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Young farmer focus: Tom Bruce 'There is plenty of scope to adopt new ideas'

Tom Bruce, 27, lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Brought up on the family farm, he studied a masters in engineering and is now back working the land.

Work

 

It has been a funny old year with changing jobs at the beginning of lockdown back in March.

 

I moved to a new farm - large scale beef finisher, finishing circa 1900 head per year and seed tattie production,
growing 250 acres of tatties.

 

To quote the boss “there’s aye sumin ti dee” whether that is the morning routine of feeding and bedding beasts, mowing silage or constructing a new drying wall in the tattie store.


After getting the winter barley cut in near ideal conditions the weather has turned rather temperamental and we are struggling to get two dry days in a row.

 

This has really turned it into a stop start harvest now, but a half day to get caught up with things at home does not always go a miss.

 

Innovation

 

This summer we have been running an on-farm trial, in conjunction with Harbro, to see the effects of one of their feed additives on DLWG in cattle.

 

With the trial just newly completed it will be interesting to see the final results once Harbro have analysed the data.

 

As margins seem to be ever tightening, innovation will need to be at the forefront of the industry to keep a competitive edge.


There is plenty of scope to adopt new ideas to improve how we farm.

 

Examples include apps for recording data, drone technology, alternatives to chemical control of disease in crops etc.


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Young Farmers

 

Having been a very active young farmer member for the last 13 years, this summer has fairly been a change to the norm.

 

With only the odd Zoom meeting it has been difficult to keep people involved.


After speaking to a few members about why they have not been joining in as much, it seems that an very important part of YFC meetings is getting together to meet up with other members and Zoom does not allow that type of social interaction.


Now with lockdown easing further we are being encouraged to try to organise a more normal winter programme, although physical distancing may still be required at least it is something to look forward too as life returns to some sort of normality.

 

Re-engaging members is going to be key to the return of young farmers and I cannot encourage people enough to take part in every aspect possible, from competitions and training to socialising.

 

The skills you learn, people you meet and opportunities available will be invaluable at many times through life
and this is what really sets young farmers apart from any other youth organisation.

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