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Farmer Sarah scoops innovation award

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
Farmer Sarah scoops innovation award

BEEF farmer Sarah Maxwell is the Scottish winner of this year’s Innovation Farming Award in the M&S annual Select Farm Awards.

She was presented with her award during a ceremony at the Highland Show last week, when the judges commended Sarah for her commitment to innovative practices in rearing livestock.

Beef and sheep farming has been in the Maxwell family for generations and Sarah now helps farm a herd of Aberdeen Angus cows in a family partnership. The upland farm is located north of Dumfries, and they manage their livestock from birth to finishing.

Sarah’s meticulous management of every aspect of the farm has led to fantastic results, with her data analysis skills and love for new technology playing pivotal roles in allowing her to make continuous improvements to genetics and herd strength.

The farming partnership was ranked highly for its carbon footprint, as measured by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

“The main driver behind these improvements is to both make the business more profitable and provide a good quality product,” said Sarah. “Our cows are mainly home bred with great genetics, and their risk of disease is low.

“We also monitor the weight of our livestock from birth, so we can observe how well they are growing, and then select the highest performing cattle for breeding, which improves the health and productivity of our herd.”

Steve McLean, head of agriculture at M&S, said: “Every day, our Select Farmers go to extraordinary lengths to deliver great quality M&S food to our customers, producing lower carbon, responsible food, whilst protecting natural resources and driving innovation. And we’re very proud that we can trace all our beef back to the cow and farm it came from.

“Sarah has demonstrated exceptional stock management that has improved the health and productivity of the herd and has helped the farm consistently score highly on audits. Her family have been supplying M&S for 30 years, and with her future leadership, we hope to work with the Maxwells for another 30 years.”

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