Sandy Norrie

Occupation

Farmer.

Address

Muirden Farm, Turriff.

Cropping

Winter wheat, winter barley, spring barley, OSR, potatoes, other crops.

About the farmer

Sandy is from a family beef farm next door to Duncan Farms, just outside Turriff in Aberdeenshire. He worked for the business from 1997-2005, spent three years working offshore in the oil industry, then returned to AJ Duncan’s in 2008 to manage the arable unit. Since returning, the business has bought three more farms, however the area cropped has remained similar as some land is now utilized by the free-range egg enterprise.

About the farm

Duncan Farms is a sustainable, efficient and integrity driven business that has been at the heart of the Scottish food industry since 1993, growing and farming first-class produce in north east Scotland. In 2011 the arable farm diversified into egg production.
As the largest cereal producer in the North of Scotland, they grow almost all the cereal requirements for their hens ensuring they receive the best quality food. Poultry muck is then utilised on their farms, completing the cycle. Furthermore, the majority of their operations are within a 12-mile radius. This dramatically reduces the farm’s carbon footprint and gives their products complete traceability.
The business now encompasses the full egg production process, including rearing, laying and packing, ensuring the highest standards in animal welfare and quality are met. Years of agricultural experience and a willingness to innovate have resulted in Duncan Farms becoming one of Scotland’s leading egg producers.

Farming philosophy

Being environmentally sustainable - reducing the farm’s carbon footprint - is key and central to all of the business operations and is key to any plans for the future.

The close proximity of all operations ensures any transportation between farms and sites is kept to a minimum. All the egg production sites, and the majority of our farms are within a 12-mile radius, further ensuring a low carbon footprint.

Cultivation and drilling approach

Plough, press sow. Tried min-till on rape, no difference in yield, with the extra costs slug pellets and weed killer, no longer use min-till.

The drill is a trailed 6m Horsch. Sandy also has a 4m Lemkin power harrow drill.

Soil types vary from the coast, which is sandy, through to some clay.

Sprayer – two – Agrifac and Bateman. They spray everything themselves.

Rotation

The rotation used to be as follows: 3 x barley, OSR, wheat, 3 barleys

The current rotation now used is as follows: 2 Wb, rape, wheat, oats/SB.

4-6000ha are always put to rape.

A Final 4-6000ha is put to oats and SB. This gives extra wheat ground for feed for the poultry.

The aim is to try and block up the ground to minimise travel between fields.

Biggest agronomic challenges

Sandy’s biggest agronomic challenge has been the withdrawal of CTL. Sterile brome has also proved challenging, however, Sandy has been managing to combat it very successfully when hit hard in wheat and rape. If the weed pressure is particularly high, he lightly discs then creates a stale seedbed,
With regards to disease, rhycho and ramularia prove most difficult. Mildew used to be an issue but is no longer because varieties are better.

What do they most value about Real Results?

Sandy enjoys knowing the products and that they will be good products. And brutally honest, someone else gives you the results. And good to compare with others. Sandy finds networking really good and is enjoying using the WhatsApp.