A NEW competition aimed at injecting some feel-good factor into Scotland’s arable farming sector is set to be announced at AgriScot next month.

The AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year Award aims to emulate the success of its Scottish Dairy, Scotch Beef and Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year competitions.

Event chairman Andrew Moir explained: “AgriScot is now, more than ever, about all sectors of agriculture. A significant number of the trade stands and seminars at our event are hugely relevant to arable farmers and we have been attracting them in increasing numbers year on year.”

“With the ongoing success of our farm of the year awards for the three principal livestock sectors, we felt that arable businesses were missing out. Thanks to sponsorship from SoilEssentials and the support of AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds, we are able to announce at AgriScot that the inaugural Scottish Arable Farm of the Year competition will take place in 2017.”

He continued: “AgriScot has an established history of sectorial and business competitions. Awards are made each year not only in the farm of the year competitions but also for farm business skills exhibited by a young Scottish talent, the best silage crops and the best new product exhibited at AgriScot.

“The awards are our way of highlighting excellence in the industry and, in turn, helping farmers to pick up ways in which their own businesses might be improved.”

The AgriScot team have also announced the theme for the ‘Beef Demo’, an ever-popular feature of the AgriScot schedule. The demonstration, sponsored by QMS, is this year set to show how store cattle producers and their beef finisher buyers can make better use of readily available information in order to generate increased profits.

SAC beef guru Basil Lowman, who will once again lead the demonstration, said: “Too often, at store cattle sales, the only information finishers have is the farm the stores have come from, the breed of their sire, the average weight of the group and their farm assurance status.

“At AgriScot 2016 we aim to show how a useful, and valuable, information can be more readily passed from store breeder to buyer finisher. We believe having the right information helps finishers select store cattle most suited to their finishing system and which will leave them most profit. In turn giving buyers more confidence and allowing them to pay a premium to store producers.

“The advantage to the abattoirs will be more finished cattle hitting spec, thus reducing their wastage, and in-turn improving their profitability. Even consumers will benefit – the more uniform the carcasses in chill rooms the easier it is to ensure all carcasses are conditioned correctly to maximise their eating quality helping reduce to a minimum the curse of the whole beef industry – the tough, inedible steak.

“All of this can be achieved by just utilising information the majority of store producers already have!” said Mr Lowman.

Seminars focussing on animal health issues for both dairy and sheep sectors, land registration and of course the NFUS political debate, which will this year see Fergus Ewing participate for the first time, have also been announced as part of the 2016 AgriScot schedule.