Stonefolds - Our Farm, a sustainable livestock farm with holiday accommodation.
We bought Stonefolds Farm in 1992, moving from a small holding we owned near Methlick. The farm is 125 acres in size which is now considered a small farm. Until 1999 we kept breeding pigs and sheep on the farm. Due to the slump in pig prices we could no longer make a living out of keeping the pigs. For a few years while we built up the number of cattle we could afford to buy, Neil went to work with a builder.
In 2001 following the disruption of the foot and mouth outbreak we decided we needed another source of income on the farm which was not dependant on livestock prices. We noticed there was a lack of self-catering accommodation in the area so we took the decision to build a cottage on the farm. At the time there were grants available to farmer to help them to diversify into other business’ in order to make their farms more viable.
We continued to keep our flock of breeding sheep which we have gradually built up and improved. We now have about 330 breeding ewes producing 550 lambs a year. The sheep are kept to produce meat as wool production does not cover the cost of getting the sheep sheared every year. Our sheep are Lleyn cross Texel. Every year we keep about 70 ewe lambs as breeding sheep the rest of the lambs are sold to a slaughter house in Turriff which belong to Morrisons supermarket group.
We do not have any breeding cows on the farm. Since we stopped keeping pigs we have gradually increased the number of cattle we buy every year. Now we have settled in to a routine of buying around 140 weaned calves from markets in Dingwall and Fort William every October and November. These are mostly Limousin cross cattle which we keep until the following September when they are sold through the local livestock market at Thainstone near Inverurie. Every year we buy a few Aberdeen Angus cattle which we fatten for meat. This meat is available to buy.
As our farm is all grass we do not have a lot of machinery just one red Zetor tractor with a loader so we can move bales of straw and silage to the sheep and cattle. We have planted hedges and trees around the farm and this year we added another 3000 metres of hedging and 5 acres of native trees. We had a survey done by the RSPB which found 22 species of birds on our farm. Although we see the following wildlife on the farm, Roe deer, fox, badger, hare, rabbit, we cannot guarantee what you will see while staying in the cottages. We once saw a red squirrel playing in the Cottage garden but that is a rare occurrence, although you may be lucky and see one in the area.
The kids loved farm life. The silent nights and clean air makes one feel relaxed every morning”
Robert & family