The long-term benefits of being involved with a monitor farm project will be highlighted at the next meeting of the Shetland monitor farm next week.
Award-winning Highland sheep farmer John Scott of Fearn Farm, near Tain, will talk about his experience being a monitor farmer at the meeting on Thursday, August 10.
The Shetland monitor farm is hosted at Kirsty and Aimee Budge’s Bigton Farm on the west side of the Shetland south mainland.
The sisters run 240 Shetland cross Cheviot ewes and 70 Salers cross Shorthorn cows at the 740-acre farm.
Bigton is one of nine farms taking part in the new monitor farm programme being run by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds.
Funded by a £1.25million grant from the Scottish Government, the scheme aims to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.
Speaking ahead of his presentation at the meeting, Mr Scott explained the business benefits of being involved in a monitor farm project were long-term.
“It is now eight years since Fearn completed its three-year term as a Quality Meat Scotland monitor farm and something which has become very clear is the long-term ripple effect of what we learned from the process,” said Mr Scott, who recently led a government review into the Scottish sheep sector.
“Certainly, the changes we introduced – many of them small with cumulative benefits – have continued to deliver improvements to our bottom line.
“However, a key long-term benefit was the discipline we learned during the process in terms of basing our decisions on data and bench-marking our performance against others.
“That has ensured that every part of our business is now regularly scrutinised to quickly identify any areas of underperformance.”
The Shetland meeting starts at Bigton Hall at 11am when the host farmers, Kirsty and Aimee Budge, will give an update on their activities since the last meeting.
Other speakers at the event include Iain Eadie from Germinal Seeds, who will discuss grass varieties, types and attributes, grass seed mixtures, and reseeding methods and techniques.