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North Ayrshire Monitor Farm Plans for the Future

Farmers are invited to the next meeting of the North Ayrshire Monitor Farm on Friday 26 January.

The focus of the meeting will be a review of the first year as a monitor farm and the plans to improve the profitability and sustainability of their business.

Girtridge Farm, which is managed by John Howie in partnership with his mother Margaret and sister Mary, finished 220 cattle last year, all of which are housed over the winter.

At the meeting on 26 January, which begins at Girtridge Farm, Dundonald at 10.30am, there will be an opportunity to view the progress of the installation of a new cattle handling system on the farm. There will also be a chance for the group to discuss the proposed changes to the cattle sheds in order to improve ventilation, minimise respiratory problems and improve livestock performance in the housed cattle.

Mr Howie, is keen to receive feedback from local farmers about how his family’s farm’s performance can be improved. He will share Girtridge’s performance figures and costings for 2017 and invite suggestions from the group for ideas for how the business can develop in 2018 and beyond.

Following lunch at a nearby Inn, Stephen Burns, Project and Technical Manager at the Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation (Agri-EPI) Centre will give a presentation to the group.

The Agri-EPI Centre has been established to drive growth and support innovative ideas to help farmers and business owners become more profitable and sustainable. 

It has over 140 members and brings together leading academic institutions with industry partners to design and develop research and innovations that will support growth in the food and farming sectors.

John Howie is looking forward to hearing how new technology can be adopted on farm to help farmers in Ayrshire.

“As farmers we are constantly trying to find ways to increase our businesses’ efficiency and profitability, so I am intrigued to learn more about the Agri-EPI centre’s support of innovative products to help livestock enterprises become more sustainable,” said Mr Howie.   

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 meeting on 26 January at Girtridge Farm, Dundonald, KA2 9BX will begin at 10.30am. Lunch will be provided and the meeting is expected to finish by 3pm. All are welcome and the event is free.

For catering purposes, those interested in coming along on 26 January should confirm attendance 

by calling 01292 525252 or emailing FBSAyr@sac.co.uk

For more information about the monitor farm programme visit www.monitorfarms.co.uk