Peter Chapman, whose farm at South Redbog in Aberdeenshire was the first AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year, is urging arable farmers across Scotland to seriously consider putting their own farm up for consideration this year.
Sponsored by SoilEssentials, and organised by AgriScot and AHDB, the Award aims to demonstrate best practice in sustainable crop production and farm business management.
“I would really encourage arable farmers to put themselves forward for this Award,” says Peter, who will be helping to judge this year’s entries alongside farmer and past AgriScot Chair Andrew Moir.
“It gives you the chance to step back and have a close look at your business, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and of course it is nice to get a wee bit of recognition from your peers.”
“The recipient will also get a bespoke precision farming package from Soil Essentials which is really useful. Since our win they have been working with us at South Redbog on a few different areas including historical yield maps, soil biology and drone imagery all of which is enhancing our efforts in precision farming.”
For Gavin Dick, Knowledge Exchange Manager for AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, the Award not only aims to showcase some of the industry’s best farms but supports the drive towards a more resilient arable sector.
He says: “We want to encourage businesses to future proof themselves in an increasingly volatile environment, to make full use of technical and business management tools such as precision farming techniques and benchmarking to get a more in depth understanding of their business, and make informed decisions which will ensure they are sustainable long-term.
“Awards like the AgriScot Scottish Arable Farm of the Year which highlight best practice, and demonstrate the benefits of adopting new tools and techniques, help drive our industry forward.”
Farmers interested in nominating their farm for an award will need to fill in an application form which focuses on areas such as crop management, soil health and agronomy, market planning and policy, and innovation and technology.
Once the judges decide on their shortlist of three farms, they will visit each in the autumn before making their final decision. The recipient of the award will be announced at AgriScot on Wednesday 21 November.
“Don’t be daunted by the application form,” Peter advises, “it’s not asking for too much information or detailed financial figures. My top tip for applicants is to take a bit of time to answer the questions as fully as possible, there are only five questions, so make sure you make the most of each one.
“Just give it a go, it’s a great experience from beginning to end.”
Farmers interested in nominating their farm should contact Gavin Dick for more information; firstname.lastname@example.org.