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Crowds turn out at Arnprior

OVER 100 farmers attended the first meeting of the new Forth monitor farm.

Over the next three years, the McEwen family on Arnprior Farm - Duncan and Anne, their son Duncan and his wife Rebecca - will seek advice and suggestions from the monitor farm community group on a range of topics, including livestock, cropping, soil management and fertility.

The 815 acres of Arnprior Farm, which is dissected by the A811, ranges in altitude from 12 feet above sea level on the Carse, to 590 feet on the hill. There is a variety of soil types, including gravel loam, peaty moss and blue clay.

The McEwens run a breeding flock of 570 predominantly Scotch Mules, with some Texel crosses. Texel tups are mainly used but this year a pair of Suffolk tups has been introduced, in the hope finishing some lambs quicker in 2013.

Due to the weather this year the suckler herd of 70, mainly Simmental cross cows, were housed on October 6. The cows go to Simmental bulls with heifers going to a Limousin. The herd is vaccinated for BVD, IBR and Leptospirosis.

Normally all progeny from ewes and cows are finished, but this year, as on many British farms, the weather has caused major problems. Lambs are usually finished on aftermaths, with all lambs away before Christmas.

"Not this year!" explained Duncan McEwen Junior. "So far we've only got 200 away and still have over another 500 at grass. Also we've just discovered that we've got fluke which are resistant to Triclabendazole, so need to use a different type of drench which we plan to do as soon as possible!"

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