Maximising your use of machinery and technology will be the focus of the next Angus Monitor Meeting on Thursday, December 13.

Mary Munro from Strutt and Parker will share the findings of the recent machinery review carried out at Mill of Inverarity and compare their findings to those found across AHDB’s monitor farm network. The machinery review looks at costs including machinery, labour and cost per operation, for example the cost per hectare of ploughing, rolling or combining.

Morayshire monitor farmer Iain Green will also be at the event to discuss Corskie Farm’s new beef monitor system which weighs cattle each time they take a drink.

The group will find out more about how the 50 cross bred finishing bulls using the system have been getting on. It’s already proving to be good value with Iain able to monitor the performance of his stock using an app on his phone.

Iain uses the Beef Monitor to keep an eye on his bulls’ growth without having to handle them or put them through races which is he feels is less stressful for the livestock as well as saving time and labour costs.

The Angus management team have also been trialling different fodder beet varieties over three different farms (including the Mill) and at the meeting Kirsten Williams from SAC Consulting will reveal how the varieties have performed in terms of volume produced, crude protein and metabolisable energy (ME).

“There is a lot of choice for farmers growing forage for stock and we wanted to look at which offered the best value for money.” Monitor Farmer Rob Stodart explains.

“However it’s not as simple as looking at which was cheapest to grow and produced the best yield. We will also be discussing how to match stock to the correct fodder to get the best results.”

Mill of Inverarity is part of the Monitor Farm Scotland initiative, managed by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds with funding from the Scottish Government. The aim of the monitor farm programme is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

The meeting will be held at Forfar Auction Mart, starting at 11am and closing at 3pm. The event is free to attend but to lunch will be provided so to assist with catering attendees should book a place by contacting Stacey Hamilton by phone (01569 762305) or email (

For more information about the monitor farm programme visit

Survey launched to improve neonatal survival

Increasing profitability for farmers through improved lamb and calf survival is the key focus of a new project involving British beef and sheep units.

Funded jointly by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Hybu Cig Cyrmu (HCC) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the project is being run by Edinburgh, Liverpool and Nottingham Universities and will link to existing work at Bangor University.

The initial stage of this project involves collecting data from farms on health measures in the neonatal period, with the target of improving productivity and responsible antibiotic use on-farm.

Alexander Corbishley, Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, said: “With the challenging economic climate and the need to reduce the environmental impact of ruminant production systems, there has never been a greater need to increase the sector’s efficiency, whilst also promoting sustainable antibiotic use.”

“By carrying out this project we will be able to identify the key management factors that can be addressed by farmers to improve performance.”

With limited data currently availability to benchmark health status and antibiotic use, an online survey has been launched for levy payers across England, Scotland and Wales. The data will be collected anonymously and includes requests for estimates of survival, information on management practices and opinions on reasons behind medicine use.

Dr Lis King, AHDB Scientist said: “This project will lead on to a control plan focussing on neonatal disease that could increase productivity and ultimately profitability for beef and sheep farmers. We’ll also be able to understand current antibiotic use and look at options for reducing use on farm, which is key in developing a healthy and sustainable GB livestock industry.”

Once developed, suckler herds and ewe flocks will be invited to pilot the control plan around the UK, alongside their veterinary surgeons, before wider release.  The survey will run until 31st January and can be filled in by farmers here:

The work was financed from the £2 million fund of AHDB red meat levies ring-fenced for collaborative projects which is managed by Britain’s three meat levy bodies – AHDB, HCC and QMS. The fund is an interim arrangement while a long-term solution is sought on the issue of levies being collected at point of slaughter in England for animals, which have been reared in Scotland or Wales.

Scotch assured farm sign is perfect Christmas gift

If socks and slippers are simply not cutting it this year as presents for loved ones, why not treat them to a personalised Scotch assured farm sign?

Produced by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the farm signs are a simple way for members of the QMS cattle and sheep scheme to showcase their farm as being Scotch assured to passers-by and neighbours.

Jackie Burgess, Brands Integrity Advisor with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) said: “The Scotch assured farm signs are back by popular demand and would make a fantastic gift for Christmas.

“As well as being an eye-catching way to identify a farm, each sign also communicates the pride involved in producing top quality Scotch Beef PGI and/or Scotch Lamb PGI - brands which are underpinned by provenance, the highest standards of production as well as animal welfare and wellbeing.”

Priced at £62.40 including VAT, the personalised signs are available to buy by contacting or calling 0131 510 7920. Generic farm signs, which are not personalised, are also available to buy and cost £24 including VAT.