Nature Heroes - Jock McFarlane - Easter Rattray Farm

Jock McFarlane thinks the best tools in his journey towards nature friendly farming are a flexible mindset and patience. He took a gradual approach to improving soil health and water cycling which are at the heart of his regenerative farming ethos. As well as being good for nature, it helps Easter Rattray Farm’s bottom line too. The eight-year project saw the introduction of cover crops and a no-till method that enhances soil structure and its organic content. With the farm on steep, stony land, he says himself that he needed to develop a sustainable system based on soil health rather than chase output. Even so, he is now seeing yields in line with neighbours in his part of Scotland.

Hawthorn hedge, red campion and ox-eye daisies
Hawthorn hedge, red campion and ox-eye daisies

Jock has seen wildlife in greater abundance on the farm near Blairgowrie. He has observed beavers, badgers, otters, buzzards, red kites, sparrow hawks, grey partridge, tawny owls, snipe, and woodcock.

Easter Rattray Farm - tiles
Easter Rattray Farm - Project Highlights
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A series of 6 graphical tiles -

  • Jock McFarlane planted 1,600 metres of new hedges at the 540-acre Easter Rattray Farm
  • They will add 2 hectares of new woodland to the existing 6ha
  • By 2021, all their 400 acres of crops were established on the no tillage system, meaning no more compaction or rain run off
  • Each field on the farm has 3 metre margins, running to around 5 miles in length
  • Since 2015, AECS has invested £287 million and supported 3,148 farmers, crofters, and land managers in Scotland
  • About 20% of Scotland's agricultural land – 1.16 million ha - is being managed for nature and climate under the scheme

Hedge planting was supported by the Scottish Government’s Agri Environment and Climate Scheme (AECS). AECS also supported the no tillage method on the farm. New woodland planting on Easter Rattray Farm was supported by the Scottish Government’s Forestry Grant Scheme.

Find out more

Agri-Environment and Climate Scheme

Scotland's Biodiversity Strategy and the Consultation





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