Angus Farmers Introduce Sweeping Changes as Result of Monitor Farm Programme

Being part of the Monitor Farm programme has been a huge success for the Stodart family at Mill of Inverarity farm, Inverarity, Forfar. They have changed just about everything on their farm for the better and become more profitable as a result.

Robert and Alison Stodart farm alongside their son Rory, with the support of his two siblings. They have a mixed farming business comprising of 125 breeding cattle, 300 finishing cattle, 700 breeding sheep, 4500 free range laying hens, and 287HA of arable land where spring barley, winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, turnips and fodder beet are grown.

Alison Stodart said: “Our farming business has changed out of all recognition since we became involved with the monitor farm programme in 2016. Our farm is a totally different place now to when we started and the process has given us all a lot of confidence as a family and how we work together. We have become more professional as farmers, it’s not just a way of life anymore, it is a business. 

“The input and advice we have received from other farmers has been invaluable and has made our business more resilient.  Being a monitor farmer has given us the confidence to change the way we do things. It has encouraged us to become better at planning ahead and as a result we have a much more structured crop rotation and marketing strategy in place; and have improved the fertility of our cattle.”

Mill of Inverarity is part of the Monitor Farm Scotland initiative, managed 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.

Chris Leslie, Knowledge Exchange Manager (Arable) for AHDB in Scotland, said: “Traditionally the focus on the farm was more livestock orientated but the Stodarts have realised that fully integrating the enterprises brings benefits on both sides. They have had the whole farm soil mapped in the last three years with the help of Soil Essentials and they have brought the ph up to where it needs to be. As a result of this they have seen dramatically improved yields from their arable crops.”

Facilitator David Ross, from SAC Consulting, said: “Having facilitated the meetings over the last three years I have witnessed the ups and downs of the project and seen the business improve in both the livestock and arable enterprises. I would encourage all with an interest in improving their farm business to attend the final meeting which will  look back at what has been learned and also to look forward to where the Stodart family want to take their business in the future.”

The Monitor Farm meeting will take place on Thursday 27 at Forfar Mart, 48 St John Street, Forfar, DD8 3EZ from 10.30 to 2.30.

The event is free of charge but please book a place by contacting SAC Consulting by phone 01569 762305 or email frbsstonehaven@sac.co.uk.

The Angus 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. It is 100 per cent funded by Scottish Government through the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund.

For more information about the monitor farm programme, visit www.monitorfarms.co.uk.