Ballathie Estate is situated on the banks of the River Tay in Perthshire, Scotland, and is home to the Ballathie herds of pedigree Aberdeen-Angus and Charolais cattle, along with a commercial suckler beef enterprise.
The early foundations of the Angus herd, which was established in 2000, go back to Netherton, Blelack and Fyvie females, while the Charolais herd which was established a year later in 2001 originates from the Thrunton Stella family. Angus numbers currently run at 32 cows with 14 in-calf heifers, while the Charolais herd is at 20 pedigree cows and the commercials are running at 160 cows.
The management ethos of the pedigree herds at Ballathie is simple – to produce natural fleshing, correct bulls with good figures and longevity for both commercial suckler producers and top end pedigree breeders. Significant investment has been made in the herd with the acquisition of some top quality stock sires. All breeding decisions, whether with the use of natural breeding or embryo transfer work, are carefully thought out with stock manager Jim Woodward and owner John Milligan spending time over the selection of the right genetics for the herd.
Cattle are shown at the Royal Highland Show and at calf shows in the back end, while bulls and females are often offered at Society sales such as the Perth bull sales in Stirling.
Alongside the beef operation, a successful arable operation includes 142ha of spring barley and 10ha of carrots, 3ha of Lucerne, 10ha of spring oats, 26ha of potatoes on let, 15ha protein beans, as well as 25ha of country stewardship, 11ha of game cover for the Estate shoot and 140 ha of grass.
The health status of both the Aberdeen-Angus and Charolais herds, as well as the commercial suckler herd, are maintained at a high standard and are all part of the Orkney HI-health scheme. The herds are BVD and Lepto accredited and vaccinated and are Johne’s and IBR monitored. The policy at Ballathie is to only buy in from high health status herds with all bought in stock isolated, tested and vaccinated before mixing with the rest of the herd.
The pedigree herds are performance recorded and all cattle are condition scored at routine times of the year with all finishing cattle regularly weighed during the finishing period.