3rd July 2024

Book now for July’s Monitor Farm summer meetings

Book now for July’s Monitor Farm summer meetings

Farmers across Scotland are invited to attend four open Monitor Farm meetings this month where they can discuss current issues with a huge variety of expert speakers.

The meetings, in Deeside, Roxburghshire, Argyllshire and Dumfriesshire, will see the Monitor Farmers update visitors on progress and changes on-farm, while event speakers will tackle everything from farm and farmer resilience and wellbeing, to finishing cattle and sheep cost-effectively.

Beth Alexander, Monitor Farm Scotland Programme Manager said: “The four meetings are a great opportunity to see what’s been happening on the Monitor Farms over the last 18 months. They also provide a chance for visitors to discuss management options and challenges with a range of practical, knowledgeable speakers.

“We’d encourage people to attend any of the meetings that appeal to them – there is no geographical limit, and we welcome farmers from across Scotland at any of the Monitor Farm open meetings.”

Deeside – Forage and Finishing Cattle - Tuesday 16 July

Deeside Monitor Farmers Duncan and Claire Morrison will take a close look at their system and costs for finishing bulls, discussing ‘Is finishing bulls at grass better or worse financially than finishing intensively?’.

Gregor Welsh from SoilEssentials will be talking about the SKAi precision spot-spraying system, which may help Duncan and Claire tackle docks while protecting mixed species swards and reducing spray costs, while Lanarkshire farmer Michael Shannon will be discussing how he finishes all his cattle off grass and forage crops, plus how he markets his livestock.

Jill Hunter, beef and sheep nutritionist for Harbro, will discuss how finishing cattle can be managed at grass and how best to transition onto feed, and Highland Meats buyer Stuart Annand will explain what he looks for in finishing cattle, and how farmers can optimise the price they receive.

The meeting starts at 12.30pm, and finishes at 3.30pm with a BBQ to follow. Booking link: https://www.monitorfarms.co.uk/event/deeside-monitor-farm-summer-24-open-meet/

Roxburghshire – Building Resilience, with Farmstrong Scotland - Thursday 18 July

This joint meeting with Farmstrong Scotland will focus on resilience – personally and practically. Monitor Farmer Robert Wilson will talk about progress at Cowbog, and his focus on resilience and what it means to his business.

Gerard Vaughan, programme director of Farmstrong in New Zealand who is currently visiting Scotland and working with Farmstrong Scotland, will be sharing tips to improve personal wellbeing. He will be encouraging attendees to consider their own personal resilience and to invest in the number one asset on their farms – themselves.

Stuart Johnson from West Wharmley Farm near Hexham, will discuss building a resilient farming business, reducing his reliance on bought-in inputs, while increasing resilience to fluctuations in the weather and economy.

Eric Anderson from Scottish Agronomy will discuss future weather patterns and building resilient soils.

The meeting starts at 10.30am, finishing at 2.30pm - lunch is included. Booking link:


Argyllshire - Chewing the Cud Over Grazing, and Managing Time – Thursday 25 July

Visitors to the event at the Archibald family’s farm will hear from grass guru Michael Blanche. He will be looking at the new paddock grazing system set up for the suckler cows at Killinallan: Is it working, and what have been the learning points? What are the other grazing options available to the Archibalds for their livestock when migratory geese arrive on Islay at the same time as grazing is still needed by livestock?

As well as being a farm consultant and livestock farmer, Michael takes a keen interest in how we can make the best use of our time. He will be discussing whether, as farmers, we can manage the infinite amount of time we have in a better way.

The meeting is from 3pm-7pm, and includes a farm walk and BBQ. Ferry foot passengers can be picked up and dropped off at Port Ellen; please confirm when booking your place.

Booking link: https://www.monitorfarms.co.uk/event/chewing-the-cud-over-grazing-and-managing-our-time-with-michael-blanche/

Dumfriesshire - Growing for Optimum Output – Tuesday 30 July

From lamb selection and ewe condition to clover and cattle performance, visitors to Barnbackle, Lochfoot, will hear from a variety of speakers focussing on optimum output.

Speakers will include John Smith, auctioneer from Wallets Marts, who will run a workshop on selecting lambs, current market trends and demands, plus buyer preferences and specs.

Ali Haggerty from Stewartry Vets will discuss the importance of Body Condition Scoring sheep and its impact on fertility, lambing success, and overall flock health. She will also give an update on an on-going research project at the Monitor Farm which involves Stewartry Vets and Glasgow University, and will talk about the actions taken as a result at Barnbackle.

Paddy Jack from DLF Seeds will be talking about weaning lambs onto clover, including how it stacks up financially, while visitors will also hear an update from Monitor Farmer Richard McCornick. He will focus on the farm’s cattle enterprise, its production and marketing targets, breed choice and a move to spring calving.

The meeting runs from 3.30pm-6.30pm. Booking link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dumfries-monitor-farm-summer-meeting-tickets-923670582577

  • Car parking is limited at all venues, so car share if possible. Please wear suitable outdoor clothing, and clean vehicles, footwear, and clothing before attending for biosecurity. No children under 16 or dogs are allowed.

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