Farm History

The farm is run by Charley and Andrea Walker who have an organic beef and sheep enterprise that are entirely self-sufficient in feed, they are also Farmers Weekly Awards 2019 Grasslands Farmers of the year.

Having taken inspiration from the Kiwis following a stint working in New Zealand, they have brought the “simplistic” mentality of red meat production back to Scotland, creating a winning formula on their 254ha tenancy in the Scottish Borders.

The switch from set-stocking five years ago has seen production almost double to 405kg DM/ha and profits lift exponentially.

More recently, they plucked up the courage to give holistic grazing a go and are hoping it will act as an “armour for soil”, building organic matter and, in turn, sequestering tonnes of carbon.

Rotational grazing

Great grassland management is at the heart of the system, operating a rotational grazing system and outwinter stock on deferred grass in the winter.

Silage fields are reseeded every six years following oat and pea silage, with shorter-term leys reseeded with ryegrasses containing red and white clover. Meanwhile, herbal leys are used on the grazing platform.

Good fertility is the linchpin of their low-input system, with Welsh Black across Angus cows calving in just six weeks from April. Easycare ewes are bred pure and lamb for three weeks from mid-April.

Eliminating the requirement for housing has helped to create a low-cost system with requiring less labour that works in harmony with the environment.

Farm facts

• 254ha tenanted farm

• 640 wool-shedding ewes

• Sells beef to Dovecote Park

• Switched to organic in 2006

• 40ha in environmental stewardship

• 110 Welsh Black across Angus cows

• Prime sheep marketed through the Scotch Country Lamp co-op

Scottish Borders

By car:

• Get on M1 •
• Continue on M1, take A1(M) to A1 in Birtley •
• Follow A1 to your destination •

Nearest train station:

• Dunbar – 16 miles •
• Berwick upon Tweed – 22.5 miles •

Nearest Airport

• Edinburgh Airport – 53 miles •

Barnside Farm, Abbey Saint Bathans, Berwickshire, TD11 3TX