NSA Highland Sheep 2017
Date: 31st May 2017
Location: Kinnahaird Farm, Contin, Strathpeffer
A great day was had by all at Kinnahaird on 31st 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 Highland Sheep event fixtures so far. The event was hosted by mother and daughter, Dorothy Clark, and Amy Grant, who run a flock of 450 Texel x and Cheviot x ewes as well as 160 suckler cows at Kinnahaird.
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 the event.
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.
Ms Campbell says: “Everyone needs to work together to encourage shoppers to eat more lamb. 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.
She adds: “The hills would be devoid of people without sheep,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 Highland Sheep when she and her team, which includes husband, Ian Macleay and her niece and nephew, Frances and Mure Grant, were presented with one of the Scottish sheep industries 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.
The event included a farm tour. 90 commercial and 24 breed society and individual breeders stands, various demonstrations including carcase, butchery and cooking as well as competitions.
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, Second top price was 550gns each for the winning pair of Suffolk hoggs by Essie Ugie and Essie Ulysses from Irene Fowlie, Adziel, Strichen.
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.
FORMER WORLD CHAMPION WINS AGAIN
Former world champion sheep dog handler, Michael Shearer from Lythmore, Thurso, Caithness, won the invitation sheepdog trial with 30 handlers from Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire, Inverness-shire, Lochaber and Aberdeenshire competing.
Schoolboy phenomenon, Joe Mackenzie from Turriff, was placed fourth overall and won the under 21 section.
Open – Sandy McCarthy: Young farmers – Emily Stephen; Under 18 – Jamie MacKinnon; Guess the weight of the bull – Hannah Robertson.
NSA NEXT GENERATION SHEPHERD OF YEAR
Winner of the Next Generation Shepherd of the Year competition 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.
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