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72 MAG 1/12/10 3:16 pm Page 1 Issue seventy-two • December 2010

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TEL: 01698-263963 OR MOBILE 07710 329609

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farmingscotland Issue seventy-two • December 2010

L Eilidh MacPherson

ooking for some inspiration for Christmas? We have a Christmas subsctiption offer – 12 issues of delivered monthly for only £20 for 12 issues. The ideal solution to your shopping dilemma! As usual it is the last minute dash as it is countdown to the Scottish Magazine Awards tonight. I have an hour and a quarter to finish this, fill in a visa for Russia, which is proving a mission and get ready. A smaller issue this month as everyone winds down for Christmas and the country comes to a virtual stand-still with snow. The January issue is already shaping up to be a

bumper one. Lesley Eaton interviewed the Mackies of Rothienorman, of ice cream fame for the first double spread. A feature on Reekies of Cupar by Peter Small makes interesting reading in the machinery section and Lisa West, a school pupil has put pen to paper in the rural section. Lisa is applying for Journalism at University and had to have an article in print. I feel her first attempt – Rural Roots – is well worth reading. Wishing all readers and advertisers a wonderful Christmas and New Year and here’s hoping that the winter won’t be as severe as last year.

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Monitor Farm

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Tel: 016444 60644 Mobile: 07977897867




ATV’s Snackers & Bins


farmingscotland EDITOR: Eilidh MacPherson Marbrack Farm, Carsphairn, Castle Douglas, DG7 3TE Issue seventy-two • December 2010

World Markets with NZ correspondent

Hugh Stringleman


Rural Round-up Love On-line Rural Roots

PUBLISHER - Eilidh MacPherson ADVERTISING – Eilidh MacPherson – 016444 60644 Fiona McArthur – 01583 421397 Alison Martin – 01292 443097

Cover Text and photography by Eilidh MacPherson unless otherwise stated Page 4 -


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Page 8 - Reekie Page 10 - Collinson Page 12 - Hugh Stringleman


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Issue seventy-two • December 2010

Mackies Making Snacks


commitment to cutting edge agricultural technology is helping a world famous brand maintain its place as a market leader. Mackies of Scotland – based at Westertown, Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire and famous for affordable luxury dairy ice cream – has recently installed a new Lely robot. No stranger to the brand, the Mackie family already has nine milking robots installed in their extensive facility, which milks over 500 Jersey and Holstein cows and is the largest voluntary access milking facility in Europe. The latest addition is a feed robot which drives up and down the pass, pushing feed closer to the cows. In the case of the Mackies’ cows, this happens every two hours with the robot passing through the feeding area independently before returning to its docking station to recharge. Mackies of Scotland managing director Mac Mackie (Maitland junior) explained: “We have had the latest Lely robot for about a year. It is fully automatic and doesn't take up anyone's time and, in addition, it seems to have contributed positively to slightly higher yields so we are very pleased.” And the Lely feeding system is not the only new robot to arrive at


Westertown in recent months – a £900.000 investment has brought a new system for making packing to Mackies. Mac Mackie explained: “Most of our packaging was being bought in from Sweden so there was a big transport and environmental cost attached to that. “We worked out that it would be better for us to make packaging on-site at Westertown so we have invested in a bespoke injection moulding machine from Switzerland, which creates two of our best-selling one litre tubs every six seconds, or 25,000 a day. “All ice cream manufacturers buy their packaging so it has been an unusual move and a bit of a gamble but it is definitely paying off. There have also been lots of new skills to learn because injection moulding is an industry on its own but, after weeks of training, the operators are doing really well and the system is now working 24 hours a day, five days a week. “This year we have also expanded our cold store to add 250 pallets of additional storage and that now means we can store more of the finished ice cream product at Westertown before it moves on to our distributors.”

Mac went on: “These latest investments very much enhance and underline the 'turf to tub' ethos, which we are very proud of.” Mackies ice cream will celebrate 25 years on the market next year, but the family moved to Westertown in the 1920s when Mac's great grandfather set each of his six children up with a farm. Mac's grandfather moved to Westertown and soon began the dairying and milk retailing enterprise, which would later make Mackies a household name. Following the acquisition of a neighbouring farm ten years ago, Westertown now extends to 1,600 acres, half of which is used for the dairy enterprise in the form of grazing, silage and growing propcorn grain for the cattle. As well as 100 acres of 20 to 25-year-old trees, there are about 800 acres of wheat, barley and oilseed rape and maize could be set to join the list as a trial crop next year. During the summer, the Mackie family decided to throw the doors open for a day and welcomed 7,000 visitors to the farm, raising £45,000 for a muscular dystrophy charity in the process. The event was spearheaded by Mackies' sales director Dennis Emslie, who suffers from the disease.

Maitland Mackie senior built up the established family business and started the ice cream enterprise in 1986, as Mac explained: “Basically it was to get rid of surplus cream, which was a problem to deal with at that time because people were increasingly moving to semi skimmed milk. “Also, there were very few proper, dairy ice creams on the market and most were vegetable fat products so there was a natural gap in the market for us. “At the beginning, we had one man making the ice cream with equipment in the corner of the dairy in the morning and taking it out in a van to sell in the afternoon. Now, Mackies of Scotland as a whole employs 75 people. The ice cream business produced eight million litres last year and turned over £11 million for the year to May 21st, 2010.” And whilst UK sales remain crucial to Mackies, the export market is also thriving and key markets include Ireland, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. The latest addition to the extensive ice cream range is Extra Posh to give slightly stronger flavours including Belgian chocolate, Toffee and Madagascan vanilla. Launched just this year, the products have been well received and are proving to be very

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DAIRY Issue seventy-two • December 2010

by Lesley Eaton

popular with the huge range of supermarkets and independent retailers to which Mackies sell. Also recently added to the Mackies product portfolio are Mackies crisps – sea salt, mature cheddar and onion, sea salt and vinegar, flamegrilled Aberdeen Angus, haggis and cracked black pepper and, within the last month, Scotch Bonnet pepper. Launched at the 2009 Royal Highland Show, the crisp side of the business has recorded sales of close to £2 million in the first 18 months. Mac explained: “Three years ago we were looking for another product to add to get more out of the brand and we wanted it to be something that the main ingredient could be grown at Westertown. We also wanted it to be something that wasn't already being done, and our research showed that

no-one else was producing crisps in Scotland. “We discovered that the Aberdeenshire soil was not conducive to growing the right kind of potatoes for crisps so we decided to enter a joint venture with George Taylor at Taypack near Dundee. They were already growing potatoes which fitted the bill and already had grading, storing, washing and buildings available where additional equipment could be installed. “We were able to add the Mackie brand and sales team to Taypack's growing and production expertise and, whilst our initial targets were pretty ambitious, results have been in line with expectations so far.” Hopes are high that the new Mackies products will add to the company's strength, and uptake to

date has been good with sales in the likes of Dubai, Singapore, China and Denmark. Mac added: “We are full of hope on the export side for the crisps because there is a lot of scope for exporting crisps, which don't have the same difficulties attached to them as ice cream! We are already exporting more crisps than ice cream and we are currently in talks with an American agent with a view to starting exports to the USA next year.” As well as continually looking out for other products to add synergy to the existing Mackies of Scotland range, the business is keen to enhance its already enviable environmental credentials and the aim to “become the greenest company in Britain” remains high on the agenda. Ongoing investment and

improvement is fuelled by a desire to cut waste and costs, as well as caring for the land and wildlife, and measures implemented to date include three Vesta V52 hilltop wind turbines with a total capacity of 2.5MW. But ambitious plans involve a desire for Mackies to be 100% energy self sufficient and generate 4.9 million KWH per year, enough for 1,500 homes so plans are in the pipeline to install an anaerobic digestion biogas system to generate renewable energy from slurry waste within the next few years. Mac Mackie concluded: “Going green is a trend which will necessarily grow in urgent response to climate change. “It makes good sense for the planet, but also makes good financial sense and marketing sense for the business.”


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Initiative to encourage farmers to realise woodland potential


new initiative to help Scottish livestock farmers fully realise the economic and environmental potential of their woodlands is being launched by Quality Meat Scotland and the Forestry Commission Scotland. Seven new Livestock and Woodland Focus Farms have been selected in the Forestry Commission conservancy areas of Grampian, Argyll and Perthshire and South Scotland and each area will have a series of open days starting from next month. A wide range of topics will be covered including integrated grazing and woodland and its shelter and fencing benefits, controlled grazing within woodland, timber and wood fuel production as well as landscaping and creating wildlife corridors. The initiative, which is being facilitated by SAC, will also look at technical issues such as the potential animal health benefits of putting woodland barriers between neighbouring stock, assessing where shelter woods should be located to benefit livestock, as well as any other woodland or livestock farming topics raised by attendees. Peter Beattie, Technical Projects manager for QMS, said: “This exciting collaboration between QMS and FCS will demonstrate how livestock and woodland management can be integrated on commercial farms to benefit farmers and foresters alike.


“Both organisations want to investigate how the economic benefits of woodland can be maximised while stock numbers are maintained on Scottish farms. “The meetings will offer attendees the opportunity to view real-life examples of managed woodlands and discuss with the farmers and specialists the successes and challenges of combining forestry with stock keeping. The meetings will be of interest to farmers, foresters, advisors and rural policy staff.” The launch meeting was held on Tuesday 9th November at Bolfracks Estate, Aberfeldy, Perthshire courtesy of Athel Price. Mr Price is well known for his innovative approach to woodland management and the estate has won the “Scotland's Finest Woods Award”. Bolfracks' farming enterprise has around 1,200 Scotch Mule x Texel ewes and 75 spring calving Saler cows, crossed with Limousin and Belgian Blue bulls. The 2,500 acre organic estate, which includes a large area of forestry, has two staff members, and extends to 1500 feet above sea level. Alaster Fraser, Bolfracks Farm Manager, said the estate's proactive approach to woodland management was delivering a host of benefits. Birch, rowan and ash are the main three tree species which are being planted.

“As well as providing important shelter and amenity opportunities, careful management of woodland grazing means we can defer housing the cows by around a month, saving around £40/head on housing costs. “By using woodchips from the trees our total bedding bill for our 75 cows costs just £250, the retail equivalent value of the woodchips we use for bedding. And the bird population on the farm has also noticeably rocketed which is very rewarding,” said Mr Fraser. The farms so far selected for the project are in Grampian, Easter Bauds Lhanbrdye, Elgin; Wellheads, Huntly; and Auchmacoy Estate, Ellon. The Perthshire and Argyll farms are: Bolfracks Estate, Aberfeldy; Ballathie and Baldarroch Farms, near Blairgowrie. The first South Scotland

farm to be announced is the SAC's Easter Howgate farm, Penicuik. This is the first time Quality Meat Scotland and the Forestry Commission have collaborated on a project. This initiative comes as part of the livestock farming sector's response to the Government's Scottish Forestry Strategy. Bob McIntosh, Director of Forestry Commission Scotland, said: "We are very keen to promote effective integration between farming and forestry, and are delighted to able to cooperate with QMS in exploring practical ideas for win-win solutions on livestock farms.” Full details of the other farms and the meeting dates can now be found on the Monitor Farms website

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Award for Ray


he man responsible for driving forward the development of Scotland's largest agricultural event, the Royal Highland Show, into an international showcase for Scottish food and farming has received the prestigious Ed Rainy Brown Memorial Award in recognition of his work. Chief Executive of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), Ray Jones, received the award at the SAOS Annual Dinner in Dunblane. Later this month, Ray moves from his position at the RHASS to chair the industry body Scotland Food & Drink. NFU Scotland and SAOS jointly sponsor the Ed Rainy Brown Memorial Award. Ed was previously Chief Executive of both organisations and the award was dedicated to his memory, following his tragic death in 2003. The award is presented annually to an individual in the

farming, forestry, aquaculture or associated industries who has made an exceptional contribution within their specific field. Tributes at the conference to Ray's work in developing the Highland Show and RHASS activities were led by on behalf of SAOS by Gareth Baird and Ed's wife, Katy Rainy Brown made the presentation. SAOS Chairman, David Mitchell said: “Under his guidance, the show has become ever more popular: the 170th Royal Highland Show this year attracted 187,600 visitors, making it an all time record for the event and ensuring it continues to be one of the UK's top agricultural shows. “We look forward to a continued close relationship with Ray in his new role with Scotland Food and Drink and are sure that his relentless enthusiasm and commitment will bring further success.”

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Issue seventy-two • December 2010

Reekies on a Roll


olding the honour of being the oldest established Massey Ferguson dealership in Scotland is the G Reekie Group Ltd, whose headquarters are based at Cupar in Fife. However the company also operate out of several other branches and Massey Ferguson is not the only product range in their portfolio. The core of the business has always been agriculture and this is reflected in the branch locations and franchises held. Modern facilities and modern machinery are a long way from the humble beginnings of the business in the immediate post war years. As the company name suggests there was a Reekie at the heart of it and even today the family are still very much involved with Chris, son of the founder Gavin, in the Managing Director's chair and his son Alistair is Sales Manager. It was Gavin who established the business back in 1947 after he moved to Fife from his home county of Angus. After a distinguished war service in R.E.M.E he went into business with his elder brother John and formed Reekie Engineering. He had used contacts in the Army to approach Harry Ferguson and his people, after hearing Ferguson was keen to manufacture a tractor in the UK with a three point linkage system. While he was in the Army he used make time to see demonstrations of the new Ferguson tractor and speak to Trevor Knox, Ferguson's sales director. With his background in engineering Gavin could see the benefits of the Ferguson System and after his demob in 1946 he headed up the farm machinery aspect of Reekie Engineering while brother, John concentrated on the electrification of farms that was happening at this time. With Harry Ferguson Ltd needing cash up front for tractors the company had too much capital tied up on the machinery side of the business. This led to tension that eventually led


to Gavin seeking pastures new and after discussing things with Knox he was offered the Ferguson franchise for Fife. He decided to set up operations at Ladybank, which was a major railway junction and at the time a market town. The new concern was called Farm Mechanisation, which was affectionately known as Farmec. Initially rudimentary workshops were established in an old malt barn and Gavin set about demonstrating the new tractor through the day and visiting potential customers by night. His father in law Mr Bernard came on board to handle the admin to give Gavin more time on sales. Sales came despite stiff opposition from some the older established dealers in the County. As the business built up an old hall further up the street was bought and demolished and new purpose built workshops a showroom and offices were erected. By now the Ferguson tractor and the full range of implements were becoming very popular with farmers all over the world and Fife's farmers were no different. Supplies of tractors were hauled north from Banner Lane in Coventry by lorry but Gavin had to pay Harry Ferguson Ltd up front. In the early days Gavin Reekie's inventive mind was turned to mechanising farming operations not covered by the range of Ferguson implements. A potato harvester was tried but development costs were too high. However he did produce the successful Farmec Triplex Fertilizer Distributor and a four row Sugar Beet drill in conjunction with a local farmer. An early tractor cab was invented many years before they became the norm. Another of Reekie's developments was the design of a bar point plough using the Ferguson plough frame. This was more suited to stony Scottish soils and avoided panning

often caused by the share ploughs of the time. This innovation led to a visit to Ladybank by Harry Ferguson himself on a trip north in 1952. In 1950 the Stirlingshire area was offered when the then dealer retired. After a short spell in Menstrie, the original dealer's premises at St Ninian's, was obtained and the Rootes Car dealership was also added. At this juncture the famous landmark grey Fergie was placed on the roof. The Stirling depot, now on the Springkerse Industrial Estate, serves the area. A new purpose built modern depot serving West Fife at Halbeath opened in 1954. By the mid 1950s the premises at Ladybank was proving to be too small for the expanding business and the move to the main agricultural centre of Cupar was becoming more desirable. A green field site on South Road was obtained and work started on the site with much of it carried out by the Farmec team at nights and weekends. On October 2nd 1956 the new South Road headquarters was opened by Sir John Gilmour as the business moved into a new era. This was a difficult time for all Ferguson dealers following the take over of Ferguson by Massey Harris in 1953. Many of the opposition dealerships all had good Massey Harris sales figures and it was not until 1958 that Farm Mechanisation was certain that they had the franchise for what was now going to be the one line brand of Massey Ferguson. The South Road era saw agriculture booming and sales of farm machinery represented this with strong sales of the virtually complete range of farm implements provided by MF. Farmec also held the agencies for many other leading machinery ranges including Lister, Howard Rotovators, and Standen Sugar Beet equipment, which were a large slice of farm machinery business until Scotland's

by Peter Small only Sugar Beet Factory at Cupar, closed in early 1972. The early years at South Road also saw another arm of the business evolve with the commencement of Reekie Plant, which came as a result of Gavin meeting Carlton Whitlock of the Digger of the same name fame. Reekie Plant developed a range of machinery which worked all over the country even on the Forth Road Bridge. Other companies to operate from the South road site were Reekie Motors, who held agencies for the likes of Land Rover, Vauxhall, Bedford and Subaru over the years. A company dedicated to the erection and supply of grain handling, drying and storage equipment was also very active in the 1960s and 70s as many farms installed their own range of equipment. The bulk handling of materials in agriculture and other industries led the concern to take a leading role in the new forklift trucks and material handling equipment now being produced and attracting the attention of many farmers and other industry managers. Fork lifts both Rough Terrain and Industrial are still very much part of today's business with Merlo, Komatsu and Doosan trucks available. During the 1970s two drought summers led farmers to take an interest in irrigation and from then on they have been at the forefront offering Wright Rain equipment. The 1970s were good years in the agricultural machinery business, especially after the great potato years of 1975/6 and 1976/7 as new safety and quiet cab legislation kept tractors sales up. However problematic industrial disputes at Massey Ferguson had an effect in continuity of supply, which let competitors in the door. The worldwide slump in farm incomes during the 1980s meant a decrease in machinery sales for all and the rise in machinery size and output

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MACHINERY Issue seventy-two • December 2010

CLAAS apprenticeship continues to appeal


meant the sale of less units. Farmec moved into other avenues with the opening of a successful Country Store selling a wide range of products. All Terrain Vehicles was another area covered by the selling of the Honda range of quads. In the middle of the decade the Coldstream branch was opened providing coverage for Plant customers and fork lift users and is still a major part of today's operation. The next decade saw more change as the Perthshire MF depot was taken on by Farm Mechanisation; this would eventually see the opening of their current Perth depot at Inveralmond Industrial estate open in 1994. A small branch at Macmerry was opened in the same year. Gavin Reekie retired in 1995 and the South Road site was sold to Tesco. The G Reekie Group Ltd eventually moved out to a new site in 2003, situated on the Cupar Trading Estate on the St Andrews Road, which once the site of former Sugar Beet Factory. The opening Ceremony was conducted by the founder Gavin Reekie MBE. Prior to this his son Chris was appointed as Managing Director and Sam Mercer as Sales Director in 2001. Later in the decade the Stirling depot opened at Springkerse and the third generation of Reekie – Chris's

son Alistair was appointed as Sales Manager. Today the company are a major player in the farm machinery scene with not only the full line of MF tractors, combines, balers, ploughs and ride ons etc, but others in the Agco stable including Fendt and Challenger. The aforementioned Honda, Merlo, Komatsu, Doosan and Wright Rain products are also under their wing. Several others including balers and forage equipment from another big concern Vicon, drills spreaders and tillage equipment from Amazone and hedgecutters and toppers from McConnel are also included. Wooton trailers, Hardi sprayers, Opico dryers Logic ATV accessories, Reekie Hy Spec potato equipment, Major slurry tankers, Sutton brushes, Bobcat Handlers and Dowdswell Ploughs are other big names in the portfolio. Today the company are still focused on the agricultural sector with dedicated modern well equipped bases at Cupar Trading Estate, Inveralmond Industrial Estate, Perth, the Springkerse Industrial Estate, Stirling and The Lennel Industrial Estate in Coldstream. These depots are backed up by a dedicated team of trained personal equipped with all the tools and knowledge to tackle all the problems modern farming can throw up.

he attraction of the CLAAS Agricultural Technician Apprenticeship is evident from the continuing demand for places on the Scheme. From those applying this autumn, a further 15 students have been selected to join the CLAAS Agricultural Technician Apprenticeship. Nine students have joined the course at Reaseheath College near Nantwich in Cheshire and six students are studying at Barony College near Dumfries, which is entering its third year as the base for CLAAS apprentices from Scotland and northern England. CLAAS is still the only landbased engineering company to offer a manufacturer's apprenticeship within Scotland. Joining the course at Reaseheath are apprentices from CLAAS dealers Southern Harvesters, Mill Engineers, Marsh, Hamblys, Morris Corfield and Ellis Dawe. The Barony based apprentices all work for either Sellars or Rickerby. The advantage of having a course based at Barony is that it provides CLAAS dealers in Scotland and the north of England with the same opportunity as the course based at Reaseheath College in Cheshire, enabling dealers to train and develop the skilled technicians they need for the future. It also provides both Reaseheath and Barony with the opportunity to work together to further develop the training and assessment material to mutual advantage. The students at Reaseheath and Barony will both be studying for a National Diploma in Land Based Technology. This qualification is seen

as a practical hands-on alternative to 'A' Levels, and one of the main benefits of the Diploma, other than higher technical credibility, is that upon qualification, the successful candidate will receive a Pass, Merit or Distinction grade, which will enable them to better demonstrate and gain recognition for their progression and ability. During the 4 year apprenticeship programme, students spend three years studying the National Diploma, in which time they have the opportunity to train at CLAAS UK headquarters at Bury St Edmunds, and subsequently the Group head quarters at Harsewinkel in Germany. In their final year, the students gain additional qualifications relating to air conditioning, electronics and hydraulics, together with their telehandler and trailer test licenses. As a result, when they complete the course they are well prepared for full entry into the dealer environment and associated industry requirements. Following their graduation from the Apprenticeship scheme, these Service Engineers will follow a comprehensive CLAAS training development plan, which is laid out by the CLAAS Academy and aligned with the Landbased Technician Accreditation (LTA) scheme. This programme is designed to mirror the business requirements of CLAAS dealers and also offers career progression through the LTA tiers, from LTA 2 (Service Engineer), to LTA 3 (Master Mechanic) or LTA 4 (Master Technician). As such the Apprentice scheme is the start of a continual development cycle, which will offer entrants a clear career pathway.


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Issue seventy-two • December 2010

Quad-X Stock Feeder

Invest in the future of the sheep industry



arket prices are higher than they have been for decades and the market for lamb and breeding stock is extremely buoyant, but with costs rising in other areas once again efficiency is key, investment in the future may be the answer! Currently winter feed represents around 40 per cent of the typical flock's annual variable costs, and some 20 per cent of the total cash costs. Feed is an expensive commodity and news of the recent global wheat shortage has resulted in the most dramatic rise in wheat prices in 50 years. It isn't good news for manufactured feed prices, as this doesn't look likely to improve – feed efficiency is vital. Recent research by Eblex on ewe nutrition identifies a host of ways that flocks can realise such feed cost efficiency gains from mid pregnancy through to weaning. Scanning and grouping all ewes by litter size as well as expected lambing date ensure supplementation is targeted. Body condition scoring throughout pregnancy is also important, so feeding can be fine-tuned to ensure that all ewes lamb in the right condition. Feed can be saved by targeting the right animals at the right time. However with feed prices currently at a premium, another consideration is the reduction of compound costs with the added


bonus of labour savings; now may be the time to consider the benefits of investing in a storage silo. There are considerable savings to be made by taking feed deliveries in bulk, which can quickly repay the initial investment of the silo. Additional advantages include; eliminating feed storage problems, no manual handling issues or bag disposal difficulties. UK Silo manufacturer Collinson include the Tristor in their range, a smaller capacity low cost storage solution with the Snacker version designed specifically for the sheep sector. Tristor silos are different; they can be factory assembled for delivery by Collinson vehicles, collected from the factory or delivered in kit form for self assembly … saving even more money! Self assembly models are transported semi-assembled in the upright position, ready for offloading by fork lift truck. A smaller capacity silo storing upto 7.5t of pellets, model is available to easily discharge into bags, a barrow or directly into your snacker saving time and labour. At other times of the year Tristor can also store other feeds for beef or young stock and is also useful as an overflow silo. Conditions may be harsh but if everyone invests in the future of the British sheep meat industry it can continue to thrive!


he Quad-X Stock Feeder takes the hassle out of feeding. The hopper has a capacity of 350kg allowing you to feed your entire stock in just one fill, saving valuable time. The ground driven Quad-X Stock Feeder distributes feed in piles 6ft apart and allows you to adjust the feed rations from 1/2kg to 2kg. With feed distributed in spaced out piles, stock stand head-to-head and so there is less trampling and fouling in the feed, meaning less meal is wasted, saving money. When used to feed sheep in lamb, the Stock Feeder helps to save foetal loss in ewes since it does away with the crowding and shoving at the trough and ensures each animal gets a fair chance to feed. The Quad-X Stock Feeder fits any ATV, utility vehicle or 4x4 making it a welcome option for any farm or smallholding. Attached to an ATV it can be operated while seated allowing the flow rate to be controlled. With off road floatation tyres, the Quad-X stock feeder is suitable for most ground conditions, even when full. The hopper has a galvanised finish to ensure long life and durability. For use in wet weather it also comes with a weatherproof cover to keep feed dry. Farmers have found the Quad-X Stock Feeder extremely useful around farms to transport feed to creep feeders, rearing units and horse boxes. For smaller holdings it allows feed to be stored and protected from vermin while still being portable.

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Lean on the Gate Post


SABI, Scotland's only charity dedicated to helping people who have depended on the land, has opened a new confidential listening and support service for Scotland's farming community. In response to the number of individuals now approaching RSABI for help of a non-financial nature, the charity has established the new telephone helpline service, entitled GATEPOST, in order to actively offer the farming and land-based community a stress-support service. Dr Maurice Hankey, RSABI Chief Executive, said: “Whilst there are a number of extremely valuable support services in existence already, we felt that the Scottish farming community needed one that was specific to them. “This service is exactly what its name suggests – somewhere to lean and catch your breath whilst contemplating how to overcome current problems, as well as a place where you can share your thoughts or problems safe in the knowledge that they will go no further. GATEPOST is about providing people with an opportunity to talk to someone they can trust, to share what is on their minds and to explore ways forward. We hope GATEPOST will be seen by people as friendly, non-judgmental and approachable at an early stage, not just for when their problems have really begun to control their lives.” The service will be led by Karen, a former occupational therapist who has lived and worked in rural Scotland for many years and has a real understanding of the difficulties farmers face. She said: “I've worked with a lot of people in farming and other land based jobs who are coping with really difficult situations, often on their own. I hope that anyone in such a situation will see GATEPOST as an alternative to managing alone – it

really does help to talk, and if people need more specialist advice, on finances or health for example, we can point them in the right direction. “I realise that some people will find it hard to pick up the phone so I am keen to emphasise the confidentiality of the service. Callers don't have to give their name or any personal details unless they wish to – our role is solely to offer support and someone to talk to.” Jim McLaren, NFU Scotland President, said: “It is the nature of our industry that many of those who rely on the land for their living try to tackle the numerous stresses and strains of rural life on their own and struggle to ask for help and advice in times of need. The RSABI, as a familiar and trusted part of the Scottish industry, is ideally place to provide a sympathetic, understanding ear to listen to those problems and help individuals and families through their troubles and concerns.” Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said: “I warmly welcome the launch of RSABI's GATEPOST service.

The charity has a long and proven track record in supporting individuals who have retired from land-based industries on grounds of age, illness or accident and it is commendable that in addition to this RSABI will now be in a position to help

people actively engaged in these industries, as well as their families, when they are facing periods of difficulty.”


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by Hugh Stringleman

World Dairy Summit NZ 2010


rice predictions for dairy commodities were firm and confident from speakers at the largest conference of the world dairy sector held during November in New Zealand. The position and reputation of New Zealand dairying and the world trade dominance of co-operative Fonterra doubled the numbers of delegates compared to previous gatherings of this type elsewhere in the world. Speakers and delegates at the International Dairy Federation (IDF) world dairy summit 2010 in Auckland were agreed on growing demand for dairy products, especially from China and India, with only modest supply growth from large producing countries expected. Price volatility is here to stay, because the EU has reformed the price subsidising elements of the Common Agricultural Policy and set world dairy prices free to float with truer demand and supply influences. As Rabobank senior dairy banker Jacqueline Pieters illustrated, the intra-year trading ranges of WMP have been US $1000 to $2000 in each of the past four years. Fonterra's executives, whose job it is to forecast supply and demand, said they had heard nothing new at the IDF summit, while pointing out that predictions of world prices 12 months in advance are always at risk of unexpected events.


Recently Indian monsoon failure cut milk production from its massive dairy herd, prompting state buying of anhydrous milk fat (AMF), butter and butter oil to ensure supplies of the staple ghee. As New Zealand supplies half of world trade in those products, Indian demand quickly became a wild card. Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier expanded on the prospects of India as a growth market – one no longer self-sufficient in dairy products. In essence, what is happening to India is happening in most developing markets – an increasing appetite for dairy foods. India produces 140 million tonnes (140 billion litres) of milk annually, second only to the EU 27 countries (150 billion litres) but just 20% of that milk is collected and/or delivered into processing, the rest being consumed on its farm of origin. Pakistan, China and Russia also have huge herds which produce milk substantially for home farm consumption. IFCN Dairy Research Centre economist Torsten Hemme said the world's dairy production is increasing by 15 billion litres a year, which is like adding the equivalent of a NZ herd and national production each year. But these increases are of cows which do perhaps 1000 litres annually, versus 4000 litres in NZ and Australia and 10,000 litres in North America.

Some 40% of world milk production remains “informal”, he said. One billion people live on dairy farms around the globe with an average herd size (for 145 million herds) between two and three cows. One more cow added to the average might feed more local people, but do nothing to expand the production of dairy commodities and global trade. The OECD predicts that the milk productions of India, Pakistan and China will grow 50% in the next decade, and be consumed domestically, while those of the EU, US, NZ, Australia and even Brazil will grow only modestly. So New Zealand's pre-eminent position as the source of 27.5% of world dairy trade is secure for the time being – Europe supplies 23.5%, Australia 9% and the US 8%. Among the “rest of the world” suppliers in Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe, humble Belarus has been reborn as a supplier of dairy products for Russia and is starting to diversify markets. With both expanders and shrinkers, world supply from Latin American countries in aggregate is not growing at present. “The supply balance is thin and vulnerable, with a continuing high dependency on the top five countries/regions for more than 70% of world trade,” said Dutch Dairy Board economist Jurgen Jansen. Poland, for example, has a big herd

which until 2004 had a cost of milk production below that of NZ, but five years of price increases from membership of the EU has rendered its products cost-uncompetitive with NZ. The World Dairy Summit heard that decoupled direct payments to European farmers now account for 35 billion Euros annually out of total Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) expenditure of 55 billion Euros, which incidentally is only 0.5% of European GDP. Recently retired EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Mariann Fischer Boel, defended her CAP reforms to the summit in Auckland. Since their introduction five years ago, decoupled direct payments have grown to the lion's share of CAP, being non-distorting of world trade and prices, the EU argues, although contrary views are still heard. “Despite CAP reforms, most support policies are still high, still distortionary and dysfunctional,” said Ken Ash, director of trade and agriculture for the OECD. Fischer Boel said earlier that export subsidies paid by the CAP are below two billion Euros annually, and world prices are for the most part above the intervention levels. She said the resumption of the Doha round of world trade talks is crucial and she welcomed the end of the EU dairy quota system in 2015. The farm gate price of milk on average in EU states is 31.5c/litre, well above the CAP safety net of 22c. There has been no intervention buying in 2010 and EU stocks are nearly zero. United States Department of Agriculture chief economist Joseph Glauber pointed out that US dairy price supports are well below market prices. Income-loss payments of $1billion in 2009 averaging $1.50/cwt of milk are expected to fall to perhaps $90 million in forthcoming years. The National Milk Producers Federation in the US wants a margin protection programme operated on the milk price minus feed cost in future, rather than trade-distorting intervention. Payments would only cut in when the margin of milk price over feed cost fell below $4/cwt and at present the margin is about $7.50. Glauber said an historical analysis showed under that proposal support would have been paid only once (for a short period in 2009) during the past decade, versus about $7 billion total paid out during most years under the old system. He said debate over the Farm Bill to operate from 2012 onwards would come at a time when federal budgets are very tight and most market prices are above support levels, so few changes are expected. In the US some 2% of dairy farms, those above 1000 cows, account for 45% of milk production.

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72 MAG 1/12/10 3:16 pm Page 14


Issue seventy-two • December 2010

Finding Love On-line

by Alison Martin


o you yearn to have a reason to come home at night? Perhaps you work all the hours you can, because the prospect of coming home to that cold empty house and having dinner on your own – again – is so unappealing. With Christmas coming up, the urge to cuddle up in front of a roaring fire with that special person couldn't be stronger. My first foray on-line was at the suggestion of a boyfriend who had suddenly become my ex-boyfriend! Being miserable and indignant didn't help, so I eventually took his suggestion seriously. How else was I going to meet someone new? Work wasn't producing any fresh faces, and I was past going out to night clubs. For a woman of almost a certain age, there seemed to be no way of meeting appropriate single men. Living in the country with few neighbours,most of whom are married already hasn’t helped. Apparently I'm not alone in this predicament. As more girls leave the countryside to pursue further education, the lack of jobs for them in rural areas means that they find themselves working in towns and cities when they'd really rather be living back in the country where they grew up. Of course this also means that men going back to the farm after agricultural college, university or travel, find that they too have a harder time finding a mate. For the uninitiated, signing up for a dating site involves filling out questionnaires, writing a bit about yourself and what you're looking for in a potential partner, and posting a photograph or two. All this is collectively known as your 'profile.' Lucy Reeves, co-founder of Muddy Matches, a site specialising in country dating, says that a lot of men put themselves at a disadvantage by not


completing their on-line profiles. She says, “Women are more proactive than men when it comes to seeking partners. Women get support and encouragement from their friends who often also help them with their profile.” Take heart, everybody finds describing themselves difficult. Sites usually offer useful advice in writing about your self, in the form of on-line help. Muddy Matches will help you fill out your profile over the phone and scan photos for you. Posting a photograph is extremely important. Frankly, I ignore any man's profile that doesn't have a photo. A good, clear headshot is the very least that you should have. Lack of a photo makes me wonder if a man has something to hide, so I'm immediately wary. I'm far more likely to respond to an approach if I can see who I'm communicating with. If you feel you'd rather not post your photo for professional reasons, state those reasons in your profile, and promise to provide photos on request.


If you don't have a good photo, either get a friend to take one or have a professional photographer take one. Try to make it look as natural as possible. Some photographers will come to your house and take shots of you in your 'natural' surroundings. When I first 'broadcast' my profile to the internet dating community, the shear volume of men who very quickly viewed it confirmed one thing – there were plenty more fish in the sea! It was flattering and intimidating at the same time – and I soon stopped thinking about Mr Ex. “The approach on-line is non-traditional and so the first meeting is just that, a meeting, which will tell you if there's any potential for friendship or more. It doesn't really become a date until it's a second meet,” pointed out Lucy Reeves. She says: “The dating process then tends to take on a more traditional dynamic with the man taking the lead.”'s recent 'Lovegeist Report' (, provides a fascinating insight into

current and emerging dating trends. It indicates that romance in general is on the increase, particularly against the back drop of the recession as people seek hope and tend to take relationships more seriously. Bear in mind that it takes time to get to know a total stranger, and that women may rightly feel cautious. It's not like meeting somebody through friends, work or family – there is no contextual information to go on. Pay attention to the safety guidelines on your site with a view to making your date feel comfortable.'s research shows that men are more romantic than women, and the older a dater, the more romantic they are. It even goes as far as stating, “It is our belief that younger men have a lot to learn from the optimistic, chivalrous older generation – not just that dates often appreciate a simple romantic gesture, but also the wider notions of gentlemanly behaviour and a positive approach to finding and nurturing long-term love.”

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72 MAG 1/12/10 3:16 pm Page 15


Rural Roots T oday I did something extraordinary. I went back in time. And it only cost me a

fiver. When visiting The National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride, you are instantly transported into another era. Partially situated within Kittochside Farm, a rural Scottish farm of the 1950s, as well as a purpose built facility; the museum boasts views of stunning agricultural scenery. Dating back to the 16th century, the contraptions and machinery that are displayed demonstrate the tools farmers needed to build a basic standard of living, and how they developed to sculpt farming methods today. Various artefacts including farming tools and equipment, as well as household items depict a time where the simplest of tasks today took strenuous concentration and effort even 50 years ago. The paintings and photographs of Kittochside that are framed in the galleries illustrate the difficulties farmers faced during this time. The whole process of manufacturing cheese took considerable time; you

had to milk the cow, then curdle the milk, drain the whey and then add water, when all we have to do today is go to the fridge. I found it fascinating to discover that a whole world can grow from what seems like nothing at all. Something as small and as seemingly insignificant as a seed can be sown into something as vast and as enriched with history as Kittochside Farm. The museum in itself holds many childhood memories for me. It opened when I was a young child, and for several years I visited the farm with my school, or family and friends. This, however, was my first visit as a young adult. It was amazing to witness the same sights with brand new eyes; my whole perception of rural life has completely changed. The journey from the museum to the farmhouse is rather long, and so a tractor ride there only seemed fitting in the dismal November rain. You can hear the tractor before you can see it. The herd of small children beside me jumped up and down with excitement, just like I probably did all those years ago. The hustle and bustle of the tractor ride escalated as we churned up the hill. The children Issue seventy-two • December 2010

by Lisa West gasped in delight at the sights of the cows and the sheep and the horses, nudging each other and exclaiming 'Look, look!' I remember doing exactly the same thing as a child. Yet, older and wiser, I instead found myself intrigued about the farmhouse and the conditions farmers lived in even before my grandparents were born. Farmer John Reid purchased the Kittochside land in 1567. The Reid family farmed the property for over 400 years, until 1992 when it was donated to the Scottish National Trust by the last generation of the Reid family. However, life was certainly not easy for the lairds. The previous owner, Laird of Caldwell, wanted the land back and used forceful methods in order to do so; he ultimately burned down the farm. He was tried in the court of King James VI in 1600, and consequentially was sent to prison for 8 years. This meant victory for the Reid family as they could keep their land. This fascinating story was told from within the farmhouse, which was built in Georgian times in 1782. An extension and electricity were installed much later, but the house

remains the same as it was in the 1950s. The horse mill, which would have been used to operate farm machinery, has been restored to its working condition, which I was told was extremely uncommon. I felt an overwhelming sense of wonder at being in a place with such fascinating history. I could almost see the sights and smell the smells of the farm from all those years ago. It was mesmerising. On the tractor ride back to the museum, I reflected upon my visit. I felt surprised at how much more knowledgeable I was about rural life; the working conditions of the past, the beautiful sights of the present. Of course, my thoughts about the museum have significantly changed from my younger years. As the children flocked out of the tractor, buzzing about the gift shop and which toys they wanted to buy, I left the tractor with a sense of fulfilment. I had gone back in time to my rural roots, to a past I had previously witnessed, yet recently rediscovered. And, like my younger self, I couldn't wait to go back on the tractor ride and do it all over again.


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Issue 72  

Monthly farming Scottish magazine. Not just press releases ­ fresh copy every time.

Issue 72  

Monthly farming Scottish magazine. Not just press releases ­ fresh copy every time.