We have applied for many Scottish Government Rural Development Programme Grants to assist us in improving the existing features and wild habitats on the farm.
We were granted Organic Conversion and started this in March 2012 with the aid of EU money to get fences and water installed. Also we entered schemes to encourage bird life through delayed grass cutting and overwintering areas.
Native and natural
Sittyton is organic and uses native bred livestock which grow slower, use less medicines and feed, and we like to think taste better on their forage rich diet.
Sheep were brought in on day one, but in Dec 2011 Galloway cows were brought down from the wild Suisgill Estate to see out their dotage on our comparative lowlands. We reintroduced the Shorthorn in May2012 to Sittyton 150 years after Mr Cruikshank bred his famous bull 'Champion of England' here. He was widely regarded as the most influential beef bull on the breed, particularly for American breeders, working here amongst the herd of 300 pure Shorthorns.
Now the "Spartan herd" has around 20 pure cows. John also rears around 500 gimmers from ewe lambs bought mostly at the Lairg Cheviot Sales; these are kept on grazings around Aberdeenshire.