09 July 2024

After a burst of activity in June, the winters forage crops have been largely secured. Silage has been cut and clamped with the help of Colin Reid and his family contracting operation including father and wife. Even with a relatively large team at Balcaskie, we sometimes need to work with others either to share machinery or bolster the labour team. The Turnbulls at Boghall Farm near Kingsbarns send in some additional tractors, trailers and drivers, and in return, we help them.

Hay is more stressful than silage as its more weather dependent, but we managed to get 70% of this years crop baled and the final 30% will be cut when there is a settled forecast. Preferring hay over silage bales, due to the lack of plastic to recycle and the flexibility it offers when winter grazing – we can feed hay outside when silage is more of a challenge due the weight of each bale. Hay also has the added benefit of viable seeds from the grass crop, being transferred to pastures where it is fed – adding to the species diversity.


The Royal Highland Show is a great opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues, and this year, we were lucky enough to be showing cattle again. The team need to be onsite for the duration – so a rather tired caravan was sourced to provide accommodation. A useful base for the farm students to head back after  social time – last years cohort Izzy, Iestyn and Reece were able to introduce this year’s Emma, Imogen and Jack to life in Fife.


Combining a trip to Groundswell in Hertfordshire, some of the team were also able to tour Knepp Estate in Sussex. Here, 20 years of re-wilding of some pretty poor land has created a “wilderness” in which mini safaris tour the estate to see how nature can re-balance landscapes. The principles at Knepp are very much focussed on allowing nature to take over and become a natural landscape. At Balcaskie, whilst we are not on the same level – it was really useful to see what a “managed retreat” in a relatively small area looks like. From a forestry and biodiversity perspective there was a lot to learn about species mix/diversity and from a grazed silvopasture habitat, much to learn about how the livestock select and form the landscape.

The Butchery team have now completed some of the bucket list items we have been planning for a while. Making pies – which are “the best pies ever eaten” according to our extensive research, homemade Balcaskie Landrace pastry topping and no added pretend ingredients – just cow and wheat from Balcaskie. Then onto the next challenge – making raw, pasture fed, organic dog food. Many of our customers have been collecting dog bones for their canine companions – it seemed only fair that we produce a dog food of equal quality to the human food. So with 100% beef trim, offal and nothing else, we can safely say, your dog will agree – it’s the best!

And finally, at the June Bowhouse Market, we had a couple of last minute call offs for the street food hall traders. So sleeves rolled up, our home made BBQ fired up and some very nifty cooking by Neal and Dom – we ventured into the word of Street food. So many compliments on the quality of the meat and salad provided by East Neuk Market Garden, we will be firing it up again for more.

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