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Figuring out the financials at Morayshire Monitor Farm
The importance of benchmarking will be emphasised at the coming Morayshire Monitor Farm meeting on Tuesday 10 July.
Past monitor farmer Steven Sanderson, who farms 330 acres on Orkney, will join the community group at Corskie Farm to share his experiences after he completed a Nuffield Scholarship on benchmarking in beef farming.
All the Monitor Farm Scotland farms have established business groups where each member enters their business figures into AHDB programme Farmbench which allows them to compare and contrast the results at regular discussion meetings.
Steven got into benchmarking as a way to help him reach previously unreachable management targets.
“I used to go to these meetings where we were told we should be meeting certain targets,” Steven says, “for example 92% weaning in a 9 week breeding period, at the time that for me seemed nigh on impossible.
“So I set out to find out if it was possible, and if so, how the farmers achieving it were doing so, and that’s where benchmarking came in. It’s only through having a clear idea of how you are doing in terms of inputs and outputs, and then comparing that to others, that you can see where changes can be made.”
The group will also hear more about the Beef Monitor system Corskie is currently trialling. The system automatically weighs the cattle every time they go to take a drink, which offers the Green family huge scope to monitor the effectiveness of their breeding and feeding programmes to improve cattle performance.
Monitor farmer Laura Green explains: “It’s a really useful system for measuring daily liveweight gains which we can then trace back to our genetics and use the information to make our system even more efficient.
“It will also flag up if any of the livestock are suffering from poor health before there are any clinical signs, or if we need to make any changes to the ration. I’m really looking forward to seeing the system in practice with our group of just weaned bulls.”
As Corskie Farm hosts a number of Syngenta cereal variety trials, the Morayshire Monitor Farm Open Day will also double as Syngenta’s trial site open day with Iain Lindsay and Katie Murray on hand to discuss how the varieties have been faring this year.
Attendees will be able to see first-hand how both winter and spring barley varieties are coping with the recent hot, dry weather.
“We’ll be looking at the crops to see how they are coping in tough conditions,” Iain explains, “how resilient are they to long periods without rain, how to they manage in the heat and of course no doubt the farmers present will have their own experiences to share about their season also.”
The Morayshire Monitor is one of nine monitor farms established in Scotland as part of a joint initiative 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.
The Monitor Farm meeting will take place on Corskie Farm, Garmouth, IV32 7NN, on Tuesday 10 July from 2pm to 5pm. The event is free of charge but to assist with catering it would be appreciated if you can book a place by contacting Samantha Stewart by phone (01343 548 787) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).