Glenbervie Estate

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John Lohoar, farm manager, Glenbervie Estate.

Herd size, farm acreage and other farm enterprises: The farm, which is part of the Glenbervie Estate, consists of just under 200 Pedigree Aberdeen Angus cows and followers, and we’ll have around 450 head of cattle on the estate at most times of the year. The estate land is 708 hectares in size and the home farm is 445 hectares. The rest of the land is made up of good, arable land for growing potatoes, winter wheat and spring barley. We retain all of our own replacements, making the herd a closed herd apart from a bull being bought when required.

Herd history: The herd, which was established in October 1992 from Blelack and Newcairnie lines, supplied the very best eating quality beef to the London market. We now sell exclusively through Scotbeef to supply Marks & Spencer (M&S).

General breeding philosophy and headline genetics used: Over the past 25 years that we’ve been breeding Aberdeen Angus cattle at Glenbervie, there have been many changes made within the breed. When I started buying bulls there were very few that could produce the carcases that I wanted. The carcase I was looking for was R4L or better, grade 360kg in weight and must be able to reach this weight from home grown forage in under 22 months.

Marketing outlets: Our steers are delivered to the slaughterhouse at Scotbeef in Stirling for supply to M&S. Over the years we’ve found a market in Europe, including Romania and Spain, for our surplus heifers. We can supply 40 heifers at a time which gives the customer a good even batch of similar heifers all with the same disease status, and they can also be blood and TB tested along with whatever the customer wants in terms of vaccinations. We also sell the occasional bull.

Other additional farm activities: The manufacturing facility on the Glenbervie Estate is Macphie – the UK’s leading, independent food ingredients manufacturer. Macphie has produced food ingredients for over 85 years – and for over 40 years at Glenbervie. The Macphie product range includes bakery mixes and concentrates, icings and fillings, sweet and savoury sauces, desserts, dairy cream alternatives and flavoured butters and melts. In 2014, Glenbervie Wind built two wind turbines on the estate to provide energy for the Macphie manufacturing site to further increase the company’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainability.

Future plans for the pedigree herd: To continue to breed and sell quality animals for the quality meat market and also sell the better end of the bulls locally, direct off farm. We’ll also try to improve our connections with herds that want to buy heifers from us to establish new blood lines. Aberdeen Angus is the breed of choice to produce very high quality meat for the modern meat market.