A project which aims to keep calves with their mothers for longer is among those that will share more than £340,000 of investment.
Awarded through the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF), the new funding will drive forward innovation in farming and food production and help businesses shift to a low carbon climate-resistant economy.
Announcing the funding, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said:
“As we face a global climate emergency, investing and supporting innovative research within our agricultural sector has never been more important. Farming is sometimes singled out as a climate offender, often by those who do not fully understand or appreciate its importance to our rural communities, or the work our farmers do to protect our environment.
“With this latest funding the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund has now invested around £5.7 million in projects that will help us continue to grow a sustainable, vibrant and innovative rural economy.”
Colleen McCulloch of Soil Association Scotland, which helped set up the Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) group that brought the ‘cow with calf’ project together, said:
“David and Wilma Finlay, who are running the project at their farm in Castle Douglas, are at the forefront in Europe of turning this high welfare dairy system into a successful, commercial operation. Keeping calves with their mother has benefits beyond welfare, for example for rose veal and beef supply, as well as grassland management and biodiversity, but is commercially challenging.
“The KTIF funding will allow Dr Marie Haskell of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) to run a year’s pilot project to track the progress of the Finlays’ operation and trial it on several other farms, with the aim of establishing a blueprint that could be adopted by any interested farm.”
The Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund is delivered through the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-20. The scheme will fund eligible innovation projects under the European Innovation Partnership.