Young farmers get wrapping in bale sculpture contest

Young farmers get wrapping in bale sculpture contest

Cow bale art

Young farmers have been wrapped up in a competition to create the best sculptures from straw bales.

Members of six young farmers clubs in the Dumfries and Galloway area have been battling it out to see who can make the arty and imaginative sculptures.

Bales have been transformed into a Thomas the Tank Engine sculpture, a milk tanker, a Highland cow, a pink dairy cow and a Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) sheep and beef cow.

Highland cow, scarecrow and QMS lamb and beef bales

Most of the bales have sprung up in farm fields from Stranraer to Annan along the main transport routes in Dumfries and Galloway on the A75 and A76.

The competition was inspired by Colin Ferguson, regional chairman of Dumfries and Galloway YFC and a member of Machars YFC.

“The purpose of this task to the clubs was first as a competition to find the most artistic and imaginative club in the region,” said Mr Ferguson.

Tractor and trailer bales

“The second reason was to raise the awareness and knowledge of the Young Farmers movement in the region and further afield with the intention and hope to gain new members within the region’s clubs.

“We also hope that the creations give some joy to the many people who travel the region’s roads during the week and hopefully alert people to the beauty of the area.


“I also think its important to show – and bring to the mind to the people who will see these – that farming is not all work and no play, and that joining an organisation such as the Scottish Association of Young Farmers [SAYFC] in your local area can open many doors but also allow you to have some great fun with great people.”

Cow-balesThe six clubs taking part in the competition are: Annandale YFC, Thornhill YFC, Lower Nithsdale YFC, Stewartry YFC, Machars YFC and Stranraer and Rhins YFC.

No prizes will be awarded to the creators of the winning sculpture, but they will be able to claim bragging rights, added Mr Ferguson.



Slow Down!

Humberside Police officers have taken to hiding out in farm vehicles and horseboxes in a crackdown on speeding bikers on the B1253 from Bridlington to York.

The aim is to reduce the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured, but it has sparked anger from some of those caught out.

Chicken Facts!

Chicken (Domesticated)

Chickens feel empathy for each other. Researchers proved that domesticated hens show a clear physiological and behavioural response when their chicks are mildly distressed.

Chicken (Domesticated)'s

Facts about chickens

  • Domesticated chickens have been bred by humans from Asian jungle fowl.
  • Scientists have shown that mother hens display signs of empathy for their baby chicks.
  • Chickens are able to remember and recognise over 100 individuals; they can also recognise humans.
  • Like other birds and mammals, chickens experience REM sleep, which is associated with dreaming.
  • Chickens have very sophisticated social behaviour with a dominance hierarchy where higher individuals dominate subordinate individuals. This is where the term pecking order comes from!
  • The dominant male (cockerel) protects the females (hens) and they choose to feed close to him for safety.
  • Chickens perform complex communication where calls have specific meanings. They perform over 30 types of vocalisation that we are aware of with meanings varying from calling youngsters, alarm calls, and alerting others to the whereabouts of food.
  • Chickens have different alarm calls for specific types of predators, which allow conspecifics to know the type of threat they face and what sort of anti-predation behaviour to perform.
  • Chickens are able to comprehend that when an object is taken away and hidden from them, it still exists. Young human children are unable to understand this.
  • Hens are extremely affectionate and caring mothers. In Christian writings, Jesus is said to have used the love of a hen for her brood to express God’s love for humans. In Ancient Rome, saying ‘you were raised by a hen’ was a compliment.
  • Chickens can’t taste sweetness in foods however they can detect salt, and most choose to avoid it.
  • The chicken is the closest living relative to the great Tyrannosaurus-Rex.



Why Chickens?

1 ) The chicken, Gallus gallus domesticus, is a domestic subspecies of the red junglefowl, a member of the pheasant family that is native to Asia. Genetic studies have found that the grey junglefowl also contributed to the chicken’s evolution.

2 ) This bird was probably first domesticated for the purpose of cockfights, not as food.

3 ) Chickens aren’t completely flightless—they can get airborne enough to make it over a fence or into a tree.

4 ) These birds are omnivores. They’ll eat seeds and insects but also larger prey like small mice and lizards.

5 ) With 25 billion chickens in the world, there are more of them than any other bird species.

6 ) There are dozens of chicken breeds, such as the Dutch bantam, leghorn and Rhode Island red.

7 ) Baby chickens are chicks. Female chickens are pullets until they’re old enough to lay eggs and become hens. Male chickens are called roosters, cocks or cockerels, depending on the country you’re in.

8 ) A rooster announces to a flock of chickens that he’s found food with a “took, took, took.” But the hens don’t pay attention if they already know that there is food around.

9 ) Roosters perform a little dance called ‘tidbitting’ in which they make sounds (food calls) and move their head up and down, picking up and dropping a bit of food. Researchers have found that females prefer males that often perform tidbitting and have larger, brighter combs on top of their heads.

10) Scientists think that the rooster’s wattle–the dangly bit beneath his beak–helps him to gain a hen’s attention when he is tidbitting.

11 ) A female chicken will mate with many different males but if she decides, after the deed is done, that she doesn’t want a particular rooster’s offspring and can eject his sperm. This occurs most often when the male is lower in the pecking order.

12 ) The chicken was the first bird to have its genome sequenced, in 2004.

13 ) Avian influenza (a.k.a. bird flu) is extremely contagious and can make chickens very sick and kill them. The highly pathogenic form of the disease can kill off 90 to 100 percent of birds in a flock in just 48 hours.

14 ) And which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, all vertebrates have eggs, but the hardshelled variety first appeared among reptiles.

Pig and poultry farmers to benefit from €17m investment

Irish farmers will be able to benefit from a €17 million investment scheme for the pig and poultry sector, the Department of Agriculture has announced.

The Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme is part of the TAMS (Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme) II Scheme, which is providing a total of €395 million for agricultural investments.
Speaking on Thursday, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said he hoped pig and poultry farmers will take a serious look at the opportunities the scheme presented.

“This investment of €17 million reflects my department’s ongoing commitment to the growth potential of this important sector and to the modernisation of farming in Ireland,” he said.

The areas of investment covered by the scheme include medicine dispenser units, feed system upgrades, energy efficiency upgrades for animal housing and disease reduction facilities for poultry houses.

A spokesperson for the Irish Farmers’ Association welcomed the announcement, saying: “The scheme will assist farmers in improving the efficiency of their businesses in sectors which operate under extremely tight margins and which face ongoing challenges in relation to regulations and competition from imports.”
Farmers who meet the eligibility criteria can claim funding at a rate of 40 per cent on investment up to a ceiling of €80,000.


Poultry farmers are struggling more than ever before to make decent returns for their efforts. Many of today’s best poultry farms are micro-managed and there are numerous challenges involved to ensure successful shed management.

The issues facing poultry professionals include calculating the volume of broiler birds per crop, very narrow margins per kg/bird, lighting control, constant water supply, treatment and dosing systems, feeding systems and climate control.

What is clear is the need for a healthy and conducive environment in which birds can thrive and fulfil the best possible margin.

A heating system is required to produce constant temperatures, which in turn allow good air exchange rates inside the building. Biomass, gas, electric, air exchange pumps, heat exchangers and radiant or steam/ hot water/fan systems are the main provisions.

Every hour that a bird is ill or not eating, results in poor performance which impacts on end of crop profits. Ensuring a good environment and good healthy stock can significantly reduce lost time, growth, productivity and profitability.

Pigs On The Run




A family of escaped Pigs have been giving residents the runaround in Sigglesthorne.

The slippery porkers have become local celebrities after a succession of escapes.

But this morning police were called in amid concerns the pigs were straying close to a major road.

Officers called in pig farmer John Hepworth and local resident Jonathan Davies to catch the runaways – a sow and five piglets – but it was easier said than done.

Said Mr Davies: “We set off at 11am to find them and it was 1.45pm by the time we had caught them; we were chasing them for the best part of two hours.

“Personally I have no experience of pigs so I just followed the instructions of a local farmer. It was a nightmare.

“The sow followed one of the piglets into the trailer but the other four were much tougher to catch.”

The cheeky swines have been a source of amusement to villagers but with harvest season coming, it was feared the animals could stray into the path of tractors that operate in the area.

Mr Davies said: “As I understand it this has been an ongoing problem as the owners let them roam around freely.”

Sam Cooper, 27, a mechanic at the nearby Bill Dodds garage said: “They have been making a mess by the main road on the grass verges.

“It is the first time I have seen animals on the loose. People in the area tend to be quite good at keeping their animals secure.”

It is believed the pigs have been roaming around Sigglesthorne for several months. Police said they were aware of the identity of the owners.