NE Organic Discussion Group 2019 Meeting 2 (Huntly)


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This is meeting 2 of a series of 4 in 2019/20 of the NE Organic Discussion Group. Most organic farms are mixed and livestock are an important element of most organic systems. Looking forward to winter the main topic for this meeting is nutrition but we will also cover biodiversity. Both topics are important elements of sustainability.

Knock Farm, a well-known local mixed organic farm, measuring some 434ha, lying between Huntly and Keith and farmed by Roger & Beth Polson is the venue for the meeting.

They have been farming organically since 2006. Have a herd of 70 Simmental cross and Aberdeen Angus cross cows. They use Aberdeen Angus bulls and produce finished cattle between 20 and 26 months old.

There are also Blackface (150) and Scotch Mule (250) breeding ewes, with all progeny finished on the farm.

They have operated closed systems since 1996 except for breeding bulls, rams and 45 replacement Blackface ewe lambs purchased annually.

They produce their own silage and try to be as self-sufficient in feed as possible, only buying in minerals and a little soya. They grow spring barley, a barley and pea mix (for the ewes) and for the first time this year, beans. About a quarter of the farm is now committed to commercial forestry, amenity woodland and conservation areas.

The business also operates a livery and provides cross country training facilities as well as hosting occasional equine competitions. 

We will start with a farm walk during which we will see some of the Knock livestock and winter feed as well as some of the hedges, ponds and the reed bed allowing us to discuss sustainability, biodiversity and diffuse pollution before we move inside to focus on winter nutrition. Conservation is an integral part of the farming system at Knock and Roger has done a lot of work over the years to manage and improve the environment. Paul Chapman a conservation specialist with SAC Consulting Solutions will be there to talk about the various sites we see and give advice on biodiversity and conservation issues.

Lorna McPherson although a dairy consultant with SAC Consulting Solutions also has knowledge of beef cows and sheep and will speak on winter nutrition. Giving a presentation once we are back inside and have enjoyed some refreshments and a time of networking.

 

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Bookings are no longer available for this event.