Farming at Muirhouses.
Muirhouses has been farmed by the McLaren family since the 1940's and is a 120ha, or 300 acres, livestock and arable farm,traditional to the area here at the foot of the Grampian Mountains. Back in the post-war years the main crops were oats, barley, potatoes, turnips and grass. Stock included beef cattle and sheep. Farming was labour intensive at that time just before mechanisation so many men were employed on the farm, supporting their families who lived here. Steading cottage, our self-catering cottage, was the home of the cattleman and his family.
Nowadays all the work is done by Willie and Peter McLaren with help from other family members at busy times. Crops now grown include barley for malting whisky, wheat, oilseed rape, potatoes and grass. Modern machinery equipped with GPS and computers make light work of cultivation, seeding and harvest.
We have a suckler herd of 100 Limousin cross cows and a small herd of pedigree Limousins. Calving is mainly January - April indoors with the calves being well grown when they go out to grass for the summer with their mothers.The beef produced from our herd is of excellent quality and may well be the delicious steak you enjoy at one of the local restaurants. The cattle are housed for the winter in large straw bedded sheds, usually late October until late April, early May when the grass is growing well.
Straw is a by-product of the wheat, barley and oilseed rape crops, mainly used for cattle feed and bedding. Recently we installed a biomass system which runs on our excess straw, a very effective way of supplying heat and hot water to the houses.
This farming life...