Final North Ayrshire Monitor Farm meeting set to showcase many improvements

The final North Ayrshire Monitor Farm meeting is to be held at Girtridge Farm, Dundonald on Friday, February 28.

The meeting will provide a valuable opportunity for the local farming community to hear about the impact of changes implemented over the three-year programme.

The 140ha enterprise, Girtridge Farm, run by John Howie in partnership with his mother and sister, has benefited from many changes made during the programme.

These changes include: the introduction of rotational grazing; modifying their cattle finishing system; and increasing their sheep flock from 135 head to 500 head.

‘Maximising every acre’

Commenting on the potential and experiences gained from the project, 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; as a result, our business is in a much better position than when we started the project three years ago.

Raymond Crerar, North Ayrshire monitor farm facilitator from Scotland Agricultural College (SAC) Consulting, said of the project: “There has been tremendous support from the community group whose enthusiasm and innovative ideas have driven the success of this project at Girtridge.”

Raymond continued: “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 the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (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.

Final meeting

At the final meeting, QMS chair, Kate Rowell, will talk about her time as a monitor farmer, her experience since finishing the programme and the positive effect it has had on her farming business.

The final meeting at Girtridge Farm will take plce on Friday, February 28, at 10:30am.

The meeting will also look at future options for the farm and aims to finish at 3:00pm. The event will be free to enter, with all comers welcome.

For catering purposes, those interested in coming along should confirm attendance by calling: 01-292 525252; or emailing: [email protected].