Level 3 Apprenticeship/Work Based Diploma students from CAFRE have recently returned from a very successful study tour to Scotland where they were able to experience a range of production systems and farm situations.
Their first visit was to High Bishopton near Whithorn on the Solway coast to a specialist calf to heifer rearing unit, which served Kevin Forsyth’s three local dairy farms.
They also had the opportunity to view and learn about his anaerobic digester and rotary parlour. Near Thornhill the students were hosted by Andrew and Aileen Marchant, who run Clonhie farm for which they have secured a tenancy, it’s the second of nine new monitor farms being established in Scotland as part of a joint initiative by Quality Meat Scotland. As well as providing in wintering accommodation for young stock from other local farms, the farm has now 900 breeding ewes and 230 ewe lambs and the couple hope to reach their target of 1,200 ewes by 2020.
After overnight accommodation in Stirling the students visited the world-famous Perth Bull Sales at Stirling, with the main pedigree breeds on show being Charolais, Simmental and Salers.
In the afternoon they travelled further East to Fife and visited Parkend farm run by the Weatherup family where they run 180 pedigree Holstein dairy cows. 25 years of refined breeding have brought them to the forefront of the Holstein cattle breeding in Scotland, where they have collected many accolades both at the Highland show and the Scottish Winter fair, and last year represented the Holstein breed in mainland Europe.
The tour ended with a visit to the Brown Family at Gaindykehead Farm in North Lanarkshire. The Browns have years of experience in feeding prime cattle where they finish almost 3,000 each year selling 40 cattle a week off predominantly grass or silage and potato based diets. The cattle are marketed not only locally but to both Glasgow and London. Gareth Finch, from Markethill, stated: “This was a great tour, with a lot of variety. It was interesting to see some of the theory that we have been taught in class in real life situations.”