Hardiesmill Aberdeen Angus
Hardiesmill Aberdeen Angus is a private company based on the cooperation of five Scottish farms in the production of the best possible beef we can. Since the flavour and eating experience of beef is largely dictated by breeding, feeding and handling, we all work to the same rules in these three area:
1. We only rear Pedigree Aberdeen Angus Cattle
2. The cattle’s diet is grass and grass-silage. Cereals, when used, are in small quantities and mainly for bucket training etc.
3. The farms are all Scotch Quality Meat approved and believe in the ethos that happy cattle and productive cattle.
Hardiesmill Abersdeen Angus is Scotch Quality Assured for livestock and beef.
Hardiesmill Place is a privately run farm in the Scottish Borders, owned by Alison and Robin Tuke. It is 482 acres mixed farm run with very little capital equipment on the farm. We have a forklift, a quad-bike and a truck. We use R Woods Contractors for our tractor work whilst the arable is worked on a contract farming basis with Sweethope Farm .
The land gently rises from 450 feet to 620 feet above sea level, whilst the soil comprises of a medium to light loam. Approximately 28.6 acres are woodland, buildings and roads, 150 acres are arable and 305 is in grass for the cattle. We have been experimenting with different grass varieties in order to extend both the growing season and the resilience to the variations in the weather. All are high in clover to increase protein and reduce fertiliser requirements. We also retain our grass for longer lays to increase its mineral percentage and goodness, which is paying dividends. Meanwhile we use the straw from the arable for winter bedding for the cattle when we bring them in. The crop is sold (hopefully) for pearling, malting and milling. One field is always ploughed as late as possible to let the birds and wildlife enjoy it.
250 head of cattle are brought indoors to save the ground in the winter and then go back out to grass in the Spring. The herd is split between Autumn and Spring Calvers.
The Calves are weaned when they reach 7 months old. However they’re kept in the next door court to their mums for a few weeks in order to keep stress to a minimum. Once weaned and eating well, the male calves are moved to Sweethope Farm, where they are finished.
Sweethope is a 240hectare (600acre) mixed arable and livestock farm situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders, close to the town of Kelso.
The farm is managed by a family run company (J N Fuller-Shapcott and Company), which stems from three generations of farming experience. First established in Wiltshire, the company moved to the Borders in 1988. The company aims to produce a consistent, high quality product for a known market, whilst continuing to look at further opportunities for improvement.
The majority of the farm land is given over to arable production, but there are 80 acres of permanent pasture. These are used (in conjunction with Hardiesmill) to finish Aberdeen Angus cattle for the premium beef market.
The land is manages to encourage and preserve wildlife habitats such as Lurgie Loch, which is a SSSI partly within the farm. Areas of woodland and field margins around the farm are also used to promote and shelter both wildlife and reared game birds.
Encompassed within Sweethope is Dounbye - a holiday cottage which has its own large private garden allowing visitors to relax in seclusion. The six bed accommodation is modern and spacious, with outstanding views of the Tweed Valley and Northumberland National Park.
In conjunction with its own farming enterprises, the company manages additional arable hectares under various contract agreements.
National Museum of Rural Life, Wester Kittochside
Wester Kittochside is a 160 acre livestock farm in the middle of East Kilbride. Owned by the National Museum of Scotland, Farming still carries on today at Wester Kittochside, but the farm is run according to agricultural methods and practices of the 1950s. It’s open to the public 363 days a year. There’s a substantial visitors centre, cafe and the old farm house (unchanged since the1950s), as well as the grounds, where educational tours take place.
Wester Kittochside is home to herds of both pedigree Ayreshire dairy cattle and the Kittochside herd of pedigree Aberdeen Angus suckler cows. The Angus calves are spring born and reared on their mothers until weaning in the autumn. Heifers are retained whilst the males are allowed to settle (in order to reduce stress), then transported to either Sweethope or Hardiesmill, where they are finished on grass.
For more information please visit the museum.