Whitriggs Farm, near Denholm in the Scottish Borders, is run by Robert and Lesley Mitchell and their son Stuart with support during busy periods from Stuart’s brother, Alistair.
The Mitchells, who are keen to both develop their farm business and safeguard it for future generations, currently farm 442 hectares of mainly semi-permanent and permanent grassland. They also grow approximately 40 hectares of winter wheat and oats for feeding their stock.
Robert Mitchell’s father originally bought Whitriggs farm in 1957 and the family bought the neighbouring Denholmhill Farm in 1999 and now run both farms as a single business.
The Mitchells have 140 suckler cows which are a combination of Beef Shorthorn cross and Aberdeen Angus cross. Whitriggs also runs 1000 Lleyn ewes, which are brought inside in mid-February ready to lamb from 20 March onwards. Lambs generally reach their target 42kg liveweight from August and the family aim to have all the lambs marketed by Christmas.
“Succession is something that we have had to think about for the farm,” said Lesley. “We are pleased with what we have managed to achieve so far, but feel that we now need to look for opportunities to develop the business further so that, when the time comes, we can pass down a farm business with a viable future.”
Robert Mitchell added: “I believe that if you are not going forwards you are going backwards. Standing still isn’t an option for us.”
A summary of the first year as a monitor farm can be found here
Please see the Livestock Plus article about the Borders Monitor Farm here.