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The Campbell family: Ayrshire – The Agriculture, Biodiversity and Climate Change Network

30 March 2024

This article originally appeared on the Farming For A Better Climate website 

Willie, Margaret and Robert Campbell run a mixed farm in Ayrshire with a focus on dairy, beef, sheep and some cereals.

Farm Type: Mixed – dairy, beef, sheep & cereals
Total area farmed: 222 ha (550 acres)
Total cropped area: 24 Ha (60 acres) of cereals & 198 ha (490 acres) grassland
Total number of livestock: 900

What climate/environmental actions have been undertaken on the farm?

Nutrient budgeting, low emission slurry spreading and mixed herbage grassland have all contributed to improved grass yields.  Creating cow tracks has helped to establish a successful rotational grazing system, and improved grassland utilisation.  Improved livestock monitoring and the introduction of cross bred genetics has helped to maximise efficiency of milk production.  To improve on energy use and efficiency, solar panels have been installed with further investment in a more efficient milk cooling system.

What impact have these activities had?

There has been a reduction in inorganic fertiliser use, enhanced crop yields and growth rates in the livestock.  Daily time savings have been noted in the daily operations on the farm.  There has been a significant reduction in soil erosion which has accompanied enhanced soil structure, both of which have helped to reduce the nutrient run-off.

What was the catalyst for you taking this action?

Striving to create a sustainable farm business model.

Have you completed a carbon audit & are you gathering any other data about the climate/environment impacts of your farm?

Yes, we have conducted soil carbon tests.

What are your top tips/lessons learned from the experience that other farmers should consider if taking similar actions?

Rotational grazing works – we’ve found it a successful management tool.

What, if anything, are you planning next around climate and biodiversity?

Increasing slurry storage capacity to allow better timed application, and benefit from maximising the nutrient use by the crops.

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