The final North Ayrshire Monitor Farm meeting, to be held at Girtridge Farm, Dundonald on Friday 28 February, will provide a valuable opportunity for the local farming community to hear about the impact of changes implemented over the three-year programme.
The 140-hectare enterprise, Girtridge Farm, run by John Howie in partnership with his mother and sister, has benefited from changes made during the programme, including the introduction of rotational grazing, modifying their cattle finishing system and increasing their sheep flock from 135 to 500.
Mr Howie said: “The Monitor Farm Project has really opened our eyes to the true potential of our farm, we have been able to focus on maximising every acre in terms of efficiency and profitability.
“The expertise we have been able to tap into has given us the confidence to go ahead and try new things. Through improved grazing and grassland management, we have been able to finish stock quicker and reduce feed costs, and as a result our business is in a much better position than when we started the project three years ago.” he commented.
At the final meeting, QMS Chair, Kate Rowell will talk about her time as a monitor farmer, and her experience since finishing the programme and the positive effect it has had on her farming business.
Raymond Crerar , North Ayrshire Monitor Farm Facilitator from SAC Consulting, said: “There has been tremendous support from the community group whose enthusiasm and innovative ideas have driven the success of this project at Girtridge.
“I would encourage all with an interest in improving their farm business to attend the final meeting which will look back at what has been learned and also to look forward to where the Howie family want to take their business in the future.”
The North Ayrshire Monitor Farm is one of nine monitor farms that have been established across Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, with funding from the Scottish Government. The aim of the programme is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.
The final meeting at Girtridge Farm on Friday 28 February will begin at 10.30am. The meeting will also look at future options for the farm and aim to finish at 3:00pm. All are welcome and the event is free.
For catering purposes, those interested in coming along should confirm attendance by calling 01292 525252 or emailing FBSAyr@sac.co.uk