Technological opportunities to be discussed at monitor farm meeting

The next meeting of the Borders Monitor Farm in Scotland, to be held on Wednesday, May 22, will feature talks on how technology and data can be used to support farmer businesses.

If weather permits throughout the day, there will be a demonstration of drones, and how these can be used to enhance farm practices.

“The use of drones has increased in popularity in agriculture in recent years. The devices can be fitted with cameras and sensors to help farmers assess their fields from above for poor yielding areas or to spot problems such as soil compaction. They can also be used to monitor livestock and survey farmland,” said David Owen, of Owen Farm Services.

The meeting will take place at Whitriggs Farm near Denholm, home to Robert and Lesley Mitchell, and their son Stuart.

They run a heard a 170 suckler cows at their 442ha farm, as well as a breeding herd of 125 red deer.

Stuart Mitchell said: “I am very keen to future proof the business here at Whitriggs. The use of more advanced technology in today’s agriculture is becoming more easily accessible and I feel we must use this to our benefit to make our farm more efficient and productive.”

The meeting will be run jointly with the Borders Machinery Ring, which will highlight opportunities for farmers to get involved in a new pre-apprenticeship programme.

This is designed to support young people and mentor farmers in encouraging more people to join the industry.

Finally, Cumbrian farmer Thomas Stobart will discuss his farming methods, particularly where the environment is concerned.

He said: “We realised that if we focused on soil health and improving our grazing management, we would not only increase out profitability but would have a positive effect on the environment.”

Whitriggs farm is one of nine monitor farms established in Scotland under a joint initiative from Quality Meats Scotland and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).