The new president of the Highland Cattle Society (HCS) has pledged to unite the membership after a winter of discontent following the expulsion of two long-standing members from the breed’s governing council.
The new president, Cambridgeshire farmer Sir Jim Paice – a former UK agriculture minister and briefly chairman of First Milk – said the society’s annual meeting in Oban at the weekend had given all members the opportunity to express their concerns about mistakes made in the management of part of the breed’s sale last October, together with what he said was the “unrelated” expulsion of breed stalwarts Angus MacGillivray and Hilary Barker from the HCS Council.
The society’s website reveals the expulsions were related to a verbal harassment grievance against Mr MacGillivray by the society’s new secretary and subsequent “interference” by Ms Barker in support of Mr MacGillivray.
Sir Jim said the expulsions were made in accordance with the rules and the society took legal advice.
He added: “There was also concern over the health status of a fold in October.
“Errors were made in the management at the sale, but thankfully there turned out to be no livestock health issues.”
He admitted that with just 20 cows he wasn’t an expert in Highland cattle, but said he brought experience in organising and managing organisations.
“I am determined to bring back the unity the society needs and ensure members are constantly informed about what we’re doing,” he said.
Meanwhile demand for Highland bulls appeared “sticky” in Oban, with only 22 of the 60 catalogued finding a home.
The top price was 6,800gn, paid for Murran Vallay of Ardbhan, an April 2017-born bull from the MacDonald family of Ardbhan, North Uist, who recently featured in a BBC Alba television programme.
He was bought by Kilchoan Estate at Kilmelford.
The show champion, K2 of Cladich, from Jon and Queenie Strickland, Cladich, Dalmally, sold for 6,500gn to RA Phillip, Green Farm, Skipton, North Yorkshire.
Three bulls made 5,000gn.
The first, Hector of Earn from Heather Corrigall, Nigg, Easter Ross was bought by David Smith, Flowry Brae, Memsie, Aberdeenshire; Michael and Sally Nairn, Balnabroich, Blairgowrie, sold Hector of Balnabroich to the MacDonalds, Ardbhan, North Uist; and Ken and Eva Brown, Ledlanet, Kinross sold Brogach 5th of Craigowmill to RD Schuster, Glenstrae.
The female champion, Diorbhail Dhubh 3rd of Craigowmill, from the Browns of Kinross, also made 5,000gn and was bought for export to Germany.