Professor John Gilliland (OBE) speaking at June’s Banff and Buchan Monitor Farm Meeting near Fraserburgh

16 May 2024

Monitor Farm Scotland is offering farmers an afternoon of carbon capture, sheep management, soil nutrition and woodland discussions at the Banff and Buchan Monitor Farm, at Sauchentree, on the north-east coast of Scotland, on Friday 7 June.

The keynote speaker, Professor John Gilliland OBE, is a respected farmer, policy expert and environmentalist, sitting on the EUs Soil Mission Board and is a special advisor to the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). From Northern Ireland, John is an award-winning farmer whose farm is verified to be “Beyond” Net Zero. As our keynote speaker, he’ll explore the opportunities for a mixed enterprise farm in Scotland to tackle the Net Zero Challenge. He’ll follow up his talk with small group discussions on the farm.

Monitor Farmer Bruce Irvine is discovering the benefits of forward planning to drive profitability at Sauchentree. Bruce says:

“There is so much I’d like to investigate as part of the Monitor Farm programme. I have been focussing on ewe and lamb health, cattle condition scoring and making small changes to bring bigger gains, which we will look at in detail at this event. I am looking forward to meeting folk, discussing different land management options, and enjoying a well-earned social.”

Bruce farms 650 acres (263 ha), with cereals, sheep, and cattle. Each enterprise is of equal importance to Bruce, working together as livestock provide fertility to the arable enterprise.  Prime cattle and lambs are finished on the farm before being sold to Woodhead Bros at Turriff, and Aberdeen and Northern Marts (ANM) at Thainstone.  Following advice on alternative approaches to grazing, some pastureland on the farm has been reseeded as mixed species swards.  Bruce has also found advice from vets and other experts helpful for improving lamb weaning percentages saying:

“Having someone look at things can often be a game changer, even though it may not be the biggest of tweaks.”

The afternoon meeting starts with John Gilliland at 2pm at the Aberdour Parish Hall before heading to Sauchentree where there will be on-farm discussions covering woodland options, carbon capture, sheep performance and nutrient management; topics which are increasingly on the agenda for farms across the country. Hutchinson’s Aidan Monaghan will be exploring how mixed farms can benefit from soil analysis and targeted nutrient applications. Steve Elton, Woodland Officer for Scottish Forestry will be providing a practical demonstration about the various woodland management options that can support farming businesses.

With the drive to improve productivity from the sheep enterprise, vet specialist Tim Geraghty will be discussing summer lamb productivity and ewe management.

Monitor Farm Regional Adviser, Peter Beattie, says:

“Farmers, crofters, advisers and tradesfolk across Scotland are welcome to sign up through the Monitor Farm website for this interactive afternoon. We’ll finish with a BBQ which is sponsored by Fraserburgh’s award winning butchers, I. J. McIntosh.”

All visitors are asked to come with clean cars, footwear and clothing for biosecurity reasons, and to car share wherever possible to help with limited parking.

The Monitor Farm Scotland Programme is managed by QMS with support from AHDB and funding from Scottish Government. It aims, through meetings and benchmarking, to improve the resilience and sustainability of Scottish farm businesses.

For more information, contact Peter Beattie, Regional Adviser at or call 07769 366614.

Sign up at Upcoming Events on the Monitor Farm Website 

Location: Sauchentree Farm, New Aberdour, Aberdeenshire Scotland, AB43 7LN

Date: Friday 7 June, from 2pm.