From countryside to couch with online farm event

A previous year's lambing at Kirkton.

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Scotland’s top research farms will bring the countryside to the couch this Sunday, March 28, as part of Linking Environment and Farming’s (LEAF) Online Farm Sunday event.

With the current Covid-19 restrictions preventing many people visiting the countryside, SEFARI – a consortium of six globally renowned Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes – is offering virtual tours to show the work taking part on its research farms.

The tours, supported by SEFARI Gateway, include SRUC’s Kirkton and Auchtertyre estate, in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, which will show the challenges faced by farmers in the harsh mountainous regions of Scotland.

At SRUC’s Crichton Royal Farm, in the green, productive grasslands of Dumfries and Galloway, visitors will be able to visit a robotic milking parlour where the Langhill dairy herd is milked and at Glensaugh farm in Aberdeenshire, home to James Hutton Institute’s Climate-Positive Farming Initiative, visitors will learn how pasture management and agroforestry, alongside renewable energies, can play an important role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

A visit to the institute’s Centre for Sustainable Cropping at Balruddery farm, near Dundee, will show how different cropping systems can help increase food production, and protect the environment and the biodiversity it supports and finally, the tour of Moredun Research Institute’s Firth Mains Farm, near Roslin in Midlothian, will show the work of researchers to tackle parasites and diseases that impact on the health and welfare of livestock.

Dr Charles Bestwick, SEFARI Gateway Director, said: ‘The Covid-19 lockdown has made us all think more inventively about how we connect, and virtual tours are providing an exciting widening of access to, and discussion on, SEFARI research.’
The virtual events at http://bit.ly/SEFARIfarmtours are part of LEAF’s Online Farm Sunday event on March 28.

The series of ​‘live’ vir­tu­al farm tours, begin­ning at 2pm will tak­e viewers to all cor­ners of the UK.

With a par­tic­u­lar focus on health and well­be­ing, LEAF will be run­ning a Farm Fit com­pe­ti­tion to see if viewers can guess how many steps Britain’s Fittest Farm­ers and Stel­la the cow take in the sev­en-day run up to Sunday.

The event, from 2pm-4.30pm includes dairy herd health, lambing and calving, free range egg production and glasshouse tomato production.