Dairy and Arable Farms of the Year nominations

Plans are moving apace for The Scottish Agriculture Awards in association with AgriScot, Royal Highland & Agriculture Society of Scotland and The Scottish Farmer last this year in Glasgow and this weekend will be the last chance to nominate businesses in the Arable Farm of the Year, sponsored by SoilEssentials, and partnered with AHDB, and Dairy Farm of the Year, sponsored by GEA.

The event, which will be held in the Crown Plaza Hotel, near the SECC, on October 26, will be a celebration of all that is good in Scottish agriculture and reward those who aspire to make it the fantastic industry that it is.

Entry deadline for both these categories is Monday, July 10, 2023. To nominate or enter visit www.newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/agriawards2023

Dairy Farm of the Year:

This will be sponsored by well known dairy supply specialist, GEA, whose Simon Harper, its UK sales manager, Farm Technologies Division, said: “ We are very proud to be suppliers to the Scottish dairy industry and consider it a great honour to sponsor such an important category.

“First and foremost, we are looking progressive entrants who can display a clear plan for the future which encompasses three important elements

  • Profitable production
  • High standards of animal welfare
  • Respect of the environment and everybody who enjoys the countryside.

“Lastly, we look to see something different they bring to the table that has made a positive change to their business.”

Who won last year?

Last year’s recipient was Peebles-shire-based Colin Laird, of Blyth Farms, West Linton, who runs Blythbridge Holsteins in partnership with his family, milking 540 cows daily, using 10 Lely A5 robots. The business has been built up over the past three generations and more recently saw the completion of a new state-of-the-art dairy complex, constructed with the aim of maximising the potential of the Holstein breed. The herd participates in weekly vet inspections to monitor fertility, and regular foot trimming, along with foot washers on the robots, has eliminated the need for antibiotics to treat lameness.

This May, Blyth Farm opened its gates to the public welcomed over 750 farming and non-farming visitors to explore the new dairy facility and to see other aspects of the farm.

The family are also supporters of RHET, hosting school visits on the farm and regularly welcome international groups.

Arable Farm of the Year:

This is being sponsored by well-known Scottish-based technology specialists, SoilEssentials, whose general manager, Gregor Welsh, said: “Sponsoring one of the Scottish Agriculture Awards, such as the Arable Farm of the year award, holds multiple benefits for SoilEssentials. By aligning ourselves with a respected award programme, we show our commitment to recognising excellence and promoting advancements in the industry.

“Sponsorship provides an excellent platform to enhance our brand visibility of our products and services among the farming community. It allows us to showcase our expertise in prevision farming and demonstrate how our solutions can contribute to the success and productivity of farming operations.

“As precision farming specialist, engaging with finalists, listening to their challenges, and fostering collaborations propel our business and drive innovation.

“We are captivated by the remarkable stories and diverse farming businesses of the award finalist each year. The insight we gain into their unique approaches and experiences is truly inspiring.

“Therefore, we wholeheartedly encourage submission form all corner of Scotland, as we eagerly anticipate discovering more extraordinary tales and recognising the exceptional achievements of farmers across the country”, he pointed out.

Who won last year:

Berwickshire-based, Colin McGregor took on the daily running of his family business in 1989 at the age of 21 when the farmed area was 300 ha and specialised in pre-packed potato production. But in the past 23 years, his business had reached agreement to contract farm nearby neighbouring land and there are now 15 agreements covering a managed area of 3445 ha.

This mainly grows winter wheat and oilseed rape, but winter parley, spring barley, spring oats, spring beans, potatoes and vining peas are also grown. Every farm has an individual rotation to suit its soil type, infrastructure and location, with Colin and his team focusing on building fertility and soil health to maximise yield and reduce risk.

The business is a LEAF Farm which all farms involved. It also participates in environmental schemes. Prevision farming technology is used extensively with regular soil sampling including organic matter test. Organic manures are utilised where possible.