Producing strong, even calves at Haddo Estate

Scott Taylor is farm manager at Haddo Estate in Aberdeenshire, a mixed farming and sporting estate in Tarves, Aberdeenshire. The Estate is an impressive 5,000 acres, which comprises a Country House alongside vast areas of parkland and woodland which is home to a variety of country sports. The Estate has been home to Scott for nearly 20 years, and he works alongside 3 other members of the team.

An extensive acreage is given to growing cereals: a mix of barley, wheat and rape. This season, over 1,100 acres was harvested. Some is sold on, either to the malting industry or for feed, and the farm typically keep a good proportion of the barley to use in their home mixed rations. Around 500 acres are laid to grass, of which 300 acres is kept for themselves, with the remaining 200 let out on summer grazing leases.

The herd is made up of 120 cows, all cross Charolais, Simmental, Shorthorn and Limousin. Scott once took all animals through to finish, but has recently focussed on producing quality calves which are then sold in the back end. Scott told us, “we like to give them the best start, put some condition on, then sell them to the store market, either at Thainstone or Huntly.”

Scott keeps a close eye on the market in tandem with calf weights and performance, working out the best time to sell. Most are sold in the autumn calf sales with some kept back till the New Year.

The breeds are each chosen for their own unique benefits – the Charolais and Limousins are sought after calves in the store ring, whereas the Simmentals and Shorthorns are well suited for breeding replacements.

Calving starts in March, starting with the heifers, with the aim to be finished within a 12 week period. The cows are turned out in May and the bulls are put out soon after. From turnout, the cows are given access to our Super Suckler buckets to optimise fertility. Scott has fed the buckets for years as “they just work;” the calving percentage is good, calving is tight, and calves are always strong and even, and go on to grow. Scott told us that “the cows know when they need it – they’ll be really keen on the buckets early on and will then step back from them as the grass grows and requirement decreases.”

Once calves are born they’re turned out with their mothers and are fed our Beefstock nuts from late June onwards. Scott said he “introduces it gradually and they’re interested straight away and take to it really well.” Beefstock nuts is our most popular compound, an energy dense nut designed for creep feeding calves and growing them cost effectively through their first winter alongside forage. They include RumiTech to help increase feed conversion and reduce cost/kg gain so are a great way to cost effectively grow calves.

David McCartney, one of our local beef and sheep specialists, works closely with Scott to help optimise performance through the diet. David told us: “Scott has built a solid reputation locally for the quality of his calves. When we walked the animals which are heading to the mart, they look great, they’re very consistent, all strong animals which look like they have a huge potential to go on and perform for their buyers. Scott has fantastic attention to detail and gives his all to give his calves the very best start; Beefstock helps him to do just that.”

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