The Angus Monitor Farm’s next meeting, on May 23, will look at key issues affecting herd health, as well as grass seed trials which aim to identify a mix which can be sown under spring barley.
Monitor Farmer Rory Stodart explains: “We’re really keen to find a mix which won’t decrease our spring barley yield, but at the same time produces good quality grass for overwintering sheep. It is all about making the most of our resources, we are a classic mixed farm, we have livestock and arable and only so much land, and I don’t want to see it sitting unproductive for half the year.”
Seed merchant Charlie Murray will talk through the trial, which consists of eight plots where four different grass mixes have been sown, using three different sowing rates. The spring barley variety Concerto has also gone in, and the harvested yield will indicate which of the mixes is best grown under the barley.
The Stodarts’ 200 hectare arable enterprise, growing winter wheat, winter barley, winter oilseed rape and spring barley, will also be the focus for agronomist Sam Ruddell, who will review the farm’s agronomy policy with an emphasis on managing weeds and crop spraying.
The livestock enterprises at Mill of Inverarity comprise of 200 suckler cows, 440 breeding ewes, 300 bought in store lambs and finishing cattle. Vet Tim Geraghty, who is advising the Stodarts on moving to a closed herd, will focus on the beef enterprise, as he leads a discussion on cattle health and fertility.
Finally, the group will discuss the farm’s current financial figures which have been assessed using AHDB’s new benchmarking programme, Farmbench.
The 358 hectare mixed unit farmed by the Stodart family is now part of the Monitor Farm Scotland initiative, managed by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
The aim of the programme, which is funded by the Scottish Government, is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses through practical demonstrations, the sharing of best practice and the discussion of up-to-date issues.
Over 100 farmers attended the first meeting and a management group of local farmers and others involved in agriculture has now been established to work with the community group and facilitators to drive the project over the next three years.
The meeting will be held at Mill of Inverarity Farm, Forfar, Angus, DD8 2JN from 10.30am to 2pm, with lunch provided on farm.
The event is free to attend but to assist with catering attendees should book a place by contacting Stacey Hamilton by phone (01569 762305) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information about the monitor farm programme visit cereals.ahdb.org.uk or www.qmscotland.co.uk.