A series of free farm visits is set to run over the coming months as part of the Planning for Profit initiative.
Following on from the popular roadshows held across the country earlier this year, each farm visit will showcase the practices adopted by some of Scotland’s top performing farm businesses and provide visiting farmers with ideas and inspiration to see how they can apply these practices at home.
The Planning for Profit initiative is supported by the Scottish Government Skills Development scheme, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and NFUS, and delivered by SAOS, SAC Consulting and 2 Mennie Cooks, and aims to assist beef, sheep and mixed arable farmers to make decisions that will ensure they are well placed to operate profitably under the new CAP system.
The first farm visit will be hosted by father and son partnership Alex and Ross King at Wolfstar, Ormiston, East Lothian.
Whole farm profitability is critical to the Kings as their suckler and pedigree cattle enterprise has to not only integrate with the arable enterprise but also compliment it.
It is for this reason that the Kings have focussed on achieving a compact calving period, which does not eat into spring sowing or harvest time and, at the same time, improves the margin per head of their suckler cows.
There are 140 Aberdeen Angus cross Simmental suckler cows and 30 pedigree Simmentals on the farm and in recent years the number of commercial calves per cow reared at Wolfstar has never dropped below 94% and has been as high as 97%.
The Kings also regularly achieve two-thirds of the herd calving in the first three week period and last year only seven percent were left to calve in the six to nine week period, which Alex King said he was delighted with considering the weather and cow condition at bulling time in 2012.
“The Kings have an impressive example of whole farm policy at Wolfstar - the profitability of the arable side depends on the soil fertility the cattle provide and vice versa,” said Johnny Mackey, QMS Head of Industry Development.
“Profitability is at the heart of the Planning for Profit initiative and I strongly encourage farmers to attend so they can pick up new ideas which will help them plan for the future and be confident that their businesses are well positioned to grow.”
“Planning for Profit” Farm visit dates:
· Thursday 10th July – Alex and Ross King, Wolfstar, Ormiston, East Lothian, EH35 5NH. Themes - “The successful integration of suckler cows into an arable farming system” and “Achieving excellent fertility results with compact calving.”
· Tuesday 22nd July – Willie and James Porter, East Scryne, Carnoustie, DD7 6LL. Themes - “Cow efficiency – high performing calves from small cows” and “The place for suckler cows on an arable farm”
· Wednesday 23rd July – Charley and Andrea Walker, Barnside, Abbey St Bathans, Borders, TD11 3TX. Theme - Benefits of a low labour sheep system.
Each farm visit runs from 1.15 to 4.30pm and the format of each meeting is:
Attendees will receive a hand-out listing key points about each enterprise and performance figures plus a free copy of the Planning for Profit Reference Guide. The Guide contains informative articles and 21 inspiring case studies illustrating how farmers have improved efficiency and profitability in their beef, sheep, grass and cereals enterprises.
Booking is essential for each farm visit and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To book your place contact Kirsty at QMS on 0131 472 4040 or email email@example.com with your name, address and telephone number, stating which of the visits you would like to attend.