Joe Baker - Windshiel

Joe Baker of the Lanamuir flock is an SRUC Agricultural Degree graduate and partners with his parents at Windshiel Farm, an organic livestock farm just outside of Duns in the Lammermuir hills, Scottish Borders. Windshiel  is approximately 500 acres and sits at around 1000ft above sea level at it’s peak. The hilly layout and free draining soil perfectly compliments Joe’s completely outdoor based rearing system. Joe has a strong belief in looking after stock from the ground up, and drawing on knowledge through a local grazing group he focuses on soil health, variety of grasses and grazing rotation to fully utilise and promote the health of his ground.

Windshiel has been fully organic since 2001, with a further 150 acres of rented organic land consisting of grass and cover crops. Current stocking numbers are 740 lleyn/ lleyn cross ewes, 200 hoggs, 30 pedigree Dorsets and 68 Aberdeen Angus suckler cows plus home bred heifers, with non-replacement offspring sold at 17months. Joe has also recently entered into a shared farming agreement with a local farm currently in organic conversion, consisting of 400 acres of grassland, this has given the opportunity to increase commercial stock numbers and expand the business. The aim of both enterprises is to utilise forage production through species diversity, rotational grazing and soil health. Converting kilos of dry matter into kilos of meat.

Joe feels rotational grazing is important to maximise grass utilisation and he has been experimenting with pasture cropping oats and forage rye to replace forage crops with the aim being to reduce labour, fuel and soil disturbance. The majority of stock is sold through Farmstock, however they have also developed a direct meat sales customer base selling fresh meat monthly through a farmers market and local delivery.

The Dorset breed is at the original roots of the commercial flock as Joe’s parents moved to the farm with 200 in the early 90’s. Chosen especially for their prolificity and multiple lambing’s, flock numbers quickly boosted to fill the farm, before they choose to move to the lighter Lleyn breed. However there are still some tell-tale woolly heads amongst the crowd as Joe reintroduced Dorset’s in 2013 after being persuaded to purchase a particularly friendly tup at the local show – and so the Lanamuir flock was born. He now chooses to use home bred Dorset tups as terminal sires on the commercial flock, finding they not only produce good growth rates, but add much needed conformation to the Lleyn lamb. The Lanamuir Dorset’s compliment the rotational grazing system, maintaining their MV status by following the cows on clean grazing. This year he has adopted a new approach implementing a leader follower grazing system within the commercial stock, and so the Dorset’s are instead placed on dedicated fields and occasionally graze with cattle. Joe takes a similar approach to his Dorset’s, preferring an outdoor forage based hardy flock, which produces a slower maturing but still strong example of the breed.

Currently at Windshiel, the commercial ewes have recently been shorn, bulls have been tested and are out in their allocated groups, grass growth is good and some paddocks have been mowed in an effort to combat thistles and to tidy up headed grass. After the success of winning Agriscot Sheep Farm of the Year 2023, Joe and his wife Laura gladly hosted the Scottish Dorset AGM at the end June, providing a complete farm tour, a Windshiel BBQ lunch, stock judging and a dressing demonstration by James Royan of the Bennachie flock. Looking forward to the next few months there will be a focus on finishing off the barn conversion into a holiday let, the usual and never ending fencing jobs around the farm, and also preparation for a number of upcoming shows and sales to attend with the Dorsets.

Continuing to build relationships and believing there is always something to learn from other people and their journeys, when he’s not spending time with his young family, Joe is also involved in various discussion groups, grazing groups and sits on the board of the Borders Machinery Ring, as well as helping run his local Ellemford Show.


Back to blog