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Young Farmer Focus: Ian Cullens, 27 - 'I have a lot of faith in the future of agriculture'

Ian Cullens, 27, is a fourth-generation farmer on the family farm. He helps with 2,000 Blackface ewes, 150 cross ewes and 80 suckler cows.

Family farm: Sheep have and always will be the main focus on the family-run farm, set beneath the Ochil Hills.

 

I am part of the fourth generation to be farming a long-term tenancy on a 2,500-hectares (6,178-acres) hill farm alongside my brother and parents.

 

We farm from 50 feet right up to 2,000ft running approximately 2,000 Blackface ewes, 150 cross ewes and 80 suckler cows.

 

At the age of 25 I became a partner in the business, something which gave me a huge sense of achievement and encouragement to keep the business on the right track and moving forward with the times.

 

Lambs: The best time of the year has to be speaning the lambs and selecting the breeding stock to keep and sell.

 

We keep all our own blackface ewe lambs for breeding and sell roughly 600 mule ewe lambs in both Stirling markets, as well as privately.

 

A lot of effort goes into dressing them up for the sales, but there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a level batch of lambs in a sale ring.

 

We have just finished shearing and silage in record time.

 

The silage yield was down 30 per cent due to the exceptionally dry summer, but we have a little extra from last year which will hopefully take us through the winter.

 

The wool crop is sitting ready to leave the farm, however we will not be expecting big returns.

 

In the coming weeks, we will be speaning all the lambs, allowing ewes to return to the hill and giving them a chance to recover before tupping.

 

Young Farmers: I have been involved in Young Farmers for more than 10 years, holding many positions including chairman for Kinross JAC and Fife and Kinross District.

 

It is safe to say that a lot of skills I bring to the farm have come from being part of Young Farmers, however I think I am nearing retirement age and sometimes struggle to keep up with the fast pace of the young ones.

 

Challenges: I always aim to be optimistic but it does not take much to remind me how so many things are out of our control.

 

This has been the poorest spring and driest summer I have ever witnessed, causing issues such as fewer lambs on the ground and grazing shortages.

 

But ending on a positive note, I have a lot of faith in the future of agriculture, where I am sure the skills and talents of Young Farmers will keep Britain farming.

 

 


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