Six projects will benefit from £438,000 of investment to drive innovation in farming and food production.

Delivered through the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund, the new funding supports projects that introduce innovative approaches to enhancing competitiveness, promoting efficiency, and helping businesses shift to a low carbon climate resistant economy.

Announcing the funding while visiting Stravenhouse Farm near Carluke, one of the farms involved in the project, Rural Minister Mairi Gougeon said:

“As we face a global climate emergency, investing in research and supporting innovation within our agricultural sector has never been more important or relevant.

“With this latest funding the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund has now invested more than £5.5 million in knowledge transfer and innovative solutions ranging from investing in blockchain technology to monitoring gluten free oats and increasing the resilience and production efficiency of the Scottish Suckler herd.

“By investing in these latest projects we are supporting the search for solutions that will help us continue to grow a sustainable, vibrant and innovative rural economy.”

The beef marbling project, delivered by Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) and Scotland’s Rural College, has been awarded £49,000 to use new techniques to identify the best beef animals in a herd.  Rona Sutherland of SAOS said

“The KTIF funding will enable meat wholesaler PR Duff Ltd’s farmer producer group to trial an innovative, non-invasive and cost-effective method of predicting fat marbling levels in live animals. Comparing these to post-slaughter levels, and linking them with eating quality data, will enable identification of the ideal weight gain and management conditions on farm to reach the optimum level of fat marbling. Protocols can then be developed to meet different specifications for a range of high end customers.”

Projects supported by the funding:

SRUC/SAC     -Grampian Growers Tuberzone Project£74,712

Setting up an Organisational Group to introduce new processes and utilise new technologies in one part of the seed potato sector and encouraging farmers to adopt new technologies and practices. 

SRUC/SAC – DLT/Blockchain system for Gluten Free Oats£97,466

Funding a digital ledger to be used to monitor gluten free oats.  Through this network the producer can provide reliable traceability and provenance, provide irrefutable evidence that their oats are genuinely gluten free, produced to the highest standards and fundamentally improve supply chains.

SRUC/SAC – Feeding for Fertility in the Suckler Herd£74,429

This project will assess the nutritional status of the suckler cows both pre-calving and post-calving and link this along with changes to body condition scores and fertility. 

SAOS – Livestock Performance Programme£60,873

The aim of this project is to increase the resilience and production efficiency of the Scottish Suckler herd by piloting the use ScotEID data to analysis and calculate key management decisions on a day to day basis thus improving the herds’ performance, profitability and environmental efficiency.

SAOS – Beef Marbling in a High Value Supply Chain£49,033

The project aims to enable producers to use new techniques to identify the best beef animals in a herd for each customer-specific supply chain. 

Wholesome Pigs Ltd – PRRS Elimination in Pigs£81,314

This is to pilot the elimination of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)  from the Moray Coast and refine the techniques that can be applied to the rest of the country.