I have not been doing much farming in the last month as I have had a lot of meetings to attend. The weather still has not settled down so it has been a good time for days away.
Aberdeenshire- Peter Chapman farms 432 hectares (1,067 acres) near Fraserburgh. The mainly arable farm also has suckler cows and pullet rearing enterprises as well as four Enercon 800kW wind turbines. Peter is a Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland one-year director and is on the Ringlink board.
First off was the final meeting of the Aberdeenshire arable monitor farm. I cannot believe it has been three and a half years since we started, but time is up.
A lot has been achieved with the aim of increasing the farm’s physical performance, one of only several triumphs. The weather has been kind for the heavy land unit but attention to detail, adoption of new techniques and the willingness of the monitor farmer Andrew Booth to listen to the advice from the community group have all helped to increase yields and performance.
The group has also learned a lot from Andrew, especially following his journey looking at RHI and biomass systems which culminated in Andrew building a new 1,000-tonne on-floor drying system with biomass as the heat source. He has also brought the tray drier into the 21st century, with moisture and temperature sensors mounted on the grain stirrers to map the entire grain heap, with the subsequent ability to individually dry certain parts of the pile more than others.
One of the most satisfying elements of the day was the desire of the community group to keep the project going. We will have limited funding from HGCA, but the industry partners we have used throughout the last three years will provide sponsorship going forward. It is heartening for all involved, with the organisation of the project that not only has the community group benefited but also the wider industry.
The following week I had health and safety training for the Royal Highland Agricultural Society for Scotland (RHASS). The society puts all its directors through a IOSH Directing Safely course, which really backed up the HSE workshop I attended last month. More RHASS director meetings, a monitor farm conference and some Ringlink director training meant my brain was overloaded with all the information fired at me, so it was a relief to get the boiler suit back on.
The final meeting of last week was the Ringlink AGM, where chairman Andrew Moir reiterated the machinery ring movement will have an ‘increasingly important role to play in helping to reduce member overheads with the uncertainty caused by the new CAP and impractical greening options’. Wise words indeed.