M.Bruce and Partners Ltd currently run 1200 acres of grass, crop and forestry ground at Ellon, Aberdeenshire. The Logie Estate is home to both pedigree and organic herds of Aberdeen Angus. They have shown a long-term commitment to sustainable land use, with their efforts to leave a self-sustaining legacy beginning 30 years ago. The scale of their efforts from extensive biodiversity work, through to installing alternative energy sources on the site, to reducing fuel consumption by 30% led to a commendation from the VIBES panel.
Past and current projects have included the planting of 6500 metres of new hedges, the building of 2500 metres of traditional dry stone dykes, the formation of 8 wildlife ponds, the planting of 350 acres of mixed woodlands and the full conversion to organic of one of the area’s largest farms. Work has also been carried out to protect the banks of the river Ythan through the installation of croys and certain ground works. Most recently, three wind turbines have been installed to help the self-sufficiency of the estate.
The VIBES judges found that wildlife protection was also high on the agenda at the estate, with over 50 acres of game crop planted to protect the ducks, pheasants and partridges, but also endangered native waders and groundnesting birds. They have also recently embarked on a grey squirrel eradication programme in order to protect the red squirrel population.
All employees are actively involved in all projects that are implemented to improve the local environment and reduce the estate’s energy burden. Changes to work practices have included the use of more environmentally friendly and efficient vehicles, planning routes and journeys better in order to reduce fuel costs and emissions, and sourcing supplies and selling produce more locally to reduce food miles.
The conversion to organic has eradicated the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides on farmland. This has benefited the river Ythan hugely as the numbers of fish (salmon and trout) have increased dramatically. It has also resulted in reduced waste and the reuse of most of the waste that is generated as fertilisers, for example.
Many of the other benefits are immeasurable, but a number of the schemes implemented benefit local wildlife, flora and fauna and the wider environment.
Many native planting schemes are relatively new, so it is difficult to quantify their full benefits at this stage; however, the judges felt the farm has excelled on many fronts.
By focusing on their organic herd of Aberdeen Angus, they aim to gain revenue from a premium product which has reduced waste and resource costs associated. Their biodiversity work has been extensive in supporting the local wildlife. The judges were highly impressed with the level of commitment to this, in addition to the additional changes to the crop-management strategy, which have further supported biodiversity and are fully integrated throughout the estate.
Judges also commended the farm for their move to alternative energy sources for the estate buildings. In addition to the three 11kw turbines, which are on target to produce 45,000 kW of electricity per turbine per year, the business is planning a future investment in solar photovoltaic panels. All properties including rental, staff accommodation and estate properties are individually considered and alternative heating is implemented where possible.
M. Bruce & Partners Ltd’s environmental ethos and vision was clear to the VIBES judges in all aspects of the business. Led by the chairman, the vision is to leave a self-sustaining legacy and the estate has made excellent progress towards this to date.