A local team of farmers has helped Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) appoint a father and son enterprise as the first Donside farm to be involved in Scotland’s Monitor Farm Programme.
Monitor Farms are a platform for one farm in an area, supported by a community group, to look at the productivity and profitability of the whole farm business over a three year period. The Monitor Farmer seeks to improve farm profitability through a process of peer review and advice, specialist input and support from the Monitor Farm Facilitator.
Lost Farm at Strathdon, within the Cairngorms National Park, is run by Charles and George Gordon. The current operation is the result of a recent merger between their two separate businesses and there are several enterprises and sites within the business. All are sited within the Cairngorms National Park.
Lost extends to 457ha comprising 24ha crops, 68ha temporary grazing, 219ha permanent grazing, 140ha rough grazing with 6ha made over to neeps and another 9ha allocated to environmental schemes such as wild bird seed and rush management Land Management Options (LMOs). All crops grown on the farm are fed to stock.
The unit currently runs 90 suckler cows, 80 to 90 stores, around 60 bulling heifers, 920 ewes plus 400 hogs and around 1,400 lambs. The progeny from the suckler cows are sold as yearlings and the bulling heifers are calved and then sold with calves at foot. The lambs are either sold store or finished, depending on market conditions.
A selection panel from within the Cairngorms National Park has appointed Alister Laing and David Ross of SAC as the facilitators responsible for overseeing the Cairngorms Monitor Farm.
Commenting on the appointment, QMS Technical Projects Manager Peter Beattie said: “When the previous farm came to the end of its three year tenure as the area Monitor Farm, QMS launched the search for a successor.
“The criteria for selection specified that the farm needed to be typical of livestock farms in the Eastern Cairngorms and an assured member of the QMS Cattle and Sheep Scheme. Farming has to be the full-time profession of at least one of the family members and the farmer needs to be keen to discuss their hopes and aspirations for their business with a group of neighbouring farmers.”
“Charles and George Gordon have a business that is currently evolving, in the wake of their merger, with the aim of fully amalgamating their enterprises. They are both well-known in the area which should encourage other farmers to become involved.”
Mr Beattie continued: “Lost will provide an excellent opportunity for farmers, both locally and further afield, to consider options to improve their businesses and step up production efficiency and profits from their livestock enterprises. We are looking forward to working with Charles and Gordon over the next three years.”
The funding for the three year project is valued at £88,900 and this will be delivered both financially and in-kind. The principal project funders are QMS, the Scottish Government and the Cairngorms National Park Authority with support from the National Farmers Union of Scotland, Johnston Carmichael and CKD Galbraith.
Following SAC’s completion of the whole farm review and benchmarking process, the date of the first meeting at Lost should be announced within the next few weeks.
Picture, left to right: David Ross of SAC, Charles and George Gordon of Lost Farm and Alister Laing of SAC examine a map of the area