Cows and calves at Upper Nisbet Farm
Cows and calves at Upper Nisbet Farm
Upper Nisbet Farm
Upper Nisbet Farm

Upper Nisbet Farm

Upper Nisbet is a 636.25 hectare farm which is part of Lothian Estates in the Scottish Borders.  The Neill family took over the tenancy at Upper Nisbet in May 2000.


The farm currently has 320 suckler cows. This number has been increased gradually year on year since arriving at Upper Nisbet with 200 cows in May 2000. The majority of the cows are Limousin cross British Friesian but some British Blue breeding has been introduced into the herd and the recent purchase of an Aberdeen Angus bull will be used to breed replacement heifers. The main supply of replacement heifers are sourced from the family dairy farm. The replacement Friesian heifers are put to the Limousin bull to produce the first crosses for the suckler herd. There is a small herd of pedigree Limousin cows which are used to breed bulls to be used on the suckler herd. 


The area of the farm in arable production has doubled since taking on the tenancy in 2000. There are now 353.38 hectares of land in arable production. At the end of 2016 an additional 197.91 hectares was added to the farm area when a neighbour retired.


In 2017 the arable crops being grown in clude 73.88 hectares of Winter Barley which is mostly dried and kept in long term storage to be fed to the beef herd, with the remaineder being sold under a seed contract.  99.11 hectares of Winter Wheat is grown mostly on a seed contract with a small quantity being kept for feed. 163.56 hectares of Spring barley which is split between malting barley contracts and seed contracts. 16.83 hectares of land is being rented out to a neighbouring farmer for growing potatoes.


All of the straw from the cereal crops is baled and retained on the farm for feeding and bedding which is then spread on the arable ground as farmyard manure to enchance the soil quality and texture.


The beef and arable enterprises complement each other and each provides a benefit to the other sector. The suckler herd are providing a plentiful supply of farmyard manure to improve the nutrient value of the soil and the arable crops provide not only feeding but also bedding in order to reduce our input costs.


Tweets from Robert Neill @uppernisbet

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