News & Press Area
Latest AgriScot News
Please find below the latest news relating to AgriScot 2015.
AgriScot Press Releases
Despite the dreich weather, Scotland’s summer show season is in full swing and farms up and down the country are celebrating success in the show ring.
Organisers of the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award are now calling for farmers to take the next step in showcasing their stock and their enterprises by entering the 2015 award.
Suppliers and others in the industry are also being asked to bring forward nominations.
The Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award, which is organised by AgriScot and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), sets out each year to find, and reward, a farm which exemplifies the best in beef cattle production.
New prizes are being introduced for the winner and finalists in the 2015 award.
Wedderlie, at Westruther in Berwickshire, which is farmed by Wanda Hobbs and her parents John and Marion Tilson was awarded the accolade in 2014.
Andrew Moir, AgriScot Chairman is encouraging other farmers to enter for this year:
“Wanda and her parents expressed surprise when they won the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year title in 2014 at AgriScot 2014.
“I believe they felt that their emphasis on the production of pedigree breeding stock would mean that they would struggle to stand out against other entries whose focus was on prime cattle production.”
“Their worries were obviously unfounded and they were well deserved winners, illustrating that this award is open to all farms in the Scotch Beef supply chain, from store calf producers to pedigree herds, show winners to extensive hill graziers and intensive finishing units.”
Jim McLaren, Chairman of QMS added:
"QMS is delighted to continue its support of this award, which is a fantastic platform to champion the excellent stock management skills in our industry. Importantly, it also helps to raise the profile of the commitment and passion of the cattle farmers in Scotland who work hard to produce top-quality Scotch beef.”
Andrew Moir stressed that the organisers were keen to get the ball rolling. He commented:
At this stage we are calling for nominations and expressions of interest, with award entry forms being sent out later. This is therefore a great time for the supply industry and others to nominate valued customers that they think are deserving of recognition of this award, or our Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year Award.”
“All we require at this stage is an email to email@example.com and we can take it from there.”
“Our Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year Award has an automatic entry process for all milk recorded farms. With Beef Farm and Sheep Farm we need nominations and entries – I would simply say to farmers and others, don’t be shy, you deserve this recognition!”
Russell Allison, a specialist ruminant feed advisor and nutritionist, is the man challenged with the huge task of deciding the 2015 Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year.
Organised by AgriScot and sponsored by Cogent Breeding Ltd, the Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year award is open to every milk recorded dairy farm in Scotland.
Jack Lawson, convenor of the awards, explains:
“‘We are delighted that Russell Allison has agreed to be the assessor for the 2015 awards, he is a well-respected advisor in the sector.”
“Russell will initially examine all the performance details of over 1000 dairy farms in Scotland. The assessment will be carried out anonymously, with Russell having access only to the raw data, without associated names and addresses.”
“A computer programme, which highlights the farms that are above average in criteria such as age of first calving, calving index, somatic cell count, longevity in the herd, and yield according to breed, can be used in the initial stages.”
“It will then be up to Russell to assess in detail and produce a top 20 list in-line with the criteria he decides are most important for a good, profitable, welfare friendly dairy farm.”
Russell holds an honours degree in Applied Animal Science and was awarded a Farm Advisor of the year accolade in 2010 for his work in helping dairy farms to improve performance and profits.
Having previously travelled and worked in agriculture in Australia and New Zealand and dairy trials at the (then) SAC Crichton Royal Farm, Russell has been employed by feed business Galloway McLeod since 2004.
Following publication of the top 20 dairy farms, a short list of 4 will then be drawn up for visits by Russell.
The ultimate honour of Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year 2015, will be announced at AgriScot on Wednesday 18th November.
AgriScot, the annual farm business event at Ingliston, Edinburgh, is underlining its sheep and beef credentials with the appointment of two new Directors.
Hamish Dykes, the Peeblesshire sheep farmer who provided a public insight into the world of sheep production when his family and farm starred in the BBC Lambing Live programme, will join the AgriScot board to further promote the interests of sheep farmers at the event.
To replace renowned Aberdeen Angus breeder John Elliot, who is retiring after 5 years’ service, the board has appointed award winning beef cattle producer Robert Neill. Robert, who farms at Upper Nisbet near Jedburgh is a previous winner of the AgriScot QMS Scotch Beef Farm of the Year and in his new role he will play a part in encouraging other farmers to enter the awards. Hamish Dykes will also play a supporting role for the recently launched AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year Awards.
Commenting on the appointment of new board members, AgriScot Chairman Andrew Moir stated:
“We are delighted that Robert Neill and Hamish Dykes will join us on the Board of AgriScot.
“Both individuals have solid commercial farming backgrounds which is representative of the business minded farmers who visit AgriScot. We believe this is a recipe for success in terms of continuing to ensure that our event delivers what visitors need and expect.
“I would like to express a huge thank you to John Elliot for all of his help and input to the Board over the years and his dedication in putting on a series of innovative beef cattle demonstrations at AgriScot.”
A new competition aimed at injecting some feel-good factor into Scotland’s sheep farming sector opened for entries this week.
The AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year Award, aims to emulate the success of the Scottish Dairy Farm and Scotch Beef Farm of the Year competitions which are presented each year at the event.
Open to any farm running a sheep enterprise in Scotland, from small pedigree flocks to extensive hill units, the award seeks to showcase those who take a positive attitude to their sheep and the sheep sector.
John Scott of Fearn Farm, Tain, himself a winner of various accolades within the sector, is one of the judges for the new competition:
“The Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year competition is open to all farms with sheep in Scotland.
“What we are looking for is not necessarily the best-of-the-best in terms of show wins or top prices. This award is more about making the most of the resources available to you; a hill unit producing a respectable number of store lambs stands just as good a chance of winning as a high index pedigree flock.
“Myself and fellow judges, sheep specialist Rhidian Jones of SAC Consulting and Richard Blake of our sponsors, Thorntons Solicitors, would encourage anyone who is actively working to ensure sheep play a positive part in the output of their farm to enter this award.
“We are excited about this opportunity to showcase the quality of Scotland’s sheep farms and delighted that the AgriScot Directors, including recently appointed Hamish Dykes of Lambing Live fame, have put their event four square behind our sector.”
Entries from any farm with sheep in Scotland are now being actively sought; for further details, farmers are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Judges will be looking for entries that illustrate those leading the farming business have a strong grip on their costs of production, flock health and welfare and aspects of management such as replacement policy, forage and grazing management etc.
AgriScot Chairman, Andrew Moir, commented:
“We will be actively looking for entries from sheep farms at the forthcoming events and shows throughout the summer. The deadline is the end of September with judging set to take place in October.
“However I would encourage people to enter now. Lambing is over on most farms and the grass is growing; this is a positive and slightly less busy time on many sheep farms, and a great time to enter this award. We want to know how good your sheep enterprise is!
“I would say sheep farmers have nothing to lose, and potentially great kudos to gain, by dropping us a quick email for details of how to enter!”
It may only be mid-March but planning is now well under way for this years’ AgriScot, The Farm Business Event.
The Scottish Farmer is delighted to announce that it will continue the role of media partner for AgriScot, which will take place at the Royal Highland Centre near Edinburgh on Wednesday 18th November.
The Scottish Farmer Editor Alasdair Fletcher stated:
“AgriScot is a great fit for The Scottish Farmer as media partner. We recognise the importance of the event as a platform offering business guidance and showcasing new thinking, innovation and business benefits to the farming community. It makes every sense for us to support the event and showcase what it has to offer to our readers.”
AgriScot expanded in size last year and organisers confirm that feedback indicates this was a great success:
“We have now analysed the statistics from our visitor and trade exhibitor survey and the results are hugely encouraging,” AgriScot Chairman Andrew Moir stated.
“In the week when we are sending out application packs to standholders, it is great to know that 95% of our 2014 exhibitors have already stated that they would like to return in 2015.”
“Visitor attendance continues to increase year on year and over 99% of those surveyed stated that the event had met or exceeded their expectations.”
“What is really interesting is the business mind-set of the visitors. 65% of them are farmers and 70% of that group are running over 100ha, with the biggest proportion visiting to do business or find information on products or services.”
“In 2015 we are excited to be placing even more emphasis on the appeal of the event for sheep farmers. They closely follow beef production, on the list in terms of the farming sectors our visitors represent. Initiatives like the new Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award should encourage many more sheep farmers to value AgriScot as an event for their sector.”
A dedicated page on The Scottish Farmer website will highlight AgriScot 2015 news in the coming months and topical pertinent issues will also be reported in the paper each week.