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farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012


CONTENTS

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farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

News

Issue eighty • February 2012

s the Kiwis say – it’s down to the wire – this was meant to be in to the printers forty five minutes ago! 2012 and exciting times for Scotland as the possibility of becoming an Indepndent nation is looming – one I’ve been personally dreaming of since my student days. I was more or less laughed to scorn then, (hate to admit it is twenty three years since I graduated) for wanting an independent Scotland – changed days. I’ve asked fifteen or so leading lights from the agricultural sector in Scotland to put their views across on the future of farming in this country. This informative section runs from page 16 to 21. We have a new coloumnist this year – John Fyall – winner of the 2006 Young Farmer of the Year competition. He is penning a monthly contribution. John has taken on an Aberdeenshire farm and other areas of land and is running them alongside his Agricultural Consultancy and Valuing business. He is also a North Area past president and was a representative of the Young Farmers in Brussels for two years. His copy is well worth reading as he is certainly very much on the ball regarding current affairs and puts it across well from a new entrant’s perspective.

A Eilidh MacPherson

farmingscotland EDITOR: Eilidh MacPherson Marbrack Farm, Carsphairn, Castle Douglas, DG7 3TE Tel: 016444 60644 Mobile: 07977897867 editor@farmingscotland.com www.farmingscotland.com PUBLISHER - Eilidh MacPherson ADVERTISING –

A spell at home on Skye at Christmas was a rather sad affair this year as local haulage contractor, owner of Skye Transport – John MacKinnon – lost his life in an electrical accident while loading timber. Mr MacKinnon will be greatly missed by the farming and crofting fraternity in the Highlands and Islands as he ran an efficient livestock haulage business and was a pleasure to deal with. He also delivered draff from the Talisker distillery and was responsible for carting the wool and whisky off the island. Personally I am indebted to him for being a keen supporter and sponsor of Isle of Skye Shears. He provided two curtainside lorries for the stage and hauled the sheep to and from the event, at no cost, for the six years that I ran the competition. Before he rented out the family hill ground at Crossal, I tallied my first 300, shearing his Blackies – a day I certainly won’t forget. Mr MacKinnon kept a close eye on the clock and my tally counter! Agriculural Officer, Sarah Kerr (nee Turner) from Linlithgow, passed away, recently, too soon, aged only 35. Her bubbly personality will be sorely missed by farmers, family, friends and work collegues. Heart felt wishes go out to her parents Dave and Jeanne.

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Sheep Shearing Shearing Records

8 Beef Blondes, Herefords 11 1 2 New Entrant John Fyall 13 1 3 Arable N Application

1 4 Machinery Drills, John Deere 15 1 6 Opinion Future of Farming 2 1 in Scotland

Eilidh MacPherson – 016444 60644 Alison Martin

– 01292 443097

2 2 Education SAC New Principal Cover - John Fyall, by Anne MacPherson Text and photography by Eilidh MacPherson unless otherwise stated

Page 14 - QMS Page 18 - farmers’ own Page 20-26 - farmers’ own Page 27 - James Gunn (top photo) Page 28 - Hugh Stringleman Page 30 - RHET

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farmingscotland.com

NEWS

Issue eighty • February 2012

Barbecued rats anyone? (They fetch more than British pork!)

hile on a recent trip to Thailand, Stephen Curtis, chairman of international pig breeding company ACMC, spotted rat carcases hung up for sale at the roadside. They are caught in the wild and must be pretty daunting, he says, since they weigh 2-3 kg each. Apparently, they are quite popular barbecued and are seen as a cheap form of protein. However, Stephen draws an interesting comparison with the price paid for pigs by UK processors. The Thai rat-catcher is paid around £1 more per kg – about 125 baht (£2.50) per kg liveweight, compared with around £1.50 live paid to British pig farmers for their pigs who are currently losing money on every pig produced. The Thai rat carcases fetch around £5 per kg at the roadside stall! He says he declined to try these and he will stick to pork, consumption of which is growing very fast as living standards in Thailand improve.

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First Class! oyal Mail is going down on the farm in 2012 with its new series of Post and Go stamps. British Farm Animals is the first in a series of three issues that will explore some of the many traditional breeds of sheep, cattle and pigs to be found on farms in the UK. Post & Go terminals allow customers to weigh their letters and packets, pay for and print postage labels and stamps without the need to visit the counter. The first Post & Go machine was trialled in The Galleries Post Office® in Bristol in 2008. The labels can be obtained with 6 different service indicators from all machines: 1st class up to 100g & 1st class Large up to 100g, Europe up to 20g, Worldwide up to 10g and 20g, and the new Worldwide 40g. The stamps are dispensed singly or in strips of up to 5 of the same value or various values. A collector set of 6 in two strips of 3 may also be dispensed. Welsh Mountain Badger Face This ancient breed is mentioned in the Domesday Book. There are two varieties: Torddu (Welsh for black

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belly) and Torwen (white belly). The Torddu’s colours vary from white to light brown with a distinctive stripe above the eyes. Dalesbred Distinguished by its black face with a white spot on each side of its nose, this hardy sheep has been bred in northern areas of England for generations. Its tough hard-wearing wool is favoured in the making of tweeds and carpets. Jacob The Jacob originated in Syria over 3000 years ago. With its distinctive spotted fleece and eye-catching horns, the Jacob was introduced to the UK as an ornamental breed. The strength and length of the wool (up to 10cm) make it ideal for hand spinning. Suffolk Its all-black head, legs and almost horizontal ears make the Suffolk a particularly attractive breed of sheep. Created from crossing the Southdown and the Norfolk Horn, its beautiful fleece produces fine knitting wools and tweed.

Soay Originating from the first domesticated sheep that populated northern Europe, the Soay is the UK’s most primitive sheep breed. Small and robust with curved, ridged horns, it has a fleece usually chocolate or tan in colour. Leicester Longwool A large breed of sheep with a curly white fleece, the Leicester Longwool was developed by Robert Bakewell over 200 years ago. Its quality wool is in demand by hand weavers and is mainly used to create fine cloth, suiting and knitting wool. Presentation Pack The pack will be available from the Philatelic Bureau and some post offices as well as ebay from the 24th February. Technical details: Designed by Kate Stephens and illustrated by Robert Gillmor the six stamps measure 56mm x 25mm. Pigs will come out on 24th April and cattle will be launched on 28th September.


NEWS

farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

Border Bicentenary he Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS) recently launched the countdown to its bicentenary celebrations in 2013 with the announcement that HRH The Countess of Wessex has agreed to be the Patron for the year. The Countess will be involved in a variety of celebrations showcasing the role of BUAS in the past, present and future of agriculture and rural affairs in the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland. The 2013 celebrations will culminate in the 200th Border Union Show on 26 and 27 July. In addition to the Show’s usual line-up the bicentenary event will include a Food Fair featuring some of the UK’s top chefs including Albert Roux and Andrew Fairlie, a celebration of the

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region’s wool heritage and a showcase of old and new methods of crop production. The indigenous breeds of the UK will be celebrated in a special Cattle Show involving as many breeds as possible and an exhibition showcasing the importance of the major rivers of the Borders will also feature. Education will be a key component of the bicentenary celebrations with schools and further education colleges encouraged to participate and a series of bursaries will be set up for young people working in the rural economies of the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland. Gareth Baird, Chairman of the BUAS Bicentenary Committee said; “We are delighted that HRH The Countess of Wessex has agreed to be

our Bicentenary Patron. We have a busy year ahead making plans for the 2013 celebrations which will not only mark past contributions of the agricultural industry on both sides of the Border but which also look forward to the future and show the continued importance of expertise, innovation and vision in all aspects of the rural economy. We want to make the bicentenary a true Borders-wide occasion involving people from right across the region and paying fitting tribute to our area’s important agricultural heritage.” The BUAS was formed in Kelso on 22 January 1813 when local dignitaries and farming lairds met at the town’s Cross Keys Hotel. It had several aims; to encourage excellence in stock breeding; to promote

discoveries in arable farming and to encourage the development of new and improved agricultural implements. The Society now has over a thousand members from both rural and urban backgrounds and has its home at Springwood Park in Kelso, a 46-acre parkland next to the rivers Tweed and Teviot, which it bought in 1953. Over 100 events including the Championship Dog Show and the Kelso Ram Sales, all of which bring valuable revenue to the town and surrounding area are held each year. For more information on the Border Union Agricultural Society, including links to the special Bicentenary Facebook page (BUAS 200), visit www.buas.org

Texel Tup to Finance Kitchen he trappings from the top priced Texel ram in New Zealand this year will be used to pay for a dream kitchen for Texel breeder Sharon Paterson! The Gore Ram Fair, which ran from January 17 to 19 saw Waikaka farmer Sharon Paterson achieve the top price of $12,000 – a breed record. The ram was bought by Rural Livestock for Andrew and Anna Laing of Banks Peninsula. “I was absolutely stoked,'' she said. Mrs Paterson's ram was believed to be the highest price paid for a Texel ram this year and eclipsed the price of

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$10,000 paid for the top Perendale ram. Mrs Paterson, who started breeding Texels as her ``little hobby'' 12 years ago, was thrilled to achieve the top price, but she was back to work at Farmers Mutual Group following the sale. “He's got great balance and the performance figures to go with him,'' she said. The Waikaka Texel was named supreme texel ram at the West Otago A&P Show in November and was first place ram hogget and reserve champion at Wyndham A&P Show.

Mrs Paterson said the money she received for her ram would contribute to her new kitchen.Southern Texel Breeders chairman Hugh Gardyne said the quality of rams presented for sale was, “first class.” Mr Gardyne believed the Texel breed had finally come of age. “Its been 21 years since the release of Texels (in New Zealand) and they are being used as a terminal and dual purpose breed,'' he said. Mr Gardyne said breeders were accessing top genetics through across flock analysis and were achieving good linkages.

Heightened UK Surveillance of Schmallenberg has asked vets and farmers in Scotland to step up surveillance following the detection in mainland Europe of a new virus causing foetal malformations in cattle, sheep and goats. SAC’s Veterinary Services Manager Brian Hosie has written to veterinary practices and the farming industry requesting they report incidences of limb and brain defects in new-born animals and foetuses, following the detection of “Schmallenberg virus” (SBV) in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Foetal malformations occur when pregnant animals are infected with SBV. Any reported stillbirth, malformation or nervous disease in new born animals or foetuses born to ruminant dams that were imported from mainland Europe in 2011 should also be investigated by SAC. Brian Hosie said: “I would stress

SAC

that current evidence suggests the likelihood of incursion of this viral infection into Britain is low but heightened surveillance on the part of vets and the farming industry will allow us to further assess the risk of an incursion of SBV and to react effectively should it occur. “We want to fully investigate certain types of limb and brain defects in new-born ruminants and foetuses. Specifically, contractures that are present at birth that result in reduced mobility of several limb joints. In severe cases, limbs and the spine also may be twisted. The brain damage caused by this virus is severe and results in blindness and lack of brain function such that calves and lambs appear like ‘dummies’. “We therefore ask veterinary practices and farmers to report such cases to us. In addition, farmers planning to purchase cattle from Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany should enquire about the health

history of herds of origin of pregnant animals.” Veterinary practices in Scotland can discuss cases with SAC veterinary investigation officers and are asked to submit appropriate carcases for post mortem examination, accompanied by a fully completed submission form. The standard, subsidised surveillance rate charge will apply. The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has asked veterinary practices in England and Wales to increase their surveillance for Schmallenberg virus. SBV is related to a known virus called Akabane, which is spread by insects and which classically causes foetal malformations, particularly deformities of the limbs and brain defects. The virus appears to have been associated with transient disease characterised by milk drop, diarrhoea and fever in adult cattle in August to October in Germany and the Netherlands.

In recent weeks, the virus was detected in at-term sheep and goat foetuses with limb or brain defects in Belgium, Germany and Holland. Similar viruses have previously been detected in the tropics, Australia and Japan but not in northern Europe. Tests for the new virus are currently being established at the AHVLA. Defra and AHVLA confirmed pre press that surveillance has identified the presence of Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) in samples from four sheep farms in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and East Sussex. It is likely that these cases are linked back to infections that would have taken place in late summer and Autumn 2011. There are currently no implications regarding trade. Symptoms appear to manifest themselves in foetal abnormalities and abortion. Any producers with immediate concerns should consult with their vet.

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farmingscotland.com

SHEARING

Issue eighty • February 2012

Tally Ho Te Huia! erri-Jo Te Huia may be just an apprentice, but on the 10th January she became the new face of the shearing World as she smashed an eight-hour record in a remote King Country woolshed. The 30-year-old from Te Kuiti, in only her fifth season of shearing and nearing the end of a Modern Apprenticeship with industry trainers Tectra, shore 507 lambs in eight hours at Te Hape, east of Benneydale, becoming the first woman to do 500 in an eight-hour day. She hammered the founding record of 470 set in a nearby woolshed by university graduate and Wairoa shearer Ingrid Baynes three years ago. Despite an aching lower back, tended between runs by eightmonths-pregnant sister Natalie who flew from South Australia for the event, Te Huia had no problems maintaining the required speed and quality, shearing constantly over 60 an hour with run-tallies of 124 in both morning runs, 7-9am and 9.30-11.30am, accelerating with 133 from 12.302.30pm and came-home with 126 in the last two hours to 5pm. She broke the record just before 4.26pm, and reached her goal of 500 with six-and-a-half minutes to go. The lambs constantly clipped more than 1.1kg each and with an average weight per animal estimated at 32kg, Te Huia hauled about 16tonnes of lamb onto the board throughout the day. "I wouldn't want to go through that again in hurry," she said, culminating

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lyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has welcomed the support by MEPs of his colleague Jose Bove's report on farm input costs. The report was debated in the Parliament and successfully adopted in the voting session. It contained startling evidence of the scale of the problems faced by farmers regarding key input costs: costs have risen by 60% between 2000 and 2010 for energy, by 80% for synthetic fertilisers, 30% for animal feed, 36% for machinery and 30% for seeds. At the same time, farm gate prices have increased by only 25%. During the committee stage, an amendment lodged by Alyn was adopted, which sought to raise awareness of the problems faced by new entrants: speculation based on Single Farm Payment entitlements based on historical values and transferable without reference to land can price them beyond the means of new entrants, thus acting in effect as a input cost for new farmers. Speaking from Strasbourg, Alyn said: "This was an excellent report by my colleague José Bové and the support of the whole Parliament will no doubt send a strong message to the Commission that our farmers want to

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see action, and soon, against the challenges posed by the gap between farm input costs and farm gate prices. "The idea that the free market is working for our farmers is downright crazy and DEFRA absolutely must acknowledge that, especially before they proceed full steam ahead to bargain away direct payments and income support as CAP negotiations progress. Those who say that Scotland's farmers are better represented as part of the UK should consider this point long and hard. Just because commodity prices are rising does not mean that farm gate prices are rising and even where they are it is often only with a reduced margin thanks to higher input costs for feed and energy. "There needs to be a thorough investigation into concentration of production for inputs and the existence of monopoly power: four companies worldwide account for between 75-90% of global grain trade, seven companies control all fertiliser supply, five companies share 68% of the global agrochemical market, and three companies control almost 50% of the proprietary seeds market. This wouldn't be accepted for a second by the Commission if it were farmers uniting to force higher-than-market prices, so it is high time for an end to these double standards."

more than nine months of preparation and rolling her eye at the suggestion of a crack at the ultimate nine-hour, five-run record of 648, set by Port Waikato shearer Emily Welch four years ago. Baynes was present to see the last moments, as were Welch and several other record breakers, including King Country icon David Fagan who mastered the gear for the day, including combs used at the rate of two a run, and cutters at about eight a run. Also present at the end was Irish shearer Ivan Scott who only 24 hours earlier set a new men's record of 744. Her woolhandler, in a record overseen by four judges appointed by the World Shearing Records Society, was Jaz Tipoki, from Martinborough. Te Huia is the third of the family to hold a World record, with brother Stacey, the current men's eight-hours ewes record holder monitoring her pace closely on the board. He will be tackling another record on the same board next week, with his record-breaking youngest sister "rousieing" for the day. The youngest of the five shearing progeny of shearing contractor and instructor Dean Te Huia and wife Jo, Kerri-Jo shore in Australia in the New Zealand winter and said it had been tough regaining her style back in New Zealand, where she has worked mainly in the King Country but also did two seasons in Wairarapa.

BLACKFACE SHEEP BREEDERS’S ASSOCIATION

www.scottish-blackface.co.uk Saturday 25th February 2012 ANNUAL SHOW & SALE OF IN LAMB FEMALES Show at 11.00am, Sale 12.00 noon in Lanark Agricultural Centre Judge- Jack Kay The Catalogue is available on the Web Site SPONSORED BY LAWRIE & SYMINGTON LTD, & CHANELLE ANIMAL HEALTH

LANARK & PEEBLES BRANCH STOCKJUDGING will take place directly after the sale.

Thursday 1st March 2012 DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY BRANCH SPRING SHOW 7.00pm in Newton Stewart Mart Contact Aileen Tel: 07768 820405 aileen@scottish-blackface.co.uk


Two-stand Record for Sam & Stacey

ing Country shearer Stacey Te Huia is moving to Australia, with plenty to show for his World Record day-out with Waikato shearer and farmer Sam Welch. Handshakes were all-but off the list as Te Huia, from Te Kuiti, displayed a right paw swollen from tendon damage and callouses he tried to ignore throughout the day at Te Hape, east of Benneydale, where the pair set a new World two-stand, ewe-shearing record of 1341 in nine hours on January 18. Ignored, that is, apart from the acupuncture and massage to “release the lactic acid” during the meal and smoko breaks. “It went to the pack in the first half-hour,” he said. “It got to a point where it couldn’t get any worse.” It affected the control of his handpiece, and he said: “I couldn’t extend the grip. It was spinning all over the place.” As he helped get the remote State Highway 30 woolshed back to normal, the morning after a dramatic and hard day, and a possibly harder night, for which there was no therapy, he also displayed a small gash in his left forearm where an errant handpiece at one point went close to making the unkindest cut off all. Welch meanwhile displayed a limp, from treading on his comb during the last run of the 5am-5pm day, as they finally passed the required average hourly rate and broke by six the previous record of 1335 set by Southland shearers Darin Forde and

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Wayne Ingram 16 years earlier. “I felt it,” said Welch, who showed no sign of feeling it at the time. “I could feel the blood in my sock.” And then there were the sheep, weighing an average 60kg and comfortably clipping over the required 3kg each. “They were pretty aggressive,” Welch said. “I don’t think I had a single sheep sit all day. Stacey reckoned the same.” What these guys go through…in this case after preparation, which started exactly a year earlier when Te Huia’s father, shearing instructor and former contractor Dean Te Huia, rang Welch on January 18 last year and asked if he was interested. Welch, based at Waikaretu where he and wife and World women’s nine-hour lambshearing record holder Emily run a stud sheep operation in addition to a shearing contacting business with Tony Clayton Green, had given-up on a dream of having a go at a record.. There was no hesitation in grabbing the opportunity, in what became a unique reunion for two 33-year-olds who had once shared the same classroom at primary school in Marton. Until a couple of years ago, they hadn’t seen a lot more of each other, the Te Huia family – shearing in every gene – moved to Te Kuiti, and Welch moved to Dannevirke, where he, too, took up the handpiece. The nine-hour shearing day, an industry tradition now limited mainly

to the more remote of shearing stations around the country, has become the marathon of the records game, where it is taken-on only by the most brave. There hadn’t been any other bid for the two-stand record since Forde and Ingram did their stuff on February 1, 1996. Likewise the solo record of 721, which Te Huia had also hoped to break, although it was obvious from the start on the 18th that he wouldn’t get close to the ultimate goal of the tally shearer. It had been attempted only twice in 15 years, most recently in 2007 when Porangahau shearer Rodney Sutton claimed the record-breaking sheep with just four seconds to spare, eclipsing the mark of 720 shorn by Forde in 1997. It takes much more than shearing to get ready for the big day, and from the time Welch said “yes” he and Te Huia began an additional regime of running, and cycling and gym work, to get them as ready as they could be. “I hadn’t done any running since school,” said Welch, who held his end-up on the day superbly, targeting Ingram’s 647 contribution to the 1996 record and ending the day without concern from the judges and tallying 667, at least 120 more than he’d ever shorn in a day. Te Huia’s previous best was 603, the eight-hour record he set at nearby Moketenui in December 2010, and his “bit” was to firstly target the 688 shorn by Forde in the previous record. It was a disappointing start and after the World Shearing Records Society judges rejected two for cuts in the first two hours from 5am to breakfast at 7am, his 143 was well shy of the 160 he had hoped for if he was to reach either of his personal targets for the day. His cutters were displaying the one flaw in his shearing make-up – “I can’t grind” – and for the rest of the day, comprising four runs of 1hr 45mins each, Te Huia relied on cutters supplied and worked by Te Kuiti shearing legend David Fagan, who in 1994 was the first to take the record past 700. Mum Jo Te Huia, who, like them all was still coming down from daughter Kerri-Jo’s lambshearing record of 507 in eight hours in the same shed the previous week, was nervous for the pair’s combined opening run tally of 292 was 14 shy of the 306 shorn by Forde and Ingram. In the industry and sport’s unique

spirit of camaraderie, a number of former record holders were on hand to help another mark go – among a support crew of at least 40 – and the new plan for looking after the gear worked. Neither shearer had any more rejected by the judges and Te Huia saved his best for last, with 134 in the final 105 minutes, 47 seconds a sheep, including the 7-10 seconds catching-time between animals. Welch came home with 129 in that last run, and their combined last dig of 263 compared with the 152 shorn by Forde and Ingram as they ended their day. Te Hape’s not a big shed, but at least 150 had packed in to share the moment, with pandemonium as the record was broken just three minutes before the bell at 5pm. Te Huia and Welch hadn’t shared the supporters worries that the record might have slipped from their grasp early in the day, and Welch said: “We didn’t think we were in trouble.” Unaware at the time of the previous record’s run-by-run statistics, they hovered only marginally behind the required hourly rate until their final burst. While Welch had achieved everything and after shearing a few days for Te Kuiti contractor Neil Fagan, to pay home to the help given in staging the record before going back to the farm and the shearing gang, Te Huia was less precise about his future. He was off to base himself with Bathurst contractor Andy Duggan in Australia, where he spent three months working from September to November, but he was in two minds about further records. On the night he pledged no more, as he had in 2010 when he reckoned after his eight-hour record he would get more serious about competition shearing – a short-lived experiment, as it evolved. This time there was a pledge of more commitment to family; daughters Kalani, 3, and 13-year-old Shaylin, who he had to get back to Australia in time for school. But come morning, there were murmurings of more records somewhere in the Te Huia family next year, although Stacey reckoned he’d get in a couple more weeks in the shed in Aussie, and then take a break and try some forestry or mining for a while. Who knows? Who shears?

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farmingscotland.com

BEEF

Issue eighty •February 2012

Ardmore Blondes

by Lesley Eaton

chance encounter more than 25 years ago led to the establishment of one of the North East of Scotland’s foremost Blonde D’Aquitaine herds. For David Grant of Earlsfield near Insch in Aberdeenshire the purpose of the 1984 trip with his father to the local cattle dealer had been to source a new Simmental bull to use on the dairy herd for intensive beef production. But, whilst disappointed with the selection on offer, another animal in the field took David’s eye. In spite of never having seen or heard of the Blonde D’Aquitaine breed and doing no research, David was taken by what he saw and purchased Woodlands Trendsetter there and then. But what began as something of an impulse buy has blossomed into an association with the breed, which continues to go from strength to strength a quarter of a century on. David now farms Earlsfield with his brother Ian and the enterprise includes a 170 head suckler herd featuring a selection of breeds including Charolais, Simmental and Blonde D’Aquitaine to meet local store sale demand and for easy calving and herd replacement. All of the spring-born calves are sold are yearling store cattle at Aberdeen & Northern Mart’s Thainstone Centre. Land under the care of David and Ian extends to 500 acres, of which is 200 acres of spring barley for malting – an appropriate enterprise given the farm’s location in the heart of whisky country, indeed it is from the local distillery that the now 35-strong

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Earlsfield “Ardmore” Blonde D’Aquitaine herd takes its name. “When we decided to sell the dairy herd at the end of the 1980s, we needed something to fill the gap that the milking cows would leave so a pedigree sale at Carlisle in 1990 saw the first Blonde D’Aquitaine female arrive at Earlsfield and the herd was established,” explained David who recently stood down after 19 years as secretary of the North of Scotland Blonde D’Aquitaine Club and is currently vice-chairman of that organisation. “The first calf to be born here at Earlsfield was Ardmore Gypsy and she went on to produce some on my best animals, including the prize-winning and much admired Ardmore Liberty by the French Midatest bull named Donald.” David continued: “I try to take part in the sales in Perth to help increase the breed’s foothold in the national market and help increase its profile. There is a limited market here in the North east because there is still a preference for Charolais, Limousin and the like so it is difficult to break into that market making it important to cast the net as widely as possible.” And that ethos of looking nationwide has resulted in some notable transactions for the “Ardmore” herd, including the 6000gn Ardmore Runrig which sold at Perth in 2002 and Ardmore Braveheart, who achieved the herd’s highest ever price of 6500gn – within the top ten per cent of prices for the breed – when it was bought for use

with a suckler herd in Fife. In 2007, Ardmore Aberdonian (right) was bought by the long established “Druk” herd at Faringdon, Oxon, England whilst Ardmore Steakhouse went to the pedigree “Droit” herd at Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland and went on to breed champions. From the current herd, Ardmore Fugitive – the herd’s leading male – is currently undergoing tests by AI company Genus for potential purchase for use in their stud. “Ardmore” females are also noted for their ability to impress the judges and pick up prizes on the summer show circuit, with interbreed titles unusually being secured by Blonde D’Aquitaines thanks to Ardmore Liberty at Grantown, Ardmore Sarah

at Tarland and Ardmore Tequila at New Deer in recent times. David Grant continued: “What started as a chance encounter with the breed has, for me, become a very important part of what I do at Earlsfield. The main benefits of the Blonde D’Aquitaine breed are easy calving and the animals are well muscled plus the fact that carcases have exceptional length along the back where the expensive cuts are to be found.” To find out more about the Ardmore Blonde D’Aquitaine herd contact David Grant at grant@earlsfieldfarm.co.uk For more information about the North of Scotland Blonde D’Aquitaine Club, visit www.nosbac.co.uk or call Denise Petrie on 07969 301363.


BRITISH BLONDE Tel: 024 7641 9058

Fax: 024 7641 9082

Why use a BLONDE Bull? * Easy Calving * Length and confirmation * High Killing Out % * Improved Grades * Hardiness Spring Sales Stirling 8th February Carlisle 24th February Worchester -21st April Moira 28th April Carlisle 12th May Beeston - 19th May

National Show 2012 at the

Three Counties Show Malvern 15th - 17th June

Entries on our website www.britishblondesociety.co.uk

nited Auctions (UA) recently landed a new outdoor store, catering for the hunting, shooting, fishing market at the Stirling Agricultural Centre. Angling Active, one of the leading fishing tackle shops in Scotland, has relocated to UA’s headquarters from

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Stirling’s Colquhoun Street to allow for significant expansion of its product line, including country lifestyle clothing and footwear. Run by father and son Martin and Chris Grantham, the company, which attracts customers across Scotland, has tripled in size by leasing more

than 6600 sq ft at the Agricultural Centre. Stirling Council’s Provost Fergus Wood declared the new premises open for business on Saturday 3 December 2011. All six members of staff have transferred with the business and a recruitment drive is planned for the new season. Formerly known as Angling Centre Stirling, the business recently changed its name to Angling Active, in line with its thriving online superstore, which supplies more than 8000 specially selected items for fishing enthusiasts and professionals. Located in the unit nearest the river, the new store provides ample space to display the company’s expanding line of angling tackle, reels, bait and clothing; with more than 600 rods stored vertically allowing for better storage, presentation and handling. And the larger floor space displays a wide range of country lifestyle clothing and footwear that will appeal to the hunting, shooting, fishing clientele that visit the Agricultural Centre. Chris Grantham, a licensed casting instructor, will also be making good use of the nearby river, allowing customers to ‘try before they buy’ and teaching casting technique – without hooks. The store is ideally located as it sits on the junction of the

Rivers Forth and Teith, enabling customers to practise casting to both the left and right. Neil McLean, Group Joint MD of UA who are landlords of the Centre, said: “It was always part of the vision to have an outdoor retailer specialising in hunting, shooting, fishing at the Centre and we’re delighted to welcome this award-winning business.” Martin Grantham of Angling Active, who is also a qualified level 2 coach, said: “The store offers us a unique location in a high profile building. The combination of increased space to view stock and, more importantly, proximity to the river and the major road network carrying traffic on route to the foremost fishing locations is absolutely ideal. “We’ve built solid growth over 12 years and, in a flat market, we’re still showing upward trends. We see the potential and we’re going for it.” He added: “We remain committed to youth development and our long term goal is to continue developing casting tuition for young people to help secure the long-term future of the industry.” Earlier this year, UA attracted Carrs Billington Agriculture, a blue chip agri merchandiser and CKD Galbraith who have opened a national farm sales office at the Centre.

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farmingscotland.com

BEEF

Issue eighty •February 2012

Buoyant Trade at Dungannon

t’s a long time since twenty Hereford bulls have been sold at a Sale in Northern Ireland. However, that's exactly what happened at the January Hereford Sale in Dungannon, where 20 bulls sold to an average of £2,300. The Sale is very encouraging for the Breed in NI and will help to assist in securing future supplies of Hereford beef to the various Beef Schemes currently operating in the Province. Chairman Raymond Pogue commented, "We have three Beef Schemes plus private individuals who need as much Hereford beef as they can get their hands on and at present demand is outstripping supply. So the positive sale results can only help with beef supplies." The leading price of £4,000 was paid for Solpoll 1 Handsome, winner of the Junior Bull Class, from J & W

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McMordie and was purchased by NCBC for their stud at Enfield in Co Meath. Sired by Fisher 1 Charlie, bred by WJ Hutchings, West Sussex, this young bull has impressive EBV’s including a Calving Ease Direct value in the top 1% for the Breed. The Supreme Champion was Graceland 1 Giles from Robin Irvine’s Graceland herd and is a first son of current Reserve N.I. Bull of the Year Greenyards 1 Dougie and sold to dairy farmer Peter Flack at £2,950. Reserve Supreme & Senior Male Champion was Solpoll 1 General from J & W McMordie, by Solpoll 1 Dynamite, he was purchased at £2,800 by Tony McCarthy, one of the Finalists in the 2011 N.I. Suckler Herd Competition. The Female Champion was Richmount 1 Gloria exhibited by James Graham. Another female Paul Beatty’s Tirelugan 1 Tiny, by

Future Farmer Award he team behind the Future Farmer Award has begun the search for the very best in Scottish agriculture with the launch of the 2012 award. The accolade looks to reward a farmer, young or old, male or female, livestock or arable for their outstanding contribution to the industry. This initiative is funded by the Elizabeth Murray Trust and supported by NFU Scotland. Each year a trailblazing Scottish farmer is given £4,000 and a package of practical support to help them promote their ideas to other farmers and land managers. The Award aims to showcase ways in which Scotland can produce food, fibre and wood products from farms and crofts in a commercially viable way while maintaining the natural capital of the land and minimizing the ecological footprint of farming activities. Michael Williams, who runs the Future Farmer Award, said:

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“Scottish farming has much to be proud of and as an industry we should be ensuring that we demonstrate some of the amazing things that we achieve and the outstanding things that farming contributes to our small country. “The Future Farmer Award hopes to recognise and reward a farmer who can demonstrate forward thinking, passion and dedication to the farming industry in a way that also shows us how farming and the environment can work hand in hand towards the sustainability of rural Scotland. “I should like to encourage direct entries or third party nominations that can help us to showcase commercial farming and environmental sustainability. If you work within rural industry I entreat you to spread the word and encourage people to come forward and be recognised.” Interested parties should visit www.futurefarmer.org.uk/award for information on how to apply. Closing date for applications is 29th April.

Castlepoll 1 Bronco and out of Castlepoll 1 Tiny sold for at 1,600 guineas. Other leading prices were as follows:– Christa McMordie sold Riverdale 1 Gallileo, by Solpoll 1 Dynamite, for £2,700. Another son of Greenyards 1 Dougie, Graceland 1 Guisepi from Robin Irvine sold for £2,625. JE, RI & W Haire, received £2,600 for Dorepoll 1 158S Shiraz, an E.T. son of Remital Shiraz. J & V Peters, £2,400 for Corriewood 1 King, a son of Graceland 1 Topper. David Wilson, Magheraveely, sold two bulls; one for £2,400 a son of Lisrace

Lionheart IV and £2,300 for a son of Lisrace Lancelot. Cecil Beattie sold at £2,200, while J & W McMordie and James Graham realised £2,100 for their bulls. Also at £2,100 was Corraback Fulgent from Mervyn Richmond.


Czech It Out! n a first for the Hereford breed in 32 years Romany Herefords have exported a 16 month old bull to the Czech Republic. The bull, Romany 1 Hawkeye D1 H28, from J R B Wilson & Sons, Cowbog, Kelso was chosen by Faflak Miroslav for his established herd. Faflak selected “Hawkeye” whilst on a trip to the UK last October, organised by Sheila Eggleston of Eggs-port Ltd, Hexham.

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“Hawkeye” is a high performance bull boasting 200, 400 and 600 day EBVs in the Top 1% of the Breed, Milk EBV in the top 5%, Eye Muscle Area in the top 10% with a Terminal Index of +35 and Self Replacing Index of +42. The young bull’s dam, the home bred Romany 1 Lucy R22 D5, is by former Hereford Sire of the Year, Crickley 1 Figurehead. She was shown successfully, being awarded First place and Reserve Junior Female at the 2008 Royal Highland Show. Romany 1 Hawkeye’s Sire is the imported Danish bull SMH Castro, one of the Romany Herd’s Senior stock bulls. “Castro” was bought as a promising five months old, in 2007 and is proving to be great addition to the herd. His first son to be sold at auction was Romany 1 Gem, Reserve Grand Male Champion at the Breed’s 2011 Autumn Show & Sale in Hereford and who was exported to a new Hereford Breeder in Germany. A further son is entered for Stirling Bull.

Spring Sales Perth sales at Stirling 19th-21st February Aberdeen & Northern Marts 29th February Dungannon Club Sale 13th March Bristol -12th April Newark - 21st April

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farmingscotland.com

NEW ENTRANT

Issue eighty •February 2012

John Fyall – The New Entrant

write this article as a ‘new entrant’ to farming who started at Sittyton in Aberdeenshire in January 2009. I am fortunate to have experienced much in the industry prior to taking on the farm and can also ‘subsidise’ the farm in it’s infancy with my off farm work, being self employed doing valuation and consultancy work and having winter safety contracts in Aberdeen. The article is written purely from the angle of the tenant of Sittyton Farm, which I am not ashamed to say has been 100% on credit and is therefore as vulnerable as any business. I farm 90 acres on a 15yr LDT, 30 acres on an SLDT, 100 acres on seasonal let conservation grazing, and around 100 acres of short term lets and agreements. Sheep are my main interest – 300 ewes, 14 hairy cows, 12 pigs and a few acres of corn. Whilst laying down grass I have been growing a lot of forage aimed at the equine market, but the dream would be a hill unit to compliment Sittyton to keep a decent flock size and finish lambs and a few cattle down here.

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CURRENT AND CAP POST 2013 OUTLOOK FOR NEW ENTRANTS Much has been made over creating opportunities for new entrants. To put it bluntly, without subsidy or a private fortune, a new entrant is foolish to enter this industry. We are really hobby farmers; no matter how big my enterprise gets, it is driven by passion rather than economic sense (although red meat prices may change this soon hopefully!). I have seen many new entrants start and finish in the last ten years and one small farm has been let 3 times since I moved to Aberdeenshire, because there is no viability. The amount of farmers starting or expanding without SFP on the ground is a growing minority but if the pound were to strengthen it may be pruned harshly. As an unsubsidised farmer, I have

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tried to make the most of the SRDP. It is a cumbersome scheme with good intentions but limited applications; but I have been very lucky to get an organic application through in 2012, which will allow me to keep farming with low inputs, good forage mixes, and will let the existing birdlife flourish (Very high and varied as the farm has been run on low inputs for 10 years prior). It also puts in fences and troughs and helps with cash flow! I have made use of some grant schemes to good effect, although the scoring systems have meant implementing things that were easiest to get points for, rather than the most beneficial. Nonetheless, both the environment and my farm will benefit so I am grateful to the Scottish Government. The grant money is not enough to give security to my business without all my off farm work and devoting hours that eat up any leisure time. I decided in 2011 that I would need to buy SFP, as there was no mechanism found for a reserve. A term loan and sale of ewes with lambs at foot funded this and I am glad I did as it now seems payment will come in future to those who claimed SFP in 2011 (not those who submitted an IACS form). In 2014 we will see a land grab to get hectares of payment for the new system so we will see a double edged sword for many new entrants. If you do not meet the correct criteria for National Reserve (priority looks likely to be given to under 35 new starts) then you may receive nothing in the new allocation; pretty tough if you started in 2006 at 38 old years and have no payment claimed in 2011. On top of this, seasonal lets and tenancies that include the base year (2014?) will be very competitive so there is a likelihood that landlords may look for the highest bidder, so those with the biggest historic war-chest may be best placed to get bigger payments. Also, those with naked acres in 2011 are ‘active’ claimants, so may be looking for farmed ground for 2014. This is not such an issue in most EU states as it is in Scotland, as we are rather isolated in creating extra ‘agricultural’ land after 2003, and putting in place a system which shuts out latecomers. Whatever happens, before the ink is dry on new CAP systems, we need to make sure we give new blood a fighting chance; the devil is in the detail and a couple of ill-conceived sentences in EU legislation and Scottish interpretation could shut the doors on new and expanding businesses for another ten years. I would urge all stakeholders to be aware of this.

Also, if the new scheme is delayed, we are told the National Reserve will kick in quicker. The Pack Enquiry found that any new measures would take time to be approved in Europe, which is why the matter is being left until 2013, so let us hope that if the same argument is given in 2013 when the new CAP is delayed those quick fixes can be found. This could be increased LMO’s, targeted Rural Priorities (not just to businesses under 12 months old, but to those with no payment or substantial expansion) or use of Business Loan Guarantee schemes. Something needs to be done; most other industries subsidise new business in particular – through no intention but badly implemented schemes, our industry prejudices them. PILLAR 2 SPECIFIC TARGETTING Much has been made of the loss of stock from the hills. I do think LFASS needs protected and am personally dismayed by the exodus of sheep in some upland areas. We do have to remember though that large scale sheep farming is a relatively new thing in Highland Scotland; the biggest and longest running tragedy is the continued loss of rural community in these areas and this must be addressed so that upland funding is not targeted purely at stock numbers but at people numbers. Eventually I think these farms will return to economic viability as red meat price rises, but there is a dearth of good shepherds and stock-workers that will be hard to address as demand rises. If we do not reward valuable staff then the public will have to accept lower welfare standards in future as ranching increases. There is a need to ensure funding targets stockmanship in remote areas, as well as stock numbers. GENERAL OUTLOOK FOR THE INDUSTRY We only have to look around the world to see an ageing farming population becoming more mechanised and keeping less breeding animals. This harks well for livestock producers, as other countries become wealthier in comparison to Western countries and more use is made of the 5th quarter. Grain markets will continue to be volatile, as commodity speculators interfere but ultimately the baseline should continue to rise as consumption grows and bio-fuel use increases. I would not join the bandwagon calling for GM crops and livestock though. The world population may be growing, but I cannot afford to feed

others while my own business makes a loss. Growing populations are only equitable to rising prices if they are able to pay. Until political situations allow the hungry to be fed above the cost of production will we not see farm gate prices benefit. There is no point in handling more crop tonnages to take in half the price per tonne; we will be increasing workload for the same returns. We are now seeing true economics of supply and demand apply to Red Meat as a result of declining breeding numbers. Why would arable farmers want to produce more when their current goods are not paying the bills? I do think there is a place for advanced breeding for disease, nutrient fixing etc in reducing costs and inputs, but having discussed first hand with overseas farmers the potential risks of GM, we cannot embrace every technology on trust and the widespread implications across the whole ecosystem need further research. I think in the next few years we will see farmers’ place in society being re-valued. Consumers are going to have to get used to an increased percentage of their budget being food as it has been undervalued for the last 30 years. If your business is well established, you can embrace whatever criteria are set on future CAP schemes and you can keep input costs down, I think we might be seeing a good period for agriculture. For young and expanding businesses, there are pluses. Low interest rates and rising asset prices mean that contrary to many industries, banks will lend and loans can be serviced with hard work. Despite hostile exchanges in the press, tenancies and contract farming opportunities are out there and while some claim continued subsidy but are less able to do the work share farming may expand, beneficial to both parties. One thing is sure, if you can start a business and keep it going now, you will be in a fit state when the new regimes eventually capture you. I must also state that the minister whilst striving to represent the majority, appears to be taking on board the issues, and the New Entrants forum have been making their case felt at home and in Europe. The NFU, whilst having an obligation to their general membership, have now got a channel to allow specific issues for younger members to be discussed and represented. And there is a feeling that agriculture is becoming fashionable as a career again, so hopefully we can get things sorted for the next batch of graduates and apprentices coming into the industry.


NEW ENTRANT

ULTIMATE WISH I think as a farming industry, I would not be far wrong to suggest that 70% of our management time, administration time, leadership and stakeholder time, consultation time and meeting time is tied up in subsidy debate or complying with rules, which are enforceable through penalty on subsidy. If we only had to comply with law, such is the reasoned thought that has to go into Acts of Law; we would never have had EID forced upon us. But we are tied into a subsidy system that is linked to remote committee decisions and individual interpretations. We have spent much of the industry resources in 2009 and 2010 focusing on a Scottish CAP review and other such subsidy discussions, when at the time the pound was at record low levels. 2010 was the time to be making price demands and exploiting the high ground for long term supply contracts; I bet the supermarkets were delighted our eyes were elsewhere. Having many friends abroad, I envy

the fact they can go to farming meetings and just discuss farming. We have heated exchanges over who gets what and the hoops we jump through to get it. This very article is a case in point – my outlook for new entrants should be about opportunities in different sectors and industry innovation, instead of the SFP elephant! But the fact is unless a farm business is accessing the same subsidy as its contemporaries, hard work and practical ability will struggle to make up the imbalance. If we cannot have free market farming in the EU, then I hope that the new subsidy system respects the fact we need to be allowed to farm, but without restraints of unnecessary paperwork or prescriptive measures, which cause market, or within industry distortion. I would like everybody in the industry to be included in a support system of equality, so we can go to farming meetings and discuss real issues of farming. And then I can write in my article in 2015 about how to best spend farming profits!

farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

Finally, can I wish all farmers a good 2012 and take this opportunity to say thanks to my friends and family, Landlord(s), Bank Manager, my livestock mart and all suppliers and contractors who have helped in the infancy of the business. I hope I shall reward your faith!

CONTRIBUTOR FACTS Farmer: John Fyall Farming: Sittyton Farm Location: Newmachar, Aberdeenshire Area:

farming 420 acres on various agreements

Stock:

300 ewes 14 cows 12 pigs

Crops:

some barley hay for equine market

Off farm: Agricultural Consultant and Valuer, self employed A Corporate Member and Fellow of the Institute of Auctioneers in Scotland Other:

John is a past CM of the SAYFC North Area and was a representative in Brussels on the European Council of YF. He was farmingscotland.com Young Farmer of the Year ‘06 Website: www.johnfyall.com

Careful N application required following mild winter he mild winter, and the subsequent advanced condition of oilseed crops, means nitrogen rates and timings need to be calculated more carefully than ever before suggests Ian Matts, Agronomic Coordinator for Yara UK. “Oilseed and cereal crops need soil temperatures above 5°c to grow” explains Mr Matts, “The last few years have seen soil temperatures drop significantly below this between November and February, restricting crop growth. So far this year, we’ve had not only very good growing conditions in the autumn, leading to good establishment, but also winter day time temperatures of around 12°c. Well established OSR crops have bigger leaves and a lot more biomass and therefore contain more nitrogen.” As a result of the dry springs over the last few seasons the general advice has been to apply nitrogen early, to allow this to be taken up by crops before the risk of drought. And, for farms located within NVZs, where closed period restrictions on the application of manufactured nitrogen fertiliser ended on 15th January, farmers may be tempted to apply fertilizer at the earliest opportunity, but Mr Matts advises caution. “Just because you can apply nitrogen doesn’t mean that you should,” he confirms. “A balance has to be struck between the requirements and the condition of the crop.

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Also you don’t want to apply nitrogen at too high a rate as plants are so far forward. Careful consideration is needed and it will be important to measure the amount of nitrogen in the crop first, preferably as close to application as possible.” Measuring Green Area Index The nitrogen content of oilseeds can be assessed by measuring the Green Area Index (GAI), the ratio of green tissue to ground area. This can be assessed in a number of ways: Upload a photo of the crop to a GAI assessment website for an instant measurement Cut and weigh a metre square of crop and multiply by 0.8 Compare against standard images such as those on the HGCA website Once the GAI has been assessed, the amount of nitrogen in the crop can be calculated by multiplying it by 50 (the average amount of nitrogen for each unit of GAI). This however is just an average. A more accurate measurement, if taking a fresh weight cut, would be to send a sample off for laboratory analysis. Opting for a broad spectrum analysis would allow the status of other nutrients to also be assessed at the same time. The resulting value enables nitrogen rate and timing to be matched as efficiently as possible with the crop’s requirement. Absolute N The Yara N-sensor’s Absolute N calibration makes this assessment for you, and automatically determines

target application rates. Tamara Hall, Managing Director of Molescroft Farms Limited, in Yorkshire used the Absolute N calibration for the first time last year on two fields of oil seed rape, both with varying soil types, finding it incredibly accurate. “It gave us the confidence to cut back nitrogen rates to lower than I would have normally done on some of the more forward areas and go higher than I would have done in the poorer areas,” says Tamara. It produced very even yields – the two fields selected yielded 5.32 t/ha and 5.22t/ha - well above the farm average using a similar amount of fertilizer to what I have in previous seasons. We were most surprised by the range of application rates within different areas of the same field.” The N-max The current N-max figure for oilseeds is 250 kgN/ha. “Farmers whose oilseed crops yielded more than 3.5 t/ha last year may well be thinking they can increase their Nmax this spring; however it is worth remembering that in order to do so you must take into account the yield from the previous 2 years.” Opportunity for foliar N “Also worth considering,” according to Mr Matts, “is the opportunity a forward oilseed crop offers to ensure a late foliar application of nitrogen, using Nufol. In past seasons many farms in NVZs have had no nitrogen allowance left, following spring applications, within

the Nmax limit for this late application – a timing at which yield responses have averaged 0.31t/ha in trials over the last 5 years, producing valuable returns. As a foliar application, Nufol also overcomes the potential problem of drought, typical in late timings. However, with nitrogen levels in the crop expected to be high following the mild winter, this year provides the perfect platform for a more integrated fertilizer programme throughout the various stages of the growing season” At all timings, getting an accurate measurement of nitrogen in the crop is vital, concludes Mr Matts: “With weather being so variable and unseasonable, measuring crop nitrogen as close to application as possible ensures that the values gathered are always relevant.”

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farmingscotland.com

MACHINERY

Issue eighty • February 2012

Lighter, Faster Drill Doubles Work Rates

witching from a power harrow combination to the latest version of Vaderstad’s Spirit has allowed a Black Isle farmer and contractor to double his daily drilling workrate with a machine only a metre wider than its predecessor. Brian Matheson, who is based at Ballicherry Farm, on the Black Isle, where he grows 200ha of spring

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barley, winter wheat and winter oilseed rape, last spring took delivery of a 4m Vaderstad Spirit Next SDC. In addition to the farm’s own crops, the seed/fertiliser machine will be used for contract work on others’ ground. “I was running a 3m Amazone box drill on a power harrow, with a fertiliser hopper up front, but having

orsch launch two new drills to UK customers at LAMMA. The Horsch MiniDrill and DuoDrill are designed to extend the capabilities of Horsch’s existing cultivation equipment, making them suitable for both first time and existing customers. The MiniDrill can be fitted to the Joker and Terrano, including the new Terrano MT launched at Agritechnica. Available in 3m to 6m working widths

with a 200 litre seed hopper, the MiniDrill is a compact unit consisting of a hopper and electric fan to blow the seed to the ground in front of the tyre packer and ensuring good seed-to-soil contact. Available for the Tiger or Pronto, the DuoDrill is a fully pneumatic seed drill with Drill Manager, ideal for sowing rape and catch crops. With a 300 litre hopper and working widths between 3m and 7.5m, the

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taken on more land, I wanted to move to a faster and wider system,” Mr Matheson explained. “The Spirit Next, plus options from Horsch and Amazone, were all on my list, but although the Vaderstad was a little more expensive, it was clear that it was double the drill, in terms of output and ease of use, particularly as I would be doing away with a separate front fertiliser hopper.” The original Spirit was introduced as an option for light-medium land growers wanting a lightweight, high-speed drill, with its two rows of cultivation discs, consolidation tyres and twin-disc coulters with individual press wheels. The Next version features upgrades including corrosion-proof, electricallycontrolled Fenix II metering, which can work accurately down to seed rates as low as <1kg/ha. There’s also a new maintenance-free TriForce cushioned rubber mounting for the coulter assembly, which produces a higher coulter pressure for working on heavier soils and is quieter in work. “Although our land here is mostly sandy loam, we have some steep ground, so need a light drill, which can be operated behind a mid-sized tractor – we run a 200hp Massey Ferguson 6495,” said Mr Matheson.

DuoDrill also places the seed in front of each packer tyre for exact consolidation in a one-pass cultivation and sowing operation. In addition to the drills, Horsch also displayed recently launched products in the UK for the first time, including the Terrano MT that has been designed specifically for UK farmers. More information on the company and its products can be found at www.horsch.com

“I was looking for a 4m grain/ fertiliser drill that would work directly onto ploughed and pressed ground and on first impressions, the Spirit Next does the job very well. It was delivered on March 28, and started drilling spring barley that day, completing 200ha in a far shorter time than the old system the previous season.” He admited to initial concerns over whether he had made the right move in switching away from a power harrow combination when rain stopped progress a few days into the spring barley drilling campaign. “At first it was frustrating to see others ploughing wet land and following straight behind with a power harrow/drill combination while we waited for the ground to dry a little,” he said. “But the sheer output of the Spirit Next more than made up for that. Putting in 310kg/ha of fertiliser and 200kg/ha seed, we could drill 32ha/day – more than twice as much as with our old combination. “We can do that despite our average field size of only 6ha, and the fact that we run a relatively small tractor for this size of drill. And not running a power harrow has significantly reduced our overall fuel consumption for crop establishment.”

Two Horsch Drills Launched


MACHINERY

esigned for heavy-duty, large-scale field operations, John Deere’s new 9R and 9RT Series tractors from 410 to 560hp (maximum 451 to 616hp, to 97/68/EC rating) are the most powerful, productive and comfortable four-wheel drive tractors the company has ever built. Available for 2012, the new 9R and 9RT Series line-up consists of four wheeled tractors and three tracked versions, and replaces the 9030 Series, which was introduced in 2007. A tracked model from the range made its UK debut on the John Deere stand at the LAMMA 2012 show, Newark, in January. These new tractors feature the latest improvements in power, hydraulics, hitch and pto options, as well as cab comfort and controls. This means more horsepower, more integrated intelligent solutions such as AutoTrac and JDLink and improved high-flow hydraulics and pto options. All 9R/9RT Series models come with John Deere’s advanced 13.5-litre PowerTech PSX diesel-only engines and meet the European Stage IIIB emissions standard. The engines feature in-line, six-cylinder, four-valve high pressure common rail technology and series turbochargers. To make them clean burning engines, they are equipped with cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and exhaust filters, which include a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and a diesel particulate filter (DPF). All the tractors employ an 18 forward/six reverse speed PowerShift transmission with Efficiency Manager as standard. This feature allows the

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farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

tractors to operate at an optimal performance level, while minimising fuel consumption. Efficiency Manager gives the operator precise ground speed control at up to 40kph by letting the operator set the speeds for field or transport applications with a thumb wheel in the transmission shift lever. To enhance operator comfort, the new models feature a newly designed CommandView II cab, which offers several different packages. The spacious cab provides 10% more overall volume, has 7% more glass area and four times as much storage space as the previous range, making it an even more comfortable and convenient workplace, including excellent visibility, even around the clock, due to the integrated 360degree lighting system. Additionally, a high level of operator comfort is achieved by the ActiveSeat suspension on all models, and John Deere’s exclusive AirCushion suspension system on the tracked versions. CommandArm fingertip controls and the newly designed GreenStar 3 Command Center Display are other new features. This can run many precision farming applications, including telematic solutions such as the factory-installed JDLink and Service ADVISOR Remote. Improved hydraulic system features on these new tractors increase overall tractor efficiency – one common reservoir provides improved oil level management in the drive train, and high-flow hydraulics are now available on all models, as well as up to six SCVs.

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farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

OPINION

Future of Agriculture in Scotland

Alyn Smith – Scottish member of the European Parliament's Agriculture & Rural Development Committee cottish farming has always been affected by a plethora of influences and factors: national and world market prices, input costs, new technologies, the weather, and so on. Additionally, European regulations and subsidies are playing an increasing role in determining the prospects of farmers and impacting on their decisions. As a representative of Scottish farming on the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, it's my job to monitor developments and fight for Scotland's interests. It's clear that the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, which subsidies Scotland's farmers through the Single Farm Payment to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds a year (£483 million in 2010) will be of critical importance. In the light of difficult and volatile market conditions, we must fight to retain direct subsidies to our farmers, to ensure that any "greening" of direct

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payments is suitable for specific Scottish conditions, to focus support on genuinely active farmers, and to help new entrants farm on a level playing field. It is also crucial to streamline support in order to reduce the administrative headaches which I am well aware pose some of the greatest difficulties for farmers. The Less Favoured Areas support scheme, which provides £64 million a year to farmers in the most fragile and remote regions of Scotland, is also up for reform, and I'm determined to ensure that this vital funding stream continues. Finally, the implementation of the milk package should help our dairy farmers bargain collectively for better prices from processors and retailers, and I would like to see the principles of supply chain fairness, with a revision of competition legislation and investigations into unfair practices, extended to all sectors of agriculture.

farmingscotland.com has asked 14 leading lights in Scottish Agriculture their views on the future of farming in this country.

would describe myself as cautiously optimistic for the future of Scottish Agriculture. This might be viewed as almost bullish coming from a Chartered Accountant. Over the last 5 years the agricultural industry has perversely been helped by a struggling UK economy. The banking and debt crisis, property crash and euro problems have all led to a period of sustained low interest rates and a weak currency. I do not see massive changes in the general UK economy over the medium term. Interest rates are forecast to remain low. Banks will continue to look for safe lending options and farming provides this. The support of lenders will continue to help agricultural businesses expand, diversify and invest. Over the last 5 years UK farmers

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have enjoyed a period of relative weakness in Sterling. It has been more expensive to import food and the primary producer has had the upper hand over the period. Over the next 5 years I would expect to see the pound strengthen against the euro, which will affect mainly our livestock farmers and those exporting. There is much to be positive about. The political drive towards a renewable Scotland will benefit some. Land prices continue to rise. Our climate provides the natural requirements to grow crops and rear livestock. Sometimes the quantities and timing of the sun, wind and rain can be very challenging! There will always be hurdles to overcome, but the economic position in the medium term will continue to support farm prices and the rural economy.

Andrew Ritchie Partner Campbell Dallas LLP

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OPINION

griculture in Scotland must produce three categories of public goods, if it is to achieve its potential. These are: assist with food security, combat climate change, through preserving and enhancing the environment and help to retain population in Scotland’s most fragile rural areas. None of these aims need fight with any other. Food from Scotland, whether consumed here, or exported, relies on branding, where the strongest qualities are purity and safety. The Scottish Brand depends on a positive attitude to the environment. We are now at the cusp of developing a new Common Agricultural Policy. The opportunity for agriculture there is to skew a little more of the money to the hills and islands, who suffered badly in the last re-organisation. This will allow

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Drew Ratter – Convener Crofters Commission s we are growing our business in Scotland, I naturally could not do that without a realistically positive outlook for the sector up here. Why do I think so is linked to a number of related factors. Firstly, from the perspective of your customers, farming and the whole public interest in where our food comes from is increasingly important on the agenda of every day life. Scottish produced food and its collective brand value have enjoyed a high standing for some time now and this can only help going forward as interest continues to intensify. Moreover at a farm level, much has been put in place to develop profitable units across a number of sectors, not only by amalgamation and collaboration, but also through the

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ongoing development of some of the first stage processing and marketing groups, which are now well established, linking farm directly to the market place. These efficiencies and relationships are key to helping businesses manage future opportunity when price volatility is expected to remain common place and are looked upon with envy elsewhere. This backbone will give the whole agricultural industry the ability to face the inevitable change that will come about as CAP Reform is finalised and subsequently deployed. We look forward to playing our part in helping the Scottish farming industry progress forward in 2012 – it is in good shape to face any challenge which may be thrown at it along the way.

farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

sequestration of carbon through peatland preservation – over 90% of the UK’s carbon store is in peat bogs, mainly Scottish. It will also help store producers to carry on and even make a recovery in areas where livestock is currently in steep decline. This will, in turn permit the Scottish finished beef and lamb industries to source clean and well documented store stock All of this depends on those negotiating and considering the future of the CAP to be brave and imaginative, but only a little brave and imaginative. Quite a small change, recognising the very fragile areas of Scotland as a Vulnerable Area and simply treating them fairly would easily achieve. Given the precipitate decline in livestock in the uplands and islands over the past five, the case for so doing is made.

Allan Wilkinson Head of Agriculture HSBC Bank plc

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farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

OPINION

Andrew Rettie Head of Farm Sales in Scotland Strutt & Parker

ndrew Rettie, head of farm sales in Scotland for Strutt & Parker, reports: “There are two main talking points in the agricultural industry at present. The first is the future of the Common Agricultural Policy and the potentially significant impact this might have on farm incomes. The current uncertainty does not help anyone and it is difficult to predict the future outlook with any accuracy until we know the outcome of the reform negotiations. In the meantime, farmers are having to deal with stringent scrutiny of land eligibility and cross-compliance requirements all of which inevitably takes their focus off managing their business to best advantage. “The other talking point is the impact of the awful storm on January 3, compounding an already wet 2011 and a weak harvest, leaving many farmers filing insurance claims for extensive damage. Again, it’s a distraction and a headache that the industry could do without. “The wider picture however is that the profits for arable farmers are better than they have been in five years and the same can be said of sheep and beef farms. However, it is difficult to portray the same optimism for the dairy industry unless the price paid for milk increases and input costs

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continue to be a major challenge for all with the rising prices of fuel, oil and fertilisers. “We are increasingly conscious that farmers need to put themselves in the best position to make the biggest margin and focus on a niche area or growing a unique product. Smaller farmers, in particular, need to think about their position in the market place. Farmers need to do something slightly different that will give them an edge. That is the future of farming. “Farmland itself is a rock solid investment. Interestingly, and some may say ironically, there continues to be very considerable demand for farms and we predict that to continue well into 2012 with farmland prices rising over that period. Farmland is increasingly attractive to investors who do not necessarily want to farm themselves. However, this is a double edged sword as it is driving up the price of land for those trying to break into the industry and it illustrates the growing importance of a healthy tenanted sector as more and more land becomes available to rent. With the number of farm tenancies continuing to fall, we need to see a more efficient system of bringing landowners and tenants together.”

ooking forward the availability of land will come under severe pressure. The demand for food to be produced to meet an increasing world population will see many farms becoming more productive. On top of this will be the need to meet the Scottish Government’s ambitious targets for tree planting which may well see 60,000 hectares being planted over the next 5 years. Competing for similar land quality will be the need to have more wind farms again to meet climate change targets laid down by the Scottish Government. Whether or not this demand will see recently abandoned hill farms being restocked remains to be seen, but in order for theses areas to continue to receive SFP going forward they will have to comply with some form of agricultural activity. This may well result in opportunities for new entrants to get established as

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George Milne Development Officer NSA and sheep farmer

fter some really tough years on the early part of the last decade with poor prices, a strong currency and various livestock disease problems, it is sometimes too easy today to focus on the negatives and what might happen in the future with the changes in CAP, in capital allowances and commodity prices. CLAAS sees a very bright future for agriculture, in Scotland and beyond. This is why we are investing an increasing amount of our turnover and profits on developing a wider and improved product range. Livestock farming is important in almost all parts of Scotland, and cereal farming

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long as the will is there from both parties, the land owner and the tenant. Of course the two fundamental issues in creating an economically secure future for rural Scotland are firstly a strong, stable market place. Sheep prices have recently remained strong allowing for stability and confidence to grow, however this is entirely as a result of supply and demand on a world market basis and of course the euro exchange rate. Secondly rural Scotland is still very reliant on receiving support payments in the form of SFP, LFASS, and the beef calf scheme. Without this support many farms, particularly those in the less favoured areas would simply not manage to continue. To sum up for a number of reasons the future looks optimistic, but is totally reliant on secure prices and continued support.

is important predominantly towards the east coast. Other world markets suffer from a lack of water, fertiliser, available land or labour. None of these are particularly a problem in Scotland yet, so relative to other markets at least, farmers in Scotland should see their business grow in the coming years."

Trevor Tyrrell Chief Executive Officer CLAAS UK & Ireland


OPINION

s the Sector Skills Council supporting land-based industries in Scotland, Lantra understands the importance of agriculture to the Scottish economy. As the world’s technology quickly advances and issues such as food security regularly get global attention, it is key that Scotland’s farmers, growers and crofters have the skills they need to thrive. Lantra’s Skills Assessment Research (2010-11) identified agriculture as a major industry in Scotland with 13,680 agricultural businesses that employ approximately 60,700 individuals. Despite the large size of this industry, it is estimated that there will be many career opportunities for new entrants as agriculture grows and the current workforce retires. Lantra works to support this industry and help develop the skills of those working with agriculture. For example, the Farm Business Advisor Accreditation Scheme for Scotland, also called FBAASS, works to deliver top advice for farmers and works with the Scottish Government’s Whole Farm Review Scheme to improve Scotland’s farming businesses.

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Sandy Wilkie Sales & Marketing Director Robert Wiseman Dairies t would be something of an understatement to say we at Wiseman have a vested interest in the future of Scottish agriculture. We have a long-term partnership with dairy farm suppliers through the Wiseman Milk Group, which now extends to over 1000 dairy farmers nationwide. Our approach, based on ensuring a strong farm-gate milk price regardless of market conditions, ensures security of supply and protection for farmers in sometimes volatile markets. At Wiseman we are constantly looking at ways to increase sales of milk. We are heavily involved in the Make Mine Milk campaign and work hard to promote our products with a dedicated sales and marketing team, who are responsible for ensuring our customer’s needs are met in stores and creating ways to market our products. The Young Farmer movement is a great way to encourage future generations to see a career in Scottish agriculture and Wiseman are keen supporters.

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As with all industries we are constantly looking to develop new products help grow the dairy industry. In recent years Wiseman has paved the way by introducing a new variant in ‘the One’ 1% fat milk, as well as filtered milks, which have an extended shelf life, such as Puriti and Tesco Pure. With an increasing consumer demand for local products we have introduced to our black and white range a portfolio of regional labels provides consumers with assurance of the provenance of their milk for example Wiseman’s Grampian label milk. More recently we have announced a joint venture with a2 Milk™, which could see fresh milk stage a comeback to the fridges of millions of Britons, who currently avoid dairy because it causes digestive discomfort. The UK fresh milk market is a significant opportunity to grow the fresh milk market in Britain with “a2 Milk™ and work is already underway to identify herds and developing products.

farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

Another programme that we work closely with is the Business Skills for Rural Business Women 2010-12 programme. Through this programme, women entrepreneurs in agriculture and forestry can develop business and leadership skills. It recognises and highlights the place of rural business women as entrepreneurs within the Scottish rural economy. Lantra knows that the future of agriculture is only as strong as the future workforce, so we work closely with Modern Apprenticeships to ensure young people get a well developed start with their agriculture career. Over the past few years we have closely involved farmers and farming businesses, so today’s Modern Apprentices can be sure they get the skills needed to be successful in the future. In order to be successful in the future, Scotland’s farmers, growers and crofters must have superior training and skills, which are essential to business success. We believe that Scotland’s future farmers need to be cultivated so they can help lead the Scottish economy, and that is why we are spending so much time developing them now.

Mary Mitchell Regional Partnership Manager LANTRA

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farmingscotland.com

OPINION

Issue eighty • February 2012

Rob Hitch Partner Dodd & Co

his might seem a bit rich coming from someone living in England but having worked on both sides of the border over the last fifteen years I hope it is valid. Scottish agriculture will face a big challenge as the single payment moves to an area based system, there will be winners and losers, extensive farmers will probably gain with intensive lowland, particularly dairy and beef losing out. Coupled with the rest of the UK there is also the exposure to a pound weakening at present which presents some threats, but who knows, if Greece exits the Eurozone it may strengthen the £ again, so nothing is certain. In recent years however we have seen all sectors generating profits before subsidy and if commodity prices remain buoyant and it is here where exchange rates might have

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his might seem a bit rich coming from someone living in England but having worked on both sides of the border over the last fifteen years I hope it is valid. Scottish agriculture will face a big challenge as the single payment moves to an area based system, there will be winners and losers, extensive farmers will probably gain with intensive lowland, particularly dairy and beef losing out. Coupled with the rest of the UK there is also the exposure to a pound weakening at present which presents some threats, but who knows, if Greece exits the Eurozone it may strengthen the £ again, so nothing is certain. In recent years however we have seen all sectors generating profits before subsidy and if commodity prices remain buoyant and it is here where exchange rates might have

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their largest effect, then the future looks bright. Many farmers have invested heavily in recent years in improving their farming infrastructure, with significant help from Rural Development Funds. The use of this money for improving competitiveness of Scottish Farms by the Scottish Government has to be applauded. The money invested in recent years will help many businesses improve efficiencies, particularly in labour and machinery use, to reduce costs and allow businesses to flourish. The sidelining of ‘slipper farmers’ should free up funding, Single Payment and land to enable profitable farms to continue to grow. These businesses in turn should have no problem attracting young farmers to continue them, securing a long term future for Scottish Agriculture.

Sandy Hay Head of Agriculture Bank of Scotland was asked to put pen to paper to give my view of the Future of Scottish Agriculture. Every industry at the moment is facing an uphill battle with world climate change. With world population approaching 7 billion, the level of food production must constantly rise. CAP reform is the buzzword at the moment, but farmers will have to face the fact that someday support will stop. But I am confident every farmer would give up their support if their market gate prices reflected their input costs. When the new reform comes out, Scottish farmers will have more hoops to jump through! The farmers of today need to remember that they are running a business – it is not a way of life. Even if things have been done a certain way for three generations – if it doesn’t work changes must be made. Margins are tight with the ever-increasing

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Allan Grant Chair Scottish Association of Young Farmers 20

their largest effect, then the future looks bright. Many farmers have invested heavily in recent years in improving their farming infrastructure, with significant help from Rural Development Funds. The use of this money for improving competitiveness of Scottish Farms by the Scottish Government has to be applauded. The money invested in recent years will help many businesses improve efficiencies, particularly in labour and machinery use, to reduce costs and allow businesses to flourish. The sidelining of ‘slipper farmers’ should free up funding, Single Payment and land to enable profitable farms to continue to grow. These businesses in turn should have no problem attracting young farmers to continue them, securing a long term future for Scottish Agriculture.

input costs such as diesel, feed etc!! In my personal view two types of farms will emerge – large ones, which will keep growing, taking on neighbouring units, stretching their labour resources to maximize profitability. On the other side of the coin small family farms, using family members who have other jobs outside the farm to keep it running with low overheads! We’re all going to become lean and meaner at everything we do. (and that’s from an Aberdonian!) There is a future for Agriculture but the next few years are going to be tough but it is going to depend on production costs and market prices because if it’s not going to pay, farmers will leave the industry – there is only so much punishment that they can take. I know this all sound negative – we have a future but the industry needs to stick together and be heard!!


Richard Lochhead

ooking ahead to the future of Scottish agriculture, I detect a sense of optimism. While the past year has seen challenges – everything from extreme weather to the implementation of sheep EID – it was also a year of high livestock prices and record food and drink sales. I want us to build on this and I believe our rural sector is well equipped to cope with whatever lies ahead. Undoubtedly one of the main talking points of 2012 will be the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. Decisions taken this year on CAP reform will have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. That’s why we’ll be working hard and working together to ensure Scotland secures a fair deal. We have already seen some of our suggestions reflected in the EC’s proposals which gives us solid ground to build on. As the talks continue, we want to make further progress, to

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ensure the result is a flexible support system that recognises Scotland’s diverse needs. When I consider the future of Scottish agriculture, I see a landscape that is less cluttered with bureaucracy which is why we are working to reduce the regulatory burden. This is something that will continue throughout the year. This will free up our farmers to do what they do best – produce some of the world’s finest natural ingredients and manage the magnificent landscape for which Scotland is renowned. I’m sure there will be challenges ahead but, by pulling together, I am confident that these can – and will – be overcome.

Check out www.farmingscotland.com website being updated this month 21


farmingscotland.com Issue eighty • February 2012

EDUCATION

New Principal for SAC he Board of SAC (Scottish Agricultural College) is delighted to confirm that it is to appoint Professor Bob Webb as its new Chief Executive and Principal, with effect from 1 April 2012. Professor Webb, who is currently a Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, will succeed Professor Bill McKelvey, who stands down from his role as SAC’s Chief Executive and Principal at the end of February 2012. Professor Webb is a leading animal scientist and a respected authority on agricultural and veterinary research, both in the UK and internationally. He is currently Professor of Animal Science at the University of Nottingham and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, with responsibility for the Faculty of Engineering. Before becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Webb was Head of the University’s School of Biosciences then Dean of the Faculty of Science. Prior to his time at Nottingham, Professor Webb held senior posts in a number of agricultural, veterinary and medical institutions. Between 1981 and 1997 he was Principal Research Scientist at the Roslin Institute (formerly the Agricultural Research Council, Animal Breeding Research Organisation). He has also worked as a Senior Scientist in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University of Oxford and as a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan, USA.

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Professor Webb’s research career has centred on the investigation of the control of reproductive function, one of the key factors in efficient production of both milk and meat. Evidence from his research into how nutrition can influence livestock pregnancy rates has been taken forward by a number of commercial feed companies and is being used to improve the efficiency of production systems. Professor Webb is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. In addition, he currently has a leading role in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014), the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions. Professor Webb sits on one of four main panels leading the REF2014 and is Chair of the sub panel with special responsibility for Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science-related research. Speaking of Professor Webb’s appointment, SAC Chairman Lord Jamie Lindsay said: “Bob Webb is an excellent and well-timed appointment, with SAC strategically poised to develop a number of major opportunities within and beyond Scotland. Bob brings a wealth of expertise and experience in successfully delivering high-level initiatives and partnerships at both a

national and an international level. His academic credentials and management skills speak for themselves and I am confident that we have the right man to take SAC onwards and upwards, building on the legacy of Bill McKelvey’s impressive achievements. “Bob’s pedigree and track-record, and his proven skills in developing synergies and collaborative ventures, made him an outstanding candidate during a rigorous recruitment process that attracted accomplished candidates from around the world. I am therefore delighted to welcome Bob as our new Chief Executive and Principal and have no doubt that his strategic vision and experience will enable SAC to continue to go from strength to strength.” Professor Webb said: “I am both honoured and delighted to become the next Chief Executive and Principal of the Scottish Agricultural College. SAC, as the only agriculturally-focused HEI within Scotland, is uniquely placed within the agriculture sector and rural communities. In this regard, SAC will have an increasingly significant role both nationally and internationally in combating the current global challenges, which include food security and quality, environmental issues and economic sustainability of farming. “These global challenges however,

also present exciting opportunities because of the central importance of agriculture, both nationally and internationally. As the new Chief Executive I look forward to working with colleagues at SAC to build on the undoubted strengths of research, learning and teaching and commercial innovation that already exist to make both Scottish and UK agriculture more sustainable, while addressing environmental impact.” Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham said: “Professor Bob Webb has given outstanding service to the University of Nottingham, both as a distinguished scientist and in a range of leadership roles, including Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research. His professional background and managerial experience make him the ideal candidate for Chief Executive and Principal of the SAC. I am confident that SAC will flourish under his stewardship and expect current collaborations between Nottingham and SAC to prosper and grow. I have the highest regard for Professor Webb and wish him every success in his new role.” SAC’s Director of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Janet Swadling, will be acting Chief Executive and Principal when Professor McKelvey steps down until Professor Webb takes up his post.


ew Zealand-based Irish shearing champion Ivan Scott reclaimed the World solo eight hours lambshearing record in a woolshed near Taupo on January 9th. From Kilmacrennan, County Donegal and now aged 30, Scott held the record for two years with a mark of 736 at Rerewhakaaitu, south of Rotorua, in December 2008. But he lost it when World champion Hawke’s Bay shearer Cam Ferguson shore 742 at Moketenui, near Benneydale, last January. Scott, the All Ireland champion, was also preparing for the next World Championships to be held in Masterton in March, made his new bid at Opepe, just east of Taupo on State Highway 5, and had to average less than 39 seconds a lamb, which included catching time between sheep. Shorn in four two-hour runs, with smoko and meal breaks, it was the first of three record bids held in January, under the auspices of the World Shearing Records Society, which appointed four judges to oversee the event, including one from Australia. The 30-year-old was given the all-clear after a trial shear comfortably exceeded the minimum 0.9kg of wool per lamb. The shearing rate was rapid – one

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lamb every 38.8 seconds or quicker to beat Ferguson's count. Three Kiwi judges and one from Australia were on hand to ensure each lamb was shorn to standard. Judge John Fagan said Scott looked "very fit" as he stepped into the pen. "He was very well prepared, which you have to be with this sort of effort. It has been measured years ago as the equivalent of two back-to-back marathons." Five of Scott's lambs weren't up to standard and were discounted, yet he still pipped the record by 2. "He took it down to the wire – he did it the hard way." Scott came to New Zealand 10 years ago from the Irish county of Donegal and has been shearing fulltime since then, mostly near Christchurch. For the past four years he's also been shearing the summer season in Rotorua. Scott said leading up to that first cut was "tense" and the pressure didn't let up. Only after his final strike, when the crowd erupted, did it ease. "She was a pretty big moment," he said. "It was pretty emotional. "The old body feels pretty good. The arms are a bit sore, but it feels good considering." Scott celebrated his win with a couple of pints and a meal in Taupo.

Paddy Power

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Issue 80  

Monthly magazine - 10000 copies distributed in hard copy across Scotland and Northern England. Covers livestock and arable sectors.

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