Monitor farm meet to discuss maximising business and livestock efficiency

The next Shetland monitor farm meeting on Saturday, March 2 will focus on business management accounting, improving farm efficiency and preparation for calving and lambing.

At the meeting, Karen Scholes from Scholes Chartered Accountants in Kirkwall will outline the tax aspects associated with running a farming business. She said: “Hopefully my presentation will help any farmer or crofter grow their existing business in a tax efficient manner.”

Scholes will also talk about the implications of the new Making Tax Digital initiative from the HRMC.

“The Making Tax Digital initiative is the government’s plan to digitise the tax system and will see one of the biggest changes to VAT in decades,” said Scholes.

From April 1, 2019, VAT-registered businesses with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold will be required to keep digital records and submit VAT returns using compatible software.

At the meeting, Scholes will highlight some of the software options for farmers to comply with this initiative and the possible impact on their business, as well as where to look for help as they make this transition.

Monitor farm facilitator Derek Hanton has conducted a comprehensive farm audit and looked at the last three years of production and financial data from Bigton, Shetland’s monitor farm.

This included examining the different businesses enterprises to highlight potential areas for improvement.

At the meeting, Hanton will present some of the findings from the audit, including the performance of the suckler herd over the last three years and the results and costings of the lambs Bigton bought in to finish on forage over the winter.

He will also share the performance figures of the breeding flock over the last three years and lead a group discussion on how the Budges, and other farmers and crofters on Shetland, can increase their scanning, lambing, weaning and finishing percentages.

After lunch, Kirsty and Aimee Budge will update the group on developments at Bigton since the last meeting.

Finally, a vet from Shetland Vets will give some top tips for farmers and crofters preparing for the forthcoming calving and lambing period.

The Shetland 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.

The meeting on Saturday, March 2, which is free to attend, will begin at Bigton Hall at 11.00am. Lunch will be provided, and the meeting will finish at approximately 3.00pm.

To book your attendance please contact Graham Fraser of SAC Consulting Lerwick on: [email protected].