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67 MAG 8/7/10 9:58 am Page 1 Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

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farmingscotland Issue sixty-seven • July 2010


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 Clark

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

Cover - David Ferguson Scottish Blade Team Member at the Highland Show Text and photography by Eilidh MacPherson unless otherwise stated Page 4-

Wendy Patterson

Page 7 - Bayden Wilson

ell our house ran out of water a couple of days ago. It makes one wonder are we going to have to take a leaf out of the Aussie and Kiwis book and start collecting rain water off our roofs during the rest of the year for using domestically? Being new to the area, I had been warned how wet it got in Carsphairn, but not so this year! A neighbour, who measures the rainfall annually, says that we should get between 60-80 inches in a normal year. Half the year has gone and there have only been 12 inches so far. The oil ran out yesterday and the power was off today – beginning to think I am jinxed! One story, which hit the headlines this past month, was the twin girls being attacked by a fox in their bedroom. I wonder if this incident will actually make the general public more aware that foxes are vermin and do need to be controlled, not just rounded up and dumped in the countryside. Bring back fox hunting! At home we always managed to kill around 3040 a year and there are always as many to be had the following year. Another, issue which hit home was when Sea Eagles were to be introduced into England, in Suffolk I think, the project was abandoned due to lack of funds. Why are more still being introduced to Scotland? The only benefit is for bird watchers to come for a look, but they would be better heading to Norway to see them in their native country? It has been a hard enough winter this year without losing more stock to eagles and foxes. With the build up to the World Shearing Championships in Wales this month, I have covered the sheep shearing competitions around the country. David Fagan is over once

more, probably at 48, his last time as an NZ team member. He ran a shearing school last week at Auch, Crianlarich for invited shearers. I had planned to visit and take a few photos en route to Skye, but plans change. Wendy Paterson of Dunstan Peaks Station, Omarama, recently travelled over to Australia to take part in the re-enactment of Tom Robert’s painting – The Shearing of the Rams. She took some photos and also e-mailed some of the tough winter in NZ this year. They had to snow rake and lift some sheep out by helicopter. Well the Highland Show is done and dusted for another year. It was great to be showing for the first time, but it made a long week from the Tuesday night till midnight on the Sunday evening. I towed the caravan home, while Richard managed to take a wrong turning and ended up driving through the Gorbals of Glasgow. I worried that if he stopped at lights, the sheep would quickly be converted into kebabs!! On the features front I caught up with Moniaive farmer, Robert Hall, who has another string to his bow as a wool marketer for the Falkland Islands. Nigel Boyd of Rockhillhead farm, Collin is another farmer with an interesting story to tell on pages 14 & 15. Hugh Stringleman covers the NZ Field Days, while Andrew Arbuckle caught up with the new Young Farmer Chairman – John Owen. I shore at Muirpark once or twice when John was quite young. He was always very keen and capable on farm and I wish him every success in his new position with the Young Farmers. Growing maize in Aberdeenshire is another coup. But I chatted with Mr Nicholson of WA Geddes at the Highland and he said that maize was trialled in Caithness and was a disaster. Issue sixty-seven • July 2010


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John Owen

JCB Groundhog



World Markets with NZ correspondent

Hugh Stringleman

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Rural Round-up


Team Talk

Page 8 - Caithness Shears Page 18 - Andrew Arbuckle Page 23 - Agrovista Page 24 - Hugh Stringleman Page 25 - Malcolm Morrison


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Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

Re-enactment of Tom Robert’s painting - ‘Shearing the Rams’


t the beginning of June 2010 history was repeated at Tuppal Station in the Riverina NSW, Australia. Each day the machines in the 72 stand shearing shed were silenced and blade shearers from Australia and New Zealand re-enacted the painting – Shearing the Rams – by Tom Roberts (1890), shearing 5000 rams. Kiwi station owner, wool classer and blade shearer, Wendy Patterson of Dunstan Peaks Station, Omarama travelled over to Australia to take


part. She was the only female blade shearer on the boards. “I was just blown away with the amount of visitors. The Aussies are fascinated by the blades, as they only use them for stud rams, and couldn’t believe the speed of NZ blade shearers,” reported Wendy. “Their gear was dire and our boys spent a lot of time helping them with it. During the day the runs were half hour sessions. It wasn’t a race and we had to make sure the woolroom was handling it ok. There were 14 blade

shearers and 58 machines going it was very impressive. It was like show shearing in front of heaps of people but no judges and no hurry, so was very enjoyable. People would be clapping their hands as you finished a sheep!!” The wool industry played a huge part in Australia’s past. Shearers would walk or ride a bicycle for miles to the next shed in the hope of securing work. Apparently they could cover up to 5000km in a year. The owner would select his team

when they arrived at the station and ‘bush’ those that he rejected. The shearers either camped by a creek or claimed a bund in the shearers quarters. Despite the poor living conditions shearers were regarded as well paid. A good shearer could earn £3- £4 a week in the mid 1880’s – the equivalent of what a shepherd earned in a couple of months. It was a hundred years ago, in 1910, that all 72 stands of this iconic shearing shed were last in action on the then 170 000acre station.

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FEATURE Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

Ireland’s Leading Wool Merchants since 1972 are taking new customers for the 2010 shearing season

Snowraking in NZ


ooks like Kiwi farmers in the High Country are having a similar winter to ours was. Wendy Patterson e-mailed me these photos at the beginning of June, just before she headed to Australia for the re-enactment. The photos were taken on Longslip Station, near the Lindus Pass. Her brother air lifted some ewes to safety


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From the Falklands to Moniaive


umfriesshire farmer – Robert Hall of Craiglearan, Moniaive, is not just an ordinary hill sheep and beef farmer. He runs 1000 ewes, mainly Blackies and 75 cows, which are a mix of Galloways and Blue Greys and three Luings he purchased from the recent reduction sale at Castle Douglas. He wears another hat – as a wool marketer for the Falkland Islands. Robert read Agriculture at Wye College, London and once graduated he saw that the Falkland Islands were recruiting for people to work in the rural sector.

“In 1988 I went to work on a sheep grazing trial as a Junior Sheep Scientist at Fox Bay, West Falkland,” explained Robert, who after 18 months was sent off to Lincoln University, near Christchurch, New Zealand on a five-month wool course. “On my return to the Falklands I was employed as a wool adviser, based at Stanley.” “I helped set up a National Stud of Polworth sheep, imported from Tasmania. Five hundred ewes were flown in along with 25 rams for the flock. More were flown in privately in 1992.”


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“The guys marketing wool had no successors,’ continued Robert, “they said they would train one. So I was seconded to Colin Smith of DS & Co Falkland Farming Ltd based near Harrogate from 1992-1994 and spent the Falkland summers as a wool adviser.” By August 1997 Robert set up his own company – Falkland Wool Growers and now markets 43% of the wool from the Falkland Islands. He operates, as an agent, representing 50 out of the 80 farms – most of the smaller properties, so doesn’t have a huge outlay on the wool. “The Falkland Islands have half a million sheep – 460 000 were shron last year and I market 43% of that,” informs Robert, who heads out to the Falkland Islands, with his Falklander wife, for a few weeks in November/ December. “They are shearing then so I try and go round most of the farms to see what wool is coming. Like in New Zealand the wool is cored by NZ Wool Testing or by Wool Testing Europe.” These tests give Robert the micron, vegetable matter % and yield and sometimes colour testing. “I then set about marketing it. Some is shipped direct to customers in the Far East and Eastern Europe, but a greater proportion of my wool comes to Britain. It is stored in a bonded warehouse in Bradford – nothing to do with the British Wool Marketing Board.” The wool ranges from 21-28 micron. “It is a slightly wider band but getting finer all the time as the Falkland Islands have been importing embryos and semen from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over the years.” “When I started we could sell the whole clip within Bradford, but markets are changing and the whole industry is now based around low wage countries.” Wool from the Falkland Islands is sold as ‘snow white’ as due to the weather – low rainfall and a lot of wind – the wool is kept relatively dry and therefore does not have much yellow in it.

It has a high yield and low vegetable matter, which is good in the woollen trade as no combing is required. “I’m not competing with wool from the UK as my product is finer. I see Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as the main competitors.” The wool is skirted to a high standard and traded as a world standard wool product, sold greasy. “On a clean basis, the wool has been prepared and can be tipped into a bin at a mill with no further sorting. Some customers might blend it.” “They have gone to pre-lamb shearing in late September/October. The hoggs and shearlings, which have finer wool are shorn first, then the wethers are done just before Christmas and the ewes in January.” Previously farmers used to run about a third of their flock as large mature wethers, but an EU approved abattoir was built and they are now killed there. The islands are now carrying 200 000 less sheep than they used to. Robert has to put in some long hours lotting up different lines before the shipments of wool arrive in the UK between December and June 25th. “The wool has been sorted into fine, medium and course, AABBCC, off-line, low yield, oddments, bellies, pieces, necks and locks on farm. The average farm has 3000-7000 sheep,” says Robert who has to batch lots from different farms together to make them into saleable lots. “Most marketing is now done by e-mail and on the phone. The market peaked in April with a top of £6.15/kg clean for Merino/ Polworth wool at 19 micron.” “My farmers are looking at a significant increase in income this year – a 30% increase. 90% of their income is from the wool clip,” says Robert, who is paid a commission as agent on a percentage of sales rather than weight. Robert follows the Australian auction prices three days a week as a guide to determine pricing when bartering with customers both here in the UK and in the Far East from his farm office in Moniaive.

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SHEEP Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

Rissington Breedline FARM DETAILS Farmer: Francis and Marion McMillan Farming: Contract sheep farmer Three separate farms, 11 miles apart Location: Coastal, Girvan, Ayrshire


s a contract farmer, in for the long term, Ayrshire farmer, Francis McMillan, is focused on making a sustainable business profit. He needed to be selling more kgs of lamb (+ 25%) off the farm without increasing his farming costs. The farm is a balance of unfertilized hill and lower ground somewhat complicated by being in 3 separate blocks 11 miles apart. By simplifying and specializing production on each of the farm blocks he is creating efficiencies, giving him economies of scale. Francis is the sole labour unit running 1950 breeding ewes with a part time shepherd to help at lambing. Wife Marion is a practicing vet. Francis's +25% production goals are being met by: o Increasing numbers and kgs of lamb weaned off the hill o Increasing the grass value of the lower ground for lamb breeding and finishing o Lower labour and sheep depreciation offset by higher pasture improvement costs

The hill sheep performance was a major constraint, whilst hardy, barren rates, spread out lambing and low multiple births meant a poor performance in terms of 'kgs of lamb weaned per kg of ewe mated.' Middle Farm: To increase maternal performance Francis purchased Lleyn ewes for the Middle Farm, which has a good mix of Hill and lower ground. The increase in lamb produced was significant and suited the outdoor spring lambing at no extra labour cost. Whilst still in the process of coverting the flock, the future for this block is a self replacing flock of 700 ewes with around 1/3rd of ewes mated to a terminal sire to further increase lamb growth and all important speed to market. The extra lamb production has called for the need to accelerate the fertilizer and pasture renewal including forage crops in order to boost wintering and finish lambs to market. In addition some areas of the landowners cropping land is leased for short term grass to the benefit of

future crop yields and the sheep enterprise. The Hill block, which runs to 900ft is predominantly unfertilized with limited cultivatable land. There are a mixture of 850 Blackies, Cheviot, Mule, LleynX and HighlanderX ewes. To bring this in to line all these ewes have been mated to the Highlander, chosen based on the ram breeders clear breeding objective to 'maximize weight of lamb weaned per kg of ewe mated'. “The Highlander comes from a large scale breeding nucleus, grass fed with minimal lambing intervention, which is relavent to my breeding objectives. To date results have been good with lambing now more of a welfare inspection rather than a hard slog, and good growth rates from the lambs. The Hill block produces ewe replacements for the lowland flock.” The Lowland Block:Predominantly fertilized and cultivatable, running 400 Terminal Mule ewes plus 100 HighlanderX mated ewe lambs. The earlier March lambed ewes have been


2100 acres of which,1600 acres unfertised hill to 900 feet, 500 acres cultivatable lowland


1950 lambing ewes plus replacements

historically lambed indoors, to Suffolk and recently Primera, with plans to lamb – outdoors this year and beyond perhaps all outdoors. Twin lambs growing fast to market is the goal from this flock. The Primera will suit the outdoor lambing flock and also has a contracted end market. Ewe replacements come from the Hill block. Francis is developing a sustainable farming system that is good for both Landowner and Farmer. He is increasing, the productive value of the land, the genetic value of the flock and profitability at the same time. He is using high welfare genetics and utilizing a natural grass based system to produce a great tasting end product. These combined will represent value to the future lamb customer. In addition to the on farm efficiencies he is an early adopter with a group of farmers that are working together with breeding company Rissington Breedline to develop a unique lamb supply chain for a targeted end market.


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Caithness Shears


hearers from across Scotland made the sojourn north on Saturday 5th June, for the 3rd Caithness Shears event at Quoybrae, Watten, courtesy of Aberdeen & Northern Mart. Hoggs from regular county consignors were presented for the 37 well-travelled competitors who took part in the four classes. With additional prizes of singlets and combs from W&M Horner shearing supplies, the entry of only four for the Junior was disappointing. The afternoon final saw local lads John Macauley and Alan Mackay finish behind Charles MacCrombie from Huntly and clear winner Euan MacKinnon of Lanark. The Caithness Beef & Lamb Intermediate class saw 11 entrants shear Texel and Suffolk cross hoggs from Lynegar, Watten. Local contractor Andrew Sinclair, from Wick, who shore well all day, qualified strongly for the final but eventually had to settle for second place. Edinburgh based, winner – Rowan Forrest – collected £120 first prize and the Douglas Trophy. The Senior section, sponsored by Intervet Schering Plough Animal Health, attracted the highest entry of 12. Intermediate winner in 2009, Sandy Douglas, bowed out at the semi final stage, as did Patty Wilson from Watten, while Andrew Sinclair raised his game considerably from the Intermediate to reach the Senior final. He took third place. Commentator Dave Clark from Lesmahagow switched the microphone for a handpiece and let his hand do the talking, finishing in second place. Deserving winner John Gibson from Alexandria, who won the ‘Golden Ticket’ to New Zealand sponsored by the Scottish Sheep Shearing Association, showed the clear benefits of a season shearing in New Zealand to collect the £200 first prize and the Wallace Boyd trophy. The strong entry of 10 for the Caithness Oil Open reflected the importance of accumulating possible


qualifying points towards a place in the Scottish team at the World Championships in Wales in July. Charolais sheep farmer and shearing contractor, Alan Kennedy of Dumfries was unlucky with his pen of sheep and unfortunately failed to qualify from the heats. Golden Shears Top 30 qualifier and the only female competitor – Una Cameron of Jedburgh – just failed to make it through from the semi finals. Last year’s winner, Grant Lundie, Dundee, started brightly in the final as did Ian Kirkpatrick from New Zealand but both fell off the cracking pace set by Simon Bedwell of Garve, Ross-shire. Simon finished the 20 Cheviot hoggs from Geise, Thurso in exactly 16 minutes, 40 seconds ahead of Gavin Mutch from Forgue, Aberdeenshire. However Simon was denied a maiden Open victory as superior quality both on the board and in the pen saw Gavin lift the £350 first prize and his own perpetual trophy. Junior Final Results 1 Euan Mackinnon, Lanark - 41.95 2 Charles McCrombie, Huntly - 45.45 3 Alan MacKay, Caithness - 46.95 4 John Macaulay, Caithness - 51.15 * Best Pen - Alan MacKay Intermediate Final Results 1 Rowan Forrest, Edinburgh - 39.39 2 Andrew Sinclair, Wick - 46.06 3 Steven Knox - 47.06 4 David Gibson, Alexandria - 49.94 * Best Pen - Andrew Sinclair Senior Final Results 1 John Gibson, Alexandria - 48.53 2 David Clark, Lesmahagow - 54.90 3 Andrew Sinclair, Wick - 58.32 4 David Gibson - 62.80 * Best Pen - David Clark Open Final Results 1 Gavin Mutch, Huntly – 57.85 2 Simon Bedwell, Garve - 58.30 3 Ian Kilpatrick, New Zealand - 61.85 4 Grant Lundie, Dundee - 67.95 * Best Pen - Jordan Smeaton


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olden Shears shearing champion Cam Ferguson has launched his preparations for the World Championships in Wales by winning a major title in England. Ferguson won the Royal Cornwall Open, his first victory since winning the 50th Golden Shears in Masterton in March. Ferguson shore in Italy for about six weeks before heading for the UK at the end of May. In his first Northern Hemisphere competition he was fourth in a six-man Royal Bath and West Show final on June 4, being beaten by Northern Ireland’s hopeful Kieran McCullough, South Island based Irishman Ivan Scott, and fellow New Zealand shearer Jason Win, from Ikamatua on the West Coast. Two other New Zealanders featured in the five-man Cornwall final on Friday – with Far North shearer Matthew Smith third, and fifth place going to Paerata Abraham, from Dannevirke. Ferguson was first off the board in the 14 sheep final, finishing in 10min 7sec, with Smith next nine seconds away. Meanwhile, Fagan left his Te Kuiti home today (Sunday) headed for the UK to team-up with Ferguson and later the four others making up Shearing Sports New Zealand’s team for the 14th World Championships at the Royal Welsh Show on July 19-22. The others are the woolhandlers,

reigning champion and Taihape school teacher Sheree Alabaster and Keryn Herbert, from Te Awamutu, and North Canterbury blade shearers Brian Thomson and Allen Gemmell. Fagan won the World title in Masterton in 1988 and 1996, England in 1992, Ireland in 1998 and Scotland in 2003, and is keen to win the title in Wales, where he was beaten in the 1994 final by lifelong friend and fellow King Country veteran Alan McDonald. He has also won six World teams titles, and is determined that New Zealand will successfully defend the titles won by Taranaki shearer Paul Avery and Hawke’s Bay’s John Kirkpatrick in Norway in 2008. Fagan is also hoping to win his 600th open competition title in a 28-season open-class career dating back to 1982, and along with Ferguson expects to contest up to eight competitions before the Championships, starting with the Three Counties this week. The pair will also shear in five 5 matches, 2 against Scotland and 3 against Wales. Fagan said he had done some shearing since his New Zealand championships win on April 10, but the real work is ahead in the UK, where he has been a regular since first competing in the Northern Hemisphere in ‘83, returning every year except ‘85 and 1987. “Once you’re over there it’s on. You just get on with the job.”


67 MAG 8/7/10 9:59 am Page 10 Issue sixty-seven • July 2010


South of Scotland Shears


here was a buzz in the shearing shed at the Barony College – and it wasn’t just the shearing machines! The build up to the World Shearing Championships is on. Thirty-two professional shearers from Australia, NZ, Spain, Wales, England, Ireland and Scotland competed in the electrifying Open heats. Brian Simpson from Angus fired into the five Blackface hoggs from Robert Dalgleish of Kirkland, Sanquhar, like a whirlwind. He held the lead till sheep number three, when Welsh team member Gareth Daniels found form. Just two days in the country, Darrin Forde, the NZ Southlander, shearing hero, who features in the DB Draught adverts, took slightly longer to get into the swing, but was in for the fourth sheep seconds after Daniels. Englishman Steve Capstick


also found top gear by number four and this was only the heats! The third heat was another crowd pleaser, with Gavin Mutch, Cam Ferguson and Johnny Kirkpatrick on stands one to three. Gavin whistled his out in record time – 3m 55secs and stood for 20 secs for stands two and three to finish. Scots; Gordon Nichol, Jordan Smeaton and Archie Patterson were on stands four, five and six and finished in that order. Heat five saw Hamish Mitchell start with a flier, whizzing up the longblow while the rest of the board were still all on the hind leg! Luckily for Hamish, the top 18, not just 12 qualified for the semi-finals. Simon Bedwell took the limelight in the first Open semi final, as he sped through his pen of eight Mule hoggs. But Northern Irish team member, John Buchanan, who has shorn 70000 sheep this past year, was

hot on his heels by the third and went hard out to take the time points. Mitchell and Mutch finished third and fourth. Cam Ferguson was the main player in the second semi-final with fellow North Islander Ian Kirkpatrick and Pom Mark Fox chasing hard. Welsh shearers Wyn Jones and team member Gareth Daniels were the speedsters in the third and final semi. Stands were drawn for the six man final, with Gavin Mutch on 1, Johnny Kirkpatrick on 2, Hamish Mitchell on 3, Jordan Smeaton on 4, Gareth Daniels on 5 and Cam Ferguson on 6. Kirkpatrick was quick off the

starting blocks and was in first for the catch but Mutch took the lead till his fifth, when Mitchell and Ferguson came into touch. From the ninth draw it was these two who set the pace, with Kirkpatrick and Mutch not farm behind. Gareth Daniels and Jordan Smeaton were out paced. Hamish Mitchell, who missed the first competition of the circuit, in Caithness had pulled out all the stops to get the time points and the South of Scotland title. Gavin was runner-up, adding to his first placing at Caithness. Kirkpatrick was third, Daniels fourth, Ferguson fifth and Smeaton sixth.

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SHEEP Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

Highland Shears


he pressure was on in the Scottish National on the Sunday morning at the RHS as the winning slot ensured a place in the Scottish Team at the World Championships in Wales in July. Una Cameron of St Boswells, who made the coveted NZ Top 30 earlier in the year gave it her all and qualified in second position behind Gavin Mutch and ahead of Hamish Mitchell in the 27 shearer heats. The top dozen made it through to the semi-finals. Unlucky for Archie Paterson, who just moved up to shear in the Open this year – he was number thirteen. The first semi-final initially saw a three-man race with Gavin Mutch, Willie Dickson and Allan Wright. But by the third sheep Gavin was in a class of his own. He was first into his catching pen throughout the eight sheep semi and finished in 6m, 25secs, giving him the time points advantage. Wull Dickson and Allan Wright went blow for blow, both finishing 1m 1sec behind Mutch. The others: Iain Minto, Alan Kennedy and Callum Shaw, were well behind on time – 8 06, 8 49 and 8 59 respectively.

Aberdeenshire shearer, John Blackhall gave Hamish Mitchell a run for his money in the second qualifier. He was first in for the catch for sheep numbers three, four and five, with Mitchell in hot pursuit. Jordan Smeaton and Gordon Nichol were in third and fourth places till number four. Mitchell powered ahead and pulled his cord when Blackhall was on the long blow, but was still 20secs over Mutch’s time. Blackhall was 25s behind him with Nichol, Smeaton, Andrew Kerr and Una Cameron in his wake. The National Final saw Smeaton, Mitchell, Wright, Mutch, and Blackhall lined up on stands 1-5 and a delighted left-handed Iain Minto on stand 7, in his debut Scottish Final. Hamish, who is now settled, dairy farming, in Norway with his partner JJ and their two young daughters had a quick start on the 18 strong pen. But Mutch musseled in first for number three. Mitchell, who seems much more relaxed behind the handpiece, was quick to retaliate and took a slight lead again by the fourth. Mitchell was well ahead then till Mutch caught him at number 13 and they were then neck in neck all the

way, till the end, when the clock stopped on 13m 13sec for Mitchell, with Mutch only 3s behind. The ‘M & M’s’ as commentator Finlay Smith named them, were shearing at world class level, having both represented Scotland before. They had a three-minute wait until Wright, Smeaton and Blackhall clocked off within 14s of each other. Iain Minto was slightly off pace finishing his 18 in 17m 32s. Mitchell

was declared winner, collected £350 and secured his Scottish team slot. Gavin, who won the title last year, was runner up, with Smeaton, Wright, Blackhall and Minto in tow. Contestants in the first three heats, from the 52-strong field, in the Open class were dealt a poor hand, with cotty, sandy sheep. Apparently only one shearer from these heats made it through to the next round. Kiwi Johnny Kirkpatrick topped the billboard, with quality shearing into the 18 place semi-finals. Record holder, Ivan Scott, Ireland, made a comeback from a slow start, leading the field by the 7th sheep, popping his ninth ovine down the porthole in 6 and a half minutes, while David Fagan was on the long blow, in the first semi-final. Mutch was the clear ringer in the second semi. He was on the final shoulder when his next rival, Northern Ireland team member, Kieran McCullough was just in for the catch. The third semi saw Mitchell and Darrin Forde take centre stage. My pick for the final showdown was Wright, Scott, Mitchell, Mutch, Forde and Fagan. I was right on four


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accounts. Forde and Scott came seventh and eighth, missing out on a final shear, while quality placed Johnny Kirkpatrick in pole position and Kieran McCullough came in fifth. Having missed out on the Scottish National and already with a first and two seconds from the circuit Gavin Mutch shore his socks off. He had the third on the board in 1m and 50secs and the fifth by 2m 30s. He led the race from the third sheep, where he out classed Kirkpatrick. Mitchell had a slow start, being unusally last in for his second sheep, but he played catch up and was back in the picture and usual flying form by his ninth and was chasing Mutch for the time points. Mutch and Mitchell put on a tremendous performance blow for blow over the rest of their twenty roughies. Mitchell managed to score top time points by pulling his cord 7 seconds ahead, finishing in 13m 45s. The Kiwis – Kirkpatrick and Fagan – were also racing each other time wise. Kirkpatrick had an 11sec advantage over Fagan – 14m 22sec compared to 14m 33sec. Kieran McCullough was almost a full minute slower and Alan Wright the same again. Issue sixty-seven • July 2010



Once all the scores were pumped through the computer program by Margaret Whiteford and her helpers in the office, it was Gavin Mutch, holding one of his wee blonde daughters, who picked up the £400 prize money and Highland Shears Open Title 2010. With another first placing on the circuit under his belt, his position to represent Scotland at the World Championships in Wales was sealed. Mutch and Mitchell returned to the stage in the team event to shear 15 sheep each against the New Zealand team for the World Champs – Cam Ferguson (26) and David Fagan (48). The Scottish boys went for speed again, with Gavin gaining 0.93 points on the board and pushing his 15 down the porthole in 9mins 49 seconds. Mitchell was only 17 secs in his wake, with Kiwi and Golden Shears Champion, Cam Ferguson, breathing down his neck – just 4seconds in it. A clean pen gave Cam Ferguson the edge and a total score of 39.77. Mutch was placed second and Mitchell third. Their combined scores of 82.01 gave them a 0.08 advantage over the Kiwis to take out the team class. The Hand Shears Event or Blades as

they are known in other countries saw eleven hopefuls compete for a place in the Scottish team. Chairman for the Blackface Sheep Breeders for the SW of Scotland – David Ferguson, Drannandow, topped the heats ahead of Welsh team player Elfed Jackson. Willie Shaw, Donald McColl, William Craig and young Jimmy Wright from Aberfeldy YFC, who was third in the Young Farmers earlier in the week, were in third to sixth positions. Farm Manager, Mark Armstrong just missed out on a shear in the final. Time seemed to count in the final and the blade shearers were placed in the order they finished. Jackson took the £100 first prize back to Wales and will have been delighted to beat the new Scottish team on their home turf. Second and third placed shearers – Willie Shaw of Saline in Fife and David Ferguson will be travelling to Wales as the Scottish Blade Shearers. Willie was runner-up in 2008, but for some reason only one shearer was sent to Norway to represent Scotland, while every other country had two. He naturally felt aggrieved. This year he and David Ferguson, who was the lucky sole Scottish blade shearer in Norway in 2008, will both be going.

The wool handling competition saw only six compete, with just four vying for the two Scottish Team places. Leanne Bertram won both the heats and final beating Kiwis Ngaio Braddick and current World Champion Sheree Alabaster into second and third places. Stacey Mundell, who was fourth, is the other team member. Kirsty Donald and Audrey Lamb missed out. Twenty-nine Senior shearers took to the boards with a dozen making the cut for the semi-finals. John Gibson, Callum Shaw and Ewan MacKay were up there in the top three through. It was a good week for the Saline Shaws as Callum went on to top the semis and take out the Senior title following his Intermediate win at the Highland last year. Brian Simpson, who was third to Shaw in 2009, came in sixth this year. Wullie Hewitson, Gibson, Kiwi Tristan MacKay, and Richard Robinson were 2nd - 5th. An Irishman – Robert Davidson won the Intermediate, while a Welshman – Ifan Prys took out the Junior Title. John Struthers came second again in the Intermediate, while Andrew Houston of Blairgowrie, who moved up from the Juniors was fifth.

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Starch Story


Ultra Starch-W, a new protected starch product exclusive to NWF customers can help drive milk yields without risking rumen health.

ver the winter we have been developing a much greater understanding of rationing and what dairy cows actually require thanks to the new NWF RPM feed system. RPM has helped us be more precise about feeding and managing the rumen to ensure efficient digestion combined with high rumen health. It has also allowed us to consider the nutrients the cow herself requires for milk production. When evaluating diets in this way, one aspect that has become clear is that many diets are short of 'metabolic glucose', also known as glucogenic energy, and this has a major effect on milk yields. Glucose is required for the production of lactose in the udder. Under normal conditions, milk has a constant lactose concentration of typically around 4.6% for black and white cows. As more lactose is produced, more water is drawn into the udder and so milk yield increases. Therefore, if we can increase the supply of 'metabolic glucose' it should Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

by Tom Hough NWF Technical Manager

be possible to increase milk yields. Clearly then, the diets of high yielding cows need to be high in glucogenic precursors, which are metabolised into glucose. There is a strong relationship between the supply of glucogenic precursors and milk yield. The problem is that the main source of glucogenic energy is starch, either as starch fermented in the rumen or rumen by-pass starch. Increasing the total supply of starch might seem at first glance to be the way to increase the supply of glucose, but if too much of the starch is fermented in the rumen there is a risk of acidosis and reduced rumen function. The rate and extent to which starches are degraded in the rumen varies from ingredient to ingredient and the aim is to increase the proportion of rumen by-pass starch in the diet. The challenge was to find a way to cost-effectively increase the supply of metabolic glucose without causing

problems in the rumen. The principal sources of starch in diets are cereals and maize. Ingredients like wheat have lower glucogenic values when compared to maize, but if the starch is protected to allow it to pass through the rumen, the supply of glucogenic precursors increases greatly. This led us to develop Ultra Starch-W, a new feed ingredient available exclusively to NWF clients. Rolled wheat is treated at our Wardle site using the same process as used to protect proteins in Ultra Soy and Ultra Pro-R. The result is that a greater proportion of starch is able to pass through the rumen undegraded, in so doing increasing the supply of glucogenic precursors without placing rumen health at risk. The process increases the supply of glucogenic nutrients in wheat by over 10% and makes wheat more comparable to maize, but Ultra Starch-W is a more cost effective solution, promoting higher glucose production to drive greater performance.

67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 14



Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

FARM DETAILS Farmer: Nigel Boyd and his father trading as N Boyd & Son Farming: Rockhallhead Farm Location: Collin, Dumfries Area:

170 acres owned


120 Holstein Friesian cows 20 pure Beltex sheep

Investment: Converted to dairy 2 De Laval Robots 50% grant on £420 000


igel Boyd of Rockhallhead Farm, Collin, Dumfriesshire has just fulfilled his lifetime ambition – going dairy farming. As many dairy farmers across the country pull the plug and get out of the industry altogether, others have expanded, but so far in this country very few have converted from beef and sheep or any other farming enterprises into dairying. I was writing for the New Zealand Farmer Magazine during the dairy boom in the South Island of New Zealand at the beginning of this century. Many Southland sheep farmers, with no dairy expertise were converting their properties into dairy units. Other professionals, who had never milked a cow before were jacking in jobs in the cities and the shearing sheds to take up share milking – a profitable future in the countryside.

Nigel on the other hand has been working to this end all his adult life. He attended the Barony College on leaving school from 1983-1985, with a view to picking up as much dairying experience as possible. “But milk quotas were introduced in 1984 so it put the Kybosh on my plans as quota was half the price of the farm,” explained Nigel. “We did consider selling this farm 20 years ago and buying a dairy farm, but decided to stay put. The road is the main issue as it is steep and can get blocked in winter. But with modern machinery it is no longer a problem.” For the past fifteen years Nigel has been biding his time. “Everything I’ve done over the years has been with dairying in mind.” Two sheds were built 2 and 7 years ago, which could be used for cubicles. The Boyd’s initially started looking

Boyd Bucks Trend


at putting in a parlour when they started the business plan process about three years ago. “But I got wind that farmers were being granted SRDP funding for putting in robots, so with the help of my friend who runs Davidson Thorburn Consulting, we put forward 3 options for business

Once the business plans were complete, Nigel had his bank – the Clydesdale Bank come out to the farm. “My banker and a dairy specialist lady visited. I was unimpressed as they were very negative to the whole idea, so I moved banks to the Royal Bank of

plans. The first was for 120 cows and a parlour, the second 120 cows and 2 second hand robots and the third for 120 cows and two new robots. “The second hand robots were ruled out as the technology is so new there are no second hand robots available, or very few,” said Nigel.

Scotland, who were prepared to back me whether I had grant funding or not and I now deal with Alex Urquhart, who is based at Annan.” “We were granted the funding in May 2009 so were able to put up an extra shed.” But it wasn’t all plain sailing as a

67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 15


the remains of a Saxon Chapel lie on Rockhallhead Farm and excavations were held up for 14 weeks while the powers that be decided whether it could go ahead or not. “An archaeologist was sent in and any digging had to be at least 25m from the Chapel. Time was knocking on and we were dreading the fact we might end up with an archaeological dig on the property. A digger came in and breeze blocks were unearthed so it was a huge relief,” sighed Nigel. Cows were sourced through BACA cattle agency from a herd in North Cumbria. “The farmer there was offered £480/acre to supply grass for an anaerobic digester so a deal was done and he sold all his cows to me. I’m also getting first option at his heifer replacements till I can breed my own. The first one arrived last week.” The Boyd’s are no strangers to calf rearing, having previously reared and then fattened at least 60 dairy calves every year, alongside 60 off-spring from their suckler herd. Previously sheep, numbering 200 were also run on the hillside at Rockhallhead and income was supplemented by running four lorries with palletised distribution. While I was sitting in the dairy computer room interviewing Nigel and his wife Alison, his phone alerted

him that a cow was needing tubed for mastitis. “The computer has a cow monitoring system, which uses a number of factors like; drops in yield, kick-offs, incomplete milkings, blood/colour, successful milkings, average milking period, to calculate an index. If the score is over 2 the cow should be checked and treated for mastitis by 2.2. It is a big benefit as cows can be treated before they have full blown mastitis.” Initially Nigel found it difficult to obtain a milk contract but then had three offers on the table – Caledonian Cheese, Milklink and First Milk. He has currently opted for Caledonian Cheese and his first cheque was just under 22p/l. He would rather a liquid milk contract, as with Holstein Frisians he isn’t achieving the fat and protein levels for bonuses. During my visit De Laval salesman, Craig Kennedy (pictured left) arrived with Chris Mathers, who install and repair the dairy supplies in Dumfriesshire, and a farmer and two sons, who are considering converting to robotic milking. Craig, who lives in Glasgow, covers the whole of Scotland and reckons that there are now 30 De Laval robots in operation across the country, with many more at the planning stage. “It has been a very exciting time working for De Laval since the launch

of the Robots – it is the way ahead. The Forbes family, near Stonehaven, who own East Coast Viners have 5 robots, milking 55 cows each and only have one man looking after them!” commented Craig. The farmer and his sons were suitably impressed, as was a Carrs Billington driver, who was delivering feed. Nigel spent a year and a half looking into robots and visiting farms. Several factors led him to decide to go with De Laval. “The independent arm which puts the cups on has far more flexibility for udders and teat placement, whereas other makes are limited. It is the only brand with a separate wash cup. It circulates water round and dries with air. It then strips the foremilk down so stimulates the cow and milks more. Also Mathers is right on the doorstep and there is a man at Carrutherstown.” “They have been tremendous. He’s often here by the time I put the phone down! “We’ve been very lucky as we’ve had no teething problems and have some amazing stats. Mathers are impressed with how the cows went through. Most farms have 2.8 milkings on average after a year. We had 2.8 by day 4 and 2.95-3.1 after 3 weeks. The high yielders milk 4- 4.5 times in a 24hr period. When the cows came they were doing 24.1 litres

farmingscotland Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

now they are at 30l.” The Boyd’s have their robots set up side by side, which if there is a breakdown, all cows can get milked on the other. As the cattle settle into their routine, Nigel and Alison should find that they have more time to spend with their young boys – Ross (8) and Rory (6).


67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 16

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67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 17


farmingscotland Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

Shaker is the Big Daddy


his Father’s Day welcomes another celebration, as Picston Shaker EX94 celebrates the 150k mark for the number of sexed semen straws produced. Shaker, nicknamed ‘the cheese-maker’ for his tremendous components, +0.11% Fat and +0.05% Protein, has impressively now produced over 150,000 straws of sexed semen, as his demand remains as strong as ever. Shaker excels for Lifespan (+0.3), Somatic Cell Count

(-9) and Temperament (+1.9). At a grand 14 years of age, this 99% reliable bull is still a bovine beauty and in extremely high demand from dairy farmers all over the globe – spanning from Italy, Australia, Holland and Ireland. Volumes of traffic are expected to descend on Chester, as Father’s Day card deliveries from across the globe are delivered to the Cogent stud, as Shaker fathers progeny ranging from newly born calves to 12 year old

cows. In fact, it is estimated he has over 100,000 daughters worldwide. As a Dombinator son, and half brother to Picston Shottle, Shaker is from the renowned 60-star brood cow, Condon Aero Sharon EX91. This unique outcross sire with no Blackstar, Mascot, Chief Mark or Belle in his pedigree brought something new and refreshing to the dairy industry. Cogent’s Sire Analyst, Simon Moseley adds, ‘Breeders have often commented that his daughters

develop into some of the best aged cows they have in the herd today – with fantastic udders and tremendous dairy character.’ As an EX94 bull, Shaker’s daughters are just as good-looking – with an impressive world record of 20 Excellent first crop daughters and over 1,000 VG or EX registered progeny so far. Shaker is available at just £10 a straw and £19 sexed.


67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 18 Issue sixty-seven • July 2010


by Andrew Arbuckle and Eilidh MacPherson


lthough he is only a few weeks into his term of office as chairman of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs, John Owen is looking forward to what he considers to be the busiest week of the year in the young farmers’ calendar. Speaking to prior to the 2010 show, John said, “The Highland show really is our shop window. It allows large numbers of visitors to come and see the wide range of activities that the modern young farmers club compete in.” The Young Farmers pavilion at the show was in many ways the focus of the work the Association carries out throughout the year with a wide range of competitions taking place. As such, he wanted it to be not only a meeting place for members but also somewhere where potential members could be attracted into the organisation. The many Young Farmers activities and competitions taking place also provided a showpiece for general visitors to the Highland. John’s own involvement with the movement came about largely because both his parents had been young farmers but also because being too young to drive, he was taken along by a neighbouring young farmer. Initially he went to the Stirling club but then it amalgamated with two others in the area and became the SSS club where he worked his way up to being chairman. From there it was on to becoming West Area chairman and then last month taking over the top seat at National level. His chairmanship comes at a time when the SAYFC is recovering from a


Owen takes Over big financial loss and even if the recovery plan is now well in place, he does not expect the Association to break even this year. “It will take another year to come through and we end up making money.” However, he saw the pluses in the recent financial exercise. Part of it was a wide spread consultation with members and clubs all over Scotland. That reconnection with the grass roots was very helpful as it helped formulate a strategic plan, he said. His own roots are deep in farming – following his graduation from Stirling University with an honours degree in Ecology, John decided to return home to farm. He is now in partnership with his parents at Muirpark, a 1,100 acre upland livestock property outside Stirling. The main enterprises are cattle and sheep breeding units.

The commercial cattle enterprise has over one hundred Aberdeen Angus and Limousin cows. These are all put to a Limousin bull. The calves are all sold locally in Stirling at the suckled calf sales. The sheep enterprise is based on 550 Blackface and Blackface cross Texel ewes, all of which are put to a Beltex tup. The lambs are then sold store in the Autumn. The Owens also operate a contracting business, working on cutting roadside verges and other activities for several local authorities. At one stage, they had fifteen tractors operating throughout Scotland involved in this work but that has been cut back now to contracting with those Councils closer to home. Although John is deeply into farming, he accepts that the SAYFC membership of the future needs to

come from a wider pool. “There are fewer and fewer people working on farms and we have to put on a range of activities that will attract others who are living in country areas.” He is already showing leadership skills and along with a number of members from across the regions he is cycling 135 miles from Aviemore to Kinross, via Stirling in aid of the Mercy Ships and to raise funds for the Young Farmers. The cyclists start their three day mission from the North Region on the Glorious Twelveth, reaching Pitlochry on the first evening (55 miles). Black Friday takes them into East Region territory to Bridge of Allan (50 miles) and the final leg on the 14th sees them wheel into Kinross after 30 miles. So 46 Young Farmers are signed up to get on their bikes. So dig deep for charity and help the YF’s prosper!

67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 19


Blackface Sheep Breeders’ Association

Farms waiting to give you the experience of a lifetime! AgriVenture Work Programmes for 18 to 30 year olds. Call for a Free Brochure 0800 783 2186

Check out the web site for sale dates and news

Mercy Ships M

ercy Ships is an international charity that provides free medical care, relief aid, community development and long-term sustainable development in some of the world’s most poverty stricken nations, via its hospital ship The Africa Mercy and a number of land-based projects focusing on water and sanitation, education, infrastructure development and agriculture. Working in partnership with SAYFC and Robert Wiseman dairies, Mercy Ships UK is inviting Clubs across Scotland to get involved in raising vital funds for their peers at the Food for Life Project in Benin, West Africa. During an intensive 12 week course, the project trains young farmers from across the country in organic, reproducible farming methods designed to increase yields and provide them with long term ability to feed their families and earn a living. After the course, farmers return to their villages to put into practice what they have learned, but to do this they need basic equipment – a hoe, a rake, some seeds, a pair of wellies, a watering can and a wheelbarrow. The total cost is around

£75.00 per farmer. We are appealing to Young Farmers across Scotland to help raise a minimum of £15,000 (£5.00 per Young Farmer in Scotland) towards this project – enough to help 200 farmers in Benin. Robert Wiseman Dairies is supporting this project and if, collectively, Young Farmers raise £15,000 or more, they will pay for three Young Farmers to visit the Food for Life Project in Benin and experience first hand what the project is all about. If your Club would be interested in supporting this project, please contact our Scottish Fundraising Manager, Susie Hope, to find out more, on 01899 830 475 or email Susie, a former member of Peeblesshire JAC herself, can provide a speaker to visit your club to talk about Mercy Ships, assist you with the organisation of fundraising events and provide supporting literature where appropriate. Your help in raising these vital funds really can help transform lives and offer hope where previously there was none.


No Bull at School

rimary 6 pupils from Cummertrees School enjoyed their Maths lesson more than normal this week when they visited Maulscastle Farm to look at how mathematics comes into farming. They were there at the invitation of Kevin Watret, who is one of the National Council members of the British Blue Cattle Society, who are behind this initiative to introduce school pupils to practical applications for their mathematics curriculum. Each pupil chose a year old bull, which they will adopt for the next year and follow its progress through shows and sales. They will also track it through the ABRI Breedplan system, where they can find its breed history and look at how mathematics and computers allow pedigree farmers to assess the future potential of their breeding stock through Estimated Breeding Values (EBV's). Fiona Sloan, who organised the visit on behalf of the British Blue

Society, said “EBV's are a very difficult thing to explain to farmers so it's been a real challenge finding a simple way to explain it to the children! “The fact that they will be following their animals through the system will help them to understand and the pupils have so far taken it in their stride.” Andy Ryder, from Newton Farm near Moffat, who is the current National Chairman of the Society, said; “We wanted to involve young people to understand all aspects of farming and this is a great way of giving them some hands on experience, which they can take back to the classroom.” The pupils will follow their bull's progress through the summer show and sale season and visit the farm again in late autumn when their bulls come inside to look at feeding ratios and the difference the seasons make.


67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 20


Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

Groundhog Day

• • • • •


Tier III compliant 19.5kW (26hp) diesel engine Fully independent suspension at each wheel, with high ground clearance 4x4 continuously variable transmission features a high/low gear ratio All-wheel hydraulic disc brakes with split circuit and a twin-caliper parking brake provide excellent stopping power Top speed of 50kph (31mph) gets you around and between sites quickly

week with a JCB Groundhog 4x4 on farm, I must admit was fun and enjoyable. With two very comfortable seats, it meant we could travel as a couple in total comfort round the hill parks, to check the newly arrived summer grazing cattle and their calves. The 4x4 is powered by a Tier III compliant 19.5kW (26hp) diesel engine, which delivers impressive torque for superb performance in arduous ground conditions, on hilly terrain or when road traveling between sites. Richard was suitably impressed with the Groundhog’s performance over rough ground. The fully independent suspension at each wheel, with high ground clearance gave a much smoother ride than traditional quad bikes. A Macpherson strut on the front, trailing arm and variable rate springs at the rear all assist in the passenger comfort. He trialled it over certain ditches, where he had bogged the quad during the winter and fairly raised an


eyebrow when it managed to navigate his obstacle course with no faults! The only negative is that one has to be aware when going down steep hills that there is no engine braking and the foot brake has to be touched in combination with the throttle. We didn’t chance taking the Groundhog on the real hill, but round the in-bye and hill parks it couldn’t be faulted. A 4x4 continuously variable transmission (CVT) features a high/low gear range with selectable two-or four-wheel drive and engine braking for easy driving and control. I was fair impressed with the top speed of 50km/hr on the tarred roads around the farm but Nell, wasn’t so keen as she needed go faster stripes as she is still very reluctant to jump on and prefers her four feet and a heart beat to wheeled modes of transport. A high capacity 10-gauge steel cargo deck, which can carry 500kgs and tow the same amount at the same time is a boon to any farmer, forester, fencer or estate. The sides can be folded down or removed and the deck can also be tipped by hydraulics or

manually– a versatile vehicle indeed! Derek Forster of Scot JCB, who incidentally grew up on the farm next door, says that since the cab was added the JCB Groundhogs have been selling like hotcakes and the demo is constantly out and being purchased. Retailing at just over

£10 000, is almost the cost of two quads, but certain estates are tightening their belts and buying these versatile 4x4’s instead of Landrovers and quads for their gamekeepers and shepherds. The cab can come with solid doors, roll down ones or without.

67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 21

Royal Highland Winter Fair Judges 2010 Continental Classes and Overall Beef Championships Alistair Cormack, Annfield, Lundin Links, Leven, Fife Native Classes and Commercial Calves Robert Scott, New Hall Farm, Gilsland, Brampton, Carlisle Butchers Cattle Classes Jim Nesbit, Sorn Mains, Sorn, Mauchline, Ayrshire Sheep Classes, Overall and Breed Championships Robert Lawson, Eastmains Farm, Newbigging, Carnwath, Lanarkshire Roots, Potatoes, Grain, Silage and Hay Robert Neill, Upper Nisbet Farm, Jedburgh, Roxburghshire YFC Stockjudging - Cattle Robert Aitken, Hillside, Easter Balrymonth. St Andrews YFC Stockjudging - Sheep Jack Lamb, Burnton Farm, Ayr PME Live Cattle Raymond Smith, West Lodge, Binghill, Milltimber, Aberdeen PME Cattle Carcases Brian Glaves, 37 Cayley Lane, Brompton by Sawdon, Scarborough, Yorkshire PME Live Lambs Scott Donaldson, c/o Harrison and Hetherington, Rosehill, Carlisle PME Lamb Carcases Michael Winchester, Woodhead Bros, Junction Street, Colne, Lancashire Highland Ponies John Reid, 1 Jackstown Cottages, Rothienorman, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire Shetland Ponies Irene Spence, Suie Vale, Middle Steading, Alford, Aberdeenshire

Quad Safety


lmost two thirds (62 per cent) of Scottish farms visited in an intensive inspection initiative were found not to be using All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), such as quad bikes, safely. The figures were released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the opening day of the Royal Highland Show – following inspector visits to 58 farms over a two-week period earlier this month. 36 improvement notices were issued – 25 for using ATVs without appropriate training, 10 for a lack of suitable head protection and one for poor maintenance. On average, two people die and over 1,000 are injured in ATV accidents each year. Three agricultural workers died in incidents involving ATVs in Scotland in the four years up to 2008/09 – the latest official statistics available at Visiting HSE's stand at the Royal Highland Show, Michael Moore MP and Secretary of State for Scotland said: “These results should act as a sharp shock for the agricultural industry. Agriculture remains one of the most dangerous ways to make a living in Britain and farmers must do more to protect themselves and their workers. Many incidents involving

ATVs, like so many other farming related incidents that can result in death or injury, are easily preventable if simple measures are taken.” Paul Stollard said: “Transport related incidents are the second biggest cause of fatalities in agriculture in Scotland. Wearing a helmet, or checking your vehicle's tyre pressure, brakes and throttle before each ride costs just minutes, whereas failing to do so could cost lives.” To date, more than 2100 Scottish farmers have made their pledge as part of a wider programme of activity in the agricultural sector to help reduce the numbers of people killed or injured on farms. HSE's stand at the Highland Show featured the stories of farmers who have been killed or injured during the course of their work. Visitors were able to make their promise, pick up Promise Knots – a visual reminder of their pledge, and children will be able to make Promise Knot key rings on which they can write a message to their loved ones. With almost three-quarters of farmers aware of the campaign, 'Make the Promise' is increasingly being adopted by the farming community and it already has strong support from the NFU and the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.


67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 22

New 'high visibility' cab gives McCormick tractor drivers a lift


new cab giving drivers better all-round visibility, improved ventilation and air conditioning and a more modern instrument layout has been unveiled for the McCormick MC four-cylinder tractors by McCormick dealers in Scotland. The upgrade follows 'Tier 3' revisions to the range that brought 7-12% power increases across the three model range and a longer wheelbase for added stability with heavy implements. Technical improvements this time include a revised braking system requiring less pedal effort, the option

of independent front axle suspension for all three models, and the 'high visibility' four-post cabin. “The new cab gives the popular MC four-cylinder tractors a real lift in terms of appearance and driver benefits,” says Paul Wade, product specialist with McCormick distributor AgriArgo UK. “It completes a package of changes that has maintained the appeal of this work-proven tractor.” With power outputs of 101hp, 110hp and 126hp, the MC four cylinder tractors combine the compact size of the lower-spec CX

models with the transmission and hydraulics sophistication of the six-cylinder MTX line. All have load-sensing variable flow pumps for economical use of the hydraulic system and a 16x12 or 32x24 creep transmission with power shuttle and four-speed powershift. Headland power take-off management is standard alongside electronic control of the three-point linkage and draft/traction control system. Front axle suspension is a new option for the MC105 and MC115 – it was already available on the MC130


New four-post cab with roof window gives improved all-round visibility


New instruments and air conditioning system with revised ventilation layout


Independent front axle suspension option, less braking effort required


Completes upgrade started with 'Tier 3' engines and longer wheelbase Issue sixty-seven • July 2010



EN passionate potato growers, ONE aim: to increase potato consumption and sales across the country. That's the role of the 'Potato Ambassadors' who have been recruited and unveiled by Potato Council. The team, from across the country, will be helping with Potato Council's marketing work to raise the profile of potatoes and demonstrate their many benefits - they're naturally tasty, nutritious, versatile and easy to cook. Representing Scotland is Allan Stevenson from East Lothian, a passionate grower and Potato Council chairman. Allan said: “Consumers eating habits are changing. Faced with more food choices, less time and less knowledge, younger consumers, in particular, enjoy a wider range of carbohydrates, which presents a challenge to potatoes. Versatility, convenience and natural healthiness are strong messages to encourage more people to cook and eat potatoes, but sustainability and local produce are also generating more interest than


– that improves ride comfort on the road and in the field, as well as helping front end traction over rough ground. The McCormick MC's new cab is a variation of the Deluxe four-post design introduced last year on the three-model 83hp to 101hp McCormick CX line. With no 'B' pillars to get in the way, drivers get a clear view to left and right, as well as the extra light that comes from having fully-glazed doors filling both sides of the cab. “There's also a roof window for the first time, making it easier to see and position a raised front loader,” notes Paul Wade. “The change has released a little more headroom, which adds to the light and airy feel of the interior.” While the neatly laid-out side console needed no changes other than additional colour-coding of some controls to highlight related functions, McCormick designers decided to give the tractor a more modern instrument display. There is also an improved air vent layout that will help clear the side windows on misty mornings. More changes are apparent outside, where four work lights are set into bright corner panels on the shapely two-colour roof panel. The roof also houses a new air conditioning system with filters more easily removed for servicing through a side access cover.

Potato Ambassadors ever before. We believe that as potato growers, at the very heart of the industry, we are ideally placed to showcase why potatoes should be a regular choice for every shopper.” The Potato Ambassadors will be involved in all aspects of Potato Council marketing activity; attending shows, engaging with consumers directly online or at shopping centres and hosting farm visits. They will also play an integral role in the Potato Council's schools project, 'Grow Your Own Potatoes', educating youngsters about how potatoes grow. Allan Stevenson was born on the farm at Luffness Mains, in East Lothian and after many years in business outside agriculture, he returned to his roots and has been at the helm of his own farming company for 9 years. The farm, where Allan's grandfather started growing potatoes in 1914, is LEAF Marque accredited and produces a dozen different potato varieties for supermarket. It is ideally placed to demonstrate Allan's passion for the crop to local consumers and the media.

Please mention when replying to adverts

67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 23

ARABLE Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

Maize in the North by Lewis Mckerrow Agrovista


aize, a crop which is normally associated with warm humid climates is advancing north, and has now reached as far as Aberdeenshire. Advances in varieties and establishment methods over the last 20 years have enabled the crop to move much further north than previously thought possible. Ayrshire and Northern Ireland are seen as the most northerly locations growing significant acreages of forage maize, however a few growers further north are keen to evaluate the possibility of growing the crop. Two farmers in Aberdeenshire are growing maize this year – both with very different end uses for the crop. Neil Barclay, from Harestone, Banchory is looking for high quality forage for his beef cattle, and is keen to assess the forage quality and yield of maize. Magnus Sinclair, from Fiddesbeg, Ellon however is looking at maize as the highest yielding gas producing crop for a new anaerobic digestion plant that he is currently in the process of planning. Overseeing the agronomy of the crop is Agrovista agronomist Lewis McKerrow. To give the crop the best chance possible he got in touch with Samuel Shine at Samco Engineering, a company making specialist maize drills

that sow the seed under plastic. Samco kindly supplied a demonstrator drill complete with plastic and Pioneer supplied a number of varieties to assess in each situation. “The benefit of the Samco system is that it provides the crop with an early ‘micro’ climate to germinate and establish. It also reduces the risk of a late frost catching the crop, this gives it an excellent boost and the opportunity to be well established ready for the milder weather” says Mr McKerrow. In terms of variety choice Pioneer has been at the forefront of development varieties suited to growing under plastic. Justina and PR39V43 are the two tried and tested varieties already being grown commercially, whilst not the earliest varieties on the list, they have provided consistent results in a range of conditions. The other main variety being grown is Kaspian; this is the earliest variety on the recommended list and is termed ‘Ultra early.’ This variety should cob earlier than others – important as the growing season is shorter. “With some maize sown with the Samco system and the rest sown conventionally with a one pass air drill it provides a useful comparison.” Mr

McKerrow continues. The air drill was set up to sow double rows at 75cm spacing, the double row minimising any variance or gaps that could appear with a single row. The Early impressions were that the plastic was having a huge benefit; after 7 days the crop had germinated well and by day 14 the plants had 2 leaves. Temperatures under the plastic on a normal day were measured between 25-35 degrees Celsius, with outside air temperatures between 9-15 degrees Celsius. As expected the conventionally sown seed got off to a slow start and at any given point was approximately 3 weeks behind the plastic. Currently, after 5 weeks, the plants are 50-60% emerged from the plastic, with the conventional sown plants at the 3 leaf stage and physically much smaller. With the Samco system, all of the weed control was completed pre-emergence. Products used were Cinder (pendimethalin) + Templar (bromoxanil + terbuthylazine) + Grounded (residual adjuvant). The Samco drill has an integrated spray tank which applies the herbicide under the plastic and to the ridge between bouts. This is an important part of the system as the plastic acts as a ‘greenhouse’ for weeds, quickly

smothering out the crop in weedy sites. Herbicide strategy with the open crop was slightly different, Cinder + Grounded were applied pre-emergence, with a follow up spray of Calaris (mesotrione + terbuthylazine), planned to tidy up any broad leaved weeds remaining. As with many spring residuals they rely on soil moisture to be most effective, therefore a mixture of residual and contact chemicals is often necessary. In terms of agrochemical input, once the weeds have been controlled then no further passes should have to be made. The only other input sprayed on to the crop with the post emergence will be P-Kursor, which is a fast acting foliar phosphite to improve root growth and vigour. So are these farmers being optimistic expecting maize to grow this far north? Mr McKerrow is keen to point out that even in Ayrshire, maize is not a guaranteed success and stresses that the weather, specifically sunshine hours and warmth in the months of June and July are vital to ‘make or break’ the crop regardless of location. He believes that the crop will grow but does question whether ultimate yield and quality will be high enough to justify the cost and risk of the crop.


67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 24 Issue sixty-seven • July 2010


World Markets – NZ Field Days


ations keen to secure their future food supplies flocked to the New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays this year, led by China, whose imports from NZ are rocketing upwards. Chinese vice-premier Xi Jinping headed a large delegation while Fieldays was on, which included many companies that already have strong business relationships with NZ companies, including investments in the primary sector. Among other countries represented this year at Fieldays were delegations from France, Ireland, Australia, China, Chile, America, Italy, Belgium, and Argentina. Mexico's Minister of Agriculture, Francisco Xavier Mayorga, also led a 20-strong delegation keen to see more of New Zealand's renowned pastoral farming practice. With 50 million hectares of pasture land, water shortages and the effects of climate change already being felt particularly in the North of the country, Mayorga said Mexico needed to promote sustainable grazing. Not all of these countries look to invest in NZ land or processing, but instead are keen to access the productivity and efficiency improvements offered by NZ pastoral and horticultural technologies. NZ trade minister Tim Groser welcomed the Chinese delegation to Auckland with a review of the free trade agreement between the two countries, signed in 2008. New Zealand was the first developed country to do so. Groser said the increase in NZ exports to China in the 12 months to April 2010 was $860 million and that the effect was like adding another mid-level market to the export statistics in just one year. Exports of dairy products are now worth $1 billion a year, as Chinese consumers seek safe dairy products


following the deaths and illnesses of babies when domestic dairy companies added melamine to infant formulas. Ironically, the giant NZ dairy co-operative Fonterra had to blow the whistle on its joint venture partner San Lu and then write off its $300 million investment, and has now benefitted by a dramatic surge in demand for NZ-made milk powder. But exports across a wide range of products have also grown strongly – such as wood, wool, kiwifruit and wine. Forestry exports to China grew by 80% in 2009. “China has played a major role in sheltering New Zealand from the full impact of a global recession,” said Groser. “What's more, our largest trading partner, Australia, has also done as well as it has because of China and a strong and growing Australia, while posing challenges for NZ, is good for us. “In that sense, NZ benefits twice from China's economic success and growing global importance. “First, we benefit directly through our rapidly growing exports to China and second, because Australia is by far our largest export market, we benefit indirectly from Australia's similar success in participating in the Chinese growth story,” he said. New Zealand's largest meat company, Silver Fern Farms, recently studied the Chinese market and came to a surprising conclusion. Chief executive officer Keith Cooper said the opportunity for Silver Fern Farms lies in supplying higher value products into specialty niche segments, not the commodities it has been supplying until now. He put that comment in perspective by outlining what the “mass market” means in China. By 2025 it will have 15 cities with populations of over 25 million, 22 cities with greater than 10 million

by Hugh Stringleman

people and 23 cities with more than five million people. Mass migration from the countryside to the city is increasing the spending capability of consumers but also reducing the productive capacity, forcing China to look beyond its own borders for alternative sources of food supply. “At a government level China is absolutely focused on the security of its food supply and food safety, and New Zealand is well positioned in this regard.” The Chinese have some very traditional eating habits that are not generically aligned to NZ meat production, particularly when it comes to added-value products. Chinese people will eat almost anything – accordingly the protein content of a meal may be met by pork, fish, chicken, beef, lamb or any variety of offal or animal derivatives like turtle, frogs, chicken feet, or shellfish. Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government agency responsible for the development and promotion of the indigenous business sector, is now a regular exhibitor at the NZ Fieldays, promoting the world class capability of Ireland's agribusiness sector. This year there were six participating Irish companies,

Keenan's, Easyfix, Quadcrate, McHales Engineering, Dairymaster & Glen Dimplex. Paul Burfield, director of Enterprise Ireland for New Zealand, commented on the opportunities for closer collaboration, not just in trade but including areas such as technology transfer. Behind the pastoral and horticultural productivity records in New Zealand is a long-time culture of home-grown adaptation and innovation. The theme of this year's NZ Fieldays was innovation for future profit, with more than half of 1000 exhibitors choosing to unveil some new product or process. More than 120,000 people attended four days of Fieldays, making it the largest event of that kind in the southern hemisphere. Belgian polyurethane bootmaker Bekina attended NZ Fieldays for the first time and sold all of its first consignment of products in the first two days. Sales manager Didier Vervacke was surprised by the demand for the boots in a country which has long produced and worn mostly rubber “Red Bands” made by Skellerup Industries. Bekina has appointed a small NZ distributor, Kaiwaka Clothing.

67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 25

These Boots were Made for Walking!


elgian company Bekina NV, one of the world's largest wellington boot manufacturers, has appointed Brecht Debruyne, pictured, sales manager for the United Kingdom and Irish Republic. Brecht, who studied Marketing and International Sales at Bruges and Ghent Universities, is also responsible for the Austrian, Hungarian and Czech markets. A former Belgian under 18 international, Brecht played for Cercle Bruges before injury ended his career as a professional footballer. The Bekina Steplite X wellington boot launched last January has proved especially popular with farmers and vets across the British Isles. For details visit website


couple of pairs of Bekina wellies arrived by courier the first week of lambing. I gladly swapped my tight-fitting, buckletopped navy wellingtons for the new arrivals and must admit I haven’t looked back. The Belgian based Bekina, have got it sussed when it comes down to comfort. The Steplite X Green wellies are as light as a feather. Apparently the polyurethane they are made from is 40% lighter than rubber or PVC. Each pair came with a pair of lime green insoles, which improve comfort. Made from a thick top felt layer, they are slip-resistant thanks to a rubber

underlay and do not curl up. As a woman who always seems to have cold feet it is a blessing to find a pair of wellies that are both warm and comfortable. They have thermo insulating properties – cool in summer, warm in winter. “Air is an excellent insulator: the polyurethane in our boots is a foamed material consisting of millions of tiny air bubbles. Your feet will be warm in the winter, while the material's breathing features will keep your feet from transpiring profusely in summer,” say Bekina. Other plus points for me are that they are easy to pull on in a hurry and don’t flop over so are easy to store.

Richard says that they have a good grip, are comfortable and light. The boots, which are suitable for both men and women and are available in sizes 35 through to 49. As well as traditional agricultural green, the wellies can be bought in black, white or yellow. Apparently they have great resistance to oil, fats and manure so are proving popular in the meat trade. “The PU used by Bekina withstands organic fats, hydrocarbons, mild chemicals, as well as animal fats, oils and industrial greases. Tests prove that polyurethane boots last up to three times longer than PVC boots.” Steel toecaps are an optional extra!

Wiseman Supports Cause Gore in Dumfries, before being head-hunted by the Clydesdale Bamk to front the Agricultural team in Dumfries. The couple and their two sons – Fraser (16) and Lewis (14) – moved from Strathaven to live in Dumfiresshire, where the boys are pupils at Wallacehall, Thornhill. Robert Wisemans Daires has teamed up with

magazine and has taken the back page space for £1000. All proceeds have gone directly to Malcolm’s appeal – to Help the Hospices. Malcolm and the rest of the Clydesdale bank have raised a grand total of in their endeavour to Help the Hospices and raise awareness of the wonderful, caring service they provide


he Clydesdale Bank staff from the Dumfriesshire Agricultural Business Banking sector recently took to the hills on a mission. They walked the 83 miles along Hadrian’s Wall in support of their banking cohort – Malcolm Morrison – who tragically lost his wife Elaine to Melenoma Cancer last July. Elaine (nee Vivers) and Malcolm started their married life farming in Sutherland, before moving to Lanarkshire, where Malcolm took up a position with Yara and Elaine joined the team at Robert Wiseman Dairies in East Kilbride in the computer section. Malcolm went on to take up a position as a Consultant with Smiths


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Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

Toggi Gear


oggi clothing is normally associated with horsey circles, but Heather Wildman, Development Officer for Dairy Co modelled some of the summer range, proving that the clothes are suitable for all walks of country life. Using one of her clients’ dairy units as a backdrop, Heather is pictured above in the Newmarket fuchsia ‘stand-out in a crowd’ jacket. It is a cosy, summer, waisted jacket, with a light fleecy lining, both wind and shower proof. It has an 85% polyester, 15% nylon shell with a 100% polyester lining, making it easy care. A 30% wash and drip-dry keeps this jacket looking fresh. An invisible internal zip at back allows for additional embroideries and personalisation. Toggi is embroidered on the chest and at the back of the neck. Other features include elasticated adjustable cuffs with internal storm cuffs and welt pockets with zips for security and an internal


zip pocket. The Newmarket blouson jacket is on the market at £65. Underneath, Heather is sporting a Castaway fuchsia graduated pink and purple striped polo shirt. It is a slim fit polo shirt with stretch, made from 92% Cotton, 8% Elastane Jersey and is available in sizes 6-20, priced £18.99. Heather is modelling the Pirate black and turquoise stripe ladies three quarter sleeve rugby shirt below. It is made of the same mix as the Castaway. It boasts embroidery and appliqué number detail on the chest and retails at £22.99. It teams well with the Bondi black, ladies full zip hoodie (not pictured). This 100% cotton hooded top has a black and turquoise stripe lined hood. Toggie lettering is embossed at the cuff of one sleeve and a toggi emblem on the chest. A black draw cord at the hood opening and patch pockets with additional concealed security pockets also decorate this comfortable product, which retails from £42.50.

Cogent Girls


or the first time, Cogent's Head Office ladies pulled together and completed a 5k run for the Cancer Reasearch campaign 'Race for Life' in Chester on the 13 June. The nine-strong team flew round the course and finished with a remarkable team average of thirty six minutes,

which, considering one team member was dressed in a cow outfit – was particulary impressive. The team, which consisted of ladies working in Sales, Marketing and Accounts – collected an impressive £1,500 and encourage any charitable customers to also contribute to the cause. Their sponsorship money was kindly matched by the Westminster Foundation, which helped them to reach their grand total. Mark Evington, Cogent's Managing Director commented that, 'I am very proud of the team's acheivements and I am very pleased that they have supported such a great cause. The funds that they have collected are a credit to them and their hours of training have most definitely paid off.'

67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 27


Who’s the Boss?


aking someone on. Long ago that was a handshake and a nod. No-one else involved and an understanding both boss and man could walk apart and that was that. In many respects it worked. Paperwork was non-existent and the look in both men’s eyes – all they needed to know if the deal struck, was going to work. I sat at a funeral of a neighbour, a number of years ago. The coffin in front of us was John’s last rest. His boss rose to the lectern to give him his last orders. Whenever that nod had taken place that set man to man on a farm, here was the end of the road. The boss was never as strong as he claimed and here he had to say goodbye. “There were days when John was right and there were days when I was right. But there was never a day when either of us was wrong!” Everything was in those lines. The understanding, the authority and the respect. Now what of all of that has been improved by the endless form filling from local, central and European government, when you take a man on? That’s lazy of me. I’ve won most of you round to my scratchings with the power of sentiment. How the years soften the memory. For those of you who have been in the bothy or the farm cottage you may well have memories of dreadful damp walls and poor heating in places that no man or woman should be living, let alone raising their families, so the attempts to redress such inadequacies were always necessary no matter what our

opinion is of how successful these advances have been on the farm. But what really keeps two men to that handshake? The house, the job, the farm? Why do some seem to keep their position yet he may not the best tractorman? Worse, why does the odd good lad get the heave while a shirker seems to be safe? What legislation will never control is the ancient constant that we are all different and as such what works for one may not for the next and woven through it all are the intricasies of personality. Like any family everyone has to play their role, the farmer has the impossible task of being fair, or at least being seen to be fair, like any good father. Even a piece of machinery can cause ructions. Remember the operator is almost handed a promotion when that set of keys is handed over. Rarely is the need for the farm considered by the men but that the boss sees fit to let that “bugger” loose on a hefty lump of the farm’s annual expenditure, is much more likely to be the general response. That’s not to say the boss isn’t showing favouritism but even then he sees fit to try and keep someone on the place for what he feels is good reason. But the men and women, in all their guises, also need to play their part. This too can be very tricky. How many of us have asked a man or woman why they are putting up with their boss or another man and been told, “oh just keeping the peace.” Is it weak or strong for a man to keep his head down; see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing? That’s no monkey’s game. Has the fire gone

out of a man’s belly or has his ageing head grown a bit of wisdom? The farmyard can be a battle field with as much politics as Downing Street; everyone manoeuvring for their place, their cut, what they deserve and in the process making sure the boss sees what’s “going on.” And of course all of this is further complicated by what’s going on over the dyke at the next place. To hell with them doing any better! So what droplet of wisdom am I about to hand down? None. My ageing head does its best to hang on to what little wisdom I have left before I tried to improve it. But I’ll say this. A good man is rare and before that new piece of machinery should be looked after, the men should be thought of, even occasionally listened to and regularly thanked. If someone feels valued they are much more likely to learn their lesson when they are wrong. If they live in a place that they know their boss is looking after, they might just do the same and that is not all about money. The boss might pay attention to a man if he is honest and reliable. If he walks with his eyes open and stops, just for a moment, and thinks before he once again declares the boss a bloody idiot for his latest decision. It could just be that not all the facts and reasons for his decision are known. And like most of us even the boss has a family to think of, particularly on a farm, with the next generation his biggest critic and his biggest liability. We all know that is never an easy task. Being on a farm these days can be a lonely pressure cooker. The one Issue sixty-seven • July 2010

by Wendy Clark thing that has changed is that machinery has left farms sometimes with only one man; the boss. But if there still are staff, then they are even more valuable than before. Men rarely can or want to keep their sons and daughters on a place and it is sad to have agree with them that they may need to think elsewhere. But not all would go if they saw a good life ahead of them and that thought is kindled by our example and encouragement. This hit home for me recently. I have very little to do with the dairy industry but not so long ago I went to see a fully mechanised unit with its robots etc. It was undoubtedly impressive. But what shocked me was that 30 years ago I spent many happy milkings on my uncle’s farm, contented cows, men with banter and a buzz and a crowd that to a youngster seemed perfect. But there in that shed, purpose built, all singing all dancing, one man pushed feed into troughs that had already been filled from a tractor, no dairymen required, surrounded by hundreds of cows and not a soul to speak to for good or bad. That affects a man. All the more reason for his boss to look after him and for the man to understand the enormity of the boss’s task, which this “improvement” demands of them by the forces of economics. So, where are we? Back at that handshake. Boss or man, maybe an extra handshake now and again wouldn’t go amiss because you can be sure, for all the forces of improvement, an extra form filled isn’t going to mean anything like a little bit of respect and a pat on the back.


67 MAG 8/7/10 10:00 am Page 28

Issue 67 magazine ­ Scotland's most readable farming title.

Issue 67 magazine ­ Scotland's most readable farming title.