Tag Archives: farming

Scottish Beef Calf Scheme Payments Begin


More than 7,900 Scottish producers will receive their share of £22 million of European funding in the next few weeks.

Payments for the 2011 Scottish Beef Calf Scheme (SBCS) will start to arrive in bank accounts, with 95 per cent of recipients expected to receive their payment by the end of April, subject to necessary validation checks. Payment information is available to view on Rural Payments Online.

Claims were received from 7,902 producers for around 434,000 animals, an increase of 10,000 from last year. Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“These payments will provide timely support to the rural economy and deliver great benefit for our livestock sector. They form part of an important support framework which is always vital, and never more so than in the current economic climate.
“I am also pleased to confirm that the Scottish Government has been successful in ensuring this funding continues at current levels through the introduction of the Scottish Beef Scheme in January 2012, which replaces the SBCS. This will provide much needed ongoing support to Scotland’s livestock farmers until new CAP regulations come into force.”

This year’s payment rate is set at £102.44 for each of the first ten eligible animals, and £51.22 for the remainder. The payments are entirely EU funded. The Scottish Beef Calf Scheme is a direct support scheme aimed at specialist beef producers breeding beef calves from suckler cows. Suckler herds form the backbone of quality beef production in Scotland and provide environmental benefits in fragile areas. The new Scottish Beef Scheme was introduced in January 2012 following discussions held as part of the CAP review. It replaces the SBCS and allows funding to be targeted towards smaller herds through reweighted payment levels where the first ten eligible animals will receive three times the rate of any subsequent eligible animal. There is no limit to the number of claims which can be made.

Tiree Past and Present


While driving round the island in the last few weeks, it has been interesting to see the crofters working hard gathering in the harvest. Whilst the round plastic wrapped bales that we see may be more practical they don’t have the same eye appeal as the stacks in this picture.

Thanks to An Iodhlann and Eric Cregeen for the photo of a stackyard at Balephuill in 1968


Showing that sometimes the traditional and the modern can mix, this photo was taken at Whithouse Farm, Cornaigbeg, Tiree on 1st September 2011.

Cutting a field of oats & rye with a J F Binder are Hugh MacCallum of Whitehouse Farm, Donald MacLean sitting on the binder and Donald’s grandson Daniel Hayes, standing on the right.

Last week’s photos proved that I was wrong and the ferry was in fact the RMS Claymore which started on the Tiree crossing in 1955 and when David MacBrayne sold her on to a Greek Company she was renamed City of Hydra. Unfortunately I am told that she sank at moorings in Pireus approximately 10 years ago. There has been a difference of opinion as to the name of the Captain with some people saying it was Captain Tony Free and others claiming it was the late Captain Donald Gunn. Can anyone help sort this out? Up to now no-one has recognised the van but if you do please call me at the Business Centre 01879 220520

Skills For Work – A report From Tiree High School

We have been doing a new course called Rural Skills at Tiree High School to get us an Intermediate 1 certificate at the end of session 2009-2010.

The qualification is awarded by SQA in partnership with Argyll College, whose representative on the island is Will Wright. Mr Stirrat is our mentor in school.

On a Wednesday we go out onto a farm for the afternoon and we do a variety of things to do with farming which will benefit us in our course and also benefits the farmer. On a Thursday we write out reports of what we did the previous afternoon, add any photos we took on the Wednesday and keep the records for assessment.

The course includes the following units:

  • Animal Handling
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Estate Maintenance
  • Land Based Industries
  • Employability Skills
  • Crop Production

The crofters who are involved are Ewan MacKinnon, Hugh MacInnes, and Lachie MacFadyen. We have also had help from John Bowler (RSPB). We are very grateful for the time and effort they have contributed and would like to say thank you for their help over the last 2 years.

“Having access to a vocational option has been a real enhancement to the school curriculum. We are very grateful to Ewan MacKinnon, Hugh MacInnes, Lachie MacFadyen and John Bowler for providing their time and expertise to make this possible.” ~ Myra Macarthur HT

Land Based Industries

Every Thursday we have some classroom time to write up our reports and do research.

Part of this course is a unit called Land Based Industries where we have researched 3 industries. This is a short report of what we have found:

Fencing is usually done by the crofters or farmers themselves or by fencing contractors. Resources needed include wooden posts to tension the fence, stobs, wire, Rylock, tools and if necessary a digger and truck.

We looked into methods used and different types of fence on Tiree and on the mainland. When we were working on the crofts we helped put up fences to keep the animals in.

John Bowler is the local RSPB warden. He has taken us out on several Wednesday afternoons to help set water levels for the birds to breed and building a bridge for the cows to cross.This helps protect their habitat.

This industry needs membership and volunteers to keep it going . Because of the varied species of birds that live on or visit Tiree it needs somebody to maintain their habitat so that the birds are protected and encouraged to breed.

Dairy Farming
Although there is no dairy farming on Tiree, much of mainland farming is for dairy. This industry relies on good quality Friesian Cows or Jersey Cows. We have been studying dairy farming in class at school.

When a male calf is born the farmer usually sells the calf for veal production or breeding depending on the quality of the calf. The female calves are kept for milking and breeding. Most dairy farmers have a milking parlour but some farmers milk their cows by hand in a byre. Most farmers grow their own food for the cows which is corn, hay and silage. It is fed straight to the cows in winter.

Ruairidh Munn and Ewan Brown

Draft Crofter’s Reform Bill

tractorA public meeting on the Draft Crofting Reform Bill scheduled for June, finally took place on the evening of Monday 13th July at Tiree’s Rural Centre. The meeting was lively and reasonably well attended.
Unavoidable reasons meant Chairman A. Innes and Vice Chair P. Boyd of the Scottish Crofting Foundation were unable to attend. However, An Tirisdeach asked the Honorary Secretary Mary Mackinnon to comment on the meeting which lasted for two and a half hours. “The draft Crofting Reform Bill, currently out for consultation is far from what the crofting communities need. It is a great disappointment to crofters who are already facing anxious times. The Bill just cannot be accepted and must be rejected now. It is so far from what is needed. I could see from the audience it was enough to make one speechless.”she said.
The civil servants who presented the draft document were keen that crofters made their thoughts known so future legislation could take their views into consideration.
Senior Civil servant Richard Frew who presented several aspects of the Bill told An Tirisdeach “ We need to address absenteeism & neglect and we want people to stay positive with the possibility of good changes.”