Farming pedigree livestock has always been at the heart of Kinnermit Farm, which was previously home to the famous Muiresk Suffolk flock and the Deveronside Holstein herd.

But in the last three years, the 830-acre unit based one mile out of Turriff has seen some significant changes in terms of stock and land management.

The business, which is now run by Barclay and Lucy Mair, in partnership with son Kenny jnr, and Barclay’s parents, Kenny snr and Muriel, have developed a change in farming policy, with the introduction of 70 pedigree Stabiliser, 20 pedigree Beef Shorthorns and 700 Scotch and Cheviot commercial Mule ewes and tupping hoggs.

The Scottish Farmer:

And those fairly massive changes are not the only one on the enterprise, with all 830-acres currently in the second year of organic conversion.

“In 2017, after much family discussion and debate, the hard decision was made to wipe the slate clean and pursue a different angle on livestock farming, due to the closure of Müller’s Aberdeen milk plant,” said Kenny jnr, who now plays a key role alongside younger sister, Sally, with the day to day management of the business.”

After taking a step back to reassess the business, the family introduced a herd of Stabiliser cattle, focusing on implementing traditional farming methods alongside data and technology to maximize output. “We have always focused on and loved breeding replacements, and when we were looking at developing a new route for the business, we were unanimous that we would ensure we kept livestock at the helm,” commented Kenny.

Run under the Muiresk Stabiliser prefix, the family purchased 48 in-calf heifers in 2018 and became one of the Stabiliser Cattle Company’s multiplier farms, now producing breeding stock for sale through the company.

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“The Stabiliser cattle caught our eye mainly due to the fact they followed a remarkably similar format to what we already knew with the dairy in terms of genetic progress and development as well as performance recording.” With the aim to increase cow numbers to 100, all top end heifers are currently retained within the herd, but the Mairs hope to sell females in the future.

The family have already managed to sell a number of bulls with impressive figures to commercial and multiplier herds across the country, with all male calves kept entire. Any that do not meet the criteria for breeding, are finished on a TMR of home-grown silage, oats and soya and sold direct to Morrisons supermarket via Woodhead Brothers, Turriff.

“We are getting male calves away at 13 months of age, weighing between 650-680kg live,” highlighted Kenny. “To date, they have been averaging 370kg deadweight, with a quarter of the progeny grading U and the remainder R, ideal for what the slaughter houses are requesting.”

Cows and heifers are given nine weeks with the bull and heifers are calved down at two years old. In the last two years, the Mair’s have achieved 100% calves born to cows calved.

“Cows, which weigh on average 700kg and heifers 650kg at weaning, are fed a basic ration TMR of straw, silage and minerals when they come inside around the end of November, weather dependant. The Stabiliser has exceeded our expectations with regards to both phenotype and genotype, as well as weight gains and low cow costs.”

Stabilisers are not the only new stock on the farm in the last four years, with Kenny and Sally both heavily involved with the Beef Shorthorn Society. “We established a small herd of pedigree Beef Shorthorns in 2016 by purchasing a cow with heifer calf-at-foot from the Stonehills herd, and three in calf heifers from Alvie Estates,” added Sally.

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Although they are run separately from the Stabilisers, the Shorthorns follow a similar management system with the families selected based on proven genetics. “We are members of a CHeCS scheme for both herds. We strive for high health status stock at Kinnermit as the higher an animal’s health, the easier it is to manage, and the higher the performance,” Sally continued.

“We have built our herd based on sires and dams that have been seen to be doing well in the show or sale ring. Those that have a balance of good figures, locomotion and maternal traits,” said Kenny. “The breed is proving to have great temperament, with the ability to convert forage and flesh easily which lends itself well for fitting in to our organic forage-based system.

“The cows are proving adaptable and easy to keep; they calve themselves, look after their calves and have plenty of milk.”

Organic outlook

By April, 2021, the entire unit will be classified as organic, with a proportion of land let for growing vegetables planted on a rotation basis, which includes grass, oats, carrots and potatoes.

“Soil quality is key and we are keen to keep the grass as a major factor to help this, with 2kg per acre of clover included in the grass reseeds to aid nitrogen and keep plenty organic matter in the soil,” pointed out Kenny.

“The commercial sheep are also an essential part of this process and we lamb early February, not only to utilise the shed space left from the dairy, but also to hit the early lamb market which, so far, is proving to work well for us with 600 lambs away off grass this year to average £97.”


Land: 830 acres split across three units and in year two of organic conversion.

Cattle: 70 pedigree Stabiliser cows and 20 pedigree Beef Shorthorn cows, with all replacement heifers calving down at 24 months. Finishing bulls sold by 13 months, averaging 650-680kg liveweight and 370kg deadweight.

Sheep: 500 Scotch and Cheviot Mule ewes put to Suffolk and Llyen tups; 200 Suffolk and Texel cross hoggs put to Beltex tups. Indoor February lambing with all lambs finished off grass.

Other: Land let for vegetable rotation (including carrots and potatoes).