Tarbolton Farm Open Day
There will be a chance for local farmers to see round a modern dairy unit, complete with robot milking, while learning the latest techniques for utilising key plant nutrients, when SAC holds a special open day at West Scoutts farm, Tarbolton. It takes place at 10.30 am on Monday 27th February and, in addition to a farm tour, will feature advice on the best way to manage cattle dung and slurry.
For centuries farmers used the waste from their livestock to fertilise their crops. Then, In the middle of the last century, cheap oil encouraged the manufacture of alternative, artificial fertilisers like nitrogen and for many farmers, cattle slurry and dung became a waste management problem. Not any more. With oil prices rocketing and environmental concerns increasing, slurry and dung have regained their place as vital and renewable plant nutrients.
The hosts at West Scoutts are Hugh and Alistair Hodge who, with their families, farm in partnership. Between two units, West Scoutts and Bogwood, Mauchline, they milk some 400 high genetic merit Holstein cows. Considerable investment at West Scoutts, most recently in 2 Lely Robots, has seen the unit well on track to milk 250 cows. They are fed on a largely home-grown diet of grass and maize silages, whole crop wheat, crimped grain, and fodder beet.
With that much feed to grow the Hodges have paid particular attention to their slurry storage and handling facilities and it is around them that the open day has been organised. The Hodges will explain their attitude to their other home-produced resource and the environmental regulations surrounding it. In addition to the farm tour, SAC experts will explain the savings to be made by proper nutrient management and soil testing.
Speakers from SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) and Scottish Government will advise about environmental regulations and, very important for Ayrshire, what to do when the ground is too wet to spread slurry yet the stores are full! Local contractors and equipment suppliers will be on hand to outline available services.
The event is partially funded by Scottish Government under its Advisory Programme for Pollution Prevention. Lunch is provided free of charge, but to help with catering please register with the SAC FRBS Office on 01292 525252, FBSAyr@sac.co.uk .