NSA Highland Sheep
A great day was had by all at Kinnahaird on 31 May when the sun shone from dawn to dusk with farmers traveling from far and wide, this being the best attended out of all three NSA Highlandsheep event fixtures so far.
An appeal to Scottish sheep farmers to work with butchers and supermarkets to promote the home consumption of lamb was made by former Scottish Sheep Farmer of the Year, Joyce Campbell, when she officially opened NSA Scotland’s Highland Sheep event at Kinnahaird Farm, Strathpeffer, Ross-shire.
Ms Cambell, who runs a flock of 780 Lairg-type North Country Cheviot ewes on her 5600 acres hill farm at Armadale, Sutherland, deprecated the abysmally low consumption of lamb in Scotland at 2-2.5kg kg per capita compared with 7.5kg south of the border.
“Everyone needs to work together to encourage shoppers to eat more lamb,” she said. “Let’s take ownership of our industry for ourselves. Let’s not just accept surviving or just getting by. Let’s go for a bright sheep industry in Scotland with a positive future.”
She called in particular on butchers’ shops and supermarkets to display recipes outlining how to cook different cuts of fresh lamb.
Highlighting the importance of sheep to the agricultural economy, particularly in the north of Scotland, Ms Campbell said it was ironic that the arrival of Cheviot sheep into the Highlands had triggered the Highland clearances in the 18th and 19th centuries, when hundreds of crofters had been driven from their land, it was the same sheep on which the area’s future survival depended.
“The hills would be devoid of people without sheep,” she said. “The lights are being kept on in the glen when sheep farmers remain. You need only take a trip to the back-end sales of lambs and ewes to appreciate the financial impact our industry has on rural Scotland.”
Ms Campbell has emerged as a champion of the sheep industry in Scotland since winning the Sheep Farmer of the Year title in 2015 and makes wide use of social media to promote the merits of sheep farming and encourage lamb consumption.
Her efforts were further recognised at NSA Highlandsheep when she and her team, which includes husband, Ian Macleay, an auctioneer with Aberdeen and Northern Marts, and her niece and nephew, Frances and Mure Grant, were presented with one of the Scottish sheep industry in Scotland’s highest accolades – NSA Scotland’s silver salver awarded in recognition of outstanding contribution to the sheep industry.
Ms Campbell’s comments were strongly supported by John Fyall, chairman of NSA Scotland, who said the public needed to be made aware that the sheep industry as worth protecting and growing.
“It’s up to us to promote the industry,” he said. “Nobody else is going to help us. Brexit will give us the opportunity of creating a new policy appropriate to the UK and NSA Scotland will be making sure politicians know what the priorities should be.”
The event was hosted by mother and daughter, Dorothy Clark, and Amy Grant, who run a flock of 450 Texel x and North Country Cheviot x ewes and 160 suckler cows at Kinnahaird. Features of the event included a farm tour.
EWE HOGGS SELL TO 700GNS
The first prize pair of Blackface ewe hoggs sold for the top price of 700gns each at the special show and sale conducted by Dingwall and Highland Marts at NSA Highlandsheep.
The April, 1916-born pair, by a £35,000 Dalchirla and an £11,000 Auldhouseburn, were consigned by Archie MacGregor, Allanfauld, Kilsyth. The successful ‘phone bidder was Stephen Small, Glenarm, Ballymena, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Second top price was 550gns each for the winning pair of Suffolk hoggs by Essie Ugie and Essie Ulysses from Irene Fowlie, Adziel, Strichen, bought by Louise McAuley, Woodside Croft, Fochabers.
Judge, Robert Paterson, Jun, Upper Auchenlay, Dunblane awarded the championship to Jim Simmons, Ruthven, Kirkmichael, Ballindalloch, for a pair of Mule hoggs which sold for 160gns to Derek Campbell, Leverburgh, Isle of Harris.
Mules – 1 and champion, Jim Simmons, Ruthven, Kirkmichael, Ballindalloch; 2 Archie MacGregor, Allanfauld, Kilsyth; 3 David and Susan Johnstone, Ballindalloch Home Farm, Ballindalloch.
North Country Cheviot (Park) – 1 Charlie and Isobel Angus, Oldfield, Thurso.
Blackface – 1 and 2 Archie MacGregor.
Suffolk – 1 Irene Fowlie, Adziel, Strichen.
Any other native breed – 1 and 2 Smallburn Farms, Plewlands, Duffus (Polled Dorset); 3 Greenlands Farm Partnership, Arabella, Nigg Station (Polled Dorset).
Any other continental breed – 1 John S Fleming, Castle Sinniness, Glen Luce, Newton Stewart (Roussin).
Cross – 1 David and Susan Johnstone; 2 Robert Mack, Muirton Mains, Urray; 3 Cath Urquhart, Balmore, Bogallan, North Kessock.
FORMER WORLD CHAMPION WINS AGAIN
Former world champion sheep dog handler, Michael Shearer from Lythmore, Thurso, Caithness, won the invitation sheepdog trial at NSA Highland Sheep in competition with 30 handlers from Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire, Inverness-shire, Lochaber and Aberdeenshire.
Mr Shearer, who won the world championship when it was held at Fearn in 2014, took top place with his dog, Roy. The five leading dogs in the competition during the morning competed in a novel “double lift” in the afternoon – a contest usually held only in international competitions – to decide the overall winner.
Schoolboy phenomenon, Joe Mackenzie from Turriff, was placed fourth overall and won the under 21 section.
1 Michael Shearer with Roy; 2 J Sutherland with Jan; 3 W Davidson with Mona; 4 J Mackenzie with Tweedie; 5 Ian Wilkie with Floss.
Open – 1 Sandy McCarthy, Longoe Farm, Mey, Caithness; 2 Dora Smith; 3 equal Dorothy Edward, D Budge and John Swanson
Young farmers – 1 Emily Stephen; 3 equal William Moir and Ellis Mutch.
Under 18 – 1 Jamie MacKinnon; 2 Stephen Forbes: 3 Reece MacLeod.
Guess the weight – Hannah Robertson
NSA NEXT GENERATION SHEPHERD OF YEAR
Winner of the Next Generation Shepherd of the Year competition at NSA Highlandsheep was Ryan Maclean from Poolewe.
He was presented with the NSA Highland Sheep Rosebowl and a cash prize of £300 and will represent Scotland in the UK finals at the NSA Sheep Event at Malvern in July, 2018.
Competitors were required to carry out eight tasks in a competition designed to test their skills and practical knowledge used in every day work with sheep, as well as demonstrating a broader knowledge of the sheep industry.
Joint runners-up were Jamie Laurie, Lockerbie, and Farquhar Renwick, Ullapool, who also won the under-21 award with a cash prize of £100.
Youngsters under the age of 16 had the opportunity of taking part in a similar competition which involved six of the tasks in the senior competition but did not include sheep shearing or ATV work. Winner was James Scott, Fearn,
TRADE STAND AWARDS
Breed societies – 1 North Country Cheviot; 2 Blackface Sheep Breeders Association; 3 Beltex Sheep Society
Indoor – 1 Harbro; 2 Logie Durno Sheep; 3 NSA Scotland
Outdoor – 1 Scotpen; 2 Trailer Solution; 3 Niall Bowser Livestock Equipment