The Christie family from Midtown of Glass at Huntly have reached the finals of the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year competition which aims to showcase excellence in the production of cattle.
The other finalists are Alisdair and Emma Davidson of Poldean Farm in Moffat and Niall Jeffrey of Bielgrange farm, Dunbar.
Midtown of Glass is run by husband and wife Gary and Angela Christie, who manage 135 pure Simmental and Simmental cross suckler cows along with 68 heifers and 130 calves, with plans to increase numbers.
The cattle are out on grass during the summer and housed over the winter on straw-bedded courts. All calves are weighed at birth, weaning at one year old and finishing bulls are also weighed every three weeks thereafter to ensure they hit the correct market specifications.
The farm’s finished steers and heifers are sold deadweight at around 17-20 months and the prime bulls which finish quicker are sold between 12-15 months, while pedigree bulls are either sold privately or through the market.
One of their bulls won the reserve overall Simmental championship at Stirling Bull Sales in October 2017 and another sold last month to achieve second equal highest price.
Gary and Angela manage the unit with help from their son Adam and Gary’s parents Hugh and Anne.
Poldean is a 880-hectare tenanted upland hill farm near Moffat which puts emphasis on sustainability and profitability.
The Davidson family have a closed herd of 360 spring/summer calving Salers cows and are increasing the herd size to 400. Salers, Red Angus and French Charolais bulls are used and heifers calve at two years old.
Bielgrange is a 300-hectare farm near Dunbar which runs 250 Aberdeen Angus cross sucklers.
The business also contract farms 160 Aberdeen Angus cross suckler cows at Halls Farm.
The assessors for the award were Robert Neill, AgriScot chairman, Douglas Bell from Quality Meat Scotland and Robert Fleming, who was crowned AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year in 2017,
Mr Neill said: “It is important that AgriScot showcases the best of beef production in Scotland and we are delighted to recognise these finalists.”
As well as evidence of a high standard of technical and financial performance, those assessing the farms looked for evidence of the uptake of new ideas to improve efficiency and profitability and whether the businesses had an eye on the market for the end product.
The farms were also assessed on the passion and enthusiasm of the farmer and others involved in the business, to efficiently produce high quality animals.
All farms producing cattle destined to be used for meat sold under the Scotch Beef label – from breeders through to finishers – were eligible to apply for the award and required to be members of QMS’s quality assurance scheme.