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Agricultural news: May 2024

17th May 2024

Farming updates from the Cairngorms National Park Authority – May 2024

Farming documentary screening

The Park Authority is hosting a screening of ‘Six Inches of Soil’ at Boat Hall on Monday 17 June from 6.15pm to 9pm. The film tells the story of three young British farmers who practice regenerative farming to promote affordable food, support farm biodiversity and sequester carbon.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A session, with panellists including Jock Gibson (Edenvale Farm / Macbeth Butchers), Dr Brian Cameron (Scottish Rural Action), Lynn Cassells (Lynbreck Croft), Stuart Annand (Farmer) and Kirsten Gilmour (KJ’s Bothy Bakery).

The screening is free to attend and tea, coffee and cake from local producers will be provided. Click here to book your tickets.

Farmers encouraged to apply to new Climate Adaptation Fund

The Park Authority has launched a £370,000 fund to support climate adaptation in the National Park. The fund is open to businesses, land managers, farmers, community bodies, charities and business associations.

We’re looking for capital projects of up to £100,000 which help address climate change, such as wildfire management, flood prevention through planting or other works, rainwater catchment initiatives, green energy storage and nature-friendly farming.

The application deadline is midday on Monday 10 June and we have staff available to assist and advise on applications. Awards will be made by the end of June to support expenditure incurred by March 2025. Click here for more information or email [email protected]

The Cairngorms Trust is also about to launch their Networks for Nature Fund which will be open for new applications 3rd June.

Farm machinery and equipment available

The Park Authority, in partnership with RSPB Scotland, operate a machinery ring to support habitat management for local wader populations. This includes: Two solar water pumps to support rotational grazing regimes and provide water in more challenging locations through spring, summer and autumn. Two Bomford toppers and an aerator to reduce soil compaction and manage rushes.

Bookings for the above machinery can be made through Alastair Young. A positioning fee of £100 applies to cover delivery and collection. Call 01309 611 335 or email [email protected].

Another KRM topper is available for use on wader sites (free of charge) further east through Jim Simmons at Ruthven Farm, Tomintoul. Call 07894 166 075 or email [email protected].

We also own two Ardo solar water pumps which can be borrowed (free of charge) by prior arrangement and booked through Lewis, our Farm Conservation Advisor. Call 07787 550 469 or email [email protected]

Two geese

Goose management trial

The Park Authority has been working on a goose management trial along the Spey and Dulnain.

The project, which started in September, was developed in response to concerns raised by local farmers and crofters about the impacts of increasing geese populations on grazing and spring crops.

A total of 534 geese were controlled across multiple landholdings during the trial period, with controllers making every effort to target resident greylags.

Limited support is available for goose management elsewhere in Scotland, but the Park Authority is keen to support land managers locally where it can be demonstrated that targeted control makes a positive difference to agricultural production.

Phase two of the trial will commence later this year and we anticipate greater efficiency this time around, building on the knowledge gained by controllers on goose movements locally. If you’d like to find out more about what’s happening this year, contact Lewis on [email protected].

Species-rich grassland workshops

The Park Authority is running free workshops in July for farmers who are managing their grasslands to benefit nature. The three workshops are as follows:

Newtonmore Village Hall – Tuesday 9 July, 9.30am-4.30pm

Glenlivet Estate Office,Tomintoul – Wednesday 10 July, 9.30am-4.30pm

Castleton Hall, Braemar – Thursday 11 July, 9.30am-4.30pm

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust and Park Authority staff will be delivering the event, with representatives from Plantlife and Speyside Fields for Wildlife on hand to answer questions.

Spaces are limited so please contact Rebecca to book your place on 01479 780 404 or [email protected].

Cairngorms Agriculture Advisory Group

CAAG was established in early 2024 to represent the interests and views of farmers, crofters, organisations and groups which have an interest in agricultural issues in the Cairngorms National Park.

The group’s main functions are to act as a line of communication between the Park Authority and agricultural businesses, to provide advice / guidance to the Park Authority on agricultural issues, to support and collaborate on projects, and to share examples of good practice.

Meetings are held two to three times a year, depending on the level of business to discuss. Click here to find out more, and to view the draft terms of reference and minutes from the last meeting.

Meanwhile, a new Upper Spey Beaver Management Group is due to meet in the next few weeks. The group brings together land managers from release sites and areas impacted by beaver activity, representatives from the Cairngorms Farming and Crofting Community, and staff from the Park Authority and NatureScot.

The group will share beaver monitoring results, and use practical experience from here and elsewhere to make sure the management and mitigation plan works on the ground.

For more information email Andy Ford (Director of Nature and Climate Change) on [email protected].