The Hill & Mountain Research Centre, with its team of systems-scale researchers, is based at Kirkton and Auchtertyre Farms, a 2,200 ha estate near Crianlarich in the west Highlands of Scotland.

The site is set within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and ranges from productive low ground fields to high altitude (over 1,000 metres above sea level) semi-natural habitats of high nature conservation value.

We are a Linking Environment & Farming (LEAF) Innovation Centre and a member of the Global Farm Platform initiative.

Our work aims to seek economically, environmentally and socially sustainable land management systems in the context of international, national and local land use policies.

In particular, our research and demonstration activities help highlight how precision livestock farming approaches can be used to address agricultural and environmental challenges.

Our current focus

The size and diversity of the farms mean that we can investigate a wide range of questions of relevance to current and future land management in the mountains.

Examples include:

  • We are assessing how different types of technology can help hill farmers and crofters improve livestock management and while also reducing costs, improving record keeping and saving time and labour
  • We have established a Long Range Wide Area Radio Network (LoraWAN) on the farms and are investigating what types of agricultural or environmental sensors can be used in remote, mountainous areas to improve decision making
  • We are using modern genetic selection approaches – such as Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) – to show how best to enhance the productivity, profitability and environmental footprint of sheep flocks on mountain farms
  • We are assessing the Public Goods associated with different types of land management in the mountains and demonstrating how a greater focus on biodiversity enhancement can be integrated into mountain farming systems
  • We are involved in a range of international research projects and knowledge exchange activities as conditions in Scotland’s mountains are very similar to rangelands elsewhere across the globe

Virtual tours of the farms and our activities have been created in Google Earth and an overview of the wide range of biodiversity on the farms can be seen in our farms booklet.

We regularly publish updates on our work in the farming press and links to these can be found on our Innovation in upland livestock systems blog and on our SRUC Kirkton & Auchtertyre Facebook page.

Developing Young Workforce visit SRUC

A Developing the Young Workforce visit to Scotland's Rural College's Hill & Mountain Research Centre at Kirkton and Auchtertyre Farms.

Sheep Electronic Identification at SRUC

Maximise the benefits of sheep EID at our Kirkton and Auchtertyre farm.

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Research services

Our work addresses health and productivity in animals, animal welfare and crops, promotes low carbon farming and increases farm output through efficiency and innovation.

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Our leading experts provide support to clients in areas animal disease, diagnosis and surveillance.

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Our consultants in 25 offices across Scotland and northern England turn research into advice and advantage for business and public sector alike.

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