Despite a morning of thunderstorms and torrential rain, this farm event focussing on beef production run by Moredun in partnership with The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), was extremely interesting, informative and well attended.
The event was hosted by the McPherson Grant family, owners of Ballindalloch Estate, Banffshire and the historic Aberdeen Angus herd. The morning got underway with a welcome from Moredun Foundation Chairman, Ian Duncan Millar: “At Moredun we encourage partnership working and are very pleased to be running this event with the CNPA.”
He also emphasised the value of working with land owners and farmers and introduced Guy McPherson Grant who outlined the impressive array of diversification projects the Estate had developed in addition to the farming enterprise, such as a distillery, golf course and castle shop and restaurant, which all provide valuable local employment.
The farm and 35 strong herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle is managed and produced by David Johnstone and family and David explained the neat circle within the Estate with the farm growing the barley for use in the distillery and the distillery draff being fed back to the cattle. He then concentrated on the breeding and management policy of the Hi-health herd, before farm vet Donald McLean, partner at Aberlour Veterinary Centre, talked about the problem of infertility in suckler herds. Donald concentrated on describing the information the farmer needs to relay to the vet at the start of infertility investigations and gave clear messages about how important this initial information flow was to allow both farmer and vet to obtain maximum benefit and accurate diagnosis respectively.
The Ballindalloch herd have maintained a fabulous show record over the years and are about to start their show season so it was timely that Manus Graham, vet at Moredun, discussed biosecurity and disease prevention, before David McClelland, Technical Director at Norvite explained the detailed forage analysis he had carried out at Ballindalloch and how then they formulated a balanced diet with micro-nutrients for maximum herd health and fertility. Finally Bruce McConachie, Land Management Advisor and a local farmer himself gave his thoughts on Upland Beef Production and where we go from here, with some interesting comments on the high quality Scottish Beef brand and how we could cash in on that, with an eye on the world market.
The morning talks were followed by what was deemed by many as the highlight of the day – a farm walk through the cattle with their calves at foot, running with the stock bull, 3yo Ballindalloch Earl in the “Coo Haugh” at the front of the castle. This was a real treat and what a sight the herd were in superb condition and not remotely phased by 50 folk wandering through them. We also got a preview of the show team looking in tremendous fettle and ready for Nairn Show on Saturday 30th July.
The afternoon panel session was very ably chaired by Nigel Miller, who with his usual wit and extensive knowledge provided great entertainment and kept the panel on their toes. With astute audience participation, the discussions were broad and interesting with many ideas and pointers to take forward to the beef industry.
This livestock health meeting was organised by Moredun, a world leader in research into the health and welfare of livestock, in partnership with the Cairngorms National Park who are committed to maintaining sustainable livestock businesses in the Park area.
For further information and images please contact Dr Beth Wells firstname.lastname@example.org at Moredun on 0131 445 5111