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!


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]

Turriff Show 2016

The 152nd annual Turriff Show in Aberdeenshire on Sunday 31st July and Monday 1st August.  The show is shaping up to be one of the best yet with a fantastic showcase of agricultural and outdoor excellence with over 200 traders, lively competitions and a packed programme of shows.

Jean Arnott-Glennie our Farms and Estates Account Executive will be attending this leading farming and agricultural show once again with Nick Smith and Maria Casey from our Renewable Energy team.

Last year Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers won second place in the best trade stand category so we’re gearing up for this year’s competition!

As experts in protecting the rural sector, our specialist team understands the many issues facing farmers and the agricultural sector.  We offer bespoke insurance cover to protect all your personal and business assets, needs and activities.

Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers is also recognised as the leading insurance broker to the renewable energy sector with over 20 years’ experience.  There is a significant drop predicted in new build wind, hydro and solar projects but we have ensured we are best placed to provide cover for future technologies – Wave and Tidal, CHP and Energy Storage.

Come along and visit us at our stand and enter our prize draw to win a bottle of malt. We’ll be serving complimentary refreshments throughout and our experts will be on hand to answer any questions.

For further information on our products and services please email Jean Arnott-Glennie or Derek Skinner