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Three Brothers, Three Sheds, One Successful Diversification

The Scott Brothers have always been in agriculture, with a strong passion to continue the family’s farm and sustain a viable business. Charlie, Michael and Andrew began with their roots sunk deeply into the arable sector, however, they soon realised that to strengthen the business, they needed to diversify. This led to their latest venture: poultry.

Growing up on the family farm in East Lothian, the brothers started young with a hands-on role helping their father on the arable unit, supplying wheat, barley and oilseed rape. Finding their own path, the eldest and youngest- Charlie and Michael- studied Agriculture at Edinburgh SAC where they further developed their skills and knowledge within the industry. Andrew, on the other hand, studied forest management at Inverness.

On his return, Charlie decided to make the first move into poultry in 2016.

He began by building the first 16,000 bird free range unit, fitted with Vencomatic UK equipment and due to its great success, later doubled the size to 32,000 birds the following flock.

Michael Scott states, “As a farming business, we needed to diversify, and strengthen the business without relying on government subsidies”.

He continues, “Our farm is 150 hectares and to run this as just an arable enterprise doesn’t stack up financially without looking for contract farming where profit margins have been squeezed for a number of years. This was not an option for our family” and thus, the next step lent itself to the poultry sector.

“The first shed we built was a massive challenge and with little experience, there were many learning curves along the way”.

With the first two sheds proving to be rewarding, the middle brother, Andrew, is now involved in the build of a new poultry shed.

With three sheds, and a brother for each, their roles entail managing their individual sites. Charlie explains, “We focus on keeping labour to a minimum at all times. Each of us pack eggs and run the sheds day-to-day. All of our eggs are sold to the Lakes Free Range Egg Co. and our feed is bought from Noble Foods”.

With reduced labour and reliability at the forefront of the brothers’ decision making, they installed the Veranda Aviary and Veranda Gallery Single to reflect this.

Explaining why they stayed with Vencomatic UK for all of their sheds, they state “The support we get from Vencomatic UK is second to none. The equipment is good quality which also lowers labour requirements on site which is very important to us. The Fortica ventilation system has also worked very well with our biomass boiler and ground source heat pump, this has made a great difference to air quality, litter and humidity levels within the sheds”.

To further ensure that their equipment will last for future generations, they found that the Magnelis galvanised steel used on the system was a big benefit.

“What you pay for is what you get. Everyone has their own opinion, but I would rather invest in a system that is good value and going to potentially last longer, require reduced labour to run and have less problems along the way”.

In addition, to their nest system, they further installed efficient egg packing equipment. The Scott brothers found the best solutions for them was with Prinzen; they chose the PSCPC 30, PR70 and Prinzen Palletiser (NEW for 2021) for the reliability and support.

“We rarely have any problems with our farm packers and if we do, an engineer can be on site within 24 hours”.

Looking towards the future, the brothers are responding to the NFU’s 2040 Net Zero target.

Michael states, “As a family, we would like to see ourselves become more self-sufficient. We are looking to invest further into renewable energy, in an attempt to become more carbon neutral and lower our electric consumption from the national grid.”

Consequently, the brothers have committed to a 200kW roof- mounted solar install, with Venco Energy, and are excited for the completion of their new build.

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