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New Entrants to Farming: Skye’s the Limit – Event Summary

22 January 2018

On Thursday 22nd Feburary a group of new entrants from Uist crossed the minch to visit some crofting enterprises in Skye. The trip had been requested by a number of the new entrants on Uist to help broaden their horizons and see how it was done across the minch.

To help cultivate ideas a varied day was planned looking at different crofts across Skye. We visited a young crofter who was outwintering cattle on the hill, a progressive family business that fattened lambs through the winter on slats and looked at two farms who had carried out reseeding and used fodder crops to great success to feed cattle over the winter months.

Whilst there were differences noted between the two areas the similarity in outputs provided good common ground. The trip offered the new entrants an insight into how it was done elsewhere and gave them the opportunity to speak first hand with a range of experienced crofters. The feedback was very positive with the plans for the next trip being discussed on the ferry home.

The two key points taken from the trip were:

It is important to examine your own business to identify your natural advantage and then capitalise on it. For example in Skye they have a good availability of a relatively cheap good quality feed in draff. Whilst there is none available in Uist many of those with cattle do have machair ground and are able to out winter which in itself offers a big cost saving.

Many of the crofters stressed the importancve of taking full advantage of grant funding whilst it was still available. Many of them had taken advantage of grant funding through CAGS to improve facilities and increase their output in many cases, improvements which without the grant funding would not have happened.

Thanks go to the crofters we saw on Skye for allowing us to visit and giving up their time to answer questions.

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