Mon­i­tor farm event is set for Lochaber

The Oban Times - - Farming -

THE op­por­tu­nity to im­prove suck­ler herd mar­gins on the West Coast of Scot­land will be the fo­cus of the next meet­ing of the Lochaber mon­i­tor farm on Thurs­day June 29.

Strone Farm, a 1,200-hectare hill farm lo­cated in the Great Glen, one of Scot­land’s most scenic lo­ca­tions, is run by Chris Cameron in part­ner­ship with his fa­ther Mal­colm and mother Eileen.

At the meet­ing, which will be­gin at 11am and in­cludes lunch, the prof­itabil­ity of West Coast suck­ler sys­tems will be care­fully con­sid­ered.

The mer­its of two dif­fer­ent sys­tems used in the area will be dis­cussed – high in­put and out­put com­pared with low in- put and out­put. The strengths and weak­nesses of the dif­fer­ent sys­tems, in­clud­ing in-win­ter­ing ver­sus out-win­ter­ing, will be con­sid­ered along with what as­pects of each sys­tem work best in terms of fi­nan­cial re­turn.

An­other ob­jec­tive of the meet­ing will be to iden­tify a re­al­is­tic set of key per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors for West Coast suck­ler herds, which will be a use­ful tool for the mon­i­tor farm com­mu­nity group go­ing for­ward.

The meet­ing will also in­volve a close look at the cat­tle sys­tem in place at Strone. ‘The ini­tial part of the meet­ing will in­volve at­ten­dees be­ing out on the farm, look­ing at the cat­tle and be­ing given a de­tailed up­date on the cur­rent cat­tle pol­icy and man­age­ment sys­tem at Strone,’ said Paolo Ber­ardelli, chair­man of the Mon­i­tor Farm Man­age­ment Group.

‘We will then re­turn to carry out a com­par­i­son of the sys­tem with other farms in the lo­cal area. This will be done by man­age­ment group mem­bers ex­plain­ing their farm­ing poli­cies.’

Among the as­pects of the Strone cat­tle en­ter­prise which will be con­sid­ered are calv­ing pol­icy, win­ter­ing pol­icy and mar­ket­ing pol­icy.

The Lochaber mon­i­tor farm is one of nine es­tab­lished around Scot­land in a joint ini­tia­tive by Qual­ity Meat Scot­land (QMS) and AHDB Ce­re­als and 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.

The meet­ings are open and free for all farm­ers to at­tend. At­ten­dees will also have an in­put into top­ics cov­ered, speak­ers in­vited to meet­ings and visits to other en­ter­prises and busi­nesses.

To book your at­ten­dance and lunch, con­tact Niall Camp­bell or Mor­ven MacArthur on 01631 563093 or email fb­soban@sac.co.uk.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the mon­i­tor farm pro­gramme visit www.qm­scot­land.co.uk or ce­re­als.ahdb.org.uk.

Pic­ture: Iain Fer­gu­son, The Write Im­age.

Chris Cameron tends some of his cat­tle at Strone Farm.

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