass from shading out the clover. • Don’t be heavy handed with the nitrogen (keep early applications to around 25 kgN/ha), unless you are sure you can keep on top of the grass. • If the field is planned to go into silage it is possible to bring it into the grazing block. • Rotational grazing encourages clover growth more than continuous grazing – as long as covers don’t get too high. “If you have a situation where clover has begun to dominate the sward and there is a mass of large healthy plants then now is the time to consider the reverse of the options stated above to try and impose some pressure on the clover,” concludes Chris

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Swedes Save Scots’ Stock



TEL: 01698-263963 OR MOBILE 07710 329609


OWCAM from Sweden is the new, quality camera for calving pens designed by farmers for farmers to save time, energy and calves. This mobile surveillance solution has a unique wireless, clear line of sight, range of 800m from cattle shed to the comforts of your own home! Pictures, plus sound, are beamed to a hand held LCD-monitor from the CowCam giving you the freedom to relax or get on with other chores. Thanks to CowCam calving no longer means endless treks to and

from the steading checking on stock, even if you live in a farm bungalow over half a mile from the yard. Equally important, unlike most rivals, the CowCam camera comes with a 10m night vision, wide angle lens producing quality pictures even from poorly lit sheds. Aside from viewing on the hand held monitor pictures can be shown on an ordinary TV for even greater clarity. For details contact Agrihealth, tel freephone 0800 731 2490 or e mail

35 pedigree Texels are unsure of their fate. “We bred our own tups when we ran a commercial flock but as we didn’t show or sell many tups I don’t want to sell them on an over populated Texel market. I’ll maybe find someone who wants to start a pedigree flock,” pondered Scott. The autumn calvers start calving down at the beginning of August until the end of October and are then housed mid to late November. Two kilos of concentrates are fed out. The calves are speyed in early May and the cows are shunted off to the 550 acres of hill at the rented Dalwhat. They are brought home two weeks before calving. The crossbred cattle are hard fed inside in the summer, with the heifers finishing at 15-20 months and the bullocks from 18-20 months. Spring born heifer calves are destined to a life indoors. “I stumbled upon the fact when we down sized when the SFP came in. We sold 120 stores and put the rest inside. I found when we put the Galloway crosses outside to grass they lost 20-30kgs before they moved again and keeping them indoors they were finished three months earlier. Shancastle has proved without a shadow of a doubt that the hardy Galloway cow can compete with other bigger breeds in a commercial market and Scott just hopes more commercial farmers will consider the Galloway for their enterprise.


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Issue sixty-two • February 2010

Buchan Beef


eef cattle is the main enterprise on the two almost neighbouring Aberdeenshire farms, which host the Quality Meat Scotland Monitor Farm meetings for the Buchan region. While the Dicksons and Clarks are both selling finished cattle, there are major differences in the two systems. The Dicksons are breeders/ finishers, with their enterprise revolving around their 80 cow, closed suckler herd, with all progeny, other than breeding heifers finished. In addition to their own replacements, they are planning to market breeding heifers, having achieved Johnes Accreditation within the HI Health cattle health scheme. The Clarks on the other hand make frequent visits to cattle marts, generally Thainstone at Inverurie, annually buying around 1,400 big, fleshy, mainly Continental cross steers, aged between 17 to 24 months, tipping the scales at 550 to 600 kgs. Their aim – to pile on the beef and finish them within 60 days. Finished cattle from both farms are sold deadweight. The Dicksons sell their bulls to McIntosh Donald of Portlethen, suppliers to Tesco, and their finished heifers to the Morrisons supermarket-owned abattoir – Woodhead Bros – at nearby Turriff. Cattle from the Clarks also end their days at the Woodhead Bros abattoir. The Dicksons' suckler herd, which winters in straw-bedded yards, is a mixture of breeds, originally based on dairy crosses. Simmental bulls from Aberdeenshire pedigree breeder, John Watt of the Mayfield herd at Alford, have been used in recent years. An outcross arrived in February 2007 – a Luing bull from the Cadzows' herd on the Isle of Luing – purchased at the breed's Castle Douglas sale, with a view to strengthening maternal traits. His


first daughters are due to start calving on 12th February. “The weaning weights of the calves out of the Luing cross heifers will show whether or not we were right to try a Luing,” said Patrick Dickson senior, who blew out 70 candles on his most recent birthday cake. He is in charge of caring for the intensively finished bulls and weaned heifers, housed on slats at Acrestrype, one of the three units farmed by the Dicksons. Locking yokes on the feed barriers in the cattle sheds, enable the Dicksons to carry out a range of cattle husbandry tasks, single handed, without running the animals through a handling system and crush. Evaluation of the maternal performance of the first crop of Luing cross heifers is almost a year away. However their half brothers, born in 2008, have already been hung up. The Dicksons keep meticulous records and figures, using the resulting information when decision making. The performance and yield figures for the 2008-born finished bulls, from McIntosh Donald's Q Box analysis were surprising. “When we bought a Luing, we expected his male progeny to compare badly with our Continental crosses,” explained Patrick junior. “But when we compared the performance of our Luing cross bulls with the Simmental crosses, we were proved wrong.” Until October, (2009), Patrick senior was carrying bags of bruised barley, twice a day to the finishing bulls. In October, encouraged by the Monitor Farm Group, the Dicksons purchased a TMR feeder wagon, with the hope that the Total Mixed Ration of grain/straw/silage, will result in improved performance from the current batch of bulls, scheduled for

slaughter in July. The target is to improve birth to slaughter daily liveweight gain from 1.37 kgs to 1.5 kgs for the bulls. The weaned heifer target is 0.8 kg dlwg in their first winter. An important personal plus offered by the TMR system is that it allows a once a day feed, providing the Dicksons with the opportunity to take an afternoon off from the farm. Patrick senior is enthusiastic about the benefits of 0.5 kgs of straw, (about 4 inches in length), per head, in the Total Mixed Ration. “It scratches the rumen, which helps the animal's digestion work efficiently all day. Plus the shorter length does not clog up the slats if a beast spills his food,” he explained. Rumen “scratching” has long been considered at nearby Thomastown and adjoining unit – Backhill of Thomastown, as the Clarks continually housed, straw-bedded, store cattle are encouraged to eat approximately 30kgs per head, per day of TMR “easy rumen” ration of 40% silage, 40% crimped grain, 10% pot ale and 10% straw. All food, other than minerals and pot ale, is produced on-farm. “This ration is designed to ensure that when the cattle arrive, there is no shock to their rumen. We're determined to avoid acidosis, which is caused by either too much grain or sudden introduction of a cereal-based diet,” explained Colin Clark, who returned from Lincolnshire to farm in Aberdeenshire in 2005. The aim is to slaughter each beast approximately 60 days after arrival, with a target daily liveweight gain of at least 1.7 kgs. The ideal weight spec is 720 - 730 kgs, up to a maximum of 780 kgs. Cattle are purchased in batches of 50 to 60, and are kept together. After being on-farm for 60 days, each batch is weighed and assessed. Hopefully most are ready for the six

mile, one way trip to Turriff. The remainder are retained and re-batched, being penned adjacently, with care taken not to introduce strange cattle to a settled pen. “Any cattle which are still here after 90 days are clearly poor doers,” said Colin. “No hassle – these are sent for slaughter! They're just eating food and taking the room of a better performing beast, and if they stay any longer, they just lose more money!” Since 2005, tailoring of the Clark beef enterprise has resulted in reducing the number of days purchased cattle are on-farm, from 110 to 85. Meanwhile gross margins have fluctuated, from £ 148 per head (£1.34 per day) in 2005, to £259 (£ 2.54) in 2008 and £ 191 (£2.25) in 2009. These figures underpin Colin's statement that “volume and scale are crucial with this type of enterprise.” Colin Clark knows that healthy cattle are productive cattle. When purchased cattle come off the back of the lorry at Thomastown, their first excursion is through the Clark's cattle handling system, where, in addition to ear tags being checked against passports, they are treated against worms and fluke, and vaccinated for IBR. “We almost never have to treat animals with antibiotics, and we're very keen to encourage farmers to vaccinate as a preventive measure – it's the background level of health problems, not the acute, that costs a livestock enterprise,” explained Colin. The handling system, which enables 50 fat cattle to be dealt with in an hour and a half, has high solid, rubber sides, a curved forcing pen and race, encouraging cattle to walk forward without being driven, a cat walk, enabling scrutiny and some treatment without putting the beasts in the crush. Should crush restraint be needed – a squeeze crush holds the

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FARM FACTS Farmers: Patrick Dickson, Sen & Jun Farming: Acrestrype 450 acres (170ac LFA) three tenanted units Location: Auchterless, Aberdeenshire Cattle:

80 spring calving cows, closed herd. Males entire and finished, heifers for breeding & finishing bulls – 2 Simmental,1 Luing


250 ewes & hoggs, all lambs finished


250 acres combinable


Monitor Farm – Buchan

New Monitor Farmers in Far North animal, making tasks, in particular pre-slaughter trimming, safe for two and four legged souls. There is a video of this handling system on: The Community Group members of the Buchan Monitor Farm, have the opportunity to get involved with two beef cattle enterprises, a couple of miles apart, which are operating distinctly different systems. There is however one extremely strong similarity – both families are passionate about what they do and are determined to do the very best job they can. For details of the next meeting of the Buchan Monitor Farm Group please contact either of the joint facilitators: – Peter Cook, or Jim Booth – Information on Monitor Farms, plus detailed reports of meetings, can be found on: –


double first in the history of Scotland's monitor farm programme took place recently with the appointment of a monitor farm for the Caithness and Sutherland area. This is the first monitor farm for the area and also the first in Scotland to be backed by sponsorship from local businesses, in addition to funding from Quality Meat Scotland and the Scottish Government. Three farm businesses were short listed to be the inaugural monitor farm for the area with Westfield Farm, Thurso run by John McKenzie and step-son, Gary Elder, chosen to be the host farm for the next three years. Westfield extends to 223ha comprising 23ha cereals, 109ha temporary grass, 60ha permanent grass and 31 ha of rough grazing. A further 410ha is rented on a seasonal basis. The unit currently runs 280 suckler cows with a further 40 in-calf heifers. The progeny are sold as stores from 300 – 450kg and the farm retains its own replacements.

The property, which has been in the MacKenzie family for more than 70 years, also has a flock of 460 North Country Cheviot hill ewes with the lambs sold both store and finished. Spring barley is grown for use as on-farm feed. Westfield, which extends to 100m above sea level and has an average annual rainfall of 885mm, was awarded a Rural Development Contract last year for an environmental scheme covering the majority of the unit and the farm has two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). The farm also successfully applied for funding under the Rural Development Contract for an innovative slurry system, comprising of an underground network of pipes delivering the slurry directly to the fields required. A new slatted system and above ground slurry storage facility will also be constructed this summer. QMS has appointed Derek Hanton and Iona Cameron, of SAC, as facilitators to oversee the programme and, following the completion of the whole farm review and benchmarking

process, they hope to start meetings on the farm in early spring. Peter Beattie, QMS Technical Projects Manager, said he was pleased with the calibre of the applicants attracted and all three farms had been strong contenders. "Westfield will provide an excellent opportunity for farmers, both locally and further afield, to consider options to improve their businesses and step up production efficiency and profits from their livestock enterprises. We look forward to working with John and Gary over the next three years," said Mr Beattie. "The sponsorship offered for the project by local businesses is extremely valuable and takes the monitor farm programme to a new level by demonstrating local commitment to the project and backing from a wider cross-section of the agricultural community," he added. The local businesses and QMS are contributing almost £24,000 over the three years of the monitor farm project with a further £60,000 funding coming from the Scottish Government.

FARM FACTS Farmers: Colin Clark & father Robbie Farming: Thomastown 1000 acres owned (2 units) Location: Auchterless, Aberdeenshire Cattle:

Finish up to 1400 forward stores


Finish up to 1500 store lambs


750 acres cereals


Associate Monitor Farm – Buchan

Opportunity Knocks in Nairn


armers in Moray and Nairn are being given the opportunity to improve their farm’s performance by becoming the latest Monitor Farm. A new livestock monitor farm in the area is being sought by Quality Meat Scotland, NFU Scotland and the Scottish Government. Interested farmers have an opportunity to hear more about what is involved and the benefits of having a Monitor Farm in the area at an open meeting at the Golf View Hotel in Nairn starting at 7.30pm on Thursday 11th February.


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Smith’s Shearing Success ar North, New Zealand shearer Matthew Smith launched himself into the records book with a near perfect effort as he smashed the World eight-hour ewe shearing record northwest of Napier. The 25-year-old, who became one of the youngest men to set an official shearing record, breezed past the previous top tally of 560 about 3.45pm with about 15 minutes to go, and set a new mark of 578. Shearing in a remote shed on the hill-country, prospective windfarm Waitara Station, where he started with rain falling outside at 6am, Smith shore successive two-hour tallies of 149, 144, 143 and 143. The new record was derived after the four judges ejected one during the two-hour run to the lunch break. When Southland shearer Jimmy Clark set the previous record two years ago, he shore runs of 140, 141, 139 and 140, smashing the previous mark of 495, which had been set in 1999. Chief judge Peter Black, from Australia, said from the magical start Smith had improved during the day, and finished with a quality rating of 10.93pts, comfortably inside the


limit of 12 which if breached at any time would have resulted in a warning and possible disqualification. Just one sheep was rejected during the day from the tally because of poor quality. The World Sheep Shearing Records Society requires a minimum average weight of 3 kilograms per ewe fleece. Smith's average fleece weight totalled 3.1kg for the 578 sheep shorn. Matt was unable to comment after his record because he had to undergo lactic acid replenishment treatment for physical exertion. Smith, 2006 winner of the Golden Shears open plate, has, stacked-up an impressive list of geographic credentials in his young career, as he has been on the move since he first went abroad at the age of 17. In addition to North America and the UK he shears each year in Estonia, Latvia and Finland, and says there are challenges wherever he shears. How long Smith will hold the record is another matter, for Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia is making a challenge next week, hoping to be the first to shear 600 ewes in eight hours since official World record structures were first put in place more than 40 years ago.


shearing and my brothers have been involved in shearing as well, so there was plenty of experience in the family to help me,” said John. Although not involved in farming – John is currently taking an arts degree – he still shears sheep every summer and continues to shear competitively. He’s had two shearing trips to New Zealand and reckons they provided him with a vast amount of experience. “It’s a tremendous opportunity, not just because you can shear such a lot of sheep but because you’re always with people who are keen to help you and pass on their experience. If you’re keen to learn and improve your shearing then New Zealand is the place to do it,” says John. But despite his achievements – both at home and abroad – John

ohn Gibson has achieved a personal best of shearing 360 sheep in a day. He’s been shearing sheep for about five years but despite his current rate heading towards that of many leading competitive shearers he says he still believes in keeping up his shearing training. Two years ago John – who is 23 years old and lives at Gartocharn near Glasgow – won a trip to New Zealand after winning a shearing competition organised by the Scottish Shearing Society. John is following in a family shearing tradition and first became interested when he lived with his parents and brothers on his grandfather’s farm. “My father did a lot of contract shearing and some competitive


continues to attend a British Wool Marketing Board shearing training course every year. “You can never stop learning about shearing sheep and even the top shearers still go on a training course every year. “I’d advise anyone who has an interest in sheep and shearing to find out about a Wool Board training course for the coming shearing season. There are courses for all standards – even if you’ve never been near a sheep before. “Shearing is a great thing for young people to get involved with and as well as the friends you make shearing gives you the chance to work and to travel abroad,” says John. Contact the BWMB in Bradford. Tel: (01274) 688666 for more info..

Calum Takes on the Kiwis


oung Scottish shearer, Calum Shaw of West Lethens Farm. Salen in Fife, had a bumper weekend, in Southland, NZ, recently. He made the finals at both the Northern Southland Community Shears, at Lumsden on the Friday and the NZ Crossbred lamb shearing championships at the Winton A&P Show on Saturday. Calum, who is pictured above with his haul from the Royal Highland Show last year, came second and third respectively in the New Zealand Intermediate events. He was second off the board in both finals.

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Welsh on Tour


six-strong Welsh shearing and woolhandling team is about to start preparations for this year's World Championships at home in Wales with a series of test matches and other events in New Zealand. Machine shearers Gareth Daniel and Gareth Evans open the team's tour by competing at the Reefton Show, where as well competing in the open class event they will also shear against a regional team comprising the best two local competitors at the only West Coast competition in the Shearing Sports New Zealand season. It is the first of four matches with regional selections on a tour, which also includes a four-test series, as the Welsh try to avenge a whitewash on an historic first test-match tour of New Zealand last summer. The second will be at the Otago championships in Balclutha a week later, where woolhandlers Bronwen Tango and Meinir Evans start their three-match tour also against a regional selection. The two women will later take part in the first wool handling test series in New Zealand. Representing New Zealand in the shearing tests will be John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and James Fagan, of Te Kuiti, both smarting from managing only a two-all draw with Gareth evans and Welsh compatriot Nicky Beynon in a fourtest series in the UK last July, while the woolhandlers will be NZ's Transtasman series team of Gisborne teenager Joel Henare and Te Awamutu mother Keryn Herbert. Attempts are being made to also arrange competition for Welsh blade

shearers John Till and Elfed Jackson. While a special blade-shearing event is being held at the 50th anniversary Golden Shears in Masterton next month, part of a series to select two Kiwi exponents for the World Championships to be held at the Royal Welsh Show in July, most of the annual New Zealand bladeshearing was completed in a short season before Christmas. Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman John Fagan says the Welsh visit will showcase international sport in some unique settings, with venues ranging from the tiny northern Manawatu settlement of Apiti, to Auckland at the Royal Easter Show. West Coast shearing stalwart and Reefton shearing competition organiser Sam Win, of Ikamatua, would like to see a young team represent his region in the tour opener but says that despite being in his mid-50s he will be fronting-up with the hope of being one of the two to match Daniel and Evans. With each competition having the choice of how to select its team for the regional matches, the Reefton Show team will be chosen from the heats of its open grade, which Sam Win, the organiser as well as prospective competitor, expects will attract at least 25 entries. He said: "I thought long and hard about whether I'd give it a go, or let a younger shearer have the chance. But I decided, what the heck, if anyone else is going to get in that team they're going to have to earn it. They're going to have to beat me to it!" Issue sixty-two • February 2010

RICHARD NIXON SHEEP SHOWERING Professional job guaranteed

Moved to: Marbrack Farm Carsphairn Kirkcudbright DG7 3TE 01644460644 0779 201 2788

Pig and Poultry Prize


, partner of the Royal Agricultural Society of England’s British Pig & Poultry Fair, is offering £1000 in prize money to the winner of an exciting new industry competition, the ABN Innovation Award. The award will be presented on the second day of this year’s RASE/ABN British Pig & Poultry Fair on Wednesday May 12, at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. “The award provides a new and unique opportunity for young people from both outside and within the industry to put forward an exciting and innovative marketing concept for British pig or poultry food products,” says ABN’s commercial services director Angela Booth. “It’s a great opportunity for the next generation to put forward their ideas and take part in this prestigious national award. “We are looking for fresh ideas that could add value to our industry.

This award is open to anyone with an exciting idea for marketing British pig or poultry food products to consumers and strengthening our industry.” Aimed at the under 35s, entrants are asked to submit an innovative and creative concept in any format receivable by post or e-mail by Friday April 9, 2010. Entries will be reviewed by the judging panel and successful finalists will be invited to attend the Fair in May to present their concept to a panel of judges. All finalists will attend the ABN industry dinner at the Fair on May 11, and the winner will be announced the following day. “We are inviting entries from colleges and universities as well as organisations with young members to ensure we have a wide and varied entry for this new award,” said Alice Bell, RASE Event Director. For more details of the award and an entry form please visit the website:


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Issue sixty-two • Februaryr 2010

Food For Thought


MS is continuing its support of the Champions in Schools programme aimed at inspiring, educating and motivating school-age children. Healthy eating is a key component of the initiative which involves 24 Scottish role models from the world of sport including Scottish rugby internationalist, Chris Paterson, double Olympic sailing gold medallist, Shirley Robertson, and former Celtic FC and Scotland football star, John Collins. The athletes are delivering face-to-face workshops with fun-filled physical activity in West Lothian, Perth & Kinross and the Borders as part of the programme, developed by Winning Scotland Foundation, a business-led charity with a vision to encourage Scots to adopt a positive winning attitude in sport and life. Supported by Scotch Beef (QMS), the second year of the pilot programme comes at a time when research shows physical activity

among youths, especially secondary school-aged girls, continues to fall. Over three separate visits, each athlete will build a rapport with a targeted group of 20-30 children, discussing the importance of goal setting, nutrition and physical activity in everyday life and sharing a belief that the adoption of a positive, winning attitude, offers long-term benefits on and off the sports field. Commenting on his involvement, Chris Paterson, the world’s top kicker in rugby union, said: “I’m really passionate about kids being active and having fun. I had so many good times playing sport throughout my school days, which I’ve been lucky enough to carry into my adult life. Through Champions in Schools, maybe more kids can do the same.” Through the workshop-style delivery of Champions in Schools, the Foundation is also fulfilling three of the four key elements of the national educational programme, the

Thumbs Up For Workshops


programme of support to help Forth Valley farmers access the SRDP Rural Priorities Scheme has been given the green light to continue and expand in to Fife during 2010. Stirling Enterprise (STEP) has secured a second year of funding from the Scottish Government Skills Development Scheme (SDS) to run outreach workshops that will equip farmers with the IT and web know-how to apply to the online grant scheme. Eighty farmers accessed last year's pilot programme in Forth Valley, with around a quarter already having moved forward to submit applications to the scheme. STEP Rural & Farm Support Officer, Caroline Brown commented: “The pilot programme was a bit like venturing in to the unknown for us. Traditionally, enterprise companies aren't an obvious choice for farmers to turn to for help in accessing grant funds. However, we felt confident we had something to offer by way of our knowledge and understanding of the Rural Priorities scheme and in our ability to offer meaningful help on the broadband, IT and web front. Combined, these factors have proved beneficial to local farmers and will continue to through the 2010 programme.” For further information or to reserve a place, contact Caroline Brown, Stirling Enterprise on Tel: 01786 463416 or E-mail: Please note, workshops are part-funded by the Scottish Government Skills Development Scheme a small fee applies.


Curriculum for Excellence, namely creating successful learners, developing confidence and encouraging young people to be effective contributors. Susan Jackson, Senior Director of Winning Scotland Foundation and a 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, commented: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the three local authorities and Quality Meat Scotland on this programme. “It isn’t every day that school children get the opportunity to meet their heroes. And these role-models can have an incredible influence upon

young people, profound and long lasting, because pupils can see the direct benefits of a life dedicated to achievement, good health and positive thinking. The champions’ visits grant us with a rare and precious opportunity to inspire and positively advise young people on how they should live their lives. “It will be a tremendous outcome for the athletes, pupils, schools and indeed the nation if as a consequence of Champions in Schools, more young Scots choose to get active and are inspired to adopt a positive ‘can do’ attitude in sport and life.”

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Glenside Advertorial

Glenside Pep-up Potato Yields and Profits


UNITED BOX LTD THE COMPLETE BOX SERVICE FULL ON SITE REPAIR SERVICE CLASS 6 1 tonne – CLASS 8 1 tonne ALWAYS IN STOCK 1.2Tonne-1.25Tonne available on request All boxes built to BS standard 7611/92 INK JET PRINTING SYSTEM FOR NAMES & LOGOS


orrecting chemical imbalances and physical problems in the soil helped raise yields of saleable potatoes by over 60% in a farm trial completed in Ayrshire by The Glenside Group last autumn. This result echoes those of three years' trials run by Glenside at SCRI's Potatoes in Practice site. In the Ayrshire trial, Glenside's management protocols - based on the results of their Albrecht ® Soil Survey – were used on the majority of the field, with the remainder of the field treated according to existing farm practice. Randomised tests were completed in accordance with protocols developed by The University of Aberdeen, which showed that the Glenside-treated portion yielded 61 tonnes/hectare, while existing farm practice yielded 36 t/ha. Significantly, the Glenside portion of the crop would have been much more valuable as 67% of it was in the target 55mm – 75mm size range, compared to less 20% of the conventionally grown crop, most of which was smaller. These results echo those obtained from Glenside's plots at SCRI over the past three years, where statistically significant yield and quality benefits were obtained in all three years. In 2007, Glenside's agronomy produced an extra 16% yield, with an additional 24% of the crop in the

desired and marketable size range. The Glenside treatment cost £60/ha more, but the extra yield more than covered that bill. The next year Glenside's agronomy raised tuber numbers by about 25%, but an astonishing 77% increase in the desired 45mm – 65mm bracket, while existing farm practice produced a high proportion of under-sized tubers. In this year the Glenside treatment actually cost less than existing farm practice, so any extra income from increased yield and the crop's improved saleability was clear profit! Again, in 2009, the Glenside treatment produced 16% more tubers and 25% more saleable yield, so the cost of the Albrecht test and any additional fertiliser was more than covered. These trials highlight the benefits Glenside's farmer-customers get from using the company's agronomy. The additional parameters the Albrecht test measures enables the company's agronomists to identify and quantify problems that a standard soil test might miss, says Robert McCoull, Glenside's Technical Director: “By enabling growers to detect sometimes subtle imbalances they can tailor their approach to the requirements of each field, ensuring only those inputs that are actually required are used. “For example, on some of these sites we have dramatically reduced phosphate applications, and yet produced the desired number of even sized tubers required to maximise profitability. “Bio-stimulants that help the natural nutrient gathering processes of the plant are a regular part of our protocols. They promote stronger plants that are better able to resist stress. “If plants become stressed they may abandon some tubers and so lose yield potential. Our MÆRIT® promotes more efficient nutrient utilisation and helps the plant support an optimum number of tubers in the desired size range and with good skin finish. “In 2009 - with plentiful supplies of potatoes on the market – buyers could afford to be choosy, but our Ayrshire customer had no trouble selling all his crop. So even when prices are comparatively modest there is a real return to be gained from producing quality,” says Robert.


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Issue sixty-two • February 2010

The Scotch Beef Club Prize Draw


ebruary is the time for romance, with Valentines just around the corner. Why not spoil your spouse, partner or love interest with a special night out? Wine them and dine them at one of the 285 Scotch Beef eateries located across the country, where you can be guaranteed that the beef dished up is Scotch and of the highest quality. The Scotch Beef Club was launched in 1994, in Edinburgh Castle, with HRH Princess Royal, the Honorary President, in attendance. The Club, then with 50 hand-picked founder members, was “unashamedly based on quality.” The founder members had Michelin stars or were high profile chefs working in some of the best addresses in the UK. It has not changed – it has just got a little bit bigger. There are now 285 members, ranging from the rural tranquillity of The Three Chimneys on Skye to busy city centre restaurants such as Le Gavroche in central London. The aim of the Scotch Beef Club was to differentiate those who are proud to serve Scotch Beef, from others who do not care quite so much about the provenance and quality of the food they serve. All of Scotland's Michelin starred restaurants are members, but the Club is not elitist. There are many members who are modest local establishments who do not have A-listed clientele, but really care about the food they buy and how they prepare it. Stewart Cameron, well known as Executive Chef at Turnberry for many years, is our Beef Club assessor. He has, on occasions, been known as The Meat Detective! He aims to visit all new applicants before they are accepted into the club and all existing members at least once within any two-year period.


Membership is reviewed annually so Stewart covers a lot of country. He can tell, at a glance, if a kitchen is well run, if the produce is freshly prepared and if records are being well kept. All members are issued with a Record Book and are asked to list their Scotch Beef purchases. Some initially did think that this was a hassle, but others find it is a very useful tool to check prices, quality, and most importantly, if it is Scottish or not. “Scotch Beef slaughtered in Argentina” has been the most serious misdemeanour discovered so far. As well as checking the provenance of the meat being served, the educational arm of the Club – The Scotch Beef Academy – offers members the opportunity to participate in meat masterclasses, which aim to tackle knowledge and skills issues and help young chefs learn more about meat and how best to use it. Last year there were three; one on beef in London, one on pork in Gleneagles and another featuring lamb, in conjunction with Scottish Borders Food Network. Of the 285 members, slightly more than half are in Scotland, but there are some wonderful traditional coaching inns and country houses in the Cotswolds, some very exclusive Clubs in London and unusual hideaways, bursting with character, such as the Corswall Lighthouse near Stranraer. To find out more, visit where you can browse through our extensive lisitings and select the perfect venue for a night out or a weekend away – a great escape from the winter blues. Remember you have to be in it to win it so send off your entry to our prizedraw now or sign up online.

February is time for romance – so magazine has teamed up with QMS and the Scotch Beef Club to offer readers a chance to win one of two meals for two, worth £100 at any of the 285 member eateries across the UK. To be in with a chance to win this fantastic prize, just sign up to the newsletter on the website or send a postcard with your contact details to the editor. Everyone already signed up will automatically be inculded in the prizedraw. One restaurant voucher will be drawn on Friday 12th February, but we can't guarantee that the restaurants chosen will have a table free on 14th Feb. Entrants must be 18 years and over. Other costs (including travel) are not included. All restaurants are subject to availability but the vouchers can be redeemed within 2 months. Winners will initially be contacted by phone, then the voucher will be posted out. Names and addresses will be printed in the March Issue of magazine and on the website. Any other details will not be disclosed to third parties. Employees or anyone related to or Quality Meat Scotland cannot enter the prizedraw.

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Sorn Inn Supper


great example of a Scotch Beef Club member is the Sorn Inn in Ayrshire. They are offering the chance for a reader and partner to join them for an evening of fine dining. Last year they were awarded the 2009 ‘Simply Great Steaks’ Award from Scottish Hotel Awards. The photograph above pictures a mouthwatering Fillet Steak with a Lasagne of Stornoway Black Pudding. The Sorn Inn is located South East of Mauchline, within easy access of Ayr and Alloway. It’s an ideal hideaway at which to enjoy a feast, and you don’t have to be ‘moveable.’

You can quite literally…just get a room, and enjoy a meal and some good wine without having to drive home. It is handy because the area has plenty of interest and makes a good base for exploring other parts of Ayrshire. Fans of Robert Burns can investigate Mauchline, where his wife Jean Armour hailed from. His birthplace at Alloway and even Maybole, a small town steeped in history, where his parents met. Mauchline is also the home of Mauchline Ware a fascinating historic product, now collected by many. The Sorn Inn would also make a fine base for Gold Cup Weekend at Ayr.

Keep up to date online – click onto our website: It will be updated with back issues – catch up on any you have missed


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Issue 62  

Monthly farming magazine

Issue 62  

Monthly farming magazine