Farming Insights – Goat Farming

This month we found out a little more about one of our clients who have been specialising in Goat meat.

Maxine Tarry and her partner, Ian Garden are farmers in Aberdeenshire. Between them, they manage an arable, sheep, beef and goat enterprise, specialising in High Health Status Goats for both breeding and meat production.

They have a regular contract for their weaned goat kids and also supply finished carcasses to local butchers. Additionally goat breeding stock are sold from the farm.

The sheep and cattle are commercially farmed and they supplement their animal feed from their own arable crops.

Maxine and our Farms & Estates Account Executive, Jean Arnott-Glennie met on a fresh spring day, with clear blue skies overhead.

Q: How long have yourself and Ian been goat farming?

A:We started nine years ago with the traditional Boers and then diversified into full red Boers in 2013. Unsurprisingly, Boers originate from South Africa.

Q: You have breeding sheep as well as breeding goats – what do you see as the main differences?G

A: Goats are a more specialist market. You need more money to invest in the breeding stock and feed costs more than with sheep. Goats are friendlier to work with – they each have their own distinct personality. And sheep are more prone to dying!

Q: You went to South Africa last year to obtain your qualification in goat stock judging – what was the most interesting part of that experience?

A: It was all quite amazing, but the most exciting part of that trip was seeing the difference in the stock and the stock handling compared to here. The genetics that have been developed over the years due to the warmer climate were interesting to observe.

Q: What have you changed in your own farming practices on the back of this training?

A: Having been given the insight into what makes an excellent quality stock, we have a better understanding of the breed and what to look for; such as length, conformity and genetics. For show animals you are looking for horn shape, coat and hoof condition, a good rump and shape of head.

Q: And have you noticed an improvement as a result?

We are progressing into better genetics on the back of this deeper understanding. This will give us improved animal quality and increased carcass weight.

Q: How much demand is there for goat meat?

A: There is growing demand for it as it is very lean product. It is still quite a niche market, although is used fairly extensively in ethnic cooking.

Q: Is it good for you?

As with all lean meats it is good for you as it is high in protein and low in fat.

Q: What does it cost?

A: Prices are comparable to lamb.

Q: What dishes can be made with goat?

A: Curries, burgers, sausages are all popular or it can be enjoyed as a joint or a steak.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to start in goat farming?

Make sure you have good housing and dry pasture – which is not easy in the current weather conditions! Don’t expect a quick return – like a lot of farming activities, it takes time to see a return on investment. Buy the best quality you can afford and with the best High Health Status available.


This aromatic goat meat and chicken stew is deliciously tender and sweet, yet spicy with all the right seasonings.


  • Whole chicken
  • 1kg goat meat
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Scotch bonnet/Habanero Pepper
  • Tomato paste
  • Seasoning cubes; Maggi/Knorr
  • Crushed ginger and garlic
  • Thyme
  • Curry powder
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash, clean and cut up the chicken and goat meat. Season and cook with half of the chopped onions, ginger, seasoning cubes, thyme and garlic. Cook with water up to the level of the goat meat and chicken contents of the pot. When the meat is fine, then add salt, allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a sieve to drain.
  2. Wash and blend the fresh tomatoes together with the scotch bonnet. Pour the blended into a pot and cook at high heat till almost all the water has dried. Add tomato paste/puree and cook together till the water have dried.
  3. Place a large pot on medium heat and heat up the vegetable oil. Add the sliced onions and the thick cooked tomato mixture (or the puree or fresh tomatoes if that’s only thing you are using). Stir very well.
  4. Add in seasonings and fry at very low heat and stir occasionally – allow to cook till the oil has completely separated from the tomato puree and the raw tomato taste is gone.
  5. Add the meat. Add the goat meat and chicken. Stir very well and add salt if necessary. Add whatever other ingredient and seasoning you think isn’t sufficient, and adjust to taste.
  6. Cover the pot and allow to cook on low heat for about 30 minutes. And it’s ready. Serve stew with your choice of side; boiled rice, yam, plantain. We highly recommend freshly cooked white rice. Enjoy!


Setting Sail – Boat Insurance

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the jobs that need doing before the season starts, so we thought it might be useful to list eight de-wintering tasks that can easily get forgotten about.

  • Give your topsides some attention. After giving your boat a thorough wash down to get rid of any mould and algae that’s built up over the winter you should remember to apply a protective wax to your topsides. If your topsides are painted or a dark coloured GRP, it’s worth investing in a wax which contains UV protection. This will help to slow down colour fade.
  • Check your anodes have enough life to last until the next haul out.
  • Ensure your batteries are charged.
  • Service your lifejackets. Don’t risk them failing to inflate when you need them most.
  • Check your flares are in date.
  • Winches – these should be serviced annually. There are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to do it yourself, or get your local service agent to carry it out for you.
  • Purify your water system & tanks
  • Check your seacocks

If you have any questions about boat insurance please contact your Account Executive or Account Handler or alternatively reach us a [email protected] | 0131 553 2293

Precious Advice for Private Clients

We are always talking to our clients about the importance of regular valuations for their jewellery and watches.  We don’t want any of them to be in position where a valuable watch is lost and yet to replace it is going to cost thousands more than it was insured for. Many of the panel of insurers that Bruce Stevenson use offer what is called ‘extended replacement’. This means that if you have had a professional valuation carried out in the last three years the insurer will pay the full cost of replacing or repairing any damage even if it is more that the amount insured.

To get a view from a jewellery expert, we talked to Clare Blatherwick, who is one of the most experienced professionals in Scotland:

Q: When we think about jewellery we often think of diamonds, precious stones and pearls, but other types of jewellery can also be very valuable and perhaps more difficult to authenticate and value. Can you give some examples?

A: It’s easy to just think of valuable jewellery as containing big or important stones and that is frequently the case but there are instances of other types of jewels being less obviously valuable but of cultural and financial importance. Some good examples of this would be work by British designers from the 60s and 70s, such as Andrew Grima, whose collectibility factor has increased dramatically in the last few years. Jewels that can be considered works of art in their own right and pieces created with strong design as their driving force are seeing a real upsurge in desirability and value. One example would be the work of designer Suzanne Belperron who never signed her pieces, stating instead that ‘my signature is my style’. Her jewels command enormous premiums amongst those who appreciate her work. But her pieces can be missed by those unaware of her aesthetic or importance in the marketplace because there is no physical signature on her work.

Q: What should one look out for if one inherits a collection of jewellery –  how might you know you have a ‘sleeper’ amongst the collection?

A: That is a very tricky question. Ultimately it’s not easy for the person who has inherited a collection to know what they have and that underlines the importance of having an expert examine the collection on behalf of the owner. In fact, it’s not just people who have inherited their collection who may not realise what they have and it’s worth. The fact that the jewellery market is so dynamic can mean  pieces bought by an individual may have increased significantly without them realising. It is always an enjoyable part of the job to be able to advise a client that something in their collection is either much more valuable than they thought, or has a history and significance to it that they were previously unaware of.

Q: How can one recognise how old an item of jewellery is, as diamonds often look timeless?

A: I’m afraid that isn’t something that can be distilled into a quick sentence or two. I have been working in jewellery for over twenty years and am constantly still learning. I invest in continuing my education to ensure I am up to date with developments around synthetic and imitation gemstones, as well as new types of treatments. Not only are there constant advances being made by people who want to trick us with stones that have been treated or enhanced in some way in order that they appear better than they actually are. It’s important to be constantly looking at what’s appearing in the market and for common themes that might indicate a batch of fakes, of let’s say, Art Deco jewels or jewels purporting to be by a particular maker, has appeared from a particular part of the world. It’s interesting you say diamonds that look timeless and of course I understand what you mean but actually the type of cut of a diamond can reveal a great deal about the age of the diamond and often the age of the piece it is set into. The clever fakers know this too though and can have diamonds cut to look older than they are. It’s really down to experience and exposure to a lot of jewellery to determine what is right and what isn’t

Q:In layman’s terms what are the current value trends for items of jewellery?

A: Generally the market is very strong at the upper end where people are looking for alternatives to cash sitting in the bank. Natural pearls have seen a big increase in value over the last few years and although that market seems to have stabilised, values are still very strong. Coloured gemstones are big news at the moment with natural, unheated sapphires and rubies in particular commanding significant prices. Ultimately it’s a supply and demand situation. Certain gemstones such as spinel and Paraiba tourmalines can fetch prices more commonly associated with ‘precious’ rather than ‘semi precious’ gemstones and amber is also seeing a big increase in value due to interest from Far Eastern buyers. Jewels are starting to be appreciated as works of art, so as I mentioned before, jewellery by designers with a unique aesthetic are also experiencing significant uplift in value.

Q: If I own a collection of jewellery, should I get it revalued?

A: Your broker and insurer can advise as to how often they expect you to have your collection valued but I think it is safe to say that in the current dynamic market it would be unwise to rely on index linking to ensure you are properly covered. The jewellery market is fast paced and seeing some real spikes in areas, so if your pieces haven’t been looked at in the last 3/5 years then it’s definitely time for them to be revalued. And of course, there will be some instances where values have dropped so it makes sense to be confident you are not overinsured and paying a premium that is unnecessary.

Q: How much does it cost to get my collection valued and can you visit me to do it?

 A: I am delighted to visit clients at their home, office or bank to value their pieces. Whilst I’m based near Edinburgh, I see clients all over the country. Having to carry jewellery around is nerve-wracking for most people and this way that anxiety can be removed from the process. I charge an hourly rate rather than making a charge based on the value of the pieces. This is the fairest approach in my view and I’m always happy to chat through how many and what type of pieces a client has in order to give a good indication of the likely cost.

Clare’s contact details are below should you like to speak to Clare about your jewellery or indeed follow her on social media:

+44 (0) 7967 380191

[email protected]

Farming Insights – On Farm Lead Poisoning

In spring time, when the livestock are turned out of their winter housing onto grass pasture, there can be an increase in cases of lead poisoning. Often these involve young cattle who are naturally inquisitive of their new surroundings.

As Bruce Stevenson are highly active within the farming community as a trusted insurance broker, we thought it would be helpful to explore this issue in greater depth.

What can cause Lead Poisoning?

  • Seepage from burnt out cars & abandoned or discarded machinery
  • Vehicle batteries or batteries used for electric fencing
  • Bonfire ash
  • Flaky lead paint on buildings
  • Lead shot from shoots
  • Piping and flashing left in an accessible location

What effect can this have on the livestock?

  • Sudden fatality
  • Infertility in breeding stock
  • Blindness
  • Nervous diseases

There have been 47 instances of animal death since 2015 as a direct result of lead poisoning. In each case, these accidents could have been avoided.

As well as the loss of the animal, there are other impacts to be considered:

  • Slower animal growth and loss of market value
  • Decreased production (Milk)
  • Birth abnormalities and defects in the progeny, due to exposure to lead by the parent stock
  • Associated fatality costs such as disposal and vets fees

There is minimum 16 week restriction placed on all animals entering the food chain, resulting in extra feeding costs, loss of condition and the impact on the business’s cash flow.

It is worth highlighting that food legislation prohibits dairy, meat & offal from entering the food chain if there is an increased level of lead.

How can you avoid lead contamination on your farm?

  • Make sure that there is no lead paint on buildings which are in the vicinity of the livestock. Replace paint where you can with non-leaded paint but in the meantime, ensure it is cordoned off.
  • Check fields before livestock are turned out to make sure that there are no vehicle batteries discarded there, and that there is no fly tipping, burnt out cars or other items containing lead such as piping or flashing. If there is, then arrange for these to be removed prior to the field being grazed.

If you come across livestock that may have been affected by lead poisoning, you should:

  • Remove the cause & restrict access
  • Move livestock to a different location/ pasture
  • Contact your vet for advice
  • Tests for lead are not expensive and can be arranged via your Vets and SAC.

Source – Food Standards Scotland, SAC Consulting, Scottish Government

For further information on any of our products or services please contact Jean Arnott-Glennie on 07881093485 or [email protected]

Is Restoration cover built into your Insurance policy?

Alexandra Richards, Private Clients Development Executive at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers looks at why it is so important to ensure that your collection, whether private or corporate, has restoration cover built into the insurance policy.

Every insurance claim is different and each one has its own story to tell and can often be emotional.  Like other possessions, be it musical instruments, paintings or books, they usually have a sentimental value in addition to their market value.

Under a specialist collections insurance policy, the amount settled for an item that is partially damaged (be it through fire, water damage or simply by an accident) is not only the cost of restoring the item, but any subsequent drop in value.  However, the total amount to be settled must not exceed the value of the item, or else it is considered by underwriters as a ‘total loss’ whereupon they settle the full value of the loss.

The purpose of insurance is to put you back in the same position as you were immediately prior to the loss.

Restoration Cover Insurance Policy Bruce Stevenson

Recently we dealt with a case where a piece of art was badly damaged due to a fire.

A fire occurred in the ground floor reception room of a private home and although it was apparent that the drawing room door was closed, it was clear that a large volume of dense smoke permeated throughout most of the property.

Forensic testing confirmed that the cause of the fire was as a result of an exposed bulb of a halogen uplighter placed in close proximity to a combustible curtain fabric. The pattern of burning clearly showed that the seat of the fire was at the front of the drawing room.

There was fire and smoke damage to a number of ‘collection’ items including a watercolour that suffered extensive heat and smoke damage but was protected by glass.  Restoration work commenced to clean the surface and varnish to remove smoke deposits. Not only was the work physically damaged, but a smoke odour lingered. The reverse of the canvas was also cleaned, combined with Ozone treatment, good air circulation and filtration which resolved the problem of the smell.

In accordance with terms of the policy, costs were met for restoration plus any subsequent loss in value.  As evidence of the treated areas were visible under ultra –violet light, the insurer sought the opinion from two independent galleries who had dealings with the Artist and works of this nature, together with an auction house to ascertain the diminution of value, in percentage terms.

The watercolour was insured on an agreed value basis and it was confirmed that the value had depreciated by 55%. The claim was therefore settled for restoration and depreciation costs with the insured retaining the work. The insured was satisfied that the work was salvageable and not a total loss. The policy schedule was then amended to reflect the revised agreed value.

Accidental damage is the most frequent cause of collection claims so it pays to be prepared and work with the principle that prevention is better than cure.

For any further information please contact [email protected] or call 0131 553 2293

Dodging Food Poisoning at Christmas

It’s not long now until Christmas dinner will be taking centre stage on our dining tables. Fridges are bursting full with festive food and it’s party time. How do you avoid giving the unwanted gift of food poisoning to your guests?

Bacteria can spread from raw meat and poultry to worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils.

Here are some tips to keep your Christmas food safe:

  • After touching raw poultry or other raw meat, always wash your hands with warm water and soap, and dry them thoroughly.
  • Don’t wash your turkey before your cook it. If you do, bacteria from raw poultry can splash onto worktops, dishes and other foods. Proper cooking will kill any bacteria.
  • Always clean worktops, chopping boards, dishes and utensils with warm soapy water after they have touched raw poultry or meat.
  • Never use the same chopping board for raw poultry or meat and ready-to-eat food without washing it thoroughly with warm soapy water first.

Plan your cooking time in advance to make sure you get the bird in the oven early enough to cook it thoroughly. A large turkey can take several hours to cook properly, and eating undercooked turkey (or other poultry) could cause food poisoning. Where available, follow cooking instructions on the pack.

Three ways you can tell a turkey is cooked:

  • the meat is steaming hot all the way through
  • there’s no pink meat when you cut into the thickest part of the bird
  • the juices run clear when you pierce the turkey or press the thigh

If you’re using a temperature probe or food thermometer, ensure the thickest part of the bird (between the breast and the thigh) reaches at least 70C for 2 minutes.

For further information please visit the Food Standards Agency( Link – )

Source: Food Standards Agency



Renewable Energy Department at Bruce Stevenson

Two days within the Renewable Energy Department at Bruce Stevenson are very rarely the same.  Whilst we are insurance brokers at heart, our team is very much within the Renewables sector as well.  In fact, we estimate that only 20% of our time is spent actually placing insurance.  The remainder of the time we are engaged in the Renewables sector and learning the marketplace.  From seminars to site visits, and even a perfume making class, here is a typical month in the life of our renewable energy department.

To understand the renewables sector, you have to be part of it.  That’s why we try to attend as many events as possible.  It’s great to find out where the market is going and understand new developments, but it’s also a good chance to catch up with clients.  Bruce Stevenson are members and advisors to Scottish Renewables, an organisation who leads and promotes the growth of renewable energy in Scotland.

One of the best parts of our job is getting out and meeting clients.  Whilst email and phone is a great way of keeping in touch, nothing beats face to face and getting out on site, and because most of our projects are in rural locations, we get to see some of the most beautiful sights in Scotland.  Our in-house Technical Consultant, Gary Bratt, carries out most of our site visits.  He is an Engineer to trade, with a post-grad in Renewable Energy.  As we said before, the better we understand the technology, the better the insurance we place, and Gary helps us with a lot of this.

Gary and our Director, Derek Skinner, carried out a site visit to one of our client’s anaerobic digestion plants.  This project is 6MW in size – so pretty big!  Anaerobic digestion works by converting food waste to energy by breaking it down until gas is produced.  This site was interesting because there are a number of smaller sites connected to it which makes placing the insurance that little bit more complex.

Despite our busy schedules, we still make time for team building with the insurers, solicitors and banks we work with.  We recently attended a perfume making class where everyone got the opportunity to make their own scent and take a sample home with them.  This was followed by dinner and a few drinks.  Days out like this are a good chance to catch up with other in the renewables sector to find out what’s happening and is a good opportunity to strengthen our working relationships which ultimately means we work better for our clients.

If you have any queries regarding Renewable Energy insurance please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Preparing your property for winter

With the cold weather settling in, now is a good time to prepare against the perils of winter and to help prevent damage to your property investment.

Freezing pipes

One of the most common causes of property damage during winter is freezing pipes, which can lead to a burst pipe resulting in, sometimes, large-scale water damage.

There are ways to help prevent this, including checking pipes for any noticeable cracks. RICS also recommend that any external pipes are insulated to minimise heat loss and prevent your pipes from freezing.

Service your boiler

Ensure that your boiler has been recently serviced by a Gas Safe engineer and is in working order.

Although this may come at a cost, it is far more cost effective than having to fully replace a faulty boiler in the event of a break-down. This will also assist in keeping your pipes warm and prevent freezing throughout the colder months.

Unoccupied properties

As your property may become unoccupied during the festive period, it’s important to review your insurance policy for any unoccupancy conditions that apply. You may need to notify your insurer that the property will be empty, or your insurer may request that your central heating is left on at a certain temperature (or in some cases the mains services are turned off).

If you are unsure, give us a call and we would be happy to review your policy. Failure to adhere to these conditions may result in a claim being repudiated leaving you out of pocket following a loss.

This is also a good opportunity to ensure that your existing policy is fit for purpose, e.g. landlords should ensure that a specialist landlord insurance is in place.

Roof and drains

Remember to ensure your drains, gutters and overflow pipes have been inspected by a qualified contractor and cleared of any blockages.

Falling Autumn leaves can potentially result in blocked gutters – this can lead to water damage on the roof and may cause damage to the walls of your property.

Have your roof checked for any cracked or missing slates, as this can also result in water damage to your property.

Give us a call

During winter it is better to be ‘safe than sorry’. If have any questions about your insurance policy looked after by Bruce Stevenson, or if you would like a no obligation quotation, please give us a call and we would be delighted to assist you.

Property Account Executive, Jamie McKenzie [email protected] or 07789403990