A CLOSE look at the opportunities to improve sheep enterprise profitability will be on the cards at the next meeting of the Nithsdale Monitor Farm at Clonhie on Thursday, July 27.
The meeting, which is free to attend and starts at 1.45pm, will examine the gross margin figures (£ per head and £ per hectare) at Clonhie. These will be compared with the QMS enterprise costings figures and targets for the future will also be set.
Iain Macdonald, senior economics analyst with Quality Meat Scotland, will give an overview of the sheep market and the outlook for trade as well as leading a discussion on the future opportunities and challenges for the industry.
And Dewi Jones from Innovis will take a look at where the opportunities for sheep farmers going forward may be. He will consider what composite/New Zealand breeds have to offer in terms of performance compared with traditional breed types, along with the science and selection behind the concept.
Host farmer Andrew Marchant will also give an update on areas including lambs sold, over-seeding, silage and bulling and how the grass is performing on the farm. There will also be an opportunity to view the kale crop and to see the ewes and lambs and cows running with the bull. 
The Nithsdale 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 and 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.
Monitor farm meetings are open and free for all farmers to attend and the Clonhie meeting will round-off at 4.30pm with a BBQ.
To book your place please contact Judith Hutchison, by 12 noon on Tuesday, July 25, on 07718 919055 or email

THE next meeting of the Sutherland Monitor Farm on Friday, July 28, will focus on maximising lamb profitability and consider the outlook for the lamb trade and the need to meet market specification.
Farmers and crofters are invited to the free meeting at Clynelish Farm, Brora (run by Jason and Victoria Ballantyne) which starts at 2pm, with coffee/registration from 1.30pm.

The Scottish Farmer:
The Ballantynes currently run 900 breeding ewes, of which about half are Lairg-type Cheviots and the other half are Lleyn crosses.
Stuart Ashworth, head of economics services with QMS, will be speaking at the event when he will take a close look at the outlook for the sheep market.
Mr Ashworth will focus on carcass weights, meeting market specification and the wider challenges and opportunities facing rural communities. He will also look at the unique selling points of the Scotch Lamb brand and the opportunities to promote the brand.
“We will also be taking a close look at the Clynelish lambs and data ahead of the forth-coming sales,” said Cat MacGregor, of SAC Thurso, one of the joint facilitators of the project.
She added: “This will include a breakout session, where the attendees will be split into groups to assess pens of lambs and discuss the potential marketing options for them.”
The Ballantynes also run 80 suckler cows, which are a mainly Simmental cross native breeds. Calves are born outside in May, weaned in November at five or six months old and sold as stores at Thainstone at 10 months.
Stranraer farmer Robert Parker, whose farm Drumdow is the current AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, will also be speaking at the meeting and will outline the work he has done to drive his beef enterprise forward and share his experiences and views on the future.
The event will round-off with a spit roast of Scotch Lamb for those who attend.
To book your attendance at the meeting at Clynelish on Friday, July 28, please contact Willie Budge or Cat MacGregor, the project facilitators at SAC Consulting Thurso on 01847 892602 or email
For more information about the monitor farm programme visit or