Turriff brothers, Ellis and Nicol Mutch, of Burnside of Whitefield, Forglen, are the winners of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society’s annual competition for the best crop of turnips.
The competition, again sponsored by Murray Duguid Seed Merchants of Oldmeldrum and judged by Sandy Duguid, Ian Moir and Graeme Christie, is based on points gained for the yield and management of the crop. Points are awarded for uniformity, freedom from disease, pest damage and weeds, and soundness of bulb.
Younger brother, Nicol (22), a laboratory technician with Diageo at Roseisle Maltings, has come out top with a score of 95.8, with runner-up, Ellis (24), who manages the family farm with father, Eric, close behind on 94.2. The pair were first and second in both the LFA and under-26 classes and went on to be named overall winners.
Both winning crops of the variety, Airlie, came from the same 20-acre field which was split for the purposes of the competition with Nicol just pipping his brother with the highest yield in the competition of 51.8 tonnes.
“The field is probably the cleanest on the farm for growing turnips,” said Nicol.
The crop was sown on the flat using a one-pass harrow and drill which the Mutch brothers believe ensures good establishment and top-dressed with a high phosphate and potash fertiliser. A boron spray was applied at the time of drilling.
Ellis said: “It didn’t get any special treatment but received plenty of muck when it was ploughed.”
The turnips are now being grazed by ewes to keep their stomachs right and ensure they have plenty of milk at lambing time.
The special award for the best managed crop went to Willie Ritch, of East Fingask, Oldmeldrum.
Class results –
LFA – 1 Nicol Mutch; 2 Ellis Mutch; 3 Charles Angus, Oldfield, Thurso
Non-LFA – 1 Leslie Shepherd, Cowiehillock, Echt; 2 Downie Quines, Mains of Techmuiry, Strichen; 3 AM and AJ Jacobsen, Grange of Kinneff, Inverbervie
Shopping – 1 Charles Angus; 2 AM and AJ Jacobsen; 3 James Edward, Meikle Ardrone, Keith
Feeding – 1 Nicol Mutch; 2 Ellis Mutch; 3 Charles Angus
Under-26 – 1 Nicol Mutch; 2 Ellis Mutch