Tuesday 6th June 2023
Scotlands Beef Event
Dalswinton Estate,
Dumfries DG2 0XZ
by kind permission of Dalswinton Estate

Over 2500 people flocked to Scotland’s Beef Event at Dalswinton Estate in the Nith Valley, Dumfriesshire, where they enjoyed glorious weather while viewing the Landale family’s 500 strong beef herd.

Business efficiency and sustainability were core topics at this event, organised by The Scottish Beef Association, which was postponed from 2021 due to Covid, and Dalswinton has been actively trying to improve both for a number of years now.

Peter Landale and his farm manager Andy Williamson believe there is a high correlation between efficiency of production, animal welfare and product quality, leading to more opportunities to reduce biodiversity loss, sequester carbon and interact positively  with the local community.

Speaking at Galbraith’s Speakers Corner, Mr Landale said the event had really focussed their minds on looking at the business as a whole and seeing how it could fit into this new world we live in.

He has defined sustainability as the six pillars mentioned above but said the problem remains on how to moneytise the measures they are taking. He said, “We are focussed on efficiency, welfare, quality and the environment and community but if we sell our calves store, we lose all that value. In order to prevent that break in the chain, we either need to partner with a finisher who operates a similar system with the same values, or we have to finish the calves. It is a strategic conundrum, we will have to address in the future at Dalswinton.”

Brian Richardson of Virgin Money, one of the main sponsors of the event, said that farmers were facing unprecedented challenges just now and the uncertainty created by the Scottish government not coming up with a plan post 2025 was frustrating. However he said, “What we have learned from the complicated English system, is to keep it as simple as possible.”

In the meantime, he urged farmers to make full use of data and technology to understand the carbon story, improve productivity and to plan ahead.

He pointed out that UK productivity is currently lagging behind other developed nations and said, “As a bank, we need to have confidence in our farmers’ ability to adapt to change and to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit.”