First Meeting Of 4-Year Agricultural Programme Held At Meikle Maldron

Meikle Maldron on Leys Estate

More than 60 individuals from the farming and livestock industry met at Meikle Maldron at the beginning of December as the first meeting of a 4-year monitoring programme took place.

The farm was announced as one of nine new Scottish Monitor Farms across Scotland at AgriScot which was held in Edinburgh in November.

Meikle Maldron sits between Banchory and Torphins and is part of Leys Estate. The 226ha is farmed by husband-and-wife team Duncan and Claire Morrison who moved to the farm in 2016. The couple currently farm 220 suckler cows comprising commercial Aberdeen Angus and Pedigree Aberdeen Angus and Stabilisers. Of the 220 cows, they own 120 and lease a herd of 100 stabiliser cows. They also grow 15ha of arable silage and 8ha of kale.

The initiative, which is managed by Quality Meat Scotland and AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds with funding from the Scottish Government, promotes sustainable innovation and transformational change in the agricultural sector.

The programme focusses on practical farming and good business practices to build resilient, dynamic farms focused on reaching full economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Duncan and Claire see the Monitor Farm programme as an invaluable opportunity to develop their young business while learning from others within the industry.

Duncan said: “The project is a four-year commitment which will cover everything from improving the overall profitability of the farm and its various enterprises, to improving biodiversity, its carbon footprint and sequestration and innovation.

“We have been aware of the scheme for some time and have watched other Monitor Farms go on to become successful businesses. Our business is still evolving and our aim is to work towards building a more resilient model which we hope in the future will see us move to full time farming, phasing out the likes of my current fencing business.

“I’m quite an outgoing person who enjoys working with others so I’m really looking forward to meeting new people, knowledge sharing and learning from those with more in-depth knowledge of certain areas of the industry.”

David Smart, Leys Estate Group Chief Executive, said: “Since taking on the tenancy at Meikle Maldron in 2016 we have been extremely impressed by Duncan and Claire’s passion and approach to farming.

“The project brings research and industry closer together, helping to optimise production and sharing best-practice learning and experience across the agricultural sector. This additional support and guidance can be invaluable for a young business and we look forward to working with Duncan and Claire throughout the project.”

Now approaching its 20th anniversary, the MFP is the Scottish Government’s principal farmer-led initiative. The nine farms are located in: South Ayrshire, Strathspey, Banff and Buchan, Deeside, Stirlingshire, Roxburghshire, Dumfries, East Lothian and Argyll.