The three finalists of the AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year were revealed today by award sponsors, SoilEssentials and organisers, AHDB.
Farming different types of soil on very different scales, all three finalists hail from Fife and also share a focus on soil health, benchmarking and innovation.
Craig Peddie owns and farms 196 hectares at Cornceres, Anstruther, where he grows winter and spring cereals, oilseed rape and beans and rents land for potatoes. John Weir owns 300 hectares at Lacesston, Gateside, where the focus is on potatoes, but he also grows cereals and finishes beef cattle.
The 1165-hectare Balbirnie Home Farms at Freuchie, owned by the Balfour family, is managed by David Aglen, who is responsible for all the cereals, vegetables, grass and fodder/cover crops grown on the estate, as well as livestock enterprises.
Precision technology is a key part of all three businesses, with each finding improvements and efficiencies using innovative machinery and technology combined with careful management and attention to detail.
The leading farm of the year, which will be revealed at AgriScot on 20 November, will receive a bespoke precision farming package from SoilEssentials. The package will be tailor-made for the business following a site visit to the farm to assess the technology being used and the business requirements.
This year the candidates are being assessed by the 2018 winner, Donald Ross of Rhynie, Tain, and AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds Board Member Andrew Moir, who farms at Thornton Mains, Laurencekirk.
Donald said: “All three finalists are making maximum use of resources while maintaining soil health. The standard of entries was very high.”
Andrew added: “We are fortunate to have three very good finalists who are all innovative in different ways. Forward-thinking farmers such as our finalists are what the arable sector in Scotland needs now.”
AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager Chris Leslie said awards such as the AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year highlight best practice and encourage businesses to future-proof themselves, supporting the drive towards a more resilient arable sector.
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Notes to editor
AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Our purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how which they can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. AHDB’s remit covers 72 per cent of total UK agricultural output. Further information on AHDB can be found at www.ahdb.org.uk
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