Potential to Optimise Grazing on the Agenda for Lochaber Monitor Farm

Potential routes to optimise the use and management of grazing land in order to improve profitability, will be discussed at the next Lochaber Monitor farm meeting on Thursday 15 March.

Monitor farmers Chris and Malcolm Cameron, from Strone Farm near Banavie, have recently secured a five-year tenancy of around 42 hectares of additional grazing with a small shed at Fassfern, Locheil, 11 miles away from the home farm.

At the meeting on the 15 March, which will be held at the newly-rented land at Fassfern, the group will consider the best use of the new additional acreage within the current farm management system in order to improve the output of the business. The group will discuss how the grassland should be managed and what improvements will provide the best return on any investment made.

Due to a serious predation problem around Strone, the Camerons currently send their ewes to rented grazing land near Inverness to lamb outside. The lambs are then reared and sold as stores in August without returning to Strone.

Although lambing away from Strone has resulted in much higher lambing percentages, it means Chris needs to live away from the family farm for 3-4 weeks every year so that he can monitor his ewes during the lambing period, which isn’t ideal for the farming family.

Chris Cameron already has some ideas for using this extra grazing. “I’m keen to see if it would be feasible for us to lamb our ewes with twins inside and maybe even finish some lambs ourselves, rather than selling them as store, as we have done in the past.”

He added: “How hill and mountain farmers like ourselves improve the light lamb product they currently offer was one of the issues highlighted at last month’s Vision of the Hills and Mountains meeting and it has certainly given us food for thought as to how we can do this differently at Strone.”

The meeting on 15 March will therefore also explore the option for finishing lambs on the west coast - including input and outputs and how to best improve marginal land;  through rush control, drainage, ditching and reseeding.

The Lochaber Monitor Farm is one of nine monitor farms that have been established around Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & 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.

Please note that the meeting, which will begin at 11am and end at 2.30pm will be held at the shed at Fassfern, NOT at Strone Farm. Please use postcode PH33 7NP for directions. A cold lunch will be provided, but as there is no electricity supply, those attending are encouraged to bring a flask of something warm to drink

To book your attendance (and lunch!) please contact Niall Campbell or Morven MacArthur on 01631 563093 or email

For more information about the monitor farm programme visit