Beef Farmer of the Year – Adrian Ivory
Strathisla Farms, Perthshire

In pedigree beef circles Strathisla Farms, Perthshire, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to buying and selling at Perth Bull Sales. But when it comes to on farm management, technical detail and economical pressures, Adrian Ivory can also hold his own with anyone.

Running a simple, yet organised operation which makes full use of home grown resources and quality labour, Adrian is determined to grow Scotland’s position on the beef producers map.

Strathisla was one of the first farms to import the Simmental in to the UK from Switzerland and it now runs up to 70 pedigree Charolais and Simmental cattle.

Pedigrees run alongside a commercial herd of 130 crossbred spring calving Simmental cross South Devon sucklers. “We needed an outcross from the Simmental to increase hybrid vigour in the commercial herd and decided on a South Devon to retain the milking ability of the Simmental and docility, all important factors when running only two labour units,” he explains. 

Anything that doesn’t make the grade for selling at Perth, Aberdeen or off farm, are fattened along with those from the suckler herd for Perth-based processors ABP.

Believing ABP has the best feel for market requirements, Adrian says quite simply it is up to him to deliver to their specifications. “I’ll try anything to improve the quality of the beef this farm produces, either through feed trials, namely the use of linseed in cattle diets, attention to breeding values or tighter production parameters,”

Running the unit alongside his stock man Colin Fordyce, Adrian is no stranger to the show or sale ring either, having sold many well priced bulls in Perth, as well as buying bulls such as Solitude Attiboy, the February Perth Charolais champion for 32,000gns and the Simmental Omorga Samson for 22,000gns. “Spending that amount of money, sometimes in partnership with other local breeders, means health status and performance figures are a must,” he comments.

Adrian feels the use of such figures should be more widely accepted as a management tool for farmers.

“Although it’s taken some time for farmers to adapt to the introduction of ABRI Breedplan, these figures have shown to work in our system.

The use of such figures can add a level of confidence when visually assessing a bull for a particular task, he adds. “With the lifting of exports, UK farmers are now on a global playing field, with supermarkets buying internationally farmers need to recognise international comparisons such as Brazil are here to stay, so using figures and performance data can help put you a cut above the rest.”

This commitment to using breeding figures has seen Adrian lead speakers at various EBLEX-organised events throughout the country, as well as being chosen for the SAC leadership programme. 


FARM FACTS

• 650ha grass, cereal and woodland farm
• Pedigree Charolais and Simmental herds run alongside commercial suckler herd finishing deadweight
• Innovative cattle handling system
• Strong emphasis on breeding values


WHAT THE JUDGES LIKED
• Technical and marketing skills combined with dedication, enthusiasm and commitment
• An inspirational pedigree and commercial breeding policy
• Use of breeding values and performance related information to constantly improve quality
• Close working relationship with processors and consequent
• An ambassador for Scottish farming, speaking at various events across the UK
• Use of home produced or locally sourced products to maintain sustainability, but keep costs to a minimum.


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