The farm has had a varied past, in previous generations we have bred award winning pigs and cattle, grown flowers such as crocuses, tulips and daffodils, grown potatoes, barley, wheat, peas, carrots, swede and strawberries.
We currently grow Spring Barley for malting, Winter Wheat for distilling, Potatoes for both seed and supermarkets, rent out land for peas, carrots and swede, as well as grass land to neighbors for cattle grazing and silage.
We grow around 100 acres of potatoes each year on the farm. We grow seed potatoes which will be sold to other growers and eventually turned into crisps! The varieties we use for this are mainly Brooke and Shelford. We go through numerous inspections throughout the year to make sure our crops are free from disease and insects, as well as a traceability checks to prove we can track each potato back to the field it was grown in.
We also grow Ware potatoes which are eventually sold in the supermarkets. We have Maris Piper, Manitou, Charlotte and Saxon. We use some of these varieties to sell in the Spud Hut, along with Rooster which is grown especially for selling in the hut.
Our potatoes are planted in April time, inspected over the summer and harvested between September and October. We have some “early” ones so we can give our customers in the Spud Hut a year-round supply of our delicious tatties! We use our Grimmie trailed harvester on the back of one of our Fendt tractors to harvest the potatoes. There are four people in the harvester picking out any stones, clods or damaged potatoes, and they are then put into boxes on the back of our trailers to be stacked back on the farm.
Once we harvest our potatoes they are stored in big refrigerated sheds until they are ready to be graded and sold. Our fridges are powered by our Ground Source Heat Pump which was installed in 2019. It used the chill by-product from our grain drier to cool the store down to the perfect temperature to keep the potatoes in great condition. This method of cooling is powered 100% by renewable energy.
We harvest around 350 acres of Spring Barley each year at Westerton Farmers. Our barley is grown to meet specific criteria set by the maltsters who use our grains in the whisky making process. We have to be very careful to monitor the nitrogen levels, germination levels and moisture levels in the grain to make sure it produces the finest whisky. The main variety for 2020 is Laureate.
This is sown in March and harvested around the middle to end of August. The straw from the crop is either baled and sold to other farmers to use as livestock bedding, or it is chopped and ploughed back into the soil to increase the organic matter.
We are lucky enough to have the fantastic Fettercairn Distillery just 5 miles along the road, and some of our barley ends up in this distillery. From field to flask in just a few miles!
Around 100 acres of our farm is in winter wheat, the variety we are growing this year is Barrel. Our Winter Wheat is used in the distilling process, which means it will eventually make drinks such as vodka and gin.
Our wheat is sown in the autumn time, and harvested around September the following year. The straw from the crop is either baled and sold to other farmers to use as livestock bedding, or it is chopped and ploughed back into the soil to increase the organic matter.
Working With the Community
Our Combine is a Claas Lexion 750 which has a 30 foot cutter bar that we purchased in 2016, along with two other local farming businesses. By working alongside our neighbours, this meant we were all able to make use of a bigger and better machine!
All of our grain which requires drying is put onto our floor drier system which was installed in 2019 with the help of local engineering firm Sandy Adams, electricians Stensons and our very skilled workforce here on the farm.
We use a Ground Source Heat Pump to heat the air blowing through the grain, which reduces the moisture level.
The GroundSource Heat Pump is 100% renewable energy and our solar panel installation helps to power the GSHP.