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Budge sisters to reflect on monitor farm project at final meeting

Aimee Budge on the right with sister Kirsty.
Aimee Budge on the right with sister Kirsty.

A THREE-year monitor farm project at Bigton is set to come to an end next month.

Farmers and crofters are invited to attend the final monitor farm meeting at Bigton Hall on Saturday 8 February.

They will learn how the 305 ha livestock enterprise at Bigton Farm has benefited from its involvement in the three-year monitor farm project.

Farmers Aimee and Kirsty Budge will share key learnings, demonstrate the positive impact of the project on Bigton Farm and share what they plan to do in the future.

Attendees will also have a chance to hear about the changes the sisters have made to lamb finishing, forage crops and breeding their own replacements.

The final meeting will take place from 11am to 3.30pm and it is open to everyone with an interest in farming, crofting and rural businesses.

“During our three years as monitor farmers we’ve made significant improvements to our farm business and have benefited from expert speakers and a strong support network from local farmers and crofters,” Kirsty said.

“One of the biggest challenges we face on Shetland is arable production due to the rough ground.

“Through the Monitor Farm Project, we decided to grow 60 acres of spring barley. This has allowed us to keep feed costs down and supply some barley to local farmers. We now have the confidence to look at ways to increase crop yields for next year.”

The aim of the Scottish Government-funded Monitor Farm Project is to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

Local farmer John Abernethy will also explain at the meeting how the project has given him the confidence to introduce rotational grazing, wean his lambs earlier and change the breed of sheep.

Quality Meat Scotland chair Kate Rowell will talk about her time as a monitor farmer, her experiences since completing the programme and the positive effect it has had on her farming business.

To attend the meeting, please book by contacting SAC on 01595 693520 or email frbslerwick @sac.co.uk.