Banff and Buchan Monitor Farm

Sauchentree Farm, at New Aberdour, on the north-east coast of Scotland, is run by Bruce Irvine in partnership with his mother. Help at lambing comes from his art-lecturer wife, sister and brother-in-law and, their two daughters are starting to get involved in the farm.  

In total, Bruce farms 650ac with cereals, sheep and cattle. Bruce believes the three enterprises are as important as each other, with livestock providing fertility for the arable side. Bruce markets their lamb and beef through Woodhead Bros, Turriff and ANM at Thainstone and enjoys competing with neighbouring farms on yield and lambing percentage.   

The family have been at Sauchentree for over 2oo years.

  • About the Farm

    Bruce aims to find a better work-life balance, improve the income in challenging times and future-proof the business as his family grows up. 

    “I know there is room for improvement as has been shown in the last year: our lamb weaning percentage has improved hugely with advice from vets and others. Having someone looking at things can often point to a game changer even though it may not be the biggest of tweaks,” he says. 

    The rate of inflation, the cost of equipment and the weather are currently his biggest challenges. The farm has been hit by drought in three of the last seven years.  

    Having reseeded some pastureland with a mix sward that contains herbs, Bruce has commissioned specialist advice on alternative approaches to grazing. Reducing feeding costs, utilising forage and looking at managing labour are also high on his agenda.

  • Bruce Irvine

    “There’s so much I’d like to explore as part of the monitor farm programme. Over the last year I’ve focused on ewe and lamb health, condition scoring and making small changes which bring bigger gains”

    “I look forward to the social aspect, meeting folk and discussing things in a relatively informal manner,” he says. 

Meeting Reports

  • December 2022 Meeting Report

    Calving Patterns are a Focus for the Family & First Impressions

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  • June 2023 Meeting Report

    Low Input, High Outputs

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  • January 2024 Meeting Report

    Small Changes, Big Impact

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  • Resilience in Grassland Management

    This report, by Poppy Frater, SAC’s Sheep and Grassland Specialist looks at ways to enhance Sauchentree's resilience against varying climate conditions.

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Presentation

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