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Lack of skilled labour still a key concern for larger flocks

A survey of Scottish sheep farmers by Quality Meat Scotland has revealed a significant turnaround in confidence among producers has taken place over the past three years.

Just over 30% of the 327 respondents to the postal survey at the end of 2010 were more confident about their sheep enterprise than they were this time last year while just 11% were less confident.

QMS and the Cairngorms National Park Authority, with support from NFU Scotland, Johnston Carmichael and CKD Galbraith, are seeking a new upland livestock monitor farm for the Eastern Cairngorms. In addition, the steering group is looking for local, rural professionals who might be interested in co-ordinating this new monitor farm project.

QMS and the Cairngorms National Park Authority, with support from NFU Scotland, Johnston Carmichael and CKD Galbraith, are seeking a new upland livestock monitor farm for the Eastern Cairngorms. In addition, the steering group is looking for local, rural professionals who might be interested in co-ordinating this new monitor farm project.

The resurgence of interest in traditional, flavoursome food appears to be generating increased consumer enthusiasm about cooking with offal, with tripe, trotters and testicles back on the menu.

An increasing number of top chefs are encouraging a growing trend for nose-to-tail cooking and celebrity chefs, such as Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin, are leading the way and encouraging consumers to minimise waste by using every part of an animal and experiment with new ingredients.

A new report which could help processors shave up to 15% off their annual utility bills has just been published by Quality Meat Scotland.

The new series of guides to control and reduce resource use at meat plants is the latest part of a project to improve profitability and generate environmental benefits throughout the Scottish red meat processing sector

The first meeting of the new Kintyre Monitor Farm was attended by around 60 local farmers, including one from the Isle of Islay.

The new monitor farmer, Duncan Macalister, owns the 1730 acre (700 has) Glenbarr Farms, situated on the west coast of the Kintyre peninsula, between Tarbert and Campbeltown. Two full time staff are employed.

The cattle enterprise is based on a herd of 140 predominantly spring-calving, mostly out-wintered Aberdeen-Angus cows, put to Aberdeen-Angus bulls.

Almost 20,000 pupils from across Scotland have benefited from Quality Meat Scotland’s nationwide Health and Education Meat Voucher Scheme.  Over 235 secondary schools took part in the initiative which was launched in September 2010, offering young people the chance to work on their culinary skills and learn the art of cooking red meat as part of a healthy balanced diet. 

The use of plastic jackets on young lambs has proved a good investment  at Mains of Thornton, the new organic monitor farm near Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.

 The farm, run by the Cooper family, was recently appointed as a monitor farm by Quality Meat Scotland and the Scottish Organic Producers Association.

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