The next meeting of the Sutherland Monitor Farm on Friday July 28th will focus on maximising lamb profitability and consider the outlook for the lamb trade and the need to meet market specification.
Farmers and crofters are invited to the free meeting at Clynelish Farm, Brora (run by Jason and Victoria Ballantyne) which starts at 2pm, with coffee/registration from 1.30pm.
Clynelish Farm is one of nine monitor farms established in Scotland as part of a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds with funding from the Scottish Government. The aim of the monitor farm programme is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.
The Ballantynes currently run 900 breeding ewes, of which about half are Lairg type Cheviots and the other half are Lleyn crosses.
Stuart Ashworth, Head of Economics Services with QMS, will be speaking at the event when he will take a close look at the outlook for the sheep market.
Mr Ashworth will focus on carcass weights, meeting market specification and the wider challenges and opportunities facing rural communities. He will also look at the unique selling points of the Scotch Lamb PGI brand and the opportunities to promote the brand.
“We will also be taking a close look at the Clynelish lambs and data ahead of the forth-coming sales,” said Cat MacGregor of SAC Thurso, one of the joint facilitators of the project.
She added: “This will include a breakout session, where the attendees will be split into groups to assess pens of lambs and discuss the potential marketing options for them.”
The Ballantynes also run 80 suckler cows, which are a mainly Simmental cross native breeds. Calves are born outside in May, weaned in November at five or six months old and sold as stores at Thainstone at 10 months old.
Stranraer farmer Robert Parker, whose farm Drumdow is the current AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, will also be speaking at the meeting and will outline the work he has done to drive his beef enterprise forward and share his experiences and views on the future.
The event will round-off with a spit roast of Scotch Lamb for those who attend.
To book your attendance at the meeting at Clynelish on Friday July 28th please contact Willie Budge or Cat MacGregor, the project facilitators at SAC Consulting Thurso on 01847 892602 or email FBSThurso@sac.co.uk
For more information about the monitor farm programme visit www.qmscotland.co.uk