Armagh NW visit to Ayrshire

Drew Young chatting with members.
Drew Young chatting with members.

Ayrshire was the destination for the 22nd annual day trip for the Armagh Group, which took place just a couple of weeks ago.

Robert Veitch, who owns the Strandhead Farm on the outskirts of Tarbolton, hosted the morning visit.

Rodney Wilson, Group Manager, with Robert Veitch and Joy Rollston, Group Chairperson.

Rodney Wilson, Group Manager, with Robert Veitch and Joy Rollston, Group Chairperson.

Trading under Ve-Tech Holsteins, Robert milks 240 cows using four Lely robotic milking units. A new purpose-built dairy unit was erected four years ago to incorporate the robots and the Lely automatic feeding system and slat scraper units to help reduce labour costs on the holding.

Robert has purchased a new Kuhn Merger for the 2019 season which is the latest technology designed primarily to create an even row which prevents jolting during harvesting and increases working speeds. Robert is hoping it will also help reduce soil and dust contamination in the silage especially in very dry conditions such as was experienced last season.

After lunch in the Black Bull restaurant in Tarbolton, a village best known for its strong connections with Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns, the coach travelled south again to Girvan Mains, owned by the Young family.

Drew Young inherited the 460 acre farm from his father and today, with his wife Ann and sons James and David, farms around 2,500 acres which includes rented land. Girvan Mains was a traditional suckler to beef unit but has diversified over the years to growing barley, carrots and potatoes.

In 2016 an Anaerobic Digester was built on the farm beside the nearby water treatment works to provide this plant with electricity. It also serves to dry the digestate from the digester so this can be reused for animal bedding.

The Youngs are hoping to develop this enterprise further by using ground heat source to grow nursery crops.

Members and friends are invited to visit the group’s hospitality unit at Armagh Agricultural Show on Saturday 8th June and have an opportunity to meet some of the Presidential team.