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Education Issue sixty-five • May 2010

Soctsheep, Shearing, Texels

Issue sixty-five • May 2010

M Eilidh MacPherson

farmingscotland EDITOR: Eilidh MacPherson Marbrack Farm, Carsphairn, Castle Douglas, DG7 3TE Tel: 016444 60644 Mobile: 07877897867 PUBLISHER - Eilidh MacPherson ADVERTISING – Eilidh MacPherson Fiona McArthur Alison Martin Wendy Thompson

– 016444 60644 – 01583 421397 – 01292 443097 – 01575 540209

Cover - Jamie Murdoch spreads fertiliser at Marbrack, Carsphairn, Castle Douglas Text and photography by Eilidh MacPherson unless otherwise stated Page 4-

Eddie Gillanders

any Agricultural events are kicking off in May with Scotgrass on the 11th, Beef Expo on the 26th and Scotsheep on the 2nd June, read the previews in the following pages. Attention all pedigree beef bull breeders! You have only two weeks left to enter a bull for the novel Bull Survival Competition at Beef Expo 2010 – and a 1-in-16 chance of winning a cash prize of £10,000! Where else could you get such favourable odds! Certainly not from your local bookmaker! The competition is open to all beef breeds and the closing date for entries is Friday, May 14. All you have to do is enter a bull, which you think can beat off the competition of the other 15 bulls in the judging ring at Beef Expo 2010 ,which takes place at Hexham Mart on Thursday, May 27. The owner of the winning bull goes home with the £10,000 cheque. Contact Sheila Eggleston of Eggs-Port Ltd NOW on 01434 600602 to enter your bull. If you want to take part in the judging, entry forms can be downloaded from the Beef Expo 2010 web site – – in advance or can be purchased on your arrival at the event on May 27. The first round of judging will take place at 12 noon. Many Agricultural events are kicking off in May with Scotgrass on the 11th, Beef Expo on the 26th and Scotsheep on the 2nd June, read the previews in the following pages. Another event later in the year – the Winterfair – has just had its sponsorship deal renewed. Scot Proteins Limited is continuing its sponsorship of the Royal Highland Winter Fair, which will take place at

the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston on Wednesday 24th November 2010. The company, which is based in Kintore, Aberdeenshire, came on board as main sponsors for the first time last year. “This is the third year of the partnership between the RHASS and the Scottish National Fat Stock Club and with free entry and free car parking this year, we are looking forward to welcoming visitors to Ingliston on 24th November.” It’s lambing time at Marbrack and I’ve been grounded, so didn’t get out to interview anyone! Contributors have helped out no end. Fiona Sloan talked to the new Texel Chairman, Gordon Gray, Selkirk, Eddie Gillanders has covered both Scotsheep and Beef Expo previews, while regular correspondents – Hugh Stringleman and Andrew Arbuckle – have tackled beef and dairy markets and East of Scotland Growers respectively. I’m looking forward to getting out about over the next few months to some of the events and shows across the country. It’s always good to catch up with contacts and meet face to face as so much of my business is done by telephone and e-mail. I’m also looking forward to meeting more readers and receiving feedback as to what you as the reader enjoy – which articles you read first and what you’d like to see more of. You can always drop an e-mail, sign up for our newsletter or even call for a chat. Letters to the editor are always welcome. With the fertiliser spread and now a bit of rain, we are praying for some grass growth like many other farmers across the country. And we just hope we are in for the long hot summer, which has been predicted!


Beef Expo, SNH, Highlanders

Vegetables, Scotgrass

SAC Dairy Academy

World Markets with NZ correspondent

Hugh Stringleman

Page 6 - Fiona Sloan Page 8 - Shearing Sports NZ Page 12 - Eddie Gillanders Page 14 - SNH Page 18 - Andrew Arbuckle Page 20 - SAC Page 22 - Hereford Cattle Society


65 MAG 29/4/10 1:07 pm Page 4 Issue sixty-five • May 2010




cotland's biennial national sheep event, NSA Scotsheep, returns to Central Scotland this year on Wednesday, June 2, at Mains of Burnbank, Blairdrummond, Stirling, courtesy of host farmers, Douglas and Lynda Graham. Organised by the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association with Bank of Scotland as major sponsor, NSA Scotsheep attracts thousands of sheep farmers from all over Scotland and the North of England, as well as visitors from elsewhere in the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe. The packed programme of


practical and technical demonstrations, sheepdog trials, stockjudging, competitions and seminars, together with a huge display of sheep breeds, an extensive trade stand area and the opportunity to view a well-managed sheep farm, makes NSA Scotsheep a “must attend” event for everyone with an interest in the breeding, feeding and marketing of sheep. An amazing total of 35 sheep breed societies have reserved space to mount displays of their breeds and 130 trade stands will ensure that all the requirements of the modern sheep farm will be on display. “The event is attracting

tremendous support from all the sheep breed societies and the turnout of sheep will give sheep producers a unique opportunity to assess the merits of all the different breeds,” said Caledonian Marts' auctioneer, Alastair Logan, who chairs the local organising committee. Mr Logan said the buoyant market for both store and prime lambs and also cast ewes over the past year had given the sheep industry a much needed boost and had seen a welcome measure of confidence returning to the industry, which was reflected in the high level of sponsorship and trade bookings for NSA Scotsheep. “Sheep farmers have endured a long, hard winter but the prospects for the marketing of this year's lamb crop are encouraging,” said Mr Logan. “Scotch lamb is in strong demand, underpinned by the export market which has been boosted by the favourable exchange rate with the Euro.” Mains of Burnbank is an ideal venue for the event, with easy access from both north and south, and the flock of 650 Blackface ewes, 300 Mule ewes and 50 Bluefaced Leicester ewes (owned by Mr and Mrs Graham's sons, John (13) and James (12)), will be a big draw. The herd of 100 Limousin cows will also be of great interest to visitors. “We are delighted that Douglas and Lynda have agreed to host NSA Scotsheep 2010,” said Mr Logan. “It is an immaculately kept farm and the Graham's have a great reputation for producing top quality stock.” The Blackface ewes are mostly crossed with Bluefaced Leicester tups – although 200 are bred pure for replacement purposes – and the resulting Mule ewes are crossed with

Suffolk and Texel tups. Prime lambs are sold through Caledonian Marts, where Lynda works four days a week in an administrative capacity, along with Mule ewe lambs not retained for breeding. The farming enterprise extends to a total of 700 acres comprising 400 acres at Burnbank, which is owned, and 300 acres at the nearby rented farm of Munnieston. Cropping has recently been discontinued and the farms are almost all grass, except for a small acreage of maize for silage and 70 acres of rape for finishing lambs. “The decline in the national sheep flock in recent years and continuing consumer demand for red meat has kept lamb prices high,” says Bank of Scotland's head of agriculture, Sandy Hay. “Farm incomes were boosted by the weakness of sterling throughout 2009 which helped increase the value of the SFP. “However, any strengthening of the pound and proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy will create challenges for the industry. Farmers will have to remain focused on those management elements which deliver efficiency and productivity.” Mr Hay said Bank of Scotland was delighted to be the major sponsor of NSA Scotsheep 2010 which underlined the bank's continued commitment to the livestock industry, and the sheep sector in particular. “Visitors to Scotsheep will be able to obtain all the latest products and advice to enable them to tailor their management, capitalise on market opportunities and strengthen their businesses for the longer term.” Features of the event will include a farm tour, ATV competition, stockjudging, sheepdog trials, sheep

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dressing demonstration and a seminar programme. The stockjudging competition is being sponsored by United Auctions with total prize money of £400, including £50 for first prize in both the open and under-19 competitions and £100 for the highest overall score. Competitors will be required to judge three pens of sheep and three pens of cattle. Master judges will be David Gray (sheep), Kilsyth, and Stuart Fotheringham (cattle), Perth. The sheepdog trials, sponsored by McCaskie Farm Supplies, Stirling, will see 38 top handlers from throughout Scotland taking part in the competition, which will be judged by leading Irish handler, Alistair Lytle from Co Donegal. Three seminars, sponsored by Rumenco, will be held during the day covering the topical subjects of animal health, renewable energy and nutrition. “The three seminars will focus on highly topical and relevant areas to help sheep farmers manage the health, nutrition and husbandry of their flocks more successfully and identify where renewable energy might help to reduce costs and develop a second income stream,” said NSA Scotland development officer, George Milne, Kinaldy, St Andrews, Fife.

Scotsheep is also a qualifying event for the National Sheep Association's Young Shepherd of the Year award which aims to highlight the opportunities for youngsters in the shepherding profession. The competition is open to young farmers' club members, agricultural students and young people working in the industry (not necessarily only shepherds) aged 26 years and under who will be required to demonstrate skills in ATV handling, sheep shearing, lamb selection and stockmanship. The Scotsheep Trophy and cash prize of £300, again sponsored by United Auctions, will be awarded to the winner who, along with the runner-up, will be eligible to compete for the national award at NSA Sheep 2010 at Malvern, Worcestershire, to compete for a top prize of £1000. An area has also been set aside for a farmers' market to allow local food producers and craft makers to display and sell their goods and the Royal Highland Educational Trust has arranged for 180 pupils from local schools to attend to learn about sheep production from “farm to fork”. NSA Scotsheep 2010 will be open to the public from 9.00am. Admission is £12 or £6 for NSA members and students. Under 16 years of age are free.

To advertise in magazine call one of the team to discuss your requirements: – Eilidh MacPherson 016444 60644 Fiona McArthur 01583 421397 Alison Martin 01292 443097 Wendy Thompson 01575 540209 5

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Top of the Texels

by Fiona Sloan


eflecting on a lifetime of family involvement with the most influential sheep breed to come into the UK, Gordon Gray discloses his road to the Chairmanship of the Texel Sheep Society. Farming at the top of the beautiful Ettrick Valley for 10 years, with wife Christine, son David and twin daughters Isla and Lisa, the family bought and moved to Sunnycroft near Selkirk in Nov 1999, although they continued to farm the hill for a further 6 years. Following university and some travelling, David has come home to roost on the 150 acre family holding, which is boosted by the rent of a further 220 acres. Teamed with his scanning business he is a welcome member of the team. Gordon, who originally hailed from Biggar, first became interested in Texel sheep when he met his wife Christine, whose late father, Andrew Barr, Heatheryhall, was a founder member of the breed. “I saw them in the early days when the ewes were first being imported into the UK from France and always thought that they had the potential to do well within the British sheep Industry.” reflects Gordon. “We now have more than 2,000 members and birth notify 60,000 lambs a year! “ “I joined the Society in 1982 and built the flock up steadily buying reasonably priced ewes as they became available. It was no overnight success!” he laughs. “It took a long time to establish the Ettrick Flock (formerly the 'Hillridge' prefix) to what it is today.” Since those early years, the policy decisions of the stocksmen involved in the first imports, especially their 'no dressing' rule, at society shows and sales, pointed the breed in the right direction and encouraged many new members to join the society. The friendship of those early members also ensured that the British Texel Society was founded on a solid basis and under the Secretarial guidance of Sandy Grant the Society was formed nearly 40 years ago. The Texel has gone from an ambition to be a good terminal sire, which would have an impact on the meat producing market, to an all-rounder second to none. Its ability


not only to work well in the prime lamb market, particularly with cross bred ewes, has developed into an ability to also be an outstanding female breeder, particularly when replacements are kept from the traditional mule. “We soon discovered that the Texel was able, not only to give us good quality prime lambs, where the proof of the pudding was literally in the eating,” says Gordon, “but it can also produce an outstanding crossbred female which is easy to manage. The Texel lamb is renowned for its “get up and go” and this is why its popularity has continued to increase over the years.” The expectations of those early breeders, was to sell tups at Kelso at a time where Suffolks reigned supreme

in terminal sire production. That ambition was soon surpassed as the Texel's popularity grew and in 2009 nearly 1200 Texels were sold at the Kelso Ram Sale to average over £600. “This average underpins the importance of the breed to sheep farmers, who come back time and again to buy our rams. The Texel is a breed for all seasons and all reasons and its consistency in breeding both prime lambs and breeding ewe replacements that look like peas in a pod, makes them an attractive prospect to any buyer or butcher.” Gordon had no real ambitions to become head of the biggest sheep society in the UK but found himself enjoying his involvement in the Scottish Club, where he served as chairman, to the extent that when

society board member, Bob Johnstone retired, he was happy to be elected as his successor. From then, as they say, the rest is history. In November 2009 he became the President & Chairman of the Texel Sheep Society, a position that he is honoured to have been given, and is obviously enjoying the challenge. “Things seemed to have moved on quickly to this stage,” says Gordon, “but I am enjoying the role immensely and it's a double honour to be chairman of the National Society in a year when the Scottish Club will also celebrate its 25th Anniversary.” Gordon Gray has taken office at a time of great changes, not only within the Society, where he has helped oversee the successful change of the Society Chief Executive, but within the Industry, where many sheep are going off the hills and the never ending paperwork and health concerns, threaten the viability of the industry. “Ever since the 2001 FMD outbreak” reflects Gordon, “we seem to have had to cope with one disease outbreak or another, and as pedigree sheep breeders we need to return to normal trading, without restrictions,

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with Northern Ireland and Eire.” What does the new Chairman think have been the biggest changes and influences in the breed in recent years and where does the future lie for Texel Sheep? “The National Scrapie Plan was a disaster for many breeds and the Texel was no exception. We lost a great deal of very good genetics but fortunately some Type 3 semen has been stored and is gradually being reintroduced.” “The MV Scheme, while necessary, is a big cost, particularly to smaller breeders but we are working closely with SAC on costs and they are doing their best to make it affordable to all Scheme members.” “The future is bright for the British Texel. From the first imports from France, we are now in a position where we can export genetics back to develop the flocks there. With changes in restrictions overseas in the likes of Brazil, there is potential for Texels to be introduced in South America and they have already been introduced in a trial in Guyana, where despite some management issues they are coping with the climate very well.” “Young Members are our future.” says Gordon. “They are the life blood of the Society. The Texel's docility

lends itself to being easy for younger children to handle and work with and many of the children within the Society have their own flock and prefix, allowing them all the benefits of a full member,” says Gordon. “However, it is a cause of great concern that unless there are some major changes to the Single Farm Payment legislation allowing entitlements to new entrants then I fear this will impact on youngsters being able to afford to make a living in the industry. Although lamb prices are good at the moment, it was not long ago that I reminded David they were making the same in the late 1970s and in the intervening years production costs have rocketed.” The Texel breed has grown and developed over four decades, to a place within the British Sheep Industry, second to none. Its a daptability has allowed it to grow in many markets and with continued sound leadership the Texel Sheep Society will continue to encourage its progress. The 2010 Society's AGM will be held at Drimsynie Estate, Lochgoilhead on 14th November, in conjunction with the Scottish Texel Club's 25th Anniversary social weekend from 13th to 15th November.


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Fagan Fronts NZ Team for World Champs


eteran shearing champion David Fagan has landed possibly the ultimate long-service award but possibly also one of his greatest challenges after winning his 17th New Zealand Championship Open Title in home town – Te Kuiti – earlier this month. With the 48-year-old’s victory came a place in the New Zealand team for the 14th World Championships in Wales, where he will be aiming to win the individual title for a sixth time With teammate, new Golden Shears champion and rookie international Cam Ferguson, 26, of Waipawa, he will also be targeting a seventh World teams title. But he also carries the hopes of a sport aghast that he has never been recognised at national Sportsperson of the Year level. Yet he is confident that if he wins another title at the Royal Welsh Show on July 22 he’ll be a shoo-in for a Halberg Award when judges ponder their options at the end of the year. For the first time, after career open-class win No 598 dating back to his first in February 1983, Fagan conceded publicly, at Te Kuiti, it had been his goal all season. “You’ve got to be careful what you dream for,” he said, as prizes worth over $20,000 became secondary to black-singlet target. “But it was a goal of mine all season. All of us have been thinking about it, whether we could get in the team, and I can’t quite believe it.” “I’m probably past my prime…but I’ll take it,” he said, but would have found few to agree, for he had, after all, been first of the six finalists to finish the 20 sheep, stopping the


clock at 14min 52.7sec, four seconds ahead of second-man-off Ferguson. But, with just 23.25seconds covering the first four, there was still room for what could have would have been the biggest upset in Open-class shearing in many years. Fifth-man off and Far North youngster Rowland Smith, less than half Fagan’s age and a shock qualifier for the final, came back from almost 50 seconds down to be runner-up, his superior quality getting him to just 0.27pts from victory. From Ruawai, but based for most of the season in Hawke’s Bay where early-season injury stopped him from joining brother Matt in a World eight-hour ewe-shearing record in January. The 23-year-old Smith did not reach a final on the 60-show Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar till mid-February, when he won the Counties title at Pukekohe. It was his only win of the season, while, including Fagan’s win and victory in the North Island Shearer of the Year final 24 hours earlier, the rest of the finalists ended the season with a combined total of 28 wins. That was without the top-ranked shearer, Napier gun John Kirkpatrick, who was a shock semi-final elimination, having shorn in 26 finals during the season, winning eight. Fagan had won more than 40 finals in a quarter-century of Te Kuiti’s three feature events but hadn’t had a victory on the stage since a New Zealand Shears Circuit win in 2007. He gave the first indication of a Wales World championships swansong when he won a 16th Golden Shears Open title last year, five years after his previous win in Masterton’s big event.

In the happy hunting ground of the UK last year, he won at Glenarm Castle and the Great Yorkshire Show on successive days. Back in New Zealand he won the Great Raihania Shears title at the Hawke’s Bay Show in October, the NZ Corriedale title in Christchurch in November, and the Aria Sports and Taumarunui Jamboree titles in February. He was third to Ferguson at the Golden Shears and went on to complete 23 finals for the season, and finish second to Kirkpatrick in the rankings. Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman John Fagan doesn’t believe public expectation will place any pressure on his younger brother, and said: “I think he’s been quietly working away on this all season, particularly his fitness.” “It was an amazing achievement for David, an amazing feat for our sport, and also a very proud moment for our family,” he said. “What I can say about David is this special thing, that he’s got his head-space right, which is a very important thing in all sports. He’s very happy at home, it’s the whole package.” “And he’s also seen guys be top qualifiers in semi-finals, known them to go to pieces, and know they’ll never win it. I think he’ll put (the win in) Te Kuiti behind him now, and get on with it.” Taranaki shearer and reigning World Champion Paul Avery finished third, and misses the chance to defend the title. His ousting means the black-singlets team in Wales will have only one of the six-strong machine shearing, blade shearing and

woolhandling team which claimed four of the six titles in Norway in 2008. As well as Fagan and Ferguson, New Zealand will be represented by Canterbury blades-shearers Brian Thompson and Alan Gemmell, and woolhandlers Keryn Herbert and reigning champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape. New Zealand got a big leg-up towards the championships when Kirkpatrick and Fagan’s nephew, James, beat Welshman Gareth Daniel and Gareth Evans, to complete a whitewash of four tests, and one unofficial match, on the Wales teams’ tour preparing for a big performance in hosting the World Championships. Gisborne teenager Joel Henare became the youngest ever New Zealand Championships or Golden Shears open woolhandling champion when he turned the tables on 39 year-old Golden Shears winner Joanne Kumeroa, of Whanganui. Henare was the only rankings-winner to claim an NZ Championships title. The senior shearing title was won by Feilding shearer Davy Garland, with rankings winner Aaron Haynes, also of Feilding, finishing second, and Waipukurau teenage and Modern Apprenticeship success-story Tysson Hema won the intermediate final by a narrow margin from intermediate rankings winner Wi Poutu Ngarangione, of Gisborne. Another Manawatu teenager, Kimbolton’s Sarah Goss, became the first female to win a New Zealand Championships shearing title, when she won the Junior final, in which the Junior rankings winner, Jack Fagan, son of David, was third.

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65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 10 Issue sixty-five • May 2010


Eggs-citing Supershear


for Sale



ue to the dramatic drop in Australian sheep numbers and competition from cheaper Chinese imports, Ozzie sheep shearing gear manufacturer – Supershear – owned by Trutest, is on the market. Apparently New Zealand shearing icon David Fagan, who for the past few years has been promoting, shearing with and selling Supershear gear, was interested in the company, but the A$2Million asking price was considered too high. Manufacturing has now ceased and supplies have been sold off across the world. If Supershear is your favoured brand, Willie and Mary Horner, of Horner Shearing in Clitheroe, are currently waiting for a Supershear shipment to arrive – so get your order in now! As one of the main sponsors at the World Championships in Wales in July, electric fencing and livestock weighing specialists –Trutest – are honouring their Supershear sponsorship deal.

Texel Trophy


he Scottish Texel Sheep Breeders Club have introduced the Jubilee Trophy for the 25th Anniversary which will be competed for over 6 shows during the summer. Participating Shows are: Lesmahagow 29th May, Stirling 12th June, Biggar 24th July, Kelso 30th /31st July, Perth 6th/7th August and Kinross 14th August. Points will be awarded across six classes from 1st to 4th – 4 points for 1st etc. All members of the STSBC are eligible to compete. There is no prize money at shows but overall prize money is well worth competing for – £500 for 1st, £300 for 2nd, £200 for 3rd and £100 for 4th.



gg whites may help scientists crack problem of poultry infections. Scientists have found proteins in egg whites that could be used to fight infections which cost the chicken industry billions of pounds each year. Researchers from The Roslin Institute, at The University of Edinburgh, have discovered that these recently-identified proteins have properties that could be harnessed to combat bugs such as E-coli. The research focused on a family of proteins whose function had until now been unknown. It was previously known that many proteins in egg whites have bacteria fighting properties, but this group of proteins offers the potential to create anti-microbial treatments which could be used as an alternative to traditional antibiotics. These could be used to treat infections among poultry, and improve the sustainability of food production. It is even possible that the proteins might be used to create treatments to fight infections in humans. The researchers have named the group of proteins ovodefensins. Ian Dunn, an expert on avian biology at The Roslin Institute, said: "This family of proteins was found to be specific to birds but has not so far been discovered in other species that lay eggs, suggesting that these have either evolved in birds to fight certain infections or that other species may have lost the genes as they evolved. "It is not surprising that egg white

can fight bacterial infection as the egg as a whole has evolved to protect the developing embryo. The challenge now is to look at harnessing how we can use these proteins to help fight infections in poultry flocks." The research, funded by the European Union, has been published by the journal BMC Immunology.

Constructed Farm Wetlands Low cost way to treat dirty farm water. 40-60% grant aid available in Scotland. Cost effective, environmentally friendly. Contact: Dermot Boyle – 079 908 315 96

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Ireland’s Leading Wool Merchants

since 1972 are now taking new customers for the 2010 shearing season

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Beef Expo by Eddie Gillanders


he UK's annual national beef event, Beef Expo 2010, returns to the North of England this year and will be held at Hexham Auction Mart on Thursday, May 27. Lloyds TSB Agriculture has been confirmed for the third year running as major sponsor of the event, which is organised by the National Beef Association. Beef Expo attracts thousands of beef farmers and industry professionals from all over UK and Ireland, as well as from overseas, and this year is expected to attract more than 5000 visitors. “Beef Expo has quickly established itself as an important technical event for the UK beef industry,” said Lloyds TSB agriculture director, Gareth Oakley. “We are pleased to be the major sponsor again for the 2010 event and our continued support underlines the commitment we have to the UK livestock sector. “Improving UK beef cattle prices, together with a weaker pound and


reduced cattle numbers, have combined to have a strongly positive effect on the beef market in recent years. We believe the long term prospects for the livestock industry remain positive and this gives producers an opportunity to plan for the future.” Beef Expo is the National Beef Association's annual flagship event and is held at a different venue each year with a comprehensive programme of technical, practical and livestock demonstrations, competitions, seminars, beef breed displays, trade stands and educational exhibits and a strong commercial focus. The theme of this year's Beef Expo is ‘The Way Forward’ and a special feature will be the National Spring Spectacular Show of cattle, which proved a major success at last year's event at the Three Counties Showground. As in previous years, visitors will have the opportunity of taking part in

a tour of local beef farms on the day before the event and this will be followed by a two-hour conference with leading speakers from the beef industry in the late afternoon and the annual pre-event dinner in the evening. Speakers at the conference will be Rosemary Radcliffe, chair of the UK Government's advisory committee on responsibility and cost sharing in the animal health sector, QMS economiost, Stuart Ashworth, and Cumbrian farmer and food entrepreneur, John Geldard, whose Plumgarth farm shop and associated food hub, supplying local foods to ASDA, has been highly successful. Beef Expo is now well established as the premier event for the beef industry in the UK and the local organising committee, under the chairmanship of Scott Donaldson, auctioneer with Hexham and Northern Marts and NBA northern council member, are hard at work to ensure a first class event for the UK

beef industry. Hexham is an ideal location to attract visitors from both north and south of the Border and situated in the heart of Northumberland's suckler beef country which should make for a bumper attendance. More than 350 cattle of 22 different beef breeds will be on display and 106 cattle from 35 exhibitors have been entered for the Spectacular show. “Beef Expo provides the ideal opportunity for pedigree and commercial beef producers to assess and compare the rich tapestry of breeds which contribute to the UK's world leading beef industry,” said Scott Donaldson. “All breeds of commercial significance in the UK will be represented in what will be the most comprehensive display of beef cattle ever seen at a Beef Expo. “We are grateful to all the beef breed societies who are supporting the event and appreciate the tremendous platform Beef Expo offers to promote their breeds. In addition to the pedigree and cross-bred cattle on display, breed experts will be on hand to discuss the particular advantages of their breed for commercial beef production.” The British Charolais Cattle Society has been confirmed as a mainline sponsor along with Dunbia, Eblex, Hexham & Northern Marts, Intervet Schering-Plough, Morrison Supermarkets, SAI Global and Yara. Farmers attending Beef Expo will have the opportunity of visiting two contrasting Northumberland beef prior to the event. The farm tour hosts will be Jamie Wood, who manages his family's large-scale commercial beef breeding and finishing enterprise at Prendwick and Rothill Farms, Prendwick, Whittingham, Alnwick, and Howard Forster and Sons, owners of the well-known Piatroon pedigree British Charolais herd at Beaumont House, Humshaugh, Hexham. Coaches for the farm visits will leave from Hexham Mart at 8.45am

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and return in time for the conference at 4.00pm. Numbers are limited to 300 and the cost is £15 per person, including coach hire and packed lunch. “The pre-event farm visits are always a highly popular part of the Beef Expo programme and two excellent Northumberland beef farms have been selected for this year's tour,” said Mr Donaldson. “We are grateful to our host farmers for kindly agreeing to host the visits. The two farms are very different – one being a commercial suckler herd and the other a pedigree Charolais herd – and both are certain to create a great deal of interest in view of the quality of the stock and high standard of management.” Features of Prendwick and Rothill Farms 2400 acre hill unit include the suckler herd of 230 Aberdeen-Angus and Limousin cross cows, and sheep flock comprising 2000 Blackface ewes, 600 home-bred Mule ewes and small flocks of Bluefaced Leicester and Suffolk ewes. Visitors will also be interested in the new Roundhouse building – a round cattle shed with open sides and canvas roof and integral cattle handling system – where young stock are performing particularly well. A Keenan Mech Fibre PACE computerised complete diet feeding system is also in use. Roundhouse business development consultant, Bob Humphreys, and

Keenan senior beef specialist, Seth Wareing, will be present during the visit to talk about their systems, along with leading animal behavioural consultant, Miriam Parker, who will discuss cattle handling. The Piatroon herd of Charolais cattle is one of the most prominent in the breed and earlier this year won the Harman Charolais Genetic Improvement Award for the most improved herd in England based on performance with a Self Replacing Index which has increased from + 24.7 to + 30.9. The herd's successes over the years have included a championship at the breed's autumn show and sale at Carlisle with a bull which went on to sell for a herd top price of 7500gns. The herd is a member of the Biobest Herdcare Cattle Health Scheme and Ian MacDougall, business development manager with Biobest, will be on hand to discuss the scheme with interested farmers. The Piatroon herd is due to be dispersed at Carlisle in October following Mr Forster's decision to retire. Tickets for the tour, costing £15 each (inclusive of VAT) must be obtained in advance from Euan Emslie, Event Organiser, on Tel: 01430 441870. Fax: 01430 448432. Mobile: 07718 908523, or E-mail: Website:


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nvironment Minister Roseanna Cunningham recently announced a new grant that will help put the environmental, economic and public amenity value of our s emi-natural native woodlands across the country. The Controlled Livestock Grazing of Woodland grant – available through the SRDP Rural Priorities funding stream – aims to encourage more landowners to adopt dual-land use practices. The joint initiative between Forestry Commission Scotland, and Scottish Natural Heritage, draws on European Commission funding. Ms Cunningham said: “It’s an imaginative approach to encourage more management of semi-natural native woodlands in Scotland through sensitive livestock grazing – an age-old system that these days is not as widely used as it could be. “It’s a system that encourages tree regeneration and which is also good for grassland, wetland and heath land habitats within woodlands, bringing direct benefits to some species of high conservation importance, such as pearl bordered and marsh fritillary butterflies. “This initiative will also help to create productive woodlands that will provide raw material for industry and contribute to climate change


Woodland Grazing Grants

mitigation and I would encourage more land owners and managers to look more closely at this approach to woodland management.” NFU Scotland will assist in delivering a series of workshops around the country focusing on woodland grazing best practice as well as the grant application process. For more information about the events contact Perth and Argyll Conservancy Office on 01738 442830

or Grant support will be provided through annual payments of £87/ha /year for a period of five years and this can be supplemented with additional Woodland Improvement Grant funding. In addition to supporting seminatural woodland, the grant is also available to potential applicants with Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) that are actively being

restored to native woodland, priority for grant payments will be given to UK Biodiversity Action Plan woodland habitats and species. Anyone interested should contact Douglas Wright at Forestry Commission Scotland on 0131 314 681 or or Kate Holl at SNH on 0131 316 2642 or at

65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 15

Highland Gathering


attle Breeders from the four corners of the world will congregate in Pollok Park, Glasgow on 29th September at the start of the third International Gathering of Highland Cattle Breeders. The object of the conference, which will take place over 2 days within the Burrell Collection, is to define the role of the Highland Breed in the 21st Century. “We want to identify the best methods by which we can be sure we are breeding the right type of cattle thus ensuring the survival of the Highland Breed, by increasing the popularity throughout the cattle breeding world and to develop a greater understanding of the environment to which the breed is best suited,” says breed secretary, Hazel Baxter. A number of prominent Highland Cattle Breeders and cattle industry experts have been invited to address the delegates over the first two days of the gathering. From the traditional homeland of the breed “The West Highlands of Scotland” comes a young hill farmer – Iain Mackay – who 15 years ago started off on the first steps of the farming ladder with a few Highland cows. Today he is the tenant farmer of 3000 hectares on the Isle of Mull running 60 Highland cows; 30 to the Highland Bull and the rest covered by a Simmental bull as well as 1,000 Blackface and Cheviot ewes. How does he see the future of cattle breeding in the Highlands? And how big a part will the Highland breed play? Robert Phillip comes from the south of the border and he along with many others carries on the long tradition of Highland Cattle in the north of England. Over the centuries, from the days of the drove roads to the present day, the main buyers of Highland cattle have come from south of the border, the majority of which went on to Yorkshire or the Norfolk fens. A dairy farmer all his days, Robert decided 10 years ago to give up the milking parlour and go into Highland cattle “big time”. This was purely a commercial decision based on the Highland’s ability to convert inexpensive feed into high quality beef. Can he convince more of his fellow farmers to follow his example? From the USA, which boasts the greatest number of Highland Cattle, comes the president of the American Highland Cattle Association, Jacquelyn Becker Chotkowski. A successful Highland breeder of long standing, Jacquelyn's enthusiasm for the breed is 100% commercially based and is focused on grass fed beef production on her farm in New York State. Is this where the future lies for the breed in the land of the cowboy? Or do Highland genetics have a much bigger role to play in one of the largest cattle producing countries in the world? It is now over 30 years since the Back to the Land movement saw hundreds of Highland cattle exported to Germany, with large numbers going to Denmark, Holland, Austria and Switzerland, and within more recent years growing interest in the breed has come from Finland, France and Italy. The well known and highly regarded German breeder Dr Stephan Janz has watched the expansion in Highland popularity with great interest. He has made many study trips to Scotland over the past 20 years researching the development of the breed. “Are the breeders of today forgetting what the Highland breed is all about?” Former Society president and society fieldsman

David Soutar will explain the role Highland genetics have to play in the large beef enterprise on the Glamis estate, where he is Farms Director. David's introduction to Highlanders started as a young lad assisting the stockman of the once famous Scone Palace fold. He has been involved with the breed ever since. Our second speaker from across the Atlantic is veterinarian Pat White. Pat has been breeding Highlanders for over 20 years and is a strong advocate of performance recording. Pat was instrumental in starting up the Central Bull Testing programme along with the Impact Sire and Dam Preformance programmes. Few names are more synonymous with the Highland breed than Jack Ramsay. Throughout his life long association with the Millerston Fold Jack has won almost every honour the show ring has to offer. Jack will give us an insight into the

by Hazel Baxter breeding policies he has adopted to ensure success. Dr Basil Lowman, Genetics and Behavioural Sciences, Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh, needs no introduction. How big a part should science have in the animal breeding, could Highland genetics play a bigger role in quality beef production? How can we as cattle breeders ensure the future of our breed? Will Dr Lowman have some of the answers? You will have to join us at the 3rd International Gathering of Highland Breeders to find out, what he and all our speakers have to say on “The Future of our Highland Breed” For more information contact Hazel Baxter, Breed Secretary, Highland Cattle Society, Stirling Agricultural Centre, Stirling FK9 4RN t: 01786 446866


65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 16 Issue sixty--five • May 2010


Scotgrass 2010 new product summary


cotgrass 2010, to be held on Tuesday 11 May, at SAC Crichton Royal's Acrehead Farm, Dumfries, will see a wide range of products on show for the first time as manufacturers put new machinery in action at the first live demonstration of the year. One of the biggest on show will be the new John Deere 7950i self-propelled forage harvester. This machine offers increased power and capacity and an early warning system that constantly monitors wear and tear on all the crucial bearings. The 7950i will also adjust cut length to suit the moisture content of the forage. John Deere has completely updated and renumbered its range of round balers for the coming season. There are now eight basic variable and fixed chamber models with a range of pick-ups and feeding systems, extra options and new features, including an improved knife design for increased quality of cut and productivity. The 623 and 644 Premium fixed chamber balers, the 864 Premium variable chamber baler and the 744 Premium wrapping baler will all be demonstrated at the Ecosyl sponsored event.


Lely Welger is showing its new RP 245 range of fixed chamber round balers. The new range offers an option of two different cutting devices which can be controlled from the cab. The range can also be supplied with large size bearings for the cutting system which together with the heavy duty bearing on the rollers makes it especially suitable in heavy conditions. Landmec Pottinger will be exhibiting two new rakes giving a working width of up to 12.5m whilst Reco will be demonstrating the newest model in its Fella range of rakes which has a hydraulically adjustable working width of between 8.8m and 10m. Strautmann has introduced the new concept of an accelerator roller to its range of feeder wagons. This is specifically designed to reduce power peaks and stress on the driveline system. This, combined with an improved pick-up reel design, will reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10%. AG, Lely is showing the Lely Tigo Loader Wagon for the first time at a live event. The new model will have

increased knives and easier access to the cutting bar to make servicing and knife changing more accessible. Krone is showing the new model in its big M range of self-propelled mowers which will reduce fuel consumption whilst on the road, has an improved cooling system and an auto-reset system for easy repair of damaged discs. Krone is also launching the MX range of rotor forage wagons specifically designed for medium sized farms. A number of new products will be making their UK working debut on the CLAAS UK stand at this year's ScotGrass event. The range of new equipment includes the new 8.4m and 9.1m wide Disco 8400C and 9100C Contour triple mower conditioners; the Liner 4000 which has a maximum working width of 15m; the new Rollant 454 and 455 round baler range; the new heavy duty PU300 pick-up for Jaguar 900 series forage harvesters and the latest Variant balers with a drop-down floor in the chopping unit. The Volac Film Clinic will be making its debut at ScotGrass and will feature the launch of a new film

by Kevin Brewer calculator designed to help farmers and contractors save time and money when bale wrapping this season. Volac is encouraging them to bring along details of their wrapping operation, such as number of bales currently wrapped per roll, machinery cost per hour and its roll capacity, to use with the calculator. Visitors to the Opico stand will be able to see for the first time, a working demonstration of its new Sward Slitter designed to remove surface compaction and capping and aerate the sward root zone, thereby stimulating grass growth. Other new products on display at Scotgrass 2010 will be a new bucket grab system from Albutt, designed for telescopic handlers and loaders and a Reck grass silage spreader, from Forage Wagons South West, for use in the clamp. This machine spreads the crop evenly on the clamp making better silage. Also Rolland will be showing its new range of low profile compact muckspreaders designed for hilly areas. Finally DLF Trifolium will exhibiting its unique fertiliser seed coating, iseed which is designed to feed the plants rather than the weeds.

65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 17

Glenside Advertorial Now is decision time for reseeding


hat was the message to come out of a Reseeding Day at Harper Adams last week which marked the launch of the new Recommended Grass and Clover Lists for 2010. The event, organised by the British Grassland Society (BGS), DairyCo and EBLEX, included four short practical sessions with experts speaking on a variety of grassland management topics and a tour of the Recommended Lists trial plots with NIAB. DairyCo’s Chris Duller was the first stop for groups, looking at how producers could make the right choices about when to reseed, and encouraging them to think about the potential of their ley. “Now is decision time,” said Chris, “decide what you want to get from your ley, consider if it is up to the job and then look at what needs to be changed to make it really perform. If the ley isn’t up to speed then it is probably costing you money. “A nice new ley, which is young and vigorous, will grow at a cost of around 5p/kg DM for grazed grass and 10p/kg DM for ensiled, an old

worn out ley will cost you nearer 9p for grazed grass and 16p for ensiled. To put this into context, bought in barley will be around 11p/kg DM. “It might be that you can improve the quality simply through making some changes to the way in which it is managed, you might consider over-sowing, or there may be a need for reseeding. Establish what your priorities are to make sure you get a return on your investment.” Independent consultant Charlie Morgan, who spoke on behalf of EBLEX, followed on from this by talking about how to find the right species and varieties for leys, he stressed the importance of using the Recommended Lists to make choices and get the right varieties for the purpose. “You need to get quality mixes of seed,” he explained, “this is why it’s important to look at the list and use it to choose what you want. I’d suggest that spending an extra £5 per acre is a valuable investment if you get the mix right.” To order a copy of the Recommended Lists call the BGS on 02476 696600 or download a pdf from

Growing More and Better Grass


fter a long, cold winter, livestock farmers need to consider how to get their grass growing well in order to maximise grazing and provide the quantity of feed needed for next winter. “There is more to achieving this than just applying an extra bag of fertiliser” warns Robert McCoull, Technical Director of The Glenside Group. To help grassland farmers rise to the challenge of growing better quality grass with less nitrogen, Glenside has launched an easily followed pocket sized guide, called the “Five Pro Actiff ® Steps to Growing More Profitable Grass”. Launching the document, Mr McCoull said: “Before using bagged nitrogen, farmers should consider the fundamental soil conditions of their farm. “They should resist the temptation to apply a bit more fertiliser until they have assessed whether the condition of their soil and the grass cover is capable of properly utilising the nutrients applied. “All too often imbalances in the soil restrict the grass's rooting system and its ability to make proper use of the nutrients, whether in the soil or applied from the bag. Compaction, water logging and anaerobic soils are among the most common causes of lower than expected production. “Farmers must address all these factors, so we have pulled all them together in a guide that explains how Glenside's approach to growing grass can improve both the technical efficiency of the farm and the business' financial health”. Step 1 explains The Albrecht Soil Survey – the detailed soil survey that Glenside uses to measure the chemical, physical and biological status of the soil. Armed with this information farmers and their advisors can then assess the priority needs for action to encourage greater productivity and to

make best use of applied fertilisers. Step 2 discusses the importance of soil structure and the many implications for production and animal health that flow from unbalanced and poorly aerated soils. The benefits of using Glenside's RASE Silver Medal winning OxyGenerator are outlined: “Well structured soils, in which air and water can move easily, will warm up quicker in the spring – a huge benefit in a late season like this one. Healthy soil structure will encourage stronger rooting, which has benefits all year round – it reduces 'sod pulling' in the summer and poaching in the winter. Having got the soil making a greater contribution to healthy grass growth, Step 3 discusses the role of trace elements and enriched soil conditioners in encouraging the natural productivity of the farm, thereby lowering costs by reducing dependence on bagged fertilisers. Step 4 – “Water and slurry are both important farm resources and our Hydro-activators and Slurrimorr encapsulate our philosophy of helping farmers to ensure that they are getting the best use of the farm own natural resources”, says Robert. “Hydro-activators can be fitted to water pipes in a matter of minutes, and ensure clean drinking troughs for years as they have a working life of over 25 years!” Step - 5 explains why Seaquim Elite, a 100% vegetarian source of minerals for livestock is so effective. Safe for old and young stock, for cattle and for sheep, Seaquim Elite contains over 60 elements all naturally balanced and highly bio-available. Glenside's “Five Pro Actiff Steps to Growing More Profitable Grass” is available free. To obtain your copy email Glenside:; telephone 01786 816655 or fax 01786 816100.

65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 18 Issue sixty--five • May 2010


East of Scotland Growers by Andrew Arbuckle


s this season’s young broccoli and cauliflower plants arrive for planting, Alistair Ewan, the managing director of East of Scotland Growers, one of the UK’s largest producers of vegetables expressed his concern over rocketing transport costs. “It now costs us over £1,000 for every lorry load in bringing plants up from either Lincolnshire or Lancashire. That is almost 20% more than it did only a few months ago and there seems to be no end to fuel price increases.” This year the farmer owned co-operative, which is based in Cupar, will require more than one hundred lorry loads to bring north the 80 million or so plants that are needed. “The problem is that road transport is only one aspect of the rise in fuel prices as tractor diesel, sprays, fertilisers and polythene are all affected by the price of oil. We are facing increased costs all around while the one price that is not rising is what we eventually get from the buyers of our produce.” Despite Alistair’s worries, the twenty members of the co-operative will this year aim to produce some 14,000 tonnes of broccoli and 5,000 tonnes of cauliflower for both the fresh and frozen market. In a normal year, the first crops are planted in early March along some of the coastal land in Angus and Fife. After planting, they are then covered with polythene sheeting. This year, because of much lower soil temperatures coming out of the

severe winter, a larger acreage had to be protected in this expensive way. Alistair did not expect the slower start to the season to greatly affect the onset of harvesting which is pencilled in for the first week of June and then carrying on right to the end of November. In order to ensure a regular supply of fresh broccoli over this lengthy period, every grower is given their own planting programme and has to keep to it. For the growers on the early lighter ground, there is the opportunity after the first crop is taken in June, to plant another one for harvest in late autumn. The geographical spread of the growers in the group is important with some farming along the coastline and others in the fertile lands of Strathmore. Brassica growing on a field scale only came into being in the East of Scotland after the sugar beet factory closed in 1971. Initially a large number of growers were involved in a range of crops but this has now been whittled down to very specialist growers each with a large acreage of either broccoli or cauliflower; a statement borne out by the 4,000 to 5,000 acres of vegetables being grown by only 20 farmers. Ewan added that East of Scotland Growers also handle a small acreage of swede and leeks but this is mainly to keep their major customers happy. All of the growers have irrigation

as this is vital in a dry year where the crops are very sensitive to any moisture deficit. The harvesting is still all carried out by hand with teams of workers operating behind a slow moving rig where they cut the ripe heads and place them on moving conveyors. If the crop is heading for the supermarket shelves, the packing is carried out on the rig and full pallets transferred on the headlands. However, if the final destination for the crop is one of the freezing factories, the main containers used are specially constructed plastic containers that each take about one tonne of product. As a further example of the increased sophistication in the husbandry of the crop, most of the growers have now installed on farm chill stores, which on a summer’s day can quickly take out the field heat from the harvested crop. “This is vital in extending shelf life and nowadays the major retailers demand this,” explained Alistair. However, there is a problem with harvesting in that those cutting broccoli and cauliflower come under the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board and as such they require to be paid overtime after completing their statutory weekly hours. Alistair maintains that moving to this higher rate of pay makes the crop uneconomic and compares this situation with workers in all other industries where the Minimum Wage

Tractor & Farm Insurance

applies with no restriction on hours. “Most of the harvest workers want to earn as much as they can in as short a period as possible. But their earnings are being limited by the ruling of the SAWB,” he claimed. East of Scotland Growers which came into existence in 1989 as a result of an amalgamation of previous vegetable growing groups, initially had an annual turnover of just over £1 million but this has grown to the current level of about £10 million. It is totally owned by the farmer members. The company has recently recruited Andrew Faichney, as operations manager. As a student, he worked with the co-operative and now after a spell as a farm manager he has returned to help the complex operation along. Part of his working remit is to oversee the small acreage of organically grown broccoli which is now being grown. This started several years ago but has suffered with a downturn in demand during the recession but it is now back on course. “Growing organic vegetables is not now about beards and sandals, it requires the very highest levels of husbandry and attention to detail. Crops are covered with insect proof sheeting which costs about £1,500 per acre. Weeds are controlled by the pre-emergence burning off with propane gas.”

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65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 19

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65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 20



Issue sixty-five • May 2010

Margaret King Flexible Learning Manager SAC SAC provides the rural business community with a multitude of opportunities to learn something new, keep up-to-date with the latest developments and stay ahead of the game.


rom providing our students with a range of courses designed to bring out the best in them from an early stage, to supporting those about to graduate and join the workforce, we can call upon the expertise of lecturers, researchers and consultants to ensure their time at college is both inspirational and relevant to rural business needs. Our Rural Policy Centre brings together expertise from across SAC, drawing in staff with experience in research and consultancy and cascading this up-to-the-minute information to lecturers in the Learning Division. Students appreciate knowing that their time at college is backed up by a wide range of expertise and that they can rely on support continuing when they graduate and enter the workplace or, in some cases, embark on business ventures of their own. Entrepreneurship is an important part of all our courses and we encourage students to think big and move out of their comfort zones. Last year saw the first Annual European SME Enterprise Event held at our Craibstone campus near Aberdeen. The keynote speaker was Brian Pack, former Chief Executive of ANM Group who encouraged students to grasp any opportunity that comes their way. Other presenters were two ex students, Roz Cauldwell, now an Advisor with the Business Gateway, and Gregor Mackintosh of Aberdeenshire, who's just won a contract to supply 15 Asda stores with his Glendaveny Extra Virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil.

Gregor Mackintosh “The idea of producing Extra Virgin “cold pressed” rapeseed oil came about during my honours year at the Scottish Agricultural College in Aberdeen, where I carried out a study on cold pressed rapeseed oil. I saw an opening in the market for this great healthy product and began working on establishing Mackintosh of Glendaveny after graduating.”


Many of our Rural Business students have been successful in national competitions and have won awards recognising their skills and dedication to their studies. One of our most recent success stories is Jill Brown, currently in her Honours Year of the Rural Business Management degree, who recently won the LANTRA Learner of the Year Award (Higher Education). She also won third place in the Pinnacle Business Awards 2009 and first prize in Scotland Food and Drink New Product of the Year award with her Berry Good vodka. Like many others, Jill began her SAC career on a Higher National Diploma (HND) course, but then decided to take on the challenge of a degree.

Jill Brown “SAC has a good balance of academic studies and study trips to local businesses to show first hand how enterprises are developed and run. Studying with SAC has been really fantastic as I've been able to manage my business around the timetable. I am looking forward to graduating in July and working within the food and drink industry whilst continuing to allow Berry Good to grow,” said Jill.

Learn and be Inspired Steve Mitchell Another student who saw a niche opportunity in the market is Steve Mitchell from Clemtrie Farm in Fife. Steve started a highly successful buffalo business, Puddledub Buffalo, when he graduated from our Edinburgh campus a couple of years ago. There are now about 400 head of buffalo at Clemtrie and Steve sells buffalo meat at eight Scottish farmers markets as well as online and from his newly acquired butchers shop. When asked how much of a challenge it was setting up the business, Steve said: “It was not meant to be easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it”

65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 21

EDUCATION Issue sixty-five • May 2010

SAC has three main campuses and another student, Stuart Rutherford, graduated from our Ayr campus in 2005. His uncle introduced him to the poultry industry when he was sixteen and, having decided to take the opportunity of a career in the poultry industry seriously, he enrolled with SAC. Stuart graduated with an HND in Poultry Production and Management, a qualification that landed him a trainee manager's job with Grampian Country Chickens in Aberdeen. Having gained commercial experience he then went on to develop his successful Nith Valley Eggs business.

Stuart Rutherford “It's always been my ambition to have my own business,” he said. “I've four mobile hen sheds and I'm making plans to expand the business.” Eggs from his 9000 birds are on sale in Sainsburys and a number of local outlets. Not all potential students can attend college full-time and we have developed our courses to allow both part-time and distance learning

opportunities. Students can attend on one or more half days per week to build up a qualification over a number of years or they can enrol on our HNC in Rural Business Management by part-time, online distance learning. The recent Rural Scotland in Focus Report 2010 reveals that although Scotland has 99.6% basic broadband coverage, connections are extremely variable and speeds much less than in Scotland's cities. This has implications for rural entrepreneurs and those wishing to work and/or study from rural locations. We have overcome this by providing all our distance learning materials both online and on CD or USB stick so students are not disadvantaged by slow broadband speeds. This is the joy of e-learning. There is always another way to provide access and we try to suit all situations and learning styles no matter where a person lives or their personal cicumstances. Our distance learning programmes begin in September each year with a study weekend, designed to allow students to get to know staff and other students, familiarise themselves with the online environment in which they will be studying and be

introduced to the first session's modules. The Rural Business Management HNC includes modules on Marketing, Economics, Financial Records, IT and Web Design and runs over two years with just three mandatory study weekends per year. It's a qualification in its own right or it can lead on to an HND, Degree and even a Postgraduate qualification for those with ambition to reach the top. For further information about

the Rural Business programme please contact Caroline Daniel on 01224 711083, or You can also contact for information on our other highly successful distance learning programs include ones relating to the countryside, environment and organic farming and we encourage you to come along to an Open Day or Taster Day to discuss your requirements.



TEL: 01698-263963 OR MOBILE 07710 329609

The Dairy Academy


he dairy industry faces a number of challenges as it moves into the next decade of the 21st century – an aging workforce reducing in size; the need for workers to refresh their dairy skills to meet the increasing demands of a more technical industry; and the ever increasing demands of production from our Bovine partners – are only a few. In response to this challenge, the Scottish Dairy Academy (SDA) project has been established, whose vision is to “develop the best dairy people in the world”. The project is farmer-led, with their views and opinions informing how the Academy is run, advising on the content and format of training courses with the ultimate aim to develop the skills of workers. After discussions with other key industry personnel, a management group has been established with representatives from dairy farmers, DairyCo, NFUS, Barony College, Milk Supply groups, Lantra and the Scottish Funding Council (who are also funding the project for 2 years through Barony College). It has also

received strong support from the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association. Jack Lawson, secretary of the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association commented, “I have pleaded over many years to develop such a practical training provision and I am delighted it has arrived. Visiting many dairying countries over my lifetime I can confirm the UK has fallen behind most of our competitors in providing such practical and necessary training”. Australia is one competitor that has been offering a similar provision of a National Dairy Training System. The beauty and simplicity of their system is that they recognise past experience and skills of individuals and actively assist in filling in the areas of skill gaps with relevant practical training. Their training recognises that improving an individual's skillset can only be effective and generate a significant farm improvement if the skill is recognised by every person on the farm. Farm improvements can be broken down and measured into three areas, profit, cow welfare and environmental benefits.

A collaboration link was established with the National Centre of Dairy Education Australia (NCDEA) when members of the Barony College and farmer and First Milk director Tom Campbell, now Chairman of SDA, visited Australia. The SDA over the next few months will tailor the Australian framework of training to the Scottish Dairy Industry. To test this transfer into Scotland, two pilot units were run: one Calf Rearing unit held in Stirling, another in Newton Stewart on Dry Cow Management. Both courses were delivered by well known cow nutritionist Donald Brown, now a member of Barony College staff. The studies are ongoing with the assessment portions and follow up exercise still to be completed and evaluated, but the initial feedback has been very favourable. The initial evaluation of the Calf Rearing unit showed a 63% improvement in knowledge transfer on the day, alongside a 59% improvement in knowledge transfer for the Dry Cow Management unit. However, as with all pilots some

lessons were learned and will be implemented. We thank every person that attended and took part in both courses as their participation and feedback has been invaluable. After all, the development and success of the SDA is in their hands – the dairy farmers of Scotland. Over the summer the SDA will be building up a bank of relevant industry skill units and is setting out to establish regional training groups comprising of dairy farmers to identify and evaluate skills training needs in their local area. The attendees on the courses can then choose if they would prefer to only refresh their skills, or go further and undertake the skill unit assessments to build to a nationally recognised qualification. A programme of skills training units will be made available nationally in the autumn of 2010.

For further updates contact Calum McKenzie, Project Manager on 01387 243 086 or


65 MAG 29/4/10 1:08 pm Page 22 Issue sixty-five • May 2010


World Markets

by Hugh Stringleman


hortages of dairy products and beef are showing up in better milk and meat prices for farmers in the main exporting countries. Milk powder prices have already responded dramatically, leading some farm leaders to speculate on a return to the record levels of 2008, during the commodities boom and before the global financial crisis. United States beef prices are also at their second-highest level in modern times, because herds are smaller in major cattle farming countries than they have been for decades. Sheepmeats are also in short supply from New Zealand, which is the world's largest exporter of lamb, in Australia and in the UK and Europe. The supply and demand balance has swung firmly in favour of farmers, which will further boost world prices and perhaps threaten the records set two years ago. Many informed commentators continue to predict that economic recovery, biofuel demand, rising wealth and growing populations are putting the squeeze on food supplies. That's why the 2008 price records, for dairy products, meats, grains and nutrients, may be a foretaste of what is to come. Less certain, however, is whether the latest price rises are the start of something big or a temporary spike between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere production seasons. The most unexpected jump in world pricing recently occurred when New Zealand's giant Fonterra dairy exporter conducted its April global TradeDairy auction and after months of steady prices suddenly recorded 21% lift in milk powder prices. News of the spreading drought in


northern New Zealand, which will sharply curtail the current season, combined with news of Australia's similar predicament and registered buyers, especially from China, rushed to participate in the latest auction. However, when the northern hemisphere spring milk flushes are processed and export product availability gauged, world prices could settle down again. NZX Agrifax reported that subsequent quotations and sales were US$200/tonne below the near-spot levels achieved in the global Dairy Trade (gDT) event. “Current indications are that prices achieved in the gDT will not be in the wider market during the coming weeks,” NZX Agrifax said. Federated Farmers dairy chairman Lachlan McKenzie has predicted that New Zealand production in the 2009-10 season could be down 2% on the previous season, although Fonterra will only concede that milk flows are drying rapidly and the result may be below forecast. Meanwhile an impressive recovery in soil moisture and pasture growth in Australian dairying regions has come too late to boost the 2009-10 season's milk production, but it has set up next season. Australian milk production and its dairy product exports will recover next season as feed costs have already fallen and much more irrigation water will be available. Recent rain combined with increases in farmgate prices means Australian dairy farmers are generally more optimistic going into the 2010 season than they were at the same time last year, according to Heather Stacy, national milk services manager for Fonterra in Australia. “We are not expecting any great

changes in autumn and winter milk production as a result of the rain, but it is a positive early step for a good 2010 season,” she said. Milk production in the current season is running about 8-9% behind 2008-09, which has contributed to the nervousness about Australasian dairy product supplies. Although European milk production during the winter was restricted by bad weather, there are signs of a spring build-up. The weakness of the Euro is expected to greatly assist European exporters during their 2010 peak production. In the UK, National Farmers Union dairy chairman Mansel Raymond has gone on the offensive, claiming that retailers are misleading farmers about the state of the milk market and that prices rises are long overdue. He used the Fonterra gDT auction result and disclosed that UK milk production in 2009-10 fell by 0.3%, the sixth consecutive year of reduction. Raymond said all the current market conditions provide “strong grounds for a sizeable increase, which leaves some very serious questions about why farmers are yet to see this reflected in their milk cheques.” Meanwhile low supply volumes of beef in the major exporting and consuming countries are keeping up prices around the world. For example, US beef import prices are 30% higher than 12 months ago, although still 20% below the record reached during the short-lived spike in 2008 at the height of the commodity price boom. The United States, as the largest importer of beef, holds the key to beef pricing in New Zealand and Australia. Its own herd is now

rebuilding, after a liquidation phase prolonged by droughts and poor returns for cow/calf producers and feedlots. Australia is also in a herd rebuilding phase, with a predicted 4% fall in slaughter cattle this season (to June 30) compared to last season. Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) is forecasting that total beef export volume will fall 5.7% or 50,000 tonnes in 2009-10. Canada's cattle numbers have fallen 6.3% over the past two years and are currently at 15-year lows. The number of cattle slaughtered during 2009 was 4% down on the previous year. Brazil's Agriculture Minister, Reinhold Stephanes, recently claimed that country's herd capacity would be able to increase beef exports by 20% in 2010, but his meat exporters face considerable challenges. The cattle herd is nearly 200 million, based on Bos indicus rather than Bos taurus, and foot-and-mouth disease is endemic in many states and farming regions. During 2009 Brazil exported about 800,000 tonnes of beef, slightly more than Australia, of which 126,000 tonnes went to Europe, much of it cooked and canned because of FMD. However an issue with the EU over traceability saw the authorised 10,000 Brazilian farms for beef imports slashed to 100 overnight in early 2008. Painstaking audits by EU officials have increased the number to 1900 presently, but Brazil's capacity to export to Europe is still constrained. Brazil is targeting emerging beef markets in Russia, the Middle East, North Africa and China for its increased export availability, according to the MLA.

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Issue 65  

"Best read in Scottish Agriculture."

Issue 65  

"Best read in Scottish Agriculture."