Attracting young people into farming let alone breeding cattle is far from easy when there are so many other, easier ways to bring in additional cash, but for the Adam brothers, there has only been one other form of diversification (to date) – Aberdeen Angus.

Born into pedigree livestock breeding at Newhouse of Glamis, Forfar, Andrew and James Adam, were initially gifted a couple of Bluefaced Leicesters, as ‘kids’, from the grand-father, the late Alan Fotheringham, Forgandenny.

The Scottish Farmer: Stockbull TonleyStockbull Tonley

Now, almost 20 years later, the duo not only run 15 traditional Blue females but also a herd of 15 pedigree Aberdeen Angus cows in their Newhouse herd founded on the revenue earned from their successful sheep flock.

“I was always interested in Angus cattle having joined the breed society’s Youth Development Programme (YDP) when I was 12 years of age,” said Andrew who does all the work with the cattle, while James is more interested in the family’s 550-acre arable enterprise, owned by his parents, Bob and Kay Adam.

The Scottish Farmer: Andrew looks to breed good strong, square feminine cowsAndrew looks to breed good strong, square feminine cows

“The YDP provides some fantastic workshops on how to work with cattle, clip them, showmanship and stockmanship competitions. That’s what initially brought out my interest in the breed, but also because my great grand-father, Bob Adam did really well with pedigree Aberdeen-Angus in the 1960s before dispersing them in 1979.”

Such was the success of that well known herd, that the Adams exported Angus bulls to no fewer than 22 countries having sold to a top of 34,000gns to Black Watch Farms in America in 1965.

They were also hugely successful in breeding Beef Shorthorns at that time but sold them off in 1969, with the two herds then replaced with the ever popular continental breeds – Charolais and Limousins.

“I have always liked Aberdeen Angus and James and I wanted something of our own, so we thought the Angus breed would be ideal especially when they now have the growth rates that can compete with the Charolais and the Limousins here,” said Andrew.

In saying that, the team had been looking to add another pedigree breed to complement their enterprise and it was the Aberdeen Angus that ticked all the boxes when the family had a history of breeding Angus and Andrew had enjoyed working with the cattle through the YDP.

The first Angus female bought was Tonley Emeline P119, purchased at the Stirling Bull Sales in February 2016, for 4000gns, after standing third in her class.

The Scottish Farmer: Newhouse Playboy - dearest bull sold to date from the herd made £14,000 to the Tynet herdNewhouse Playboy - dearest bull sold to date from the herd made £14,000 to the Tynet herd

“We saw her going through the inspection and thought she was a good breedy heifer and she’s done really well for us, with her first son selling for 8000gns to Allan Shortt, Derg, and her second son for 9000gns to James Herdman, Edlingham, Newtown,” said Andrew.

“We like good, big square cattle and they have to be correct and good on their legs. We look to breed strong feminine cows and easy fleshing commercial bulls with good shape and size. If we can breed a pedigree bull, it’s a bonus.”

It’s a policy which is obviously paying dividends too, with the boys having sold several high-priced bulls both through the sale ring at United Auctions, Stirling and privately.

Dearest to date has been Newhouse Playboy, an August 2022-born son of the AI sire, Brailes Fabulous that sold privately in December for £14,000 to Hugh and Cara Thomson of the Tynet herd.

Playboy was also the first bull exhibited at a show out with the bull sales by the family for more than 20 years. He stood senior male champion at the Angus Winter Calf Show at Borderway Expo.

Playboy’s dam was also the boys’ most successful, albeit most expensive purchase to date – Tonley Princess, another bought from Neil and Mark Wattie’s Aberdeenshire herd at the herd production sale at Stirling, for 20,000gns. Princess, which is a daughter of the Duncanziemere Edwin son, Tonley Jester Eric, was also the dam of 10,000gns bull sold privately with her five sons cashed to date averaging £8000.

Other notable purchases include Wedderlie Nesta, a joint choice 21st birthday present from Uncle Robert and Aunt Hazel McNee, to Andrew and James, that produced the 6800gns Newhouse Nicelad and Retties Diana, the champion heifer at the 2016 Stirling Bull Sales.

Wolflaw Edwina was purchased from Dave Murray too, with her pedigree going back to an original Newhouse Edwina.

In the early years, the AI sires, Brailes Fabulous and Wedderlie Prizemoney were used, but last year, the team acquired their first stock bull in Tonley Endgame, another by Jester Eric, bred from the Blelack Evor daughter, Tonley Elma. Champion at the Stirling Bull Sales in February, 2023, he was bought for 24,000gns from the Watties.

“Jester Eric is one of the best breeding bulls in the country at present and Endgame is a great bull with good figures and a non myostatin carrier. His calves have been really easy calved,” Andrew added pointing out that all bar two of the Newhouse Angus females are non carriers.

While breeding cow numbers have just reached double figures through flushing the top two females – Tonley Emeline and Princess – the aim is to build up to 30-35 cows.

Andrew added: “The Angus is the easiest breed to manage of the three here being easier fleshed, calved and polled. They require less concentrates than the continentals and can be finished on grass, but then the Angus is more of a dual purpose breed compared to the Charolais and Limousin which are more terminal sires.

The Scottish Farmer: Tonley Princess, purchased at the Tonley production sale for 20,000gns has bred sons to £14,000 to average £8000Tonley Princess, purchased at the Tonley production sale for 20,000gns has bred sons to £14,000 to average £8000

“The Angus is a low maintenance breed and they make great cows – I’ve never had to ‘sook’ an Angus calf,” he said pointing out that the family look to breed big cows with structural square pelvis’ thereby reducing the risk of calving problems.

There is no doubt diversifying into Aberdeen Angus, has added another string to the Adams bow, and there have been a few more added since too.

At the family’s neighbouring 1800-acre hill farm at Auldallan, not only have they introduced hill-type Cheviots which are paying their way with successful ram sales at Lairg in recent years; they’ve also introduced south-type Blackfaces.

Add in 500 plus acres of cereals and a new 32,000layer unit, providing eggs to Farmlay, Aberdeenshire, and it’s a busy place for all when 99% of the work is done in house with the exception of silage work.

Farm Facts

Family farm: Bob and Kay Adam and sons Andrew and James work at Newhouse of Glamis, with the only other employee being Richard McArdle who is the shepherd at Auldallan.

Farm business: Newhouse of Glamis encompasses 550acres of mostly cereals to include winter wheat, spring beans for home-grown feed, spring barley, turnips for finishing lambs on and ground rented out for seed potatoes. Hill farm at Auldallan comprises 1800acres.

Livestock: Newhouse of Glamis is home to a pedigree herd of 60 Limousins made up of 50:50 black and red Limousins; 30 Charolais cows and Andrew and James’ 15-cow Angus herd all of which take the Newhouse prefix. Auldallan accommodates 350 Blackface ewes and 350 hill-type Cheviots with 25 suckler cows.

Sales: Aim to sell four to six Aberdeen-Angus bulls per year with Charolais and Limousins sold through United Auctions’ Stirling, Carlisle or privately.