Smallholding Scotland 2017 Programme

Smallholding Scotland 2017 programme

The conference has a single stream, providing six presentations in all throughout the day.

Registration and refreshments start at 9:00am with the first sessions starting at 9:30am. The conference will close at 4:45pm. The full programme:


9:00 – Registration


9:30 – Effective smallholding poultry – Dr. Oluyinka Olukosi, SRUC

Dr. Oluyinka Olukosi is a senior researcher in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences group at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in United Kingdom where his research comprises applied and basic nutrition research areas. Prior to his appointment at SRUC, he obtained B. Agric. (Hons) and M.Phil (Animal Science) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria and Ph.D. (Animal Sciences) from Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana in USA. His applied nutrition research is mainly in the areas of feedstuffs evaluation and strategies to enhance nutrient utilisation in poultry and pigs. His basic nutrition research themes are in nutrient metabolism (especially minerals) and nutritional strategies to improve gut health. In the last nine years, Dr. Olukosi has authored, or co-authored, more than 130 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and conference abstracts or proceedings papers – all in the thematic areas of his applied and basic research. Dr. Olukosi is currently on the editorial board of Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture as well as serves as regular reviewer for several journals.

Smallholding, or family, poultry flocks offer many advantages in terms of traceability of poultry products, relatively low input economics and as a source of extra income in some cases. Smallholding poultry can effectively avoid, or at least significantly reduce, the negatives associated with large-scale poultry production including the effect of such large scale systems on degradation of the environment.

Nevertheless smallholding poultry production is not without its challenges including how to maximise the efficiency of its production, how to minimise the cost of production, disease outbreaks, stress, and nutrient excretion to the environment. Some of these same challenges are being addressed in reference to large scale production system and the proffered solutions can be scaled down to be relevant to smallholding poultry flocks.

The aim of this talk is to apply some of the solutions to the big challenges to smallholding poultry flocks. The talk will focus on (among other things) minimising stress and stressors in poultry flock, using your diets as sources of nutrients and prebiotics, approaches to maximising production efficiency (focusing on product quantity and quality), as well as reducing nutrient waste.


10:15 – Refreshments


10:45 – Small scale horticulture – Sam Parry, Tomnah’a Market Garden

Tomnah’a is an integrated Market Garden born from our individual passions and a shared desire to create a beautiful, bountiful place in which to work. We aim to consistently grow delicious, fresh and vibrant produce; providing for the local community through our seasonal vegetable box scheme, breathtaking cut flowers, eggs from woodland free-ranging hens, refreshing herbal teas, fruits, berries, gourmet mushrooms and more.

By enriching and regenerating soil fertility we work in partnership with nature using wildlife friendly growing methods to increase biodiversity and sustainable long term productivity.

Sam will share his experience since starting Tomnah’a in 2015, with plenty of opportunity for questions.


11:35 – From field to smallholding – Kirsty Maguire, Kirsty Maguire Architect

Kirsty Maguire is an award winning architect who blends design led work and environmental responsibility, believing that the two elements are interdependent in creating good design. Kirsty has over 20 years of experience working in eco architecture around the world. Current projects are on the doorstep, across Scotland and internationally.

Eco design is at the centre of all her projects, including minimising or eliminating energy and carbon use during construction and building life, careful specification of new and salvaged materials, design for deconstruction, lifecycle analysis and local sourcing of both materials and labour. She is an expert in Passivhaus building.

Kirsty will explain how good design and construction, resulting in exemplar eco-friendly homes, can be used to support planning applications to allow building on rural sites.


12:30-13:30 – Lunch, provided by the excellent Pitcairngreen Inn


13:30 – Animal Health Planning: not just for the big boys – Caroline Robinson, SRUC

Caroline Robinson is a Veterinary Investigation Officer with SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College. In this role she investigates farm and exotic animal diseases, consults to vets in practice, monitors wildlife disease and provides veterinary advice to the police and the SSPCA. In addition, SRUC provides health and welfare advice to farmers and smallholders, and Caroline’s particular interest is the provision of services to smallholders and small farmers, with an emphasis on preventing problems before they occur.

Caroline has been a terrific supporter of the Conference and the Scottish Smallholder Festival; this year, she will talk about animal health planning for smallholders – where to start, the advantages and pitfalls, and what facilities or habits might be useful when constructing a solid year-round plan to protect the holding. Involvement of an individual’s own vet is always necessary, but there are some things that smallholders can do or be aware of which can speed up the process and lead to greater benefits for all (both financial and wellbeing).


14:20 – Pigs in conservation: more than a one trick pony – Jack Flusk and Katie Swift, Conservation Pigs

In 2012, Jack Flusk and Katie Swift established Conservation Pigs with two aims – firstly to support and enhance the conservation and management of landscapes for the benefit of flora and fauna, through the use of pigs and secondly, to actively support the conservation of British rare breed pigs through the use of pedigree registered pigs for all management activities.

Jack has been involved in pig rearing and livestock management for many years, with experience in a wide range of livestock, both commercially and for conservation grazing. As well as Conservation Pigs Ltd. Jack holds a BSc (Hons) in Rural Resource Management and further qualifications in FdSc Ecology and Conservation Management and Countryside Management. Jack is interested in anything to do with conservation grazing and oversees all pig management activities including infrastructure, welfare, health and safety and bio-security.

Katie is an ecologist, who holds qualifications in BSc (Hons) in Rural Resource Management, FdSc Ecology and Conservation Management and has recently achieved her MSc Conservation Management. Katie oversees the ecological aspects of Conservation Pigs work, conducting our pre and post baseline ecological surveys, as well as the monitoring of the pigs impacts on a weekly basis and making sure the pigs stay friendly.


15:05 – Refreshments


15:30 – “A Cunning Plan” – Kara Craig, SAC Consulting Solutions

For many smallholders, writing a business plan may seem like an unnecessary task, especially if your smallholding efforts are not aimed at making a profit. Nevertheless, undertaking a planning process is probably a good idea for all of us – if only to highlight unintended consequences. After all, increasing your lambing percentage might prove to be a double edged sword if you have insufficient grass to finish the lambs.

Kara Craig will be focussing on why it’s a good idea to plan; what records you might want to keep to help with planning; the planning cycle and where you can get data from for a new enterprise. She’ll also show you a quick tool for thinking through the impact of changes to your smallholding.


16:15 – Plenary & discussion

An opportunity for delegates, speakers and the organisers to raise points for discussion arising during the day, ask questons, and provide feedback on the event.


16:45 – Close


We are expecting a number of relevant organisations to attend to provide information and advice for smallholders going into the new year.

The venue

The 2017 conference is being held at Pitcairngreen Village Hall near Perth, the venue’s postcode is PH1 3LR.

Buy tickets online

Tickets are on sale now priced £25. Payment by debit card, credit card or PayPal account. NB: Last date for online orders is Wednesday 15th February 2017.

Buy tickets online now