North of Scotland ‘Meat the Market’ Events Announced

Sheep and beef farmers based in the north of Scotland are invited to attend two free meetings to help them boost their bottom line by improving their livestock selection and presentation for slaughter.

Both meetings are being held at Woodheads in Turriff and are part of a series of ‘Meat the Market’ events organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) being held around Scotland in the coming months. They aim to highlight the key factors that need to be considered to ensure that their livestock meet target carcase specifications required by processors.

The first workshop on Wednesday 15th January will focus on lamb selection and the second on Thursday 16th January will focus on cattle.

Both events will explain market specifications and how carcase specification may differ based on customer requirements. Carcase grading and presentation will also be covered to help farmers maximise their returns and minimise the risk of condemnations and carcase downgrades.

Those who attend will have the valuable opportunity to visit the processing plants to assess stock before and after slaughter to see exactly how the grading process works.

The key speaker at both the events will be George Allan, Divisional Manager with Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Ltd (MLCSL), the only independent provider of abattoir authentication and classification services to the British processing industry. With over 40 years’ experience working in the industry and a sheep flock of his own.

Mr Allan provides practical training for UK livestock producers in the selection of live animals to meet buyer requirements and also to those working in abattoirs who need to develop carcase assessment and classification skills.

Sarah Millar, Director of Industry Development at QMS, said: “Although focussing on cost of production is fundamental to improving profitability on farm, there are opportunities to maximise returns through careful selection and presentation of stock.

“Presenting clean animals in the target specification in terms of weight, conformation and fat for a particular market can boost returns to farmers. There is also a chance to make use of valuable feedback from abattoirs both from carcase weight and spec as well as any health issues that may cause downgrades or condemnations,” she added.

“These workshops are a great chance to see the whole process and understand the buyers needs and the ultimate customer requirements.”

Places for the workshops on the 15th and 16th January will be strictly limited so early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. Refreshments will be provided. Those wishing to attend these events must be over 18 years of age and provide some photo identification.

If you are interested or would like more information, please call Beth Alexander on 07788927520 or email

Final Monitor Farm Meetings Highlight Business Improvements

The many benefits and positive outputs of the Monitor Farm Programme will be discussed by host farmers at their final meetings in January and February 2020.

Nine monitor farms were established in 2017 around Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & 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.

Local farmers are encouraged to attend the final meetings where the host farmers will update on the changes they have made on their farm and the impact this has had on the profitability of their business. The results of on-farm trials will also be highlighted.

Attendees will also hear from community members on how attending the monitor farm meetings has positively impacted their own enterprise.

Kate Rowell, Chair of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), said: “Myself and my husband Ed were monitor farmers during an earlier wave of the programme and we found the experience extremely positive. One major highlight was the networking and connections we made locally and throughout Scotland which has had a positive effect on our business.

“I would encourage all those with an interest in improving their own farm businesses to attend their local monitor farm final meeting to hear about the hosts’ highlights and lessons learned over the last three years.”

Monitor Farm Final Meeting Dates:

Borders - Wednesday 29th January

Lothians - Tuesday 4th February

Shetland - Saturday 8th February

Moray -Tuesday 11th February

Angus -Thursday 20th February

Lochaber -Thursday 20th February

Nithsdale - Thursday 27th February

North Ayrshire - Friday 28th February

For more information about the monitor farm meetings programme and final meetings, visit: