18 Sep ‘‘There is plenty of scope to adopt new ideas’
Tom Bruce of Udny Young Farmers commented in the Farmers Guardian recently.
Tom Bruce, 27, lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Brought up on the family farm, he studied a masters degree in engineering and is now back working the land.
Work: It has been a funny old year, with changing jobs at the beginning of lockdown back in March. I moved to a new, large-scale beef finisher, finishing about 1,900-head per year and seed tattie production, growing 101 hectares (250 acres) of tatties. To quote the boss ‘there’s aye sumin ti dee’ – whether that is the morning routine of feeding and bedding beasts, mowing silage or constructing a new drying wall in the tattie store. After getting the winter barley cut in near ideal conditions the weather has turned rather temperamental and we are struggling to get two dry days in a row. This has really turned it into a stop-start harvest now, but a half-day to get caught up with things at home does not always go amiss.
Innovation: This summer we have been running an on-farm trial, in conjunction with Harbro, to see the effects of one of their feed additives on daily liveweight gain in cattle. With the trial just newly completed it will be interesting to see the final results once Harbro has analysed the data. As margins seem to be ever tightening, innovation will need to be at the forefront of the industry to keep a competitive edge. There is plenty of scope to adopt new ideas to improve how we farm. Examples include apps for recording data, drone technology and alternatives to chemical control of disease in crops.
Young Farmers: Having been a very active Young Farmer member for the last 13 years, this summer has been a change to the norm. With only the odd Zoom meeting it has been difficult to keep people involved. After speaking to a few members about why they have not been joining in as much, it seems that a very important part of YFC meetings is getting together to meet up with other members and Zoom does not allow that type of social interaction. Now with lockdown easing we are being encouraged to try to organise a more normal winter programme. Even though physical distancing may still be required, at least it is something to look forward to as life returns to some sort of normality. Re-engaging members is going to be key to the return of Young Farmers and I cannot encourage people enough to take part in every aspect possible, from competitions and training to socialising. The skills you learn, people you meet and opportunities available will be invaluable at many times through life and this is what really sets Young Farmers apart from any other youth organisation.