NSA Scot Sheep 2016

Date: 1st June 2016

Location: Blythbank farm, West Linton, Peeblesshire, EH46 7DF

Visitors to NSA Scot Sheep 2016 enjoyed glorious sunshine and a packed programme of farm tours, breed exhibits, trade stands, demonstrations, Scottish Young Shepherd of the Year competition, stockjudging, sheepdog trials, sheep shearing challenges and a comprehensive seminar programme.

The farm tour of Blythbank showed just part of the Campbell family’s extensive Glenrath farming empire, which includes 10,000 ewes on several farms and is a prime example of the stratified system at its best, with Blackfaces on the hills and Scotch Mules on the lowground. Glenrath is also the UK’s largest producer of free range eggs, selling 1.5 million eggs a day to major supermarkets.

Host farmer Ian Campbell had a strong message to those attending the event: “We are learning from our experience in the egg industry that consumers want eggs from high welfare hens which are free to roam and not routinely administered with antibiotics. Some are willing to pay £1 a dozen more for eggs from high welfare hens which look and taste the same as other eggs. Beef and sheep producers enjoy the same advantages of natural production on grass. They could learn from our experience and earn a premium by promoting the high welfare behind Scotch beef and lamb.”

Royal Bank of Scotland was the main sponsor and Ross McEwan, its Chief Executive, opened the event by highlighting the importance of agriculture to Scotland, with sheep playing a key part in maintaining the fabric of the countryside. He said that, like any business leaders, farmers needed to keep developing and growing their enterprises. RBS was keen to help and had increased lending to farmers by 7% in the first quarter of this year. More than £19 million of bridging funding had also been loaned to 800 farmers to tide them over following the delay in delivery of the Basic Payment Scheme.

Warm tribute was paid to RBS and its staff by Sybil Macpherson, NSA Scottish Region Chairman, who also thanked the Campbell family for providing an ‘outstanding venue’. Mrs Macpherson said: “It was a fantastic day with a perfect venue, superb weather, great support from our sponsors and trade stand holders, particularly RBS, and a huge attendance.”

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s new Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, was a welcome visitor to the event. He said his priority since his appointment 10 days earlier following the Scottish Parliament elections was to fix the flawed IT system that had been the cause of delayed support payments to farmers.

He said: “Most farmers have received 80% of the payments due to them and the computer problems are either already fixed or in the course of being fixed. I know the delays have put many farmers in a difficult financial position and caused anger and frustration, but we are fixing it as a matter or priority.”

Representing a rural constituency as an MSP for 17 years, Mr Ewing showed a keen appreciation of farming and the rural sector, and said farmers did not get the credit they deserved producing food for the nation, which was their primary role. Ewe numbers had been falling in Scotland and he looked forward to receiving the review of the Scottish sheep industry that was being carried out for the Scottish Government by a committee under the chairmanship of Ross-shire sheep farmer John Scott.

Top price in the auction of pairs of ewe hoggs, held at the end of the day, was 1,200gns for Bluefaced Leicesters from J. Wight and Son, Midlock, Crawford, Biggar. Second top was 1,000gns for a North Country Cheviot Park dup from Roderick Runciman, Allanshaws, Galashiels. Scroll down for a full sale report, below the competition winners.

Competition winners:-

  • Young Shepherd of the Year: 1, David McLean, Reston, Berwickshire; 2, Kelly Blackwood, Biggar, South Lanarkshire; 3 (and highest place under 21), Billy Gray, Galston, Ayrshire.
  • Invitational Sheepdog Trial: 1, Angus Jardine , Hawick, with Elsie; 2, George Gardnier, Lesmahagow, with Meg; 3, Bobby Henderson, Heriot, with Skid; 4, Julie Hill, Heriot, with Syd; 5, Brain MacFarlane, Biggar, with Jack; 6, David Wallace, West Linton, with Bhoy.
  • Scotland v England Shearing Test Match: 1, Scotland; 2, England.
  • District Shearing Challenge: 1, Peeblesshire (Scott Wilson, Stuart Davidson & Claire Wilson); 2, Fife (Callum Shaw, Alister Shaw & Isla Shaw). Cleanest/Best shorn sheep: Simon Bedwell, Ross-shire.
  • Supershear: 1, Callum Shaw, Saline, Dunfermline; 2, Adam Berry, Kendal, Cumbria; 3, Anthony Rooke, Harome, York; 4, Hamish Mitchell, Scotland.
  • School Children Wool Posters: 1, Walkerburn Primary School; 2, Walston Primary School; 3, Broughton Primary School.
  • Open Stockjudging: 1, Robin Blair; 2= Ryan Brotherston, Tommy McPherson and Euan Orr; 3, Jaz Swinton.
  • Best Breed Society Stand: 1, Blackface Sheep Breeders Association; 2, Scotch Mule Association; 3, Lleyn Sheep Society.
  • Best Indoor Trade Stand: 1, Logie Durno Sheep; 2, Shearwell Data; 3, T.C. Whiteford.
  • Best Outdoor Trade Stand: 1, Galloway & MacLeod; 2, Niall Bowser Livestock Equipment; 3, Stewart Agricultural.
  • Show of Pairs of Ewe Hoggs:-
    • Beltex: 1, Stuart McCormack, Wester Deans, Lamanca; 2, John Barclay, Mid Brockloch Farm, Maybole; 3, A. & S. Dunlop, Corstane, Broughton, Biggar.
    • Bluefaced Leicester: 1, W.H. Sharp & Son, Newbigging Walls, Lauder; 2, A. Minto & Son, Townhead, Dolphinton; 3, J. Wight & Sons, Midlock, Crawford, Biggar.
    • Cheviot Mules: 1, H. Cockburn & Partners, Kingside Farm, Leadburn.
    • Mules: 1, A. Minto & Son, Townhead, Dolphinton; 2, George Allan, Bogside Cottage, Ochiltree; 3, George Milne, Kinaldy, St Andrews.
    • North Country Cheviot (Park): 1, Roderick Runciman, Allanshaws, Galashiels; 2, CR Graham & Sons, Carruthers Farm, Waterbeck; 3, George Milne, Kinaldy, St Andrews.
    • Scotch Blackface: 1, J. Wight & Sons, Midlock, Crawford, Biggar; 2, Glenrath Farms, Peeblesshire; 3, Burncastle Farming Company, Burncastle Estate, Lauder.
    • Shetland: Joan Brunton, Fieldview, 3 Letham Mains Holdings, Haddington.
    • Texel: 1, Dona Williams, Blacket House, Eaglesfield, Lockerbie.
    • South Country Cheviot: 1, Stirkfield Farms, Stirkfield Farm, Broughton, Biggar; 2, I.H.G. Warden, Skelfhill Farm, Hawick; 3, Callum & Duncan Hume, Sundhope Farm, Yarrow, Selkirk.
    • Suffolk: 1, Irene Fowlie, Adziel, Strichen; 2, Glenrath Farms, Peeblesshire; 3, Glenrath Farms, Peeblesshire.
    • Any Other Native Breed: 1, James Royan, The Granery, Putton Mill, Duns (Poll Dorset); 2, B.H. & L.H. Williams, Adamthwaite, Ravenstonedale, Kirkby Stephen (Rough Fell).
    • Any Other Continental Breed: 1, H. Cockburn & Partners, Kingside Farm, Leadburn (Rouge cross); 2, R.M. Eglin & Son, Bramcote Mains, Bulkington, Warwickshire (Charmoise Hill).

Ewe hogg pairs - sale report from United Auctions

A total of 34 pairs of ewe hoggs were presented to a huge audience at Blythbank. The first pair of Cheviot ewes hoggs from Roderick Runciman, Allanshaws, sold at 1,000gns to A. Jones, Bankfarm, Wales. A strong class of Bluefaced Leicster hoggs were won by Messrs W.H. Sharp and Son, Newbigging Walls, Lauder, and later sold at 400gns. A top big of 1,200gns came for the third prize pair from J. Wight and Sons, Midlock. The Beltex class was won by Stuart McCormack, Wester Deans, and sold for 400gns to A Morton, Lochend Farm, Denny. Texel first prize winners from Donna Williams, Blacket House, Eaglesfield, sold at 550gns to J. and F. Park, Troon. The Poll Dorset first prize pair from James Royan, The Granary, Duns, sold for 250gns to G. Todd, St Clements Wells Farm, East Lothian. The Blackface section first prize winners from J. Wight and Sons, Midlock, sold at 750gns with the second placed pair from Glenrath selling at 250gns. The Shetland pair of ewe hoggs from Joan Brunton, Haddington, sold for 70gns and South Country Cheviots sold well to top of 220gns to Messrs Pugh, Bridgend, South Wales. A strong class of Scotch Mules were topped at 160gns by G. Allan, Bogside, Ochiltree for his second prize pair.