Scotland’s Farm Business Show Returns With A Bang

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AgriScot returned with a bang, after a three-year absence at Ingliston, with thousands turning out for a day of business, socialising and policy engagement.

The one-day event welcomed visitors from all corners of the UK, as well as groups from abroad, with over 230 exhibitors offering the latest in ag-tech and expert advice, to support farming through challenging months ahead.

Kicking off proceedings, AgriScot’s live silage competition, saw judges Hugh McClymont and Jim Warnock select their final four victors from 12 fresh samples, across four categories, proving that even after a challenging year, Scotland delivered excellent quality entries from the northern part of the country to the very south.

Picking up the top product innovation award on the day was a new ‘smart’ bolus which can help farmers manage the herd health of their cows known as the smaXtec health system. Highly commended awards were presented to SoilEssentials’ SKAi artificial intelligence platform and GEA Farm Technologies’ self-driving robot feed mixer, DairyFeed F4500.

An action-packed seminar programme began with a stir, as delegates raised frustrations over the slow pace of rollout of the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) tagging for cattle in Scotland. Soil Essentials and Agri-EPI Centre shared an update on soil health and the importance of soil sampling, whilst a new session encouraging women to sign up for an upcoming development training course, was run across two sessions during the course of the day.

The hotly anticipated head-to-head between NFUS president Martin Kennedy and Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon, didn’t take long until it focused in on the progress of the Agricultural Bill, and calls were made by the audience for greater support for livestock and a tougher stance on tree planting on prime agricultural land. The nine new monitor farmers were revealed during the QMS session and an interactive discussion took place on the future role of the dairy industry, organised by The Scottish Dairy Hub and Kite Consultancy.

The Moredun Foundation delivered an update on its animal disease research with a key focus on Johne’s disease and BVD and Brodies LLP and RBS, gave their outlook on the current economic challenges and how to build better business resilience. One of the final seminars in the programme, led by SAOS, narrowed down on one of the biggest challenges facing farming right now – labour shortages, and issues around recruitment and retention, with audience members sharing their own experiences and concerns.

Packed main ring

The main ring was never far from packed throughout the day, with a beef demo display led by SAC Consulting pulling in large crowds for its interactive session late morning, followed by the big reveal of the AgriScot Farm Business Awards, with all six winners being presented their plaques by the Cabinet Secretary.

The dairy cattle made their comeback to the arena and judge Niels Erik Haahr, from Denmark, was hugely impressed by the cattle on parade, which included his choice of SuperCow, a sixth calved Holstein from Luke Lancaster, Dennis O’Neill and James Wilson and his daughter, Charlotte, of Evening Holsteins, Carlisle. The reserve was presented to the top Jersey from the Hunter family’s Clydevalley herd at Shotts.

The champion and reserve SuperHeifers came from the same herd – Brian and Michael Yates’ East Logan herd, from Castle Douglas. The Yates’ Holstein Eedy Crushabull Acclaim VG89, stood overall SuperHeifer and reserve went to their the red and white, Logan Rubels Seisme ET VG88.

Commenting on the much-anticipated return of AgriScot, Chairman Robert Neill said: “It was fantastic to be back at Ingliston again after three long years away, meeting up with friends, old and new – the atmosphere around the halls was electric.

“It was much needed light relief after what has been a challenging few months for the sector and we were so pleased we were able to provide a platform for policy updates and advice for farmers, to help them navigate through these difficult times.

“We were blown away by the range of exhibitors showcasing on the day and it was uplifting to witness so many new connections being made, and business being done. These events are so important for agriculture and we hope that everyone came away feeling inspired and brimming with ideas to take their businesses forward.”

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