FiPL Pasture & Profit North Farmers head north
(Photo: by Project Manager, Rob Bunn)
Last week, just as the next bout of wet and windy weather arrived in Perthshire, so too did the FiPL North project farmers for our eagerly awaited Study Tour!
Over the course of 2 days, 30 of us, enjoyed spending time at three, fascinating and thought provoking farms; Alex & Jane Brewster from Rotmell Farm, Andrew, Seonag & Catherine Barbour from Mains of Fincastle and Michael Blanche from Netherholm Farm.
The rain didn’t dampen our enthusiasm, (in fairness we didn’t get too wet) as we spent Thursday afternoon, after a delicious home cooked chilli lunch with Alex (link to Soil Farmer of Year 2020 film below) high up on the farm, exploring how he uses his Aberdeen Angus suckler cattle to manage bracken, by subdividing large areas for grazing.
Overnighting and dining together in picturesque Pitlochry, we were up early Friday morning and at Mains of Fincastle before 9am, to learn more and see first hand the transformational work that Andrew, Seonag & Catherine have put in, integrating 1000’s of mixed species trees into pasture on their farm. It was fascinating to hear how livestock and trees are integrated, how they protect them and the benefits the livestock get. To hear more from Andrew and see the scale of the operation, click here.
Heading an hour south after refreshments and home made cakes, we were all looking forward to being hosted by Michael Blanche, curator of the industry acclaimed Pasture Pod. After lunch in the local village hall, Michael gave a moving insight into his journey as a first generation farmer and the lengths he went to so that he could become a farmer – inspiring indeed. With humour mixed in throughout, we spent the afternoon exploring his sheep and cattle enterprises and enjoying the views from the highest point on his farm.
As expected many photos were taken and hopefully these included ones, give you a flavour of what we saw. We were delighted to be joined by some PfL member farmers from Scotland, shout out to Peter Wilkie, Kenny Nicoll, David Brewster and Robert Brewster, thanks for joining us along the way and special thanks to all of our hosts and indeed the project farmers who came and made the tour such a success – where to next?!
Lastly, in true PfL community style, it was heartwarming to see PfL farmer collaboration first hand, with two of our farmers helping one of our project mentors who couldn’t join us, use their vehicles to ship a large consignment from Alex’s farm, back south to the Yorkshire Dales….. PfL community at its best!