Integrating livestock in arable systems

Sharing knowledge on integrating ruminant livestock with arable rotations in Scotland


3:00pm 3rd February 2022


If Thursday 3rd February, 3pm is not a time that works for you, sign up and we'll send you the event recording to watch at your leisure.

About this event

Join Johnnie Balfour (Balbirnie Home Farms in Fife) for a discussion and exploration of the integration of ruminant livestock into arable rotations.

Hear about his experiences of managing arable crops and livestock, the reasons behind integrating enterprises, some of the challenges faced along the way, and what the outcomes and benefits have been.

This interactive online workshop will offer space for questions and small group discussion, so participants have a chance to share knowledge and build their networks.

The workshop is open to farmers, crofters, and new entrants living in Scotland, working the land at any scale, with a focus on arable and mixed farming. It is supported by the Scottish Government’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund.

Running order (approximate timings):

3pm: Introduction to KTIF project/policy context – David McKay (Soil Association Scotland) and Lucianne Wardle (Food, Farming & Countryside Commission)

3.15pm: Presentation with photographs – Johnnie Balfour, Balbirnie Home Farms

3.35pm: Q&A/facilitated group discussion – All

4.15-4.30pm: Close w/brief description of upcoming on-farm event – David McKay and Lucianne Wardle

A bit more about our speaker:

Johnnie Balfour

Johnnie is the Managing Partner of Balbirnie Home Farms, a 1,300 hectare mixed farm in Fife, Scotland with 600ha of arable crops and 200 suckler cows. The farm has a diverse rotation including oats, spring barley, winter wheat, spring beans, carrots, potatoes, and brassica vegetables. Johnnie’s ambition is for regenerative agricultural practices to become the norm across the farm’s enterprises and across the industry and would like to reduce synthetic inputs to zero.

Balbirnie Home Farms, managed by Farms Manager David Aglen, is the AHDB Strategic Cereal Farm host for Scotland. Johnnie is a director of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association, a Soil Association agroecology ambassador, a steering group member of the Nature Friendly Farming Network and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland.

This workshop is part of a workshop series, jointly led by the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission and Soil Association Scotland, that supports arable and mixed farmers in Scotland to share practical knowledge and skills that will enable a transition to agroecology. Two further sessions will be held in person during March 2022 in Fife/Angus covering topics such as intercropping and agroforestry in arable and mixed systems in Scotland. Check back soon for further details and booking information.

This forms part of a bigger series of on-farm and online events being held by a group of organisations - Nourish Scotland, Nature Friendly Farming Network, Soil Association Scotland, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Landworker’s Alliance and Pasture Fed Livestock Association as part of the Scottish Government’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF) project Agroecology – Facilitating Mindset Change. Between January and March 2022, we will be running a total of 15 online and in-person free events designed to appeal to a wide range of farmers and crofters. Full details of all the events will be available here.

If you have any questions about this event, or those coming up in the future, please contact Lucianne Wardle: