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The progress of a family farm near Hawick trying to improve its efficiency and profitability as part of a monitor farm programme will be highlighted during an open day they are hosting on Wednesday 11 July.

Whitriggs Farm near Denholm was announced as a monitor farm in December 2016. Eighteen months later and now half way through the three year programme, it is opening its gates to let anyone with an interest in livestock farming learn more about what they have been doing so far to improve the management of their business.

Pelvic measuring of heifers will now be a regular activity on Morayshire Monitor Farm after recent try outs found merit in it as a management tool.

Pelvic measuring is a simple process where the height and width of the pelvis are recorded before pregnancy; the data can then be used to improve breeding practices.

Monitor Farmer Iain Green decided to try out pelvic measuring last year and so took measurements from a group of 31 heifers, all put to the same bull. The team then gave each heifer a score for calving ease and also for calf size.

Chris Cameron from Strone Farm

The changes introduced at Strone Farm during its first year as the Lochaber Monitor Farm Monitor will be highlighted by host farmers Chris and Malcolm Cameron at an open day at Strone Farm near Banavie, Fort William on Wednesday 13 June.

John Howie from Girtidge Farm

Ways to improve soil and crop health and to reduce compaction issues will be the focus of the next meeting of the North Ayrshire Monitor Farm on Friday 8 June.

The importance of managing summer pastures and what factors influence profit during the summer months will be the focus of the next meeting of the Sutherland Monitor Farm on Wednesday 6th June.

At the meeting, which will begin at Brora Golf Club at 10.30am, Trevor Cook, a vet and grassland consultant, will share his knowledge on how livestock farmers can best profit from pasture based systems. Mr Cook, who is from New Zealand, is one of the most respected consultants specialising in advising farmers on all aspects of production from grass based systems.

The potential to make better use of pasture and barley variety trials will be among the areas under the spotlight of the next meeting of the Shetland Monitor Farm on Saturday 2nd June.

Shetland generally has longer winters and shorter summers than the rest of the UK, which can make it difficult for livestock farmers to grow enough grass or crops to feed their animals all year round.

 

Bill Gray and Peter Eccles

Farmers will get the chance to compare notes on an extremely challenging season, as well as finding out how their local monitor farm coped, at the coming Lothians Monitor Farm meeting on 23 May.

Project facilitator Colin MacPhail explains: “We see the whole day as chance to catch up after a really difficult period for the livestock and arable farmers. We’ll look back over what the farms have been doing over the winter and spring months, and find out what the plans are for this season.”

Andrew Marchant, Nithsdale monitor farmer, with facilitator Rhidian Jones with Clonhie farm’s bumper crop of kale

A farm tour will give attendees at the next Nithsdale Monitor farm meeting the opportunity to see the changes made on Clonhie Farm over the last 12 months. One of the things to be reviewed during the tour of Clonhie Farm on Thursday 17 May, will be the overwintering grazing system the farm established for the first time last winter.

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