Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing flanked by Robert and John Fleming, winners of the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award.
Castle Sinniness near Glenluce, run by the Fleming family, has been named as the winner of the 2017 AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award, run by AgriScot and Quality Meat Scotland, and sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors.
The farm is one of three, extending to a total of 240 hectares, run in partnership by Robert Fleming with his father John and mother Rachael, with support from part-time member of staff Frazer Mitchell. The family run a low-input grass and forage-based system which supports the main herd of 220 Aberdeen-Angus and Angus cross suckler cows and followers.
The award judges were impressed with the Fleming’s grasp of costs, margins and the targets needed to make a profit. The family also focus on using grazing techniques to maximise profits from grass, including a novel approach to finishing cattle on an intensive grazing platform using the latest fencing technology.
The family has established a successful paddock grazing system which has boosted grassland productivity and allowed them to support a further 250 – 600 grazing cattle managed on a contract basis. They also have a flock of 65 Roussin sheep and winter a further 250 hoggs.
The aim of the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award is to showcase excellence in the production of cattle in Scotland and raise the profile of the dedication and stock management skills behind the production of Scotch Beef PGI.
The other two finalists were Birks Farm, near Carluke, run by Douglas and James Frame, and Pitgaveny Farm near Elgin, owned by Rebecca Russell and her brother Crinan Dunbar, and managed by Martin Birse with head stockman Geoff Anderson.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing commented: “I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to the Fleming family on being named 2017 Scotch Beef Farm of the Year. They are excellent ambassadors for our Scottish beef sector and I wish them further success moving forward.”
The judging panel for the award consisted of AgriScot board member Robert Neill, QMS head of industry development Doug Bell, and AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year 2016 winner Robert Parker.
“The three finalist farms were very different but shared a determination to keep improving the performance of their herds and continuously seek out opportunities to grow their businesses,” said Mr Neill.
Mr Bell added: “It was a real pleasure to visit all three farms and to meet farmers who are focused on making the very best of the resources they have. As well as a real passion for the jobs they do, they share a willingness to open their minds to new ideas and technology to constantly seek out better ways of running their businesses.”
“We are incredibly chuffed to have won,” said Robert Fleming. “The award is great recognition of what we are doing but there is always scope for further improvements and we’ll continue to focus on increasing our output by making the best use of our forage.”