Balbirnie has been farmed for centuries and most of the same crops are still grown today using modern farming techniques in conjunction with a traditional 7 year rotation. Each year approximately a quarter of our land grows winter wheat; a third grows spring barley, with the rest divided between oats, winter barley, potatoes, parsnips and carrots. The 300 strong herd of cattle spend their summers on the hill eating fresh grass and winters in spacious airy cattle courts eating a balanced diet of silage, barley and vegetables.
Our traditional mixed farm continues to provide food for the cattle and natural fertilizer for the fields. As part of our holistic approach to environmental management, we have allowed our hedgerows to flourish and have maintained wildlife corridors between our woods. This wildlife management has offered protection to the crops from wind and allows us to maintain our low use of insecticides and herbicides.
Although our main harvest is during August and September, there are carrots and parsnips to lift all winter and potatoes both before and after the main harvest. Almost all of our calves are born in the spring so that they can spend their early months outside on the hill suckling from their mothers. The calves are weaned in the autumn when they are brought inside to protect them from the elements.
You will find our barley in your whisky and your beer, our wheat in your bread, our oats in your porridge and cereal, our potatoes, carrots and parsnips on your plate and your Sunday roast could be some of our delicious beef.