Lothians MF Meeting Reports 2018
The final meeting of the year in December featured innovation and technology. Niall Jeffrey, named as AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of 2018, gave an inspiring presentation on his farming business at Bielgrange in East Lothian. He also outlined the work of the UK Agritech Centre Agri-EPI and highlighted his experience to date as a satellite far with the project.George Lawrie outlined some of the important work on arable systems at the James Hutton Institute. Following the presentations, the community group were invited to put questions to a panel which included Kate Rowell (chair of QMS) Niall Jeffrey, George Lawrie and Duncan Barrie a partner at Galbraith Group. A summary of the panel discussion is here.
The meeting on 17th October 2018 included a round of the arable harvest and the cattle and sheep over the dry summer. Discussions included the arable rotation and the role of winter barley and performance of oilseed rape .On the the livestock side the management of winter grazing forage crops and the optimum ratio and overall stocking rate of cattle and sheep were discussed.
The open meeting held on 25th July attracted arable and livestock farmers alike with a good turn out to review the progress to date and discuss the way forward for the rest of the project. Collaboration was a key focus for the morning session both between the two farms and a wider context with The Moredun and the James Hutton research institutes. Given the increase in livestock numbers on the farm, and the challenges presented by this years weather a review of the livestock carrying capacity at Saughland was discussed with a range of suggestions offered by the farmers attending. The collaboration with Moredun Research Institute is leading to Peter using 'Targeted Selected treatment' for parasite control by working closely with researchers who described the concept at the meeting. The war on worms video outlines the importance of using techniques to minimise anthelmintic resistance and the SCOPS information on products available was highlighted together with the QMS worm control in sheep booklet. Sheep scab is a notifiable disease in Scotland and at Moredun there is ongoing research into its diagnosis and control. The arable discussion included the need for a new grain store identified at the beginning of the monitor farm project and machinery needs and replacement costs. Crop rotations and the role of pollinators were also highlighted.