North and north-east farmers invited to new Monitor Farm meetings

Farmers in the North and North-east of Scotland will be among the first to take part in the new QMS and AHDB Monitor Farm program for 2022-2026, and are invited to come to three on-farm meetings on December 5, 6 and 7 .

The meetings will include visits to and discussions about key parts of each farm, as well as an introduction to the businesses and the new Monitor Farm program.

Each of the nine farms across Scotland is embarking on a journey of transformative change, and the three meetings in the North and north-east are-

Strathspey Monitor Farm – December 5.

Auchernack is an 800ac farm near Grantown on Spey.

It is run by Malcolm Smith, who farms alongside his son Calum.

They have 140 suckler cows and 120 store cattle.

The focus is on store calf production using predominantly Limousin sires.

For ease of management, cattle are overwintered indoors.

Calving is split with a third of the herd calving in autumn/winter and the remainder in spring.

Banff and Buchan Monitor Farm – December 6.

Sauchentree Farm, at New Aberdour, is run by Bruce Irvine in partnership with his father and mother. Bruce farms 650ac with cereals, sheep and cattle and believes the three

enterprises are as important as each other, with livestock providing fertility for the arabable side. Bruce markets the family’s organic lamb and beef through Scotbeef.

Deeside Monitor Farm – December 7.

Meikle Maldron, near Torphins, is run by Duncan and Claire Morrison who moved to the farm in 2016. They farm 558ac with 220 sucklers, comprising 120 commercial and pedigree

Aberdeen Angus cows and a leased herd of 100 Stabilizer cows. Most Stabilizer bull calves are finished, breeding heifers are sold at 12-14 months, the rest sold as stores. They grow 37ac of arabable silage and 20ac of kale.

The aim of the Monitor Farm Scotland Program is to help to farms reach full economic, social, and environmental sustainability by optimizing production. About the next four

years, both other farmers and experts will be brought together to help the three families assess farm performance, explore opportunities, and develop solutions to the challenges they face.

“We are delighted to welcome onboard these three north and north-east farms,” says Beth Alexander, Monitor Farm program manager.

“During its lifetime, the Monitor Farm initiative has pioneered new ways of working, experimented with fresh ideas and, most importantly, helped to improve the productivity and profitability of the businesses it has worked with.

“The journeys these farms go on will be as unique the farms themselves.

“The benefits of the program extend well beyond the gates of the individual Monitor Farms,” says Beth.

“The launch meetings are open to the whole farming community, who are very much welcome to come along and join the discussions.

“We want the learnings and the example set by Monitor farms to benefit all farmers across the whole of Scotland.”

This cycle the Monitor Farm Program is supported by an in-house delivery team with each farm sitting under one of three regional advisers; the North advisor is Peter Beattie.

All farmers attending the meetings will have the opportunity to get involved; each farm will be seeking 10-12 farmers and businesses to be part of a management board, as well as the wider farming community providing support and input.

Visitors to the three farms on 5, 6 and 7 December will get the chance to discuss the business and its way forward, as well as finding out much more about the four year program and how they can be part of it.

Lunch will be provided, so booking is essential for catering numbers.

All visitors are asked to come with clean cars, footwear and clothing for biosecurity reasons, and to car share wherever possible to help with limited parking.

Peter adds: “I’m really looking forward to the three meetings.

“The Monitor Farm program brings opportunities for farmers, employees and rural businesses to contribute, share ideas and learn from others on this four-year journey.”

To book for the meetings, and for further information on each Monitor Farm visit or contact Peter on 07769 366614 or email [email protected]

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