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By Fiona Reid
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Family to share key learnings

THE Marchant family have made many changes to their business over the last three years. And its those improvements that will be the focus of an event in the region later this month.

Andrew and Aileen Marchant have been part of the QMS Monitor Farm programme since 2017 and this will be their final meeting to share their experiences.

Farmers from across Dumfriesshire are being encouraged to attend to hear about the impact the project has had on their farm and the lessons they have learned. Since opening the gates to Clonhie, their 300 hectare beef and sheep farm, the couple have developed the key areas of soil management, animal health and forage utilisation. They have a herd of 30 Luing cows, an expanding herd of red deer and over 1000 breeding ewes.

Andrew said: “Being part of the Monitor Farm project has been a fantastic opportunity which has provided us with the confidence to make changes to our business based on facts and figures. At the start of the project our whole farm review revealed our fixed costs were high and there was significant scope for us to increase our output per hectare to help spread these costs.

“Through the Monitor Farm project we have been able to improve our livestock production, soil and pasture management and financial performance and as a result our business is in a much better position to cope with future challenges.”

Judith Hutchison is one of the Nithsdale Monitor Farm project facilitators and said: “We are very much looking forward to sharing all the key changes implemented at Clonhie during this very successful Monitor Farm Project. The most powerful learning for farmers comes from other farmers. Seeing things actually happen on farm, following the results of changes made throughout the three-year project and having the opportunity to discuss and learn from both successes and failures has been the crux of this project.”

The event takes place on Thursday February 27 at Durisdeer Village Hall and will also feature guest speaker Justin McCarthy, editor of Farmer’s Journal, who will discuss the opportunities and challenges for livestock producers over the next five years.

In addition, QMS chair Kate Rowell will be in attendance to talk about her time as a monitor farmer, her experience since finishing the programme and the positive effect it has had on her farming business.

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

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