19 May 1995

Six decades

on farm scene

AN insight into farming from war years to the present day comes in a book* to be published this summer.

The pen is that of Peter Maclaren who has managed to spin a strong thread of humour into a story of agricultural development over six decades.

The tale begins in 1936 and the accounts of dealing with the Ministry of Food include a direct approach to the then minister to speed delivery of a promised binder and a blistering correspondence about ministry refusal to pay for 20 tons of potatoes which it said had gone bad – but not until six months after delivery.

After the war, Peter Maclaren joined ICI in the early days of that firms move into experimental farms and he became best known for work on grassland management for beef and dairy cattle at The Leaths in south-west Scotland. He arrived in 1952 and stayed for 17 years as manager of a centre which became a recognised leader in its field and attracted thousands of visitors from all over the world.

Peter Maclaren retired at 50 from ICI and set up his own farm management consultancy which attracted clients from every part of the UK as well as South Africa and South America.

In a foreword to the book, the Duke of Buccleuch writes: "There can be few individuals who have so excelled in successfully combining the theoretical and practical aspects of farming and good land management in many parts of the country and over many years. To be a gifted raconteur is an added bonus, especially for his readers." AW

*Grass Roots, 60 years of farming, fun and frustration, by Peter Maclaren, is to be published in June by Silverlink of Peterborough (£14.99).