Safe cattle handling will be discussed by animal behaviour expert Dr Simon Turner at the next Morayshire Monitor Farm meeting on Tuesday 12 February.
Also on the cattle side, the meeting will focus on estimated breeding values (EBVs) as well as hearing how Monitor Farmer Iain Green’s first batch of cattle performed when weaned using his new Beef Monitor system – which weighs the livestock every time they take a drink.
Iain says: “We’ve had eighty bulls go through the system now, and because of all the data it gathers, we can share weaning weights, slaughter weights and the daily live weight gain. It’s been of huge benefit, not just financially, but also in terms of reducing cattle stress through reduced handling.
“On the handling side we are interested to see if we can do more there. Our system seems to work well but I’m really interested to see if we can improve our facilities to make things as safe and simple as possible for the cattle and stock people.”
As well as assessing Iain’s current handling system, Simon will also discuss simple changes farmers could make to reduce stress during handling, as well as highlighting some of the negative effect that poor handling can have on animal health and welfare, and productivity.
Sharon Flanigan from the James Hutton Institute will also present at the meeting. Sharon has been working with monitor farms across Scotland and elsewhere to explore the impact of such on-farm demonstration activities at both individual and community levels. On the day she will reveal her findings so far.
The final topic up for discussion will be the introduction of EID for Scottish cattle. The new rules means that all new born calves will require EID tagging by the 1st of January 2020 and there will be a representative from ScotEID at the meeting to highlight how complying with the new regulations, can also benefit the farm business by allowing closer monitoring of livestock performance.
The Morayshire Monitor is one of nine monitor farms established in Scotland as part of a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds with funding from the Scottish Government. The aim of the monitor farm programme is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.
The Monitor Farm meeting will take place on Corskie Farm, Garmouth, IV32 7NN, on Tuesday 12 February from 1.30pm – 5pm. The event is free of charge but to assist with catering it would be appreciated if you can book a place by contacting Samantha Stewart by phone (01343 548787) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information about the monitor farm programme visit www.monitorfarms.co.uk