One of the most significant farm sales in recent Scottish history sees more than 2,000 acres of commercial land up for sale.
CG Greig Farms, owners of Pitlochie, Balcanquhal, Corston Mill and East Kilwhiss farms in Fife, is selling all four units and a country house for £14.295m as a whole, or as individual farms.
Agent CKD Galbraith says the seller is focusing on other investments and that the rare offering of quality and location will perk the interest of both investors and farmers.
- Pitlochie, near the village of Gateside, is an arable enterprise split across two units – Nether and Upper Pitlochie – with 717 acres of farmland.
- Deep Grade 3 soils grow cereals, brassicas and seed potatoes, while the farm also supports 250 finishing cattle. Winter wheat yields are 3.8t/acre and potatoes 18t/acre.
- Nether Pitlochie has modern cold stores with capacity for 5,100t of potatoes and its grain stores hold 1,150t with an 18t/hour dryer.
- There is also a 60-head cattle court, while Upper Pitlochie can house 200 cattle and has additional storage. There are three houses and four farm cottages.
- Offers over £6.8m as a whole, or in two lots.
- Also in Gateside, Balcanquhal is run as a mixed organic enterprise. The farm splits its 392 acres across cereals and fodder production plus grazing.
- A yard, central to the ring-fenced operation, allows about 230 cattle to be housed in two recently built buildings. There are two silage pits and handling facilities.
- Free-draining Grade 3 soils allow cattle to stay at grass late in the year, and all the land is in year two of a five-year organic maintenance scheme.
- Offers over £1.995m.
Corston Mill Farm
- Corston Mill is a 202-acre block split in to 20 fields growing cereals, potatoes and vegetables.
- The Grade 3 soils, between Gateside and Strathmiglo, produce broccoli at 4.4t/acre and spring barley at 3.1t/acre.
- The buildings attached to the land are a semi-derelict stone farmhouse, steading, mill and pair of cottages.
- Offers over £1.2m.
Easter Kilwhiss Farm
- About seven miles west of the three other holdings, Easter Kilwhiss grows cereals, vegetables and brassicas alongside a 300-head suckler herd.
- About 310 of the farm’s 714 acres is ploughable. Seed potatoes have yielded 24t/acre, helped by underground irrigation across much of the farm.
- The remainder of the holding produces silage and grazing ground; most is Grade 3.
- The farm has three cattle courts, handling facilities and a large silage pit and more than 200t of grain storage. There is a farmhouse and a pair of cottages.
- Offers over £3,565,000.
Agents share their views on the sale
Simon Brown, partner, CKD Galbraith
“There has not been an opportunity to buy in excess of 2,000 acres of quality land in Scotland for a long time.
[The four farms] have a strong arable and vegetable operation, and there are plenty of farms on the east coast where the stock has been removed, perhaps to the detriment of the farm, so this operation has an effective rotation.
“Four separate farms may appeal to a wider market, or a single buyer could buy it lock, stock and barrel.
“We’ve seen farms and land in Perthshire and Fife this year which have sold well so we know there’s strong interest from farmers and investors alike.”
Tom Stewart-Moore, head of Scottish farm agency, Knight Frank
“Fife is a big farming county and any farm put up for sale publicly is sought after.
“This is one of the largest portfolios to come to the market in Scotland in recent years so it’s an investment opportunity for someone.
“It could be purchased by a buy-to-let buyer or perhaps someone from England who sees this as an affordable opportunity to farm 2,000 acres.
“It’s a big, commercial operation and there will be a handful of individuals who can afford to buy it as one, but the more likely scenario is that it will be sold as individual farms.”
Farming in Fife
Fife is one of Scotland’s foremost farming counties, producing about 15% of the Scottish wheat crop and about 5% of its oilseed rape and barley.
Much of the land area is capable of producing arable, vegetable and brassica crops, while being equally adept at growing grass.
Its location – one hour from Edinburgh – means livestock markets and grain merchants are within easy reach.
The south of the county includes former coal mining territory and land values for the most marginal land can start at £2,500/acre.
To the east – particularly in the coastal East Neuk of Fife – Grade 2 soils have sold for £10,000/acre.