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Young Farmer Focus: Peter Duthie - ‘Agriculture has been in my blood the last three generations’

Peter Duthie, 24, is a third generation mixed farmer from Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire, and works as an operation manager at Scottish Pig Producers Ltd.

Growing up

 

Being born into and growing up on one of the three family farms, agriculture has been in my blood for the last three generations.

 

Lambing

 

This year’s lambing was a success for the family and, on the back of veterinary advice from my cousin and fellow Garioch JAC member, we teased the 150-ewe flock for the first-time last year before putting the tups in with them.

 

A tighter lambing period, more even lambs and even fewer straggling ewes has made a great difference so far.

 

The bought-in store lambs from ANM Thainstone and Kingussie also caught the buoyant trade in February, just weeks before the market collapsed with the lockdown and closure of some export opportunities.

 

Spring work

 

As the spring work is finished across the country we should be thankful for this year, not only for the good weather we have had here in Aberdeenshire, but also that as an industry we have been able to continue, for most, as normal as possible throughout the Covid-19 pandemic so far.

 

The 162 hectares (400 acres) of spring crops have gone in good order this year, with the rain now making all the difference. Let us hope the distilleries get up and running quickly to get most of last year’s malt barley used up before storage for this year’s crop becomes an issue.


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Calving

 

Now, with the rain washing in the fertiliser and lime, and the warmer days we are getting, there is enough grass to get the cattle out for summer. Thirty cows are calved in the back end with my granddad and 100 are calved with my uncle in spring. All are then kept through to fatten, with stores bought in from ANM Thainstone and Caithness, UA Huntly and Dingwall and Highland Marts, selling in the region of 230 fat each year.

 

Scottish Pig Producers

 

When I am not around the farm in the evening, weekends, or holidays, I can be found working for Scottish Pig Producers, a farmer-owned pig marketing cooperative based in Huntly.

 

There I work as the operations manager for the Northern Ireland producers, covering procurement, marketing, and payments. I also look after the company’s quality policy, ensuring we continue to provide the service our members require. In other words, we do the paperwork, and the members produce the pigs.

 

Award

 

I was also awarded the ‘SAOS Next Generation Award’ in 2019, alongside John Taylor for our ‘commitment to cooperation’ in Scotland.

 

Young Farmers’ Club

 

I have been an active committee member of Garioch JAC and West Aberdeenshire District for the last nine years, more recently joining the North committee and National Council of Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs.

 

I have been fortunate enough to hold various roles so far in young farmers, and chairing the 90th Anniversary Committee is one I will always remember, despite coronavirus putting our plans on hold.

 

Collaborating

 

There will always be swings and roundabouts in which ever sector you work in within agriculture, but by working together, communicating and collaborating, there will always be a way through.

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