Stewardship of the environment and wildlife is a key priority at Balcaskie and our aim is to increase
the vitality of all of our land. The estate has achieved Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES) certification.
Informed farm management
considers the diverse local flora and
fauna, harmonising mixed farming
practice and long-term sustainability.
The 80 ha of estate woodland provides habitat and shelter for wildlife
and livestock, plus fuel for two of our biomass boilers; a third boiler
is fuelled with waste residue and chaff from grain drying. Two small
solar PV installations are our first trial of direct electricity generation.
The East Neuk of Fife is renowned for the number and quality of its Roe Deer.
Our local population share our woodland, and a seasonal selective cull helps
to maintain the balance and long-term health of the herd.
Balcaskie is working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and the RSPB
to develop seed-mix that benefits pollinators and the RSPB on farmland bird
restoration (Corn Bunting and Grey Partridge), plus locally with the Fife Barn
Owl Project and Fife Beekeepers’ Association.
New hedges create much needed habitat, while grass margins surround
fields and larger areas are split using beetle banks. The encouragement
of beneficial insects reduces the need for artificial pest control and the
tufted grass mixed with clover and nectar-rich wild flowers becomes
a haven for bees and other wildlife.
Conventionally farmed arable ground annually rotates conservation headlands,
with no artificial chemicals applied, providing annual weed ground cover and
access to crops as well as a food source and shelter for farmland bird chicks.
Mini dung middens attract insects like beetles and bird feed hoppers and wild
bird seed crops provide additional vital food for farmland birds over winter.
Irrigation water is supplied by the estate’s own reservoir and boreholes,
and buffer strips of grass reduce spray drift and surface water runoff.
Excluding livestock and working with Scottish Environment Protection
Agency (SEPA) has reduced pollution so that Brown Trout, Otter and
Kingfisher have returned to the Dreel burn, and has also been key to
the survival of species in the Firth of Forth.