2nd March 2011

New Monitor Farm for Kintyre Announced

Duncan Macalister, the new Kintyre monitor farmer, flanked by facilitatorsLinda McLean and Alan Boulton.

A new monitor farm for Kintyre has been announced by Quality Meat Scotland with the first meeting set to take place on March 16th at 1pm.

Glenbarr Farms near Campbeltown, run by Duncan Macalister supported by two full time staff, has been revealed as the new monitor farm.

Duncan Macalister farms 700 ha, all owner occupied, of which 41 ha is cropped with barley, eight ha forage rape, 113 ha rotational and 83 ha permanent grassland. There is also around 211 ha rough hill ground and 244ha in trees.

The unit includes a 140 head herd of Aberdeen Angus cross cows put to the Aberdeen Angus bull. The progeny are sold fat with the majority going direct to slaughter and about six sold direct to retail through a local shop. Annually around 20 heifers are also selected and retained for breeding.

Glenbarr Farms also carries 600 ewes of which 300 are Greyface and Llyen ewes which go to Cheviot and Suffolk tups and 300 Blackface ewes which go to Llyen tups. As with the beef enterprise replacements are selected and the remainder are finished on grass and forage rape and sold fat.

The joint facilitators for the Argyll Monitor Farm are Linda McLean and Alan Boulton, Funding is provided by QMS and the Scottish Government under the Skills Development Scheme with support from NFUS and the Argyll and Bute Agricultural Forum.

“The farm’s three year participation in the project aims to improve farm business profit by close examination and trial of new ideas in key enterprises in the business,” said Peter Beatie, Technical Projects Manager, QMS.

“The input of other farmers and knowledge exchange are hugely important to the process, and ultimately we aim to see smarter farm businesses that have learnt from participating in the project.”

New monitor farmer, Duncan Macalister, said he was looking forward to getting involved in the project.

''I see the monitor farm process as an opportunity to release the full potential of Glenbarr farm both physically and financially,” said Mr Macalister. Facilitator Linda McLean said she was encouraged by the degree of local interest already.

''There is already enthusiasm in the local farming community for the Kintyre Monitor Farm and I hope that it will not only bring benefit to Kintyre farming businesses but to Islay and Mid Argyll too.''

Facilitator Alan Boulton added: ''Getting to know the farm business in such depth and participating in its decision making will be a great learning experience for all of us. It’s a rare opportunity to gain and share knowledge in a working environment with the time to put theory into practice and see the results.''

The first meeting on 16th March starts at 1pm with lunch provided and attendess asked to meet at Charleston shed Barrglen, Glenbarr. For further information or if interested in attending please contact Linda McLean on 07725994521 or Alan Boulton on 07795472442.

Further information on the monitor farm programme, including facilitators’ contact details, is available by visiting www.monitorfarms.co.uk

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