Craigens Farm is a 2,000ha tenanted unit on the west coast of Islay ran by Craig Archibald, his father and his son.  

They have 220 suckler cows and 200 stores, as well as 1,000 ewes and between 1,000 -1,200 lambs. The farm focusses on producing Angus and Charolais yearling calves for the store market and fat lambs.  

In addition to the livestock, the farm has 20ha producing barley grown for a local distillery and 10ha of forage rape. 

Geese grazing places the farm under heavy pressure during the winter and Craigens Farm is in Goose Management Schemes. Most tasks are carried out in-house with their own machinery. As a result they do some contract sowing with a moor drill and sward lifter. 

The business has diversified into oyster farming and is soon to open an on-farm café.

  • About the Farm

    For Craig, the Monitor Farm Programme isn’t just about him and his business, but something for the farming community on the island. 

    “By the end of the programme, I’d like to be better informed and the farm, more profitable. As the island goes – I hope it’ll attract interest from other farmers andinspire some of the younger generations,” he says.  

    “I’m looking forward to having more structure – I’ve ideas but I’m not good at writing them down or sharing them with those that work for us. It’ll be about looking at the data we’ve got and using it for decision-making on the herd management.  It would be interesting to see whether we can increase production, whether through the introduction of other breeds, or the genetic lines of the breeds we’ve got.”  

Meeting Reports

  • July 2023 Meeting Report

    Topics: Funding & Grants - Jenny Love SAC Consulting. Grass Plots - Pat Lambert and Andy Nelson Watson Seeds. The Ideal Suckler Cow - Robert Gilchrist Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society.

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  • January 2023 Meeting Report

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  • October 2023 Meeting Report

    Topics: Farm Walk RSPB Kinnabus Nofence cow collars in action Mobile Sheep Handling Liver Fluke control with Dr Phil Skuce Forage Budgeting for Winter

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Presentation

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