Run as an independent business Southesk Farms is a 4000 acre farming and contracting business, with an arable enterprise of over 3000 acres. A 30 acre covered soft fruit business produces strawberries and blueberries under the Angus Soft Fruits umbrella. Land is leased out for potatoes and peas as part of a 7 year crop rotation and the remaining managed land permanent grassland and lowland heath supporting grazing for deer, cattle and sheep.

All these operations are carried out by a small highly committed team of six with backing from an office administrator and the support of a large number of seasonal workers. Every effort is made to keep all arable operations in house using high output machinery and GPS augmented from time to time by external contractors. Contract cultivations and spraying are undertaken to assist the potato growing agreement and to complement the core arable operations.

Under manager Neil MacLeod this flexible operational approach has been extremely effective whilst also delivering key environmental benefits which are vital when farming in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone and the Southesk River catchment.

Southesk Farms were recently awarded two Rural Development contracts through the Scottish Rural Development programme which saw 5,500 metres of hedges and 500 mixed hardwoods planted, 100 acres of grass margins and water margins established, 10 hectares of wild bird seed sown annually (mainly to promote Corn Buntings) and a management programme established for 85 hectares of lowland heath. These options are a continuation of work undertaken in a previous Rural Stewardship scheme and highlight the farms ongoing commitment to promoting and protecting the Rural Environment.

As we departed we all felt that we had had one of the best holidays ever. S Anster