Recognised as the oldest continuing pedigree Aberdeen-Angus herd in the UK and quite possibly the world, the Ballindalloch herd is said to date from 1860 when Erica was purchased from the Earl of Southesk’s Kinnaird herd. But prior to this William McCombie recorded that the Ballindalloch Estate had perhaps the oldest herd of polled cattle in the north of Scotland, stating: ‘It has been the talk of the country since my earliest recollection and was then superior to all other stock.’
Then from 1860 onwards Sir George Macpherson-Grant, together with his brother Campbell, built the herd and in the process created the world famous families of Erica, Jilt, Pride, Georgina, Lady Fanny and Rose.
Today the Erica and Pride lines are still prominent within the herd, with the herd now under the stewardship of Guy Macpherson-Grant and his mother Clare Russell, assisted by farm manager David Johnstone.
The family, together with Mr Johnstone, aim to breed cattle which are true to breed character with easy fleshing and long wide tops. Structural correctness is paramount within the selection process for the herd, with the aim being for medium bodied cows.
Recent show successes include taking the Aberdeen-Angus and overall native championship at Stars of the Future Calf Show in 2013 as well as the bull calf and overall calf championship at the Black Beauty Bonanza in the same year with Ballindalloch Earl N397, with this bull subsequently retained as a herd sire.
The herd has also enjoyed sales success, taking the senior championship at Stirling in February 2016 and the breed championship at the Aberdeen Spring Show in 2014.
Today many bulls are sold from home, with top quality bulls offered for sale publicly at Stirling as appropriate and semen from stock bulls also sold to meet demand.
Away from the cattle the Ballindalloch Estate is also home to an extensive farming operation, with the aim for the next five years being to build on recent success and expand the herd conservatively and develop the sale of semen from the stock bulls.