23rd January 2020

Shetland Monitor Farmers Share Key Learning's at Final Meeting


Farmers and crofters in Shetland are being invited to attend the final monitor farm meeting at Bigton Hall on Saturday 8th February. They will learn first-hand how the 305 ha (750 acres) livestock enterprise has benefited from its involvement in the three-year Monitor Farm project.

At the upcoming meeting, monitor farmers Aimee and Kirsty Budge, will share key learnings, demonstrate the positive impact of the project on Bigton Farm and share what they plan to do in the future.

Attendees will also have a chance to hear about the changes the sisters have made to lamb finishing, forage crops and breeding their own replacements.

The final free-to-attend meeting will take place from 11am to 3.30pm and is open to everyone with an interest in farming, crofting and rural businesses.  It will report on what has been achieved through the implementation of key initiatives including benchmarking and on-farm trials.

“During our three years as monitor farmers we’ve made significant improvements to our farm business and have benefited from expert speakers and a strong support network from local farmers and crofters,” said Kirsty.

 “One of the biggest challenges we face on Shetland is arable production due to the rough ground. Through the Monitor Farm Project, we decided to grow 60 acres of spring barley. This has allowed us to keep feed costs down and supply some barley to local farmers. We now have the confidence to look at ways to increase crop yields for next year,” she added.

Funded by Scottish Government, the aim of the Monitor Farm Project is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

At the final meeting, QMS Chair, Kate Rowell will talk about her time as a monitor farmer, her experiences since completing the programme and the positive effect it has had on her farming business.

Fasciliatior, Graham Fraser from SAC Consulting, said: “The upcoming meeting will be a great opportunity to reflect on the impact of the project and share key learnings.

“Community group members will share the benefits of attending a monitor farm meeting and the changes they have made to their business. John Abernethy, a local farmer in Shetland will explain how the project has gave him the confidence to introduce rotational grazing, wean his lambs earlier and change the breed of sheep.”

The final meeting will take place on 8th February starting at Bigton Hall at 11am till 3.30pm. To attend the meeting, please book by contacting SAC  on 01595693520 or email  frbslerwick @sac.co.uk.

The Shetland monitor farm is one of nine monitor farms that have been established around Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.

For more information about the monitor farm programme visit www.monitorfarms.co.uk.


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