Currently running at 60 cows the Idvies herd was founded in 1959 by the Fraser family and is now the oldest established herd of Aberdeen-Angus cattle in the county of Angus, having been established from two females bought at the Harvieston dispersal, with further additions from Wych Cross, Newhouse, Tangier, Buchaam, Balavil, Haymount, East Nevay, Hurdcott, Strathburn, Monkwood, Castle of Mey, Eastfield and Halbeath.
Idvies Farms, owned by Alistair and Graeme Fraser consists of four farms totalling 560 acres which grow malting barley, wheat, oilseed rape, potatoes and just over 100 acres of rotational grass leys. The herd is a member of the Hi-Health scheme and retains about eight heifers a year as replacements with further heifers sold for breeding.
The family has a policy of buying one new bloodline each year, investing in heifers from lines not currently within the herd.
Bulls from the Herd are sold each year from 9 months to 24 months of age with customers spread throughout the UK including select stock also going for European export. Bulls the Fraser family feel that are unsuitable for breeding are sold as finished animals on a deadweight basis to major abattoirs at around 15 months of age. Those bulls unsuitable for breeding are sold as finished animals on a deadweight basis to major abattoirs.
The mainly spring calving herd rarely shows due to time constraints and the demands of the arable enterprise on the farm which is run entirely by Alistair and Graeme Fraser, but did enter the Royal Highland Show in 2015 for the first time, taking the Aberdeen-Angus and interbreed championship with their intermediate stock bull Shadwell Black Broughton.
He then went on to achieve a unique feat when he also clinched the breed championship at the Society’s UK National Summer Show, the only bull in the breed to have claimed both the Royal Highland and Summer National titles in the same year.
This 2015 success followed hot on heels of Idvies Kollar J431 also winning the Royal Highland Show breed and interbreed championship for his owners Messrs Bruce in 2013.
The herd has sold to a high of 20,000gns at auction when Idvies Jarvis Eric sold to the Balgay herd having been intermediate and overall champion at Stirling Bull Sales. Meanwhile, private sales from the farm have surpassed this with Idvies Eland N596 selling for an undisclosed five figure price to Shadwell Estate and Idvies Fellani R699 selling to the Rawburn herd of the Elliot family for £22,000 in 2016.
Other notable sales include Proud Perth X13 of Idvies sold for 16,000gns to the Castle of Mey herd of HM The Queen Mother and the Russell family’s Ballindalloch herd, Idvies Fullback sold for 14,000gns to the Fordel herd, Idvies Junior Eric, Idvies Fusion and Idvies Kollar all sold for 10,000gns and Idvies Federal sold for 9000gns.
Current stock sires in the herd are Rawburn Rommel, a £32,000 private purchase from the Elliot family, Shadwell Black Broughton bought from the Shadwell herd for a high undislosed figure and a homebred Idvies bull.
Rommel holds an enviable place among the breed’s history, currently being the only bull to have sired a Royal Highland Show champion, a Stirling Bull Sale champion and a Summer National Show champion.
Maintaining a philosophy of breeding today for the future tomorrow the family have never been afraid to invest in the best possible genetics available, including buying Jeremy Eric of Bridgefoot for 28,000gns, Rawburn Rommel at £32,000, Shadwell Black Broughton fpr a high undisclosed figure, Lockerley Legolas at 24,000gns (half share), Aynho Rossiter Eric at 16,000gns (half share), Gretnahouse Prince Cool for 10,000gns and a nine month old daughter of the 21,000gns Halbeath Pam by Idvies Elmonarch at 12,000gns.
Alongside the arable and cattle enterprises the family also have a 100Kw wind turbine on the farm and currently have planning permission for a 5Mw solar field which will generate sufficient electricity to power more than 1000 homes.
And while some may be tempted to increase cattle numbers the Frasers feel their current balance of enterprises is a good fit and allows them to maximise the quality in everything they do. Cow numbers of 60-70 allow a strict selection criteria to be applied to replacement heifers and also mean the workload is manageable in tandem with the arable work.