Scrapyard challenge

Life at Demperston has been busy since we last penned a blog and it all culminated with our third Monitor Farm meeting on 28 May.  It was great to welcome everyone back again and as always there was some last minute baking to do!

The intensity of calving, lambing and spring work is over and we now have a bit of a reprieve before silage and harvest take us into another busy period.  The main focus of our third meeting was a look round our crops and a discussion on the grain storage and drying facilities at Demperston.  Danny and his father are still busy with the burnt-out dryer that we purchased and everyone was keen to find out what progress we have made with the scrapyard challenge.  It has been a real test of mechanical skills and is testament to the many different hats a farmer must wear from day to day.  The real test now is to get it up and running before harvest and I am quite sure there will be a bit of a celebration when the task is complete.

Grain dryer at Demperston

Scrapyard challenge at Demperston

It was ambitious to go down this route rather than make a new purchase but it will result in a huge cost saving and I am sure a real sense of satisfaction.  Every farm business is constantly looking at ways of improving and investments are always difficult to justify, that is why it is invaluable for us to garner views from everyone attending the Monitor Farm meetings.  The value of knowledge transfer among farmers should never be underestimated and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to be part of the Monitor Farm programme.

Third meeting at Demperston

The next meeting of our benchmarking group will take place on 17 June and Danny and I are really looking forward to getting our teeth stuck into the financial detail, believe it or not! It would have been great to see a few more ladies on the group, as I’m sure one lone female on the group doesn’t represent a true picture of how financial management works on most family farms.

The next on-farm meeting will be 16 July and anyone who hasn’t attended previous meetings would be more than welcome to come along and join the group.  If you would like more information don’t hesitate to contact us for a chat about what is involved and what topics we will be covering in the future.



A fourth generation farmer, Danny Milne runs a mixed livestock enterprise at Auchtermuchty in Fife with his wife Alison and his parents. As well as 70 suckler cows and some sheep, the business grows 550 acres of cereals including spring barley, winter wheat, oilseed rape, field beans and oats. For the Monitor Farm project, a partnership between AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds and Potato Council, the Milnes are joined by neighbour John Weir, who farms 150 acres of potatoes at Lacesston Farm. John is keen to work out how to get the best collaboration between landlord and tenant.