New Life at Bigton Farm
Based in remote but beautiful Shetland, Bigton Farm is run by two sisters, Kirsty and Aimee Budge, with a shared love of farming and a mission to promote the industry to women. Their family has run the farm since the 1860s, and it was announced as our new monitor Shetland farm back in December. As the days get a little longer, the farm is awash with new life as lambing and calving season gets underway. We spoke to the sisters about their roles, which tasks they prioritise during these months and why they think farming in Scotland is a cut above the rest of the world.
Spring must be a very busy time of year for you. What are the most important tasks for the health and welfare of your animals?
Ensuring a healthy calf is born in the cleanest environment with fresh straw and ensuring that the cow has water and silage is vital. We calf our cows from March onwards with the hope of getting new-borns out in April. The quicker we can get the animals outside the better, as the natural environment is the cleanest place for them.
We lamb in May, which seems very late but this means we are able to put our sheep on to our silage parks and lamb them outside without having to feed them extra forage or concentrates. We always have to ensure they have shelter from wind and rain, which is very common in Shetland (even in May!)
What is the most rewarding part of your job over the spring months?
When you see calves and lambs bounding happily outside in the fields and you know you’ve helped produce these healthy beautiful animals. It’s also very rewarding to see bonding between a mother and her baby.
In the spring time, we all try to eat a little more healthily. After a busy day, what would your favourite healthy, spring meal be with Scotch Beef and Lamb?
A hearty mince and tatties with our home bred Scotch Beef- using local tatties, neeps and carrots, of course!
There are beef and lamb farmers all over the world. What do you think sets Scotland apart in the way we farm?
What sets us apart are our very high standards for health and welfare. We also have assurance schemes which underpin Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and ensure only the highest quality product is produced.
What’s your favourite recipe with Scotch Beef and Lamb inspired by cooking from elsewhere in the world?
It has to be a Lamb Rogan Josh – the spiciness with tender Scotch Lamb makes for a lovely dish.