A small-scale north Angus beef producer beat off the might of north-east beef finishers to win the coveted Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) rosebowl for the champion in the Kepak McIntosh Donald Best Scotch Steak Competition at the Royal Highland Show.
First-time exhibitor Archie Gauld, with wife Phyllis and son Richard, finishes around 100 cattle a year on his 250-acre farm of Fawside, Kinneff, on the Angus-Aberdeenshire border.
He took the top honour with a steak from a 354.2kg Aberdeen-Angus cross steer which came out top in a competition with an entry of 200 head of top quality beef cattle.
The initial entry was whittled down to 12 following the preliminary judging of sirloins at Kepak’s Portlethen meat plant last month.
Steaks from the sirloins were grilled at the show by Tesco development chef Jamie Robinson and judged on eating quality, including flavour, taste and tenderness, by an expert panel led by QMS chairman Kate Rowell.
“All the steaks were superb.
“Any one of the 12 would have been worthy winners,” said Mrs Rowell.
“The competition is a fantastic advertisement for the quality of Scotch Beef,” she added.
Kepak’s McIntosh Donald business, which was taken over by the Irish company last year, is the major supplier of Scotch Beef for Tesco’s premium Finest range.
The Gaulds bought the steer which produced the winning steak as a store at Aberdeen & Northern Marts’ Thainstone Centre.
It was finished on a simple diet of grass, silage and brock potatoes.
Reserve was a steak from a 382.5kg Simmental cross steer bought as a store at Forfar from Doug Rose, Taylorspark, St Cyrus.
Third place went to Ron and Elizabeth Farquhar, Tewel, Stonehaven, with a steak from a 326.9kg home-bred Limousin cross heifer. Other finalists were W Barnetson & Sons, Lynegar, Wick; last year’s winner, Alan Meston, Chapelton, Stonehaven; Hugh Gordon, Clochnahill, Stonehaven; the firm of Norman Cowie, Bilbo, Fraserburgh; Bill Henderson, Nether Toucks, Stonehaven; Neish Bros, Bowbutts, Strachan, Banchory; J&J Watt, Stoneyhill, Inverurie; David and Val Buchan, Savoch, Mintlaw; and Willie Cameron, Burnside of Edingight, Keith.