Kirkton and Auchtertyre Farms are leading the 'Return to the Hills' by doing research to support, develop and demonstrate more productive, efficient and profitable hill farming.
A new advisory group
Including representatives from SRUC, NFUS, QMS, LLTNP, and the local farming community, will:
- Provide advice on research and knowledge transfer activities being planned and undertaken on the farms
- Provide guidance and support for further developing an ambitious programme of new activity in hill farming research
- Act as direct links to the wider farming community
How do we intend to develop this resurgence at Kirkton?
SRUC with its partners the NFUS, QMS and LLTNP identified a need for action and set up a strategy group which recommended:
- applied research on hill farming systems
- especially in 'high' hill flocks and hill cattle
- knowledge transfer and good communication with the farming community
- training for the next generation of farmers and shepherds
What Scottish Government research are we currently undertaking?
- Improved financial and physical performance - using within-breed and between-breed comparison flocks to explore genetic and management changes
- Carbon improvements - identifying how changes in sheep management may influence net greenhouse gas outputs
- Labour and on-farm automated data management - measuring on-farm costs, economics, practicalities and risks
- Sensors for managing stock - using the latest technologies to support hill livestock management
- Uptake of new systems and technologies - testing how new ideas are taken up within the farming community
- Ecosystem services - food production, biodiversity and carbon storage in hill systems
- Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in hill grazing systems
What future research and demonstration work do we intend to do?
- Using the hill ewe flock
- Testing estimated breeding values (EBVs) in a high hill environment
- Plant-induced photosensitisation - the role of genetics in the susceptibility of animals to bog asphodel toxicity (plochteach)
- Impact on biodiversity of re-introducing sheep to the hills
- Using hill cattle
- Low cost winter feed
- Impact on biodiversity of hill cattle grazing
- Knowledge transfer and demonstration
Download our "Return to the Hills" leaflet and diagram.
Dr Jane Atterton
Rural Policy Centre Manager and Policy Researcher
Address: Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.
Telephone: 0131 535 4256
Fax: 0131 535 4345