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Young Farmer Focus: Lorna Edwards - 'Sheep trade remains positive at the moment'

Lorna Edwards, 28, from Keith, north-east Scotland, farms just under 81 hectares (200 acres) on a Less Favoured Area mixed farm with sheep and cropping compromising spring feed barley and feed turnips. 

Weather: With a new decade here and the weather being relative mild but left hopes of a white Christmas dashed. Things have been very wet in this area, especially where we are fattening lambs are grazing neeps – it is not a clean job at the best of times.

 

This weather has seen me take lambs inside recently to feed, hoping for a quicker finish and to keep them cleaner for the slaughterhouse.

 

The only issue I have had is trying to keep on top of their weights so we can produce a carcase as close to 21kg as possible to avoid any deductions.

 

The sheep trade remains very positive at the moment and fingers crossed it continues.

 

Flock: The farm is run in partnership with my mother. I also work self-employed away from the farm as much as I can when time allows.

 

We are running approximately 440 breeding ewes, this has steadily risen from the 320 when I first came home to farm in 2017, after the sudden death of my father. The majority of the flock are Scotch Mules, retaining homebred Texel cross replacements.

 

This year I am hoping we will have some cheviot mule replacements hitting the ground. Doing this will expectantly lessen replacement costs of buying in gimmers.

 

Most of the lambs are fattened and having no cattle of our own, cattle are also taken in for the winter on a B&B agreement.


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Young Farmers: Being a member of my local Young Farmers club, Keith & District YFC, has lead me to be current chairwoman our District, Deveron and Speyside.

 

I am also on the National Agri Affairs committee which has given me some great knowledge and opportunities over the years and have met a lot of great people from all over the country.

 

Publicity: The agricultural industry has received a lot of negative publicity as of late and Veganuary is a very topical subject.

 

I believe everyone is very much entitled to their own opinions but some seem to shout louder than others. By stopping eating meat, vegans claim this is their bit to ‘help the environment’.

 

What confuses me is that here in Scotland there are not a lot of fruit and vegetables grown in the winter months due to the climate, therefore there are many added food miles to their ‘healthy’ eating, I am not sure if this is factored into their rational.

 

Quality Meat Scotland has been doing a great job trying to get a positive message across with their ongoing campaigns including ‘Meat with Integrity’ and the videos they have put together of farmers telling the good they are doing for the environment and their livestock.

 

I think this proves why it is very important that farmers keep telling the public their stories as there is a lot of good publicity to be had and we need to capitalise on that.

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