Monday 26 February, 2024

In your field: Kate Rowell - 'I was back home at last, just in time to jump on the tractor and help with harvest'

We eventually got our field of barley combined last week after a month of obsessing over every weather forecast and watching the undersown chicory, grass and clover grow ever taller until it almost looked like a green field again.

clock • 3 min read
In your field: Kate Rowell - 'I was back home at last, just in time to jump on the tractor and help with harvest'

I don't think we were particularly popular with the contractor as he had to stop frequently to let the machine clear, but the straw bales look almost like silage and should be pretty good fodder for the suckler cows through the winter. 

Travel

I was home just in time to help after almost two weeks of travelling with my QMS hat on to Dublin, Leeds, Cologne and Maastricht for various events and conferences, and luckily this helped get me back into my husband's good books. 

In Ireland I took part in several visits to farms and research centres as part of the European Round Table for Beef Sustainability, and it was really fascinating to see how the beef sector there is tackling the Irish legislative target of 25 per cent reductions in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Everywhere we went every single person was focussed on the part they can play and they all seemed to be pulling in the same direction - a good example to the rest of us of working together to achieve the right result. 

In Leeds I attended a Meat Business Women event which aims to help women who work throughout the red meat supply chain grow in confidence, advance their careers and support each other, and it was great to meet some of the eight amazing young women who were put forward for their "One to Watch" award. 

I was then home very briefly for my daughter's graduation ceremony at the University of Glasgow where I must admit I shed a motherly tear with pride as she was presented with a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, and then it was off again, this time to Germany, for one of the world's biggest food events. 

Anuga is an absolutely enormous show with more than 4,000 food exhibitors, including 900 of meat, in a venue covering ten halls and nearly 250,000 square metres.

The biggest meat-producing countries in the world, including Argentina, Brazil and Australia, all have stands and it was fantastic to see our Scottish stand holding its own and showcasing to the world how good our red meat tastes and how sustainable our production systems are. We were proud to host a range of Scottish exporters who spent the four days doing a huge amount of business with companies from all over the world. 

A last train journey then took me to Maastricht, to the World Meat Congress which was being held for the first time since 2018, and where international speakers gave insights into consumer trends in places like China and the US, sustainability progress, global animal health issues and scientific research into the huge benefits livestock have across the world. 

Then it was back home at last, just in time to jump on the tractor and help with the harvest. Plenty of time while sitting in the cab to mull over all the different things I'd seen and heard and lovely to be back doing what I love most - farming. 

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