Haddo Estate



Farm Manager: Ian Hamilton

Haddo Estate Farm employs four people: the manager; two tractormen and a stockman. Additional work on the farm is carried out as necessary by other members of the Estate staff or by part-time employees.

The Farm comprises of 680 hectares (1680 acres) of farmland. There is a further 636ha (1572 acres) of let farmland, with 10 farming tenants maintaining holdings of up to 235ha (580 acres).  The following table details the area of farmland dedicated to each of the land uses put into practice on the Estate in a typical farming cycle:

Land use

Area (ha)

Spring barley 131
Winter barley 76
Winter wheat 65
Oilseed rape 51

Total arable


Other (inc. grazing pasture, set-aside and silage) 357



Soil type– the Farm is mainly graded 3.2 according to the Soil Survey of Scotland, and is extremely stony.

Crop range – a range of crops (see table) is used to allow rotation and to spread the workload of sowing and harvesting.

Crop rotation – annual rotation is maintained on the Estate’s outlying fields in the following order: winter barley – oilseed rape – winter wheat – spring barley – winter barley etc. This is to ensure that the white crops (cereals) are given a break by the oilseed rape (a brassica), and to avoid clubroot appearing in the rape. Fields in the centre of the Estate are left fallow through the winter to make way for the shooting season and to guard against pigeon damage, primarily for oilseed rape close to woodland.

Suppliers– the Farm deals with the following four main grain merchants from the North East: Frontier; Grainco; Scotgrain and Openfield. Oilseed rape is bought and sold through the farmers cooperative United Oilseeds.

Ploughing – all the land is still ploughed post-harvest.

Sowing -  the fields are sown with an Amazone one pass power harrow drill combination.

Formartine's Shop

Haddo Properties

Haddo Map

Ian Hamilton

Ian was born in Buckie on the 1st October 1949.  His parents owned a small, 50-acre farm just outside the town.  He still has fond childhood memories from his early days there, especially of Saturdays spent watching The Lone Ranger up at Rannachie!

In 1968 he attended Aberdeen University and studied Geography, with a view to going on to study Survey and Mapping.  In 1971 he moved to Glasgow University and completed a postgrad diploma in Cartography. It was here that he met Helen, and the two of them moved to Edinburgh to work as Cartographic Editors with the mapmakers John Bartholomew & Sons.

The call of agriculture was too strong, however, and in 1974 he went back into farming, working as a General Farm Worker for John Kinnaird at Papple in East Lothian. 

On 5th September 1975 Helen and Ian were married in King’s College Chapel, Aberdeen.

He worked at Papple until 1977, and after another year of studying, took on a Farm Manager’s job in Northumberland. This did not work out, however, and so Ian returned to Papple in early 1978 just before John was born on 2nd May.

The following year they all moved up to Sutherland to work at Forsinard to work for James Baird, but sadly his enthusiasm for farming was not matched with an ability in economics, and Ian was made redundant in June 1981.

Under the mentorship of Ronnie Allathan, Ian secured the post of Farm Manager at Haddo, coming to work with Cliff Will and Gordon Brown on 30th November 1981. This was a particularly cold and snowy year, making the move somewhat treacherous, but Ian, Helen and John – who has followed his father’s footsteps into farming – have been at Haddo ever since.

Ian is also a passionate and talented amateur photographer.

Haddo Estate Map shop Fishery Farm Haddo Chapel Shooting Tarves Methlick Country Park Sawmill Haddo House River Ythan Fishing