16 June 1995

Scots come early to market

ALTHOUGH the beginning of the Scottish farmland market usually coincides with the Royal Highland Show, a variety of properties have already been marketed this year.

Of its 811 acres, Mervinslaw Estate near Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, includes 436 acres of arable land mainly eligible for area aid.

The 220 acres of permanent pasture sustain over 1000 ewes, a small suckler cow herd and a farm park with a deer breeding enterprise. The farm, which is within an LFA, is guided at £1m by agents Knight Frank & Rutley, and the firms Colin Strang-Steel values the arable land at around £1500/acre.

Current owners

The current owners, who moved up to Scotland six years ago, and now want to purchase a purely arable unit, re-built the main house in the late 80s following a fire.

Farmland values have risen on average by 20% in the past 12 months, and on the east coast of Scotland the best quality arable land is achieving between £2000 and £2500, says Andrew Smith of Strutt & Parkers Edinburgh office.

"Demand for good quality arable land is from both locals, seeking at least an additional 20 acres, and farmers relocating from the south who want whole farm units," he says.

A unit likely to generate interest among arable farmers is Carmichaels Farm, near Dundee, Perthshire. It includes 323 acres of class 3 arable land, although 75 acres are currently growing raspberries, and is guided at £650,000 by Strutt & Parker.

Alternatively, because the vendor is keen to take advantage of the current price of arable land, Baltilly Farm, near Ceres, Fife, is being marketed.

Including 249 acres of eligible arable land and a mainly modern steading, but no accommodation, selling agent Andrew Smith values the bare land at around £1600/acre.

"This unit could appeal to a local farmer wishing to include his son in the business but without having to pay a premium for a house," he says.