AROUND 200 children from six North-east primary schools spent an exciting day at Home Farm, Cullen, where staff from Seafield and Strathspey Estates gave them an insight into the work they do in farming and forestry.
The curious youngsters were introduced to several areas of the estates’ operations including arable farming, livestock and deer husbandry, woodland operations and bird conservation programmes.
The pupils from Botriphnie, Bramble Brae, Cullen, Glass, Findochty and West Park primary schools were allowed to enjoy a hands-on experience with several items of equipment.
Sandy Lewis, chief executive of Seafield and Strathspey Estates, said: "The Seafield family was delighted that the estates hosted this special educational day for North-east schoolchildren.
"Land management is a highly specialist operation providing not only our food, but maintaining the very environment in which we live.
"It is important that youngsters understand something of the challenge of running businesses on the land in a sustainable way, so securing important economic, conservation and social benefits."
The estates showed their guests state-of-the-art machinery including a tractor with GPS control and a new £400,000 combine harvester, which had been delivered only the previous day and which the pupils were keen to examine close up.
Farming staff from Old Cullen Farms, assisted by estate tenants and SAC, demonstrated a crop sprayer ploughing and a quad bike fitted with GPS technology.
The youngsters were also taken into the fields to see the growth of spring and winter barley and oilseed rape and they were introduced to some farm livestock.
The estate’s forestry harvesting machine which cuts trees, strips the branches and cuts the trunks into logs was also a big attraction.
Organised by the Royal Northern Countryside Initiative (RNCI) and sponsored by the Mains of Loriston Charitable trust, Seafield Veterinary Group and Aberdeenshire Council, the day was voted a huge success.
"Everyone was extremely happy and the feedback was tremendous," said RNCI project officer Sheila Stuart.
"The children saw some top-of-the-range machinery and learned a great deal. We owe a huge vote of thanks to Seafield farm manager Ronnie Urquhart and his team. All of the children enjoyed themselves thoroughly."
Mrs Stuart said all the children took home goody bags filled with freshly harvested vegetables grown on the estates.