Posted: February 7, 2020

Key Learnings Shared at Final Nithsdale Monitor Farm Meeting

The many changes made by the Marchant family over the three-year Monitor Farm programme at Clonhie will be the focus of the final Nithsdale Monitor Farm meeting on Thursday 27th February.

Farmers in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting later this month, where monitor farmers Andrew and Aileen Marchant will look back at the impact the project has had on their farm and the lessons that they have learned.

Since opening the gates to Clonhie for the first monitor farm meeting back in January 2017, the Marchant family have made improvements throughout the business, particularly in regard to soil management, animal health and forage utilsation.

Clonhie is a 300 hectare beef and sheep farm based in the south west of Scotland. They have a herd of 30 Luing cows, an expanding herd of red deer and over 1000 breeding ewes.

The couple have been incredibly enthusiastic hosts and have welcomed large numbers of farmers and expert speakers onto their farm to share their ideas and follow the farm trials over three extremely busy years.

Andrew Marchant commented: “Being part of the Monitor Farm project has been a fantastic opportunity which has provided us with the confidence to make changes to our business based on facts and figures.

“At the start of the project our whole farm review revealed our fixed costs were high and there was significant scope for us to increase our output per hectare to help spread these costs.

“Through the Monitor Farm project we have been able to improve our livestock production, soil and pasture management and financial performance and as a result our business is in a much better position to cope with future challenges.”

One of Nithsdale Monitor Farm project facilitators, Judith Hutchison, is keen to encourage local farmers to attend the final meeting.

“We are very much looking forward to sharing all the key changes implemented at Clonhie during this very successful Monitor Farm Project,” said Mrs Huchison.

“The most powerful learning for farmers comes from other farmers. Seeing things actually happen on farm, following the results of changes made throughout the three-year project and having the opportunity to discuss and learn from both successes and failures has been the crux of this project.”

The final Nithsdale Monitor Farm meeting will begin at 10.30am on Thursday 27th February and will be held at Durisdeer Village Hall DG3 5BQ, where the Marchants will give an overview of the highlights of the projects.

Guest speaker Justin McCarthy, Editor of Farmer’s Journal, will discuss the opportunities and challenges for livestock producers over the next five years. He will be joined by QMS Chair, Kate Rowell who will talk about her time as a monitor farmer, her experience since finishing the programme and the positive effect it has had on her farming business.

The Nithsdale 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. The aim of the programme, which is funded by Scottish Government, is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

To book your place please contact facilitator Judith Hutchison on 07718 919055 or email


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