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Andrew and Debbie Duffus

Mains of Auchriachan, Tomintoul

The Duffus family from Mains of Auchriachan near Tomintoul, standing near a sheep feeder in a grassland field.Andrew and Debbie Duffus, and their sons, Sam, Ben and Max  farm at Mains of Auchriachan, Tomintoul. Sitting with in the Cairngorms National Park. They run a hill farm rented from Crown Estate and extends to 1,540 ha, sitting at 370m at home farm to 675m.

Their herd is made up of 60 Simmental cross cows split 50:50 between spring and autumn calving. Cows are put to Charolais and Beef Short horn sires. The hill cows 56 Highland and shorthorn cows, are put to the White short horn and Highland bull. Calves sold as stores. The stratified ewe flock sees 250 hill Blackfaces producing mules for the 250 ewe in-bye flock. Lambs sold prime and store.

Keen to expand the woodland cover on the farm for a combination of benefits e.g. production of timber and biofuel for the farm, increase in woodland habitat and improvements to the landscape of adjacent woodlands and more shelter for livestock. They have been working with the CNPA Landscape partnership. This has led to two new areas of woodland being created small/ farm woodland and native scots pine option. Both new woodland will create shelter and in return reduce need to supplement feed and increase carcass weights of cattle. There are future plans for creating more woodlands to provide shelter for their stock.

Photo credit & copyright: Anne MacPherson

Upcoming Integrating Trees Network Events

Walking and Talking trees with Andy & Debbie Duffus, Mains of Auchriachan, Tomintoul,
Tuesday August 16th, 10am – 1pm

On farm Andrew and Debbie Duffus will introduce us to their farm and will be talking to us about their family's new venture into woodland creation on their 1540 ha tenanted hill farm. We'll discuss the initial thought process, the decision to plant trees, objectives, challenges and benefits to the business e.g. more shelter less feed costs and better productivity. We will also have a speaker from Scottish Forestry joining us to discuss funding and first steps to woodland creation. Please come along and bring your questions. Book your free place here. Find out about the Network, its hosts and useful info here.

Walking and Talking trees with Andrew Adamson of Netherurd Home Farm, Blyth Bridge, near West Linton, Peeblesshire.
Wednesday 24th August, 10am – 1pm

On farm Andrew Adamson will introduce us to Netherurd Home Farm. Talk about how he has integrated trees into his farming business over a number of years; providing shelter for stock and crops along with an alternative income stream. He'll discuss the initial thought processes, the decision to plant trees, objectives, challenges and benefits and why he is planning to plant more trees. We will also have a speaker from Scottish Forestry joining us to discuss funding and steps to woodland creation. As this will be a farmer-led network please come along and bring your questions and ideas to help us guide future event topics. Book your free place here. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. Find out about the Network, its hosts and useful info here

Walking and Talking trees with Richard Lockett of Knockbain Farm, Dingwall.
Wednesday, 31st August 10 am – 1pm

Richard Lockett will introduce us to Knockbain Farm, his family’s 200 Ha mixed farm just outside Dingwall. This farm is gradually creating a network of wetlands, hedges, ponds, and expanding native and commercial woodlands. A pedigree herd of Luing cattle run on the farm, mob grazing grasslands and wildflower meadows. The woodlands provide shelter, shade, habitat, timber and wood fuel. We will discuss the farm’s experiences of woodland creation since the 1970’s (good and bad), the importance of woodlands for livestock and new agroforestry plans.  We’ll look at the initial thought process, the decision to plant trees, objectives, challenges and benefits. We will also have a speaker from Scottish Forestry joining us to discuss funding and first steps to woodland creation. Book your free place here. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. Find out about the Network, its hosts and useful info here.

Walking and Talking trees with the Barbour Family. Mains of Fincastle, Pitlochry
Tuesday 13th September, 1pm – 4pm

The Barbour family will introduce us to their family farm Mains of Fincastle. A 540 Ha organic beef and sheep hill farm in Perthshire. They will discuss why plant trees, objectives, the process and challenges. How they have successfully integrated trees into their farming business. Providing multiple benefits from shelter and shade, increase in productivity to carbon capture. We will also have a speaker from Scottish Forestry joining us to discuss funding and first steps to woodland creation. Please come along and bring your questions. Book your free place here. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. Find out about the Network, its hosts and useful info here

Key messages

  • Having trees on the farm, has helped diversify the nature of the business to become more adaptable, and in the future will provide much needed shelter.
  • Rushes and heather are not productive, planting the area with trees makes more of it.
  • Know who is responsible for what: know what you’re doing and what the contractor is doing.
  • You can do the work yourself and you don’t need to rely on contractors. It can be a steep learning curve and there are challenges. It just takes time and planning, but there is support out there.
  • Monitoring of the trees is required as part of the process for the next 5-10 years, it’s important to have a good management plan in place.
  • Create a habitat for wildlife: life’s pretty boring without wildlife.