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18.05.15 Some farmer experiences from Scotland

18th May 2015

Following on from the blog last week about the fab Farming
for a Better Climate project
, below there is a bit more information about some
of their focus farms that they have worked with for the last few years, and
more importantly, the results that these farms have found.

Glenkilrie Farm, Perthshire

Is an upland beef and sheep farm, which houses 140 suckler
cows and 1000 ewes which are split into two flocks. David grows some forage rape plus grass which
is them ensiled or made into big bales.
In addition to the farm business, Glenkilrie is the location of a well-established
bed and breakfast business.

Under the five key action areas, David considered a range of measures
that fitted in with his farming system. Examples of measures undertaken at
Glenkilrie include:

Silage analysis– David knew that the feed
quality of his silage was reasonably good, but testing silage quality was
needed to accurately put together a ration. The high quality of silage reduced
the need for purchased feed, meaning financial savings of around £3,000 and nearly
5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per year.

Reduced age of calving - David
identified a small batch of heifers suited to calve at 24 months rather than 36
months. Pleased with the result, David intends to expand this across the
majority of the herd. From the initial batch calved at 24 months, it is
estimated that David has saved £7,000 and 19.9 tonnes of CO2e.

Reduced use of straw - Bedding
cattle on straw is expensive; due to the geography of the farm, straw was
purchased anywhere from 15 to 25 miles away from the main steading. David has
trialled bedding a group of cattle on recycled wood fines, reducing straw use.
The livestock have taken to it and it has proved to be more cost effective than
straw. This measure has already saved David nearly £700 and 2.74 tonnes of

Find out more about
what has been happening at Glenkilrie here.

Upper Nisbet Farm

The farm
has an award winning beef enterprise and grow 242ha of winter wheat, winter
barley, spring barley and beans, 202 ha under grass and rent an additional 80
gha of grass on a neighbouring farm.

The 300
cattle on the farm are Limousin crosses with all progeny finished on-site.

explored included renewable energy generation, nutrient applications, soil
management and scrutiny of production costs.

Find out more
about what has been happening at Upper
Nisbet here.

Torr Farm

Torr Farm
has 170 dairy cows, mainly Holstein Frisian and Montbelliarde along with a few
Ayrshire and Norwegian Red. The business
retains all of the offspring from the dairy herd, either for breeding or for

100ha of the 398 ha farm is woodland or rough grazing, 80 ha are used for
growing cereals especially arable silage, spring barley and winter wheat, and
the rest is sown to grass for grazing and silage.

Measures explored included improved energy use in the dairy,
reducing the age of calving and improved farm drainage and alleviation of

Find out
more about what has been happening at Torr Farm here.

Tower Farm

A mixed 160
ha dairy and arable farm near Stanley in Perthshire. Wheat and barley are grown for feed with some
malting barley plus grass silage. The
farm also has an ice cream business, including an ice cream parlour within the
farm shop.

explored included improving fertiliser and dung policy, improving grassland
management, tailoring fungicide sprays to arable crops, better use of
electricity and installation of a 100kW wind turbine.

Find out
more here