Currently at Woodneuk we are farming 940 acres comprising 400 acres owned or rented, 120 of which is community woodland and 540 acres unimproved conservation grazing on some of which the cows and calves graze during the summer. The remainder provides conserved grazing for the cows and three year old heifers during the winter months. During winter, the older cattle have access to feed blocks at approximately quarter to half kilo per day. Within two or three weeks of calving they are moved closer to home where they receive ad lib blocks and silage until the grass is adequate.
Normally we have between 350 and 400 head of cattle at any time comprising 140 in calf cows and heifers with the rest being young stock. Highland steers are either finished at under 30 months or sold dead weight to local butchers. Recently we have sold cattle to Waitrose for the Christmas market. We also sell young steers as store cattle for others to finish. Highland heifers are mainly sold privately or through The Highland Cattle Society sales and cross cattle are sold by auction. Since the establishment of the fold, our policy has been to breed cattle which can thrive on marginal grazing with the minimal of purchased concentrates and produce a calf annually. As the cattle graze on the Gleniffer Braes, which is owned by Renfrewshire Council, the animals have to be of a good temperament. There are between 250,000 and 300,000 people annually who walk across the land where the cattle graze.
Over a number of years we have provided some of our Highland cattle for various television and film projects including Robbie Coltrane’s B Road Trip and BBC’s Balamory. Our latest filming, in four different locations, was for the television series Outlander.
Since the start of the Pedigree Fold in 1954, there have been three generations responsible for breeding and sustaining the Highland Cattle. Firstly my grandfather, Tom, until the late 1960s, followed by my father William and then joined by myself, Tom, from the 1990s until the present day.
Both my grandfather Tom and father William have been President of The Highland Cattle Society and I am currently President. Both William and I are at present Highland Cattle Society Judges. We have both judged Highland Cattle locally, nationally and internationally.