Scott Taylor is farm manager at the 5,000-acre Haddo Estate in Aberdeenshire – a mixed farming and sporting estate at Tarves, near Ellon.
The estate has been home to Scott for nearly 20 years and he works alongside three other members of the team.
An extensive acreage is given to growing cereals including a mix of barley, wheat and oilseed rape.
This season, over 1,100 acres was harvested, with some sold on for malting and a good proportion of barley kept for using in home mixed rations.
Around 500 acres is laid to grass, of which 300 acres is kept for themselves, with the remaining 200 let out on summer grazing leases.
Haddo Estate is home to 5,000 acres of which 1,100 is cereals
The suckler herd is made up of 120 cows – all cross Charolais, Simmental, Beef Shorthorn and Limousin.
Scott once took all animals through to finish but has recently focussed on producing quality calves which are then sold in the back end.
He said: “We like to give them the best start, put some condition on, then sell them to the store market either at Thainstone or Huntly.”
Scott keeps a close eye on the market in tandem with calf weights and performance, working out the best time to sell.
Most are sold at the autumn calf sales with some kept back till the new year.
The breeds are each chosen for their own unique benefits – the Charolais and Limousins are sought after calves in the store ring, whereas the Simmentals and Beef Shorthorns are well suited for breeding replacements.
Calving starts in March, starting with the heifers, with the aim to be finished within a 12-week period.
The cows are turned out in May and the bulls are put out soon after.
From turnout, the cows are given access to Harbro’s Super Suckler buckets to optimise fertility.
Scott has fed the buckets for years, which he says helps keep the calving percentage up and the calving period tight.
Charolais and Limousin bulls produce calves for the store ring
He says calves are always strong and even, and go on to grow.
“The cows know when they need it – they’ll be really keen on the buckets early on and will then step back from them as the grass grows and requirement decreases,” added Scott.
Once calves are born, they’re turned out with their mothers and are fed Beefstock nuts from late June onwards.
This product includes RumiTech to help increase feed conversion and reduce cost per kg gain.
Simmental and Beef Shorthorn used for breeding replacements
Scott said he introduces it gradually and calves are interested straight away.
David McCartney, local beef and sheep specialist at Harbro, works closely with Scott to help optimise performance through the diet.
David said: “Scott has built a solid reputation locally for the quality of his calves.
“When we walked through the animals which are heading to the mart, they look great and are very consistent. Scott has fantastic attention to detail and gives his all to give his calves the very best start.”