Nithsdale MF Meeting Reports 2018
There was a focus on beef at the November 2018 Monitor Farm meeting which was kindly hosted by John Wildman at Nethertown, Shawhead. The guest speaker for the meeting was Nuffield scholar Steven Sandisson from Orkney who gave a presentation on cattle benchmarking and shared findings from his Nuffield study. The meeting report is here.
The September meeting focused on managing grassland to maximise its potential including an assessment of the soils and grassland at Glengar . This was led by guest speaker Charlie Morgan whose afternoon presentation is available here. Andrew gave a farm update and Rhidian outlined the plans for managing winter feeding based on grass and silage stocks which can be found here. Please find the handout and the meeting report here.
The open meeting in July 2018 proved very popular with an excellent turnout of farmers including some new faces. It offered an overview of the activities on Clonhie over the last eighteen months aswell as looking forward to new ideas to improve precision livestock farming. Two areas that have been explored as part of the Monitor Farm Programme include Andrew trying out new management methods for lamb finishing and managing ewes over the winter. The farm tour on the day included a good discussion on options to cope with the current dry weather and planning ahead to manage livestock and feed supply once it does rain. Participants heard about some of the possible uses of drones on farm and the opportunities for making the use of data. Andrew demonstrated how the sheep race weigh crate and dosing gun can improve efficiency both in terms of labour and accuracy of dosing and reducing the risk of anthelmintic resistance. Aileen encouraged us all to take some responsibilty for promoting red meat and the work of farmers by suggesting ways to get involved. The handout from the event is here.
The May 2018 meeting at Nithsdale included an update from Andrew and a chance to see the deer that arrived on the farm in February. A trailer trip to the land at Glengar meant a chance to get an overview of the whole farming system integrating cattle sheep and deer and maximising the use of all the land types. Rhidian's grass growth upate highlighted the value of new reseeds. Andrew noted the role of the older swards of the winter grazing which had left the ewes in good condition. See meeting handout and presentation. The meeting report is here.
At the first Nithsdale meeting of 2018, farmers saw first hand how Andrew had outwintered his ewes on deferred grazing and on the July sown Kale crop. He gave a farm update of progress since the last meeting. Alex Brewster gave a presentation about making more from grass by improving grazing management. Aileen Marchant shared with the group the potential value of social media for farmers to play their part in promoting Scottish farming including Scotch lamb and Scotch beef. Rhidian Jones outlined how to work out allocation of grass for wintering sheep so farmers can go home and make calculations for their own farms. The meeting report is here.