David Dick, who has died aged 85, helped transform the UK beef industry through his belief in and promotion of the Limousin breed.
For two decades, he produced many champions at the top shows in the country while his cattle were much in demand in breed sales.
He also chaired the UK Limousin breed society from 1988 to 1992 during which time this native French breed was establishing itself as a major influence in UK beef production.
David first became involved with the breed after buying a batch of Limousin cross suckled calves at Lanark Mart.
Later he recalled, “They out-performed any other breed of cattle I had bought. From then on, I not only aimed to buy Limousin crosses, but also converted my suckler herd to Limousin x Friesian cows put to Limousin bulls.”
The next step came in 1980 when David established the Ronick pedigree herd of Limousins. With a keen eye for the best of cattle, David bought a cow, Broadmeadows Ainsi at a dispersal sale in 1988.
Ainsi had already shown her star quality in the show ring and she had also already bred a bull called Broadmeadows Cannon who was later destined to be the most prolific sire in the history of the British Limousin breed.
Under David’s ownership, Ainsi not only won glory for the Ronick Herd when this classy cow took the breed championship at the Royal Show, she also went on to grab the glory for the entire Limousin breed, by becoming the first Limousin to win the Supreme Interbreed Individual Championship.
Not content with that, Ainsi also triumphed at the Royal Highland Show taking both the breed award but also the overall championship.
These were just the tip of her many top show successes.
Other successes for the Ronick herd came after a shrewd purchase of three imported Limousin heifers.
From them came Ronick Danita the 1997 Royal Highland champion, where, to make David’s day, she beat her daughter Ronick Janita into reserve spot.
As David observed at the time: “To win as we did with Ainsi was absolutely wonderful, but nothing can beat the thrill of winning a big show with one of your own home-bred animals. That gave us thrills, which we’ll never, ever forget.”
Janita became one of the most successful show cattle in Limousin history. Her outstanding show career between 1997 and 2000 included twice winning the overall championship at the Highland Show along with twice taking the reserve placing.
She also had similar success at the Royal Show in twice taking the overall award and twice winning the runner-up placing.
More success for the Ronick herd, which was based at Mains of Throsk, Stirling, came when they bred Ronick Hawk whose qualities as a bull were picked up by a top AI company after which they sold some 800,000 straws of Hawk semen to producers throughout the world.
Throughout all this success and expansion of both the cattle enterprise and the whole farming organisation, David was accompanied by his wife, Alison whom he had met at a young farmers’ dance in the Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling.
They were married in June 1960 and Alison became part of the team behind the success.
Not only did she bring up the family, she helped with the running of the business; especially at times when David was away on Limmy Society business.
David and Alison, had three children Ronald, Christopher and Wendy and grandchildren – Isobel, Iain, David, Stephanie and Christina.
Bringing the Dick family tree up to date, there are three great-grandchildren – Sophia, Pippa and Harvey.
David was born on the small tenanted farm of South Langdyke, near Airth, where he attended school at Carronshore where his father, William ran a grass seeds and contracting business in addition to farming the 100-acre plus holding.
The family moved to the larger Mains of Throsk farm in 1948 by which time David was attending Stirling High School. But as soon as it was possible, he came home to farm.
Over the years the business was expanded to its present size of 3,000 acres, growing a range of crops including Scots Timothy grass seed; a speciality grown in the Carse of Stirling.
Not long after his seventh birthday, David Dick competed in his first ploughing match.
One observer that day commented the young boy could hardly reach the clutch pedals on his tractor but David drew a straight opening furrow and followed it up with some neat ploughing.
The resulting work saw David pick up a prize ticket; one of the youngest ever to do so at a ploughing competition.
He went on to become the Scottish champion on no less than four occasions. He also represented Britain in the World Ploughing Championships in Denmark in 1970.
David’s expertise in these competitions saw him asked to officiate at many ploughing matches over the years.
And to keep his own hand in, he did most of the ploughing at Mains of Throsk up until a week or so before he died, making it more than seven decades as a ploughman.
Despite his high profile in life, David was essentially a private man. He was upright, honest and practical and was held in very high regard by many who met him in the various strands of his life.