Open Farm Weekend

05 June 2019

With calving and lambing now completed for the spring, our thoughts have turned to breeding next years calves. A change in farming practice to Organic production began in May 2016, when the first land and all stock started their conversion period (2 years), since then, we have added more land to the organic farm and reduced our conventional acreage. By 2022, all of the land will be converted and with it, our production methods.
Moving to a grass based system, where cattle are reared entirely on grass is a move away from the grass/cereal diet which has become common. With red meat under the spotlight for environmental impact, we have been looking closely at our livestock. There is a growing understanding that one of the keys to capturing carbon from the atmosphere is through the recycling of carbon and locking it into soil organic matter.
With this principle in mind, we have been working on changing our farming system to be driven by improving soil health and organic matter. Our beef herd is suited to the climate in Fife, but the offspring require a proportion of their diet to be fed in cereal over winter to gain sufficient weight and confirmation.
By changing our breeding strategy and introducing more native breeding into the herd, the cattle will be suited to a grass only diet, be smaller and therefore have less impact on soils and most importantly – still taste fantastic.
This month’s Bowhouse Market will play host to Open Farm Sunday (but we will be open on both Saturday and Sunday) which is an initiative started by LEAF (Linking Farming and Environment) in 2006 with the aim of enabling farms to be accessible to everyone to visit and learn about food production.
We will be hosting farm walks, livestock demonstrations, machinery and crop walks, and sheep shearing – at the same time as the popular food market and street food area. Balcaskie is committed to being accessible and transparent in the way we manage land and encourage people to engage with us. If you are unable to make the Open Farm visit, we will be opening our gates again on 19th July for the Luing Society Annual gathering where you will be able to see the livestock up close. We are always happy to show people what we do, so get in touch if you would like to know more.

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