Monitor Farm focus on bull fertility

Stuart, Lesley and Robert Mitchell from Whitriggs Farm.
Stuart, Lesley and Robert Mitchell from Whitriggs Farm.

Bull fertility will be among the key topics discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the Borders Monitor Farm on 22 August.

Whitriggs, a 480 hectare farm near Denholm, is run by Robert and Lesley Mitchell, along with their son Stuart. The farm runs a suckler herd of 140 Beef Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus cross cows and a flock of 1,000 Lleyn ewes across two units. Their current bull team consists of Angus, Simmental and Shorthorn bulls.

With an eye on continuous improvement, the Mitchells are keen to shorten their calving period and make sure that their bulls are working to their full potential. At the meeting, Colin Penny from Zoetis will discuss what checks to make on bulls, including a semen test, and what to look out for while the bulls are working.

“At Whitriggs we are always evaluating our business and the way we do things,” said Robert Mitchell.

“Making our cattle more efficient and reviewing when we sell calves is a priority for us so I’m looking forward to hearing from Colin Penny who will no doubt give us a greater insight into managing our bulls more efficiently.”

The meeting, which is free and open to all farmers, will also look at fodder and bedding options to address the challenges posed by the dry summer. The facilitators will lead the group in creating feed budgets as well as looking at alternative feed and bedding materials.

As a mixed farm, the importance and economics of growing crops will also be scrutinised at the meeting. Given the addition of a new deer operation, the group will also review the other farm enterprises to ensure they are operating efficiently and complement each other.

QMS Director of Economics Services Stuart Ashworth will also attend the meeting to update the group on market prices and trends.

Whitriggs farm is one of nine monitor farms that have been established across Scotland in a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, with funding from the Scottish Government. The aim of the programme is to help improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

The meeting on 22 August at Whitriggs farm, will begin at 6pm and finish at 9pm. There will be a BBQ during the meeting. All are welcome and the event is free.

For catering purposes, those interested in coming along on 22 August should confirm attendance with Stephen Young, one of the project facilitators, on 07502 339613 or email stephen.young@saos.coop.

For more information about the monitor farm programme visit www.monitorfarms.co.uk