2nd March 2010

First Meetings for Scotland’s New Dairy Monitor Farms

Scotland’s two new dairy monitor farms, located in southwest and central Scotland, are opening their gates this month to host their first meetings.

The new monitor farms, appointed by DairyCo and Quality Meat Scotland, are Carcary Farms, Brechin, Angus, run by Sandy Milne, and Hillhead, Kirkpatrick-Fleming, Dumfriesshire, run by William Fleming.

The first central Scotland meeting takes place this Thursday (March 4th) at East Pitfurthie (Carcary Farms), Brechin, Angus at 11am. This will be followed on March 24th with the first meeting for the southwest at Hillhead, Kirkpatrick-Fleming, also at 11am. The meetings are free to attend and open to farmers and industry representatives.

The two farms were selected by a panel including dairy farmers and industry representatives as great examples of dairy farming businesses in their areas, each facing the challenges and opportunities typical of other dairy farms in the areas.

DairyCo extension officer, Heather Wildman, said: “The aim of the new monitor farms is to improve the profitability, productivity and sustainability of the farming businesses, allowing others in the community groups to be actively involved and benefit from the shared knowledge

“Activities will include field visits, monitoring of actions, collation and analysis of data, on-farm demonstrations and the use of specialist speakers in all relevant areas of the dairy industry.

“By sharing information and creative experiences we hope the monitor farmers will prompt discussion for improvement of knowledge and existing skills as well as the development of new skills and also gain greater enjoyment and quality of life from dairying.”

  • Sandy Milne of Carcary Farms runs 340 pedigree Holstein herd with followers. The business is family-run and includes an arable enterprise typical of the area growing barley and wheat.  The monitor farm project will also involve working closely with the Milne family’s nutritionist, Karen Stewart of East Coast Viners and local vet, Graeme Richardson. Mr Milne has invested heavily over the past six years and dramatically altered the set-up of the main dairy unit at East Pitfurthie.  The improvements include cubicle housing for milking cows, a flush wash slurry system and slurry separator, and the use of automatic feeders in the calf house. 
  • The Fleming family runs 190 pedigree Holsteins at Hillhead, Kirkpatrick-Fleming where they have been dairying since November 2002 and the farm partnership includes Willie and his mother and father, Robert and Margaret Fleming.  The family is currently making a major investment to give them a platform from which to expand the business and the challenges they hope to tackle as a monitor farm include cow health and longevity, focusing mainly on lameness and fertility.  They also hope to improve soil condition and the quality of forage crops grown.

Further information on both meetings is available from Heather Wildman, DairyCo Extension Officer on 07876 706391 or by email.

Sign up for the latest news and views