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Please find below the latest news relating to AgriScot 2015.




AgriScot Press Releases


+ Sheep Farm of the Year Announced

The winner of the inaugural AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year Award was announced at the farm business event earlier this week [Wednesday 18th of November].

The first ever SSFOTY 2015 title was awarded to Armadale in Sutherland.

Farmer, Joyce Campbell, runs the 5,600 acre hill farm at Armadale with help from a part time contract shepherd and her niece and nephew. The farm supports a flock of 780 Lairg type North Country Cheviot ewes.

Awards judges, Richard Bake from Thorntons Solicitors – sponsors of the award – John Scott, himself an award winning sheep farmer and Rhidian Jones of SAC Consulting, praised the technical performance of the Armadale flock, brought about by good nutrition, sound breeding and a very detailed health plan.

Announcing the winner, Richard Blake stated:

“In addition to being a very, very good, indeed renowned, sheep farm producing quality store and breeding stock for sale through local markets, what separated the winner from the other three finalists were several aspects within the business.”

“Joyce and the Armadale team show fantastic community engagement including ongoing work with local schools and the Rural Skills programme. They have regular dialogue with multiple retailers resulting in the re-introduction of Scotch lamb on local shelves.

“Joyce herself is also active in encouraging the next generation to become actively involved in the farming operation and in showcasing the farm and the Scottish sheep sector to a national and international audience by way of social media.”

The three runners up in alphabetical order were:
• Bowhill, Selkirkshire. 3200 Blackface and 1300 upland ewes managed by Sion Williams.
• Swinside Townfoot, Roxburghshire. 1000 Cheviot ewes farmed by Peter Hedley.
• Tardoes, East Ayrshire. 1300 Herdwick and 1700 Welsh Mountain farmed by David Cooper.
Richard Blake continued:
“We were hugely impressed by the enthusiasm, expertise and varied management styles on each of the four farms, as well as the risks taken to follow a dream!”

“Indeed, two farms are very good examples of starting pretty well from scratch, while one farm showed us what can be achieved through the use of modern farming methods and methodical attention to detail. The fact that three farms were trading with little or no subsidy shows what can be achieved when forced to stand four square with limited financial resources.”

“Choosing the winner was a really tough job. All four finalists were worthy contenders, and we thoroughly enjoyed visiting each one, and I congratulate them. However, in the end it was Armadale that excelled in almost every other category on the scoresheet and deserved to be crowned winner this year.”

“I look forward to next year and hope that we can have such quality entries and finalists again for the 2016 award.”

+ Claire Comes Top of the Class in Business Skills Competition

Swiss student, Claire Simonetta has won AgriScot's Business Skills competition, beating three finalists to take the £1000 prize.

Claire, a third year agriculture student at Scotland's Rural College SRUC in Ayr, won the competition following a presentation and interview at AgriScot.

Claire and her fellow finalists, Isaac Carswell, Amy Jo Reid, Fraser Thomson, all SRUC students or graduates, were required at short notice to present DeLaval's Herd Navigator milk analysis tool, one of the entries in AgriScot's Product Innovation Award.

The competition was generously sponsored by animal nutrition specialists, Biocell Agri and coordinated by Caroline Daniel of SRUC.

Winner Claire Simonetta of Torloisk Farm, Ulva Ferry, Isle of Mull said:
"Taking part in the competition has been a fantastic experience. I've particularly enjoyed meeting new people who are motivated to learn. Throughout the competition, the judges have given very useful feedback and I've appreciated learning where my strengths and weaknesses lie as it will help me work out where I need to improve; for example, I don't have a dairy background, so presenting a dairy product was quite daunting.

"All those involved in arranging and judging the competition have been generous with their time and I will keep in touch with them as I found my conversations with them very helpful and worthwhile.

"I've still got a year or two of study to complete and when I graduate I hope to continue farming and perhaps to take on an advisory role.

Alec Ross of Biocell Agri said: "Biocell Agri has been sponsoring the Business Skills competition at AgriScot for six years and I am delighted to say that the field just keeps getting stronger. It is so encouraging to see such intelligent, progressive young people coming into agriculture and my colleague, Peter Gillard and I feel privileged to be associated with the competition.

+ Silage Competition - South West Farms in the Spotlight

Castle Douglas farms were well and truly in the spotlight at AgriScot this year.
East Logan, farmed by the Yates family, was presented with a finalist certificate in the prestigious Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year award. The performance of the 365 acre farm, which supports 270 dairy cows, was assessed against every other dairy farm in Scotland and beat off what the judge described as ‘extremely stiff competition’ to reach the top 4.

The family also won the AgriScot Champion Holstein Heifer with their home bred Logan Goldsun Belle 2.

There was yet more AgriScot success for the farm, when the entry submitted by Michael Yates to the AgriScot silage competition came out top in the young farmers section. Michael’s prize winning sample, from silage cut on 18th May, topped the section with a dry matter of 30%, crude protein of 17.1% and overall digestibility value of 75.9.

The top three samples in the Young Farmers section of the 2015 silage competition all came from Dumfries & Galloway farms. Kirsty Yates from Meilkle Firthhead, Dalbeattie produced the 2nd placed sample (26.9%DM, 15.8%CP, 75.8D) and Murray Wright of Risk Farm, Castle Douglas came in 3rd place with a silage of 25.1%DM, 12.8%CP and 74.6D.

Prizes to the value of £4000 are donated to the AgriScot silage competition each year by sponsors, Watson Seeds.

The Ramsay family from Lodge of Kelton, Castle Douglas, took home the prize in the hotly contested 1st cut pit class with a silage of 34.6% dry matter, 15.9% crude protein and a digestibility value of 75.9. The winning silage will be used to support the 140 milking cows on the farm and their average production of almost 10,400 litres of milk per lactation.

Second place in the pit silage competition was awarded to Firth Farming Ltd, from Upper Locharwoods Farm, Ruthwell, Dumfries. The farmers are John Jamieson and son Graham, organic dairy farmers. Their sample was cut on the 22nd May and analysing 35.3%DM, 17.6CP and 76D. Third place in this section was awarded to a 29.9%DM, 13.8%CP, 77D sample from M & R Hamilton of Barmoorhill, Tarbolton Ayrshire.

Judge of the silage competition, Hugh McClymont, from Crichton Royal Farm, Dumfries, firstly assessed the silages based on their chemical analyses and then on fresh samples.
In the big bale silage section, John Watson (no relation to sponsors) submitted the winning sample from silage baled on his unit at High Mark, Leswalt, Stranraer on 1st September. This was the latest made of all the top placed silage samples across the competition classes and analysed as 46.7%DM, 15.7%CP and 69.1D. Greengate House Farm, Waterbeck, Lockerbie produced the 2nd placed baled silage for PJN & SM Morris, with analysis of 63.4%DM, 10.6%CP and 72.3D. 3rd place in this category came from a 43%DM, 14.4%CP, 76D crop baled on 5th June by John Kerr & Sons, Kirlkands, Carnwath.

+ AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farmer of the Year Revealed

The winner of the prestigious AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year award was announced at the farm business event on 18th of November.

The accolade, which is sponsored by Cogent Breeding Ltd, has been awarded to Kennetsideheads run by Jimmy and Sandy Mitchell.

The official assessor for the award Russell Alison, who is a highly respected dairy management and nutritional advisor, chose the winner after visiting the final four farms, which were shortlisted from every milk recorded dairy farm in Scotland.

The award was judged according to a wide range of criteria, including calf rearing, sire selection, practical management techniques, feeding and nutrition programmes and the general well being and contentment of the cows.

Kennetsideheads, at Eccles near Kelso in the Borders is home to one of the largest dairy herds in the country with 1019 cows, and was awarded the title based on a number of factors, including exceptional attention to detail and efficiency in business.

The three runners up in alphabetical order were:

- Drum Farm, Beeswing, Dumfries [Messrs Harvey]
- East Logan, Castle Douglas [Brian Yates]
- Meldrum, Blairdrummond, Stirling [Wm Hamilton & Son]

Russell Alison had the following to say about the award and its winner:

“Kennetsideheads is a great advert for the Scottish dairy Industry, every aspect of herd management is excellent with the whole team at KSH Farmers demonstrate exceptional attention to detail.”

“Efficiency is paramount at Kennetsideheads. Milk production is maximised and the costs of production are measured on a daily basis.

“Animal health and comfort are excellent; water beds and foam beds, rubber lined feed fences and a strict foot bathing regime mean minimal foot and hock problems.

“The KSH Farmers team demonstrate a pro-active attitude to managing fertility with pregnancy diagnoses at 32 days and subsequent protocols giving a calving index of 384 days and a very low cull rate because of fertility.”

“Age of first calving is 24 months and 8 days and this is achieved by tight feed practices and increased concentrations of milk replacer which in turn produces consistent growth rate in calves and heifers.”

“All top 20 farms are a great credit to the Scottish dairy industry, but the top four were absolutely outstanding in every aspect of their detailed management; from calf rearing and fertility to animal health, yields and length of life in the herd, it was a very difficult task deciding who would be named the winner, but ultimately the attention to detail and results achieved at Kennetsideheads shone through.”

A delighted Sandy Mitchell from the winning farm stated:

“I am delighted, this is a great reward for the efforts of our whole team.”

“We are very cow focused at Kennetsideheads – if the cows are not in good order and performing then the whole business can’t perform. We work very closely with our vet and nutritionist too.”

+ AgriScot Business Skills Competition 2015 Finalists Announced

AgriScot has announced the four finalists in its annual Business Skills Competition who will vie for a £1000 prize at the one-day agricultural event on Wednesday, 18 November at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston.

Contenders in the competition, which is organised by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and SAYFC with sponsorship from Biocell Agri Ltd., were chosen following semi-final heats during which they received a brief about a host farm before being questioned by an independent judge as they toured the business.

The South Region heat was held at Drumablin Farm, Carmichael, near Biggar, hosted by John Bannatyne with independent judge Rodney Wallace of HSBC. SRUC undergraduates Isaac Carswell of Edinburgh and Claire Simonetta of Torloisk Farm, Ulva Ferry, Isle of Mull were successful in proceeding to the final.

The North Region heat took place at Glenbervie Home Farm, Drumlithie, Aberdeenshire by kind permission of Alastair McPhie and was hosted by Farm Manager John Lohoar with independent judge Jane Mitchell of the Clydesdale Bank. SRUC graduate Fraser Thomson of Kirkton of Beath Farm, Cowdenbeath in Fife and SRUC undergraduate Amy Jo Reid from Overhill, Whitecairns in Aberdeenshire were also selected to compete at AgriScot.

Finalists will have to present their findings about a new agricultural product to a panel of judges at AgriScot and complete a further interview.

SRUC’s Caroline Daniel, who coordinates the competition said:

“The entrants were all of a very high standard who came across professionally and were well turned out. They came from quite a diverse range of backgrounds with two of our finalists being from further afield, one American and one Swiss.

“The judges' questions for the semi-finalists were quite challenging and ranged from the traditional livestock and arable questions to include some on renewables, biodiversity and land management. This gives entrants the opportunity to distinguish themselves in their particular areas of interest and they were all very good at answering or attempting to answer the wide range of questions.

“The competition is a great opportunity to experience an 'interview' type situation with agricultural professionals, which is good practice for possible future job interviews, and as an added bonus the judge may give some feedback on the entrant’s CV. The competition requires individuals to think on their feet and entrants should be congratulated on their enthusiasm to put themselves forwards to demonstrate their business skills.”

AgriScot Chairman, Andrew Moir said: “I am excited to see that once again, we have a very high quality of competitor, and I wish Amy Jo, Claire, Fraser and Isaac good luck as they prepare for the final at AgriScot.

“Crucially, this competition is not just about winning: it is very important to the AgriScot organisers and me that all those who take part receive constructive feedback on their application and every stage of the competition in order to equip them as they embark on their careers.”

+ Benefits of Cattle EID Showcased at Agriscot

The benefits of using electronic identification (EID) in cattle are set to be highlighted during a demonstration at AgriScot, one of the premier events in UK agriculture (18 November).

Sponsored by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the demonstration will be held in the main ring at 11.30am and will focus on the use of EID to monitor and track liveweight gain of finishing cattle on various rations, select breeding stock and the detection of health issues.

Hosting the demonstration is Borders farmer and previous winner of the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award, Robert Neill, along with beef expert Basil Lowman from SAC Consulting (a division of Scotland’s Rural College).

As in previous years, live cattle will feature in the demonstration to ensure that it’s as close to a real on-farm scenario as possible. Students from SRUC Oatridge will also be on hand to highlight some of the ways EID will impact on the future of the beef sector.

Mr Neil, who joined the AgriScot board this year and has completed a Nuffield Scholarship on cattle EID, said: “For the beef industry to survive in an ever-changing world, farmers need to be using information, which can be collected using EID, to make more informed decisions about their business.”

Dr Lowman added: “We tend to think of EID as just a means of identifying an individual animal but it has the potential to be much more useful. It can reduce labour and, importantly, allow adjustments to the management of each individual animal to maximise their performance and produce a more profitable product.”

“In the demonstration, Robert and I will show how technology, all of which is readily available, can achieve these objectives and make a real difference to the bottom line profitability of Scotland’s beef herds.”

The demonstration will be held in the main ring at 11.30am at Agriscot on Wednesday 18 November

+Sheep Farm of the Year in the Spotlight

The finalists in the first ever Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award have been announced.

With the prestigious Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year and Scotch Beef Farm of the Year awards gaining wide spread recognition amongst Scotland’s farmers, AgriScot Directors took the next step and opened their inaugural Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year competition for entries back in May.

“We are absolutely delighted with the quality of the entries that we received,” AgriScot Chairman Andrew Moir stated.

“Our Sheep Farm of the Year Award is about promoting positivity in the sector, showcasing and celebrating how farmers make the most of their farming systems.”

“The finalists, selected by our panel of 3 independent judges, have put real effort into telling us their story and showing how what they do on farm is ensuring their sheep enterprise has solid credentials.”

The finalist farms in alphabetical order are:
• Armadale, Sutherland. 780 NCC ewes farmed by Joyce Campbell
• Bowhill, Selkirkshire. 3200 Blackface and 1300 upland ewes managed by Sion Williams.
• Swinside Townfoot, Roxburghshire. 1000 Cheviot ewes farmed by Peter Hedley.
• Tardoes, East Ayrshire. 1300 Herdwick and 1700 Welsh Mountain farmed by David Cooper.
Each of the four farms is now set to receive a visit from the award judges, in order to help them decide which farm will receive the ultimate accolade of Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year at AgriScot on 18th November.

The award judges are, Richard Blake, representing award sponsors, Thorntons Solicitors; John Scott, himself an award winning sheep farmer and respected industry advisor Rhidian Jones of SRUC.

Richard Blake summed up the challenge he and his fellow judges now face:

“All 3 of us really look forward to the challenge ahead, although with some trepidation when it comes to the decision making process!”

“We have planned a 3 day itinerary for the visits, which should ensure we have enough time to spend on farm with each of the finalists. Their entry forms have given us a real flavour of what they do, now it is time to see for ourselves on the ground.”

“John and Rhidian are the guys who really know what is what in terms of sheep systems and facts and figures. But I am proud to represent Thorntons on the panel and I am sure my arbitration skills will be useful in helping them to reach consensus when difficult decisions have to be made.”


+Top AgriScot Dairy Cattle on the World Stage

The dairy cattle judging at next month’s AgriScot farm business event is set to take place before a world-wide audience.

For the first time this year, the judging of the dairy cattle in the HSBC Show Ring at AgriScot will be live streamed on the internet. AgriScot’s Martin Dare explains:

“We have been encouraged in recent years by comments from our judges and other leading figures affirming that AgriScot now hosts the premier show of dairy cattle anywhere in the British Isles.”

“The decision to showcase these exceptional animals to a world-wide audience is a natural next step.”

A new sponsorship package has been established with Anpario plc to support the filming and live-streaming of the entire day’s programme direct from the show ring. Anpario plc are best known in the UK for their Optivite range of high performing natural feed additives for livestock.

Hayley Verney from Anpario stated:

“We thought that the revolutionary idea of filming and streaming the day’s events was a sponsorship opportunity not to be missed. It’s very exciting to be involved with the very first web streaming of such a prestigious industry event and I feel honoured to be presenting an award in the ring on the day.”

The man tasked with selecting the best from the best in the cattle classes at AgriScot this year also brings a global flavour.

Well known Ayrshire and Holstein breeder Alan Timbrell may only be based 350 miles away in Gloucestershire but, to-date his judging career has taken him to mainland Europe, and following AgriScot his next stop is New Zealand.

Mr Timbrell, who works full-time for Alta Genetics, runs pedigree herds of Ayrshires, Holsteins and Polled Herefords with his wife and mother at Glebe Farm near Cirencester.

Speaking on his appointment at AgriScot, Mr Timbrell said:

“I have been judging shows for over thirty years and been on the Holstein & Ayrshire official judges list’s for 20yrs."

“I have been very fortunate in my life to judge in Finland. Where I judged the Ayrshire National show 2011 and also well I was there I judged the All Breeds National Dairy Handlers Competition.”

“I have judged at many of the ‘Royal’ shows in the UK and I have been very honoured over the years to be asked by both Holstein, Ayrshire and Jersey Society’s to officiate at their National Judging School’s.”

“AgriScot has a tremendous reputation as being a first class show for dairy cattle. I am delighted to have the opportunity to judge there and I am looking forward to it immensely.”

“I think it is fantastic that Anpario are supporting the AgriScot team to stream the judging worldwide.”

“My only fear is if I make a mistake, not only will I have a Scottish audience to face, but if the New Zealand Dairy Event Team see it, they might decide to cancel my invitation!”

+AgriScot Business Skills Awards Seeks Industry's Best Young Minds

AgriScot is looking to identify the brightest and best 18-25 year-olds in Scottish agriculture with its Business Skills Award.

The competition, which is organised by Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC) and SAYFC with sponsorship from Biocell Agri Ltd., is now open to applications from young farmers whether they are studying, working or looking for a job.

Applicants are invited to submit a CV and a 250-word article on “Key business skills required by a new entrant into agriculture”. Selected candidates attend a regional heat involving a farm visit at which they are invited to comment on real-life, professional scenarios. Finalists will assemble at AgriScot 2015 for a pre-event dinner and interview on the morning of AgriScot, with the winner being awarded a £1000 prize, generously provided by Biocell Agri. Ltd.

AgriScot Chairman, Andrew Moir said: “This competition is immensely rewarding for everyone involved. I greatly enjoy watching the successive waves of entrants growing as they take part in this extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate their practical and business skills.

“In addition to what can be gained by participating and being recognised, the competition offers valuable opportunities to anyone starting out in their career.”

SRUC’s Caroline Daniel, who coordinates the competition commented: “All participants gain great experience from applying in a new context what they have learned in the classroom or on the farm. All contestants benefit from meeting and talking to the host farmer and judges who challenge them but encourage them too.

“The basic process of the competition takes applicants through the important process of preparing an up-to-date CV and writing a short article before the interview setting of the semi-final; the whole exercise neatly simulates a standard job application and is therefore highly valuable for young agriculturalists as they take their first steps into the world of work.”

2014’s AgriScot Business Skills Award winner, Ross Learmonth added: “Having just graduated in agriculture from SRUC, the competition has definitely had a positive effect on getting my first job as a trainee nutritionist and livestock specialist; it helped build my CV, gave me new farming experience and made me more confident.

“The competition was invaluable from beginning to end although I won’t deny that it was daunting; I’d applied the year before and not been successful, but when I was in my final year at SRUC I became more career-focused and my mind was much more stimulated.

“Once I’d overcome the initial fear of refining my CV and writing the application the competition became very interesting and enjoyable. The semi-final was held on a local, mixed farm with a retail aspect, which was a new area for me. Everyone was relaxed and we had really good discussions as well as the question and answer sessions. It was useful to have to think on my feet, and the judges were genuinely interested in what we had to say.

“I think it’s important that any young farmer applies, whether they’re in education or not; even if you haven’t been to college you have more experience than you may know, especially if you’ve been working on the farm.”

+Four Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year Finalists Revealed

The numbers have been crunched, the performance factors assessed and tough decisions made.

Now, Russell Allison, the independent assessor for the AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year, has unveiled the top four farms in the running for the 2015 accolade.

Announcing the four finalists, Russell commented:

“As with selecting the top 20, all of my decisions to date have been made by scrutinising the recorded figures of the herds on an anonymous basis, with all farm and business names kept from me.”

“I have been extremely impressed by the figures from all in the top 20 in areas such as calving age, calving index, somatic cell count, yields and longevity.”

“With the figures sorted and the top 4 selected I was given the associated names, which I can now reveal.”

The top four farms (in alphabetical) order are :-

• Drum Farm, Beeswing, Dumfries (Messrs Harvey)
• East Logan, Castle Douglas (Brian Yates)
• Kennetsideheads, Eccles, Kelso (KSH Farmers)
• Meldrum, Blairdrummond, Stirling (Wm. Hamilton & Son)

Over the coming weeks, each of the four farms will receive a visit from Russell who will look at everything from calf rearing, sire selection practical management techniques, feeding and nutrition programmes and to the general well-being and contentment of the cows.
In performance terms, the figures for the top four average out at 561 cows, 12814 litres in 305 days at 3.9% fat, calving age 25.49 months, calving index 402 days and somatic cell count 129.
The winning farm in the awards, which are sponsored by Cogent Breeding Ltd will be announced at AgriScot on Wednesday 18th November.


+Agriscot Scoops Finalist Spot At 2015 Scottish Event Awards

AgriScot – the farm business event – has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award which could see it secure the title of ‘Best Exhibition’ for its 2014 sell-out event.

The agricultural industry event, which takes place at Ingliston on the outskirts of Edinburgh in November each year, has been announced as a finalist in The Drum’s Scottish Event Awards.

AgriScot will compete for the winning title alongside other major brands including the Glasgow Film Festival, the Scottish Home Show, the Scottish Wedding Show and Edinburgh Zoo. The winner will be unveiled at The Scottish Event Awards ceremony at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on Wednesday 7th October.

AgriScot started out as a specialist event for dairy farmers and over the years has grown in size and scope to become the leading business and networking event for the entire agricultural industry. The one day exhibition attracts farmers and agricultural professionals from across Scotland, and also thanks to its proximity to Edinburgh Airport, from all over Britain and beyond.

The footprint of AgriScot was expanded for 2014 and now utilises the entirety of the massive exhibition halls at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston. The 2015 event, which takes place on 18th November, will feature more than 250 trade stands, competitions for aspiring young agricultural professionals, new products, business seminars and technical demonstrations for a variety of products and services covering every aspect of agriculture.

AgriScot Chairman, Andrew Moir, said:

“AgriScot continues to go from strength to strength, and 2014 was our best year yet with a record number of visitors and exhibitors. The fact we have been shortlisted for this national award is testament to the success and popularity of the exhibition, which exists to promote best practice and excellence in the farming sector.

“A huge amount of hard work and dedication goes into the organisation of AgriScot, and last year 99.6% of our visitors said that the show had either met or exceeded their expectations. It would be a huge coup for the organisers, exhibitors, and the farming industry to win this award. We are looking forward to attending the awards ceremony on 7th October where we hope to secure the winning title.”

The Scottish Event Awards are organised in association with EventScotland. The awards were established seven years ago to celebrate the skills and talent of Scottish event organisers, promoters, in house teams, venues and industry suppliers.

+Let Us See Under Your Wraps!

Let us see what you have under wraps,” was the light-hearted cry from team AgriScot this week.
Launching the silage competition, hosted at the farm business event by Watson Seeds, organiser Andrew Best stated:

“Farmers don’t need me to tell them how challenging and damaging the past summer has been!”

“My heart goes out to those in places like Orkney who still face an uphill battle to secure forage for the winter.”

“But, as many independent livestock nutritionists and feed advisors from the major suppliers are keen to point out, now is the time to get a better feel for what has been made under all of the plastic wraps and sheets up and down the country.”

“The results of silage sampling and analysis are invaluable in calculating rations for dairy cows, beef cattle and sheep. And, I am pretty certain that it won’t be all bad news once results are known.

“Good results, and good silage deserves to be celebrated. After all it is the main fuel powering livestock enterprises over the winter months. That is why we organise and host the annual silage competition at AgriScot, and why I would encourage farmers to enter their analysis results into the competition.”

The AgriScot silage competition has classes for big bale and pit silage, with a total prize value of £4000 of Watson grass seed mixtures up for grabs. A special class for pit silage made by a young farmer (under 26yo) is also open to enter.

Silage analysis reports should be emailed to by Friday 9th October for initial judging. The top silages will then be shortlisted and judged as fresh samples by independent judge Hugh McClymont of the Crichton Royal Farm, Dumfries.

+Are You Positive About Sheep!?

Sheep, and more specifically breeding sheep, will be the topic of conversation round many farmhouse kitchen tables at present; sale season is in full swing and tupping time is not long away.

With thoughts very much focussed on how sheep flocks up and down the country have performed in the past twelve months, now is the ideal time to celebrate achievements, new ideas, hard work and top-class output.

The Directors of AgriScot, have established a new Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award aiming to recognise and reward farms and farmers who are positive examples for the wider sector.

AgriScot Chairman, Andrew Moir, explains more:
“For many sheep farmers the few weeks past and ahead are the pinnacle of the year.”
“This is when breeding stock is assessed for future fitness, prime and store stock sales reach their peak and the big breeding sales take place.”

“With such a focus on sheep, their output, achievements and future policies, now is the ideal time for farmers to put their farm forward for our new Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award. The process is very simple, just drop us an email to the AgriScot office and we will send out the very straightforward entry form.”

The AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award is sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors and part of a programme of AgriScot awards. The Scotch Beef Farm of the Year awards are also open for entries at present and the top 20 farms in the running for the Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year title were recently announced.

Entering the Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award could not be easier. Simply email to receive an entry form.

For details of the AgriScot QMS Scotch Beef Farm of the Year please email

+Top Twenty Dairy Farms Named for Awards

The top twenty dairy farms, in the running for the 2015 Cogent Breeding Ltd AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year award, have been announced.

The traditional dairy heartland in the south-west once again dominates the top 20 list however, farms in the east, from the Borders to Aberdeenshire, have also qualified along with 3 from central Scotland.

Russell Allison, the respected animal nutrition and dairy herd management advisor, was the independent assessor tasked with scrutinising the performance of all milk recorded dairy farms in Scotland to produce the top 20 list.

“All of the figures were presented to me on the database without corresponding names and addresses. I therefore had to base my decision purely on performance figures.”

“The first step, where above average figures can be highlighted by the computer, is relatively straightforward. It then came down to my appraisal and weighting of factors such as age at first calving, calving index, yields, somatic cell counts and length of productive cow life to decide the top 20.”

“Overall the performance figures are outstanding and a great credit to Scottish dairy farmers enduring the present financial crisis in the milk industry.”

From the top 20 list, the 4 best herds will now be visited by Russell to enable him to select the ultimate winner of the Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year title.

The top 4 farms will be announced in late September and their representatives will be invited to AgriScot on 18th November where the presentation of awards to the winner and finalists will take place.

Jack Lawson, convenor of the awards on behalf of AgriScot summarised the first class performance figures of the 20 herds:

“Average number of milking cows in the top 20, at 343, reflects the trend for bigger herd size in Scotland.”

“Yields averaged across the top 20 show that these are truly world class herds, averaging 11,348 litres of milk in 305 days at 3.81% butterfat and 3.18% protein.”

“The herds have a calving index average of 396 days with age at first calving an impressive 25.78 months. I was also delighted to see that cow longevity is good with almost 11% of cows in the top herds in their 5th lactation or more.”

The Cogent Breeding Ltd, AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year top 20 farms, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

AgriScot Top Twenty Dairy Farms 2015 in alphabetical order







W Baillie

Hillhead of Covington





R & L Barron






A Colquhoun Ltd.






Langhill BI Product Select

Crichton Royal Farm

Glencaple Rd.




D Douglas

Easterhouse farm





Robert D Fleming


Kilpatrick Fleming




Robert C Gemmell


Kirkton Road




Wm. Hamilton & Son






Messrs Harvey

Drum Farm





KSH Farmers






Lakehead Farming Co,






I Marr






Fergus McDowall

Rerrick Park





K & I Miller & Sons






T & C Owen






J R Renwick






M & A Robinson

Low Knockglass





Firm of J B Sloan






University of Edinburgh

Langhill Farm





Brian G Yates

East Logan

Castle Douglas


+Call to Beef Industry: 'Nominate, Enter and Don't be Shy'

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 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!”

+Top Advisor To Assess Top Dairy Farms

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.

+Prominent Beef and Sheep Farmers to Help Steer Farm Business Event

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.”

+Time for Sheep Farmers to Take a Bow

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

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!”

+AgriScot 2014 Hailed a Success as Planning for 2015 Steps Up a Gear

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.