Scotch Beef Farm of the Year

Scotch Beef Farm of the Year 2019

Agriscot 2019 Photographer: Allan Bovill

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A Dumfries and Galloway farm business has been named the winners of the prestigious AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award today (Wednesday 20 November) by AgriScot, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and award sponsors, Thorntons Solicitors.
Kingan Farms in New Abbey, run by the Kingan family, has emerged as the winners following an extensive gruelling from industry assessors and against stiff competition from other high calibre finalist farms from across Scotland.
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.
Kingan Farms pipped Scholland Farm in Shetland, run by Jamie Leslie, and Firth Farm in Melrose, run by the Livesey family, to win the award, which was presented by Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP in the main ring at AgriScot at Royal Highland Centre.
Kingan Farms is a family partnership, a 475-hectare-owned and tenanted enterprise across four locations in Dumfries. The Kingan family run a beef finishing system with a turnover of approximately 1,400 cattle per year – a mixture of continental and native breeds.
On arrival, all cattle are weighed, tagged with an EID tag and batched according to weight. Kingan Farms are self-sufficient in terms of grazing, grass silage and whole crop, with straw and some locally grown barley the only regular external inputs.
The Kingan family are proud of the close working relationships they maintain throughout their supply chain, from calf producers to processor all of which helps them meet the needs and quality expected by end users.
Kingan Farm has been using electronic identification (EID) management tags for more than 10 years and have adopted new software on a Bluetooth system which has improved cattle handling and monitoring and has also allowed a paperless system at the crush.
Alongside their cattle management systems, Kingan Farms uses a variety of different software, which can be accessed by each employee or contractor via an app to monitor performance.
The Kingan family also use social media such as Facebook to help tell their story and although it doesn’t play a part in improving efficiency or profitability, they believe sharing their experience will create an understanding with consumers of what it takes to produce quality assured Scotch Beef.
As well as winning the title, Kingan Farms also received a £500 cheque as well as a £250 voucher to celebrate their success at a Scotch Beef Club restaurant. The club, run by QMS, has around 150 members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef PGI.
Assessors, who visited all three finalist farms were Robert Neill, AgriScot Chairman, Douglas Bell, QMS Director of Strategic Engagement and Niall Jeffrey, who was awarded AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year in 2018.
Douglas Bell, QMS Director of Strategic Engagement, said that he was very impressed with the quality of applicants for this year’s award. He commented: “It was an absolute privilege to visit the finalists along with my fellow assessors. The enthusiasm and passion displayed by the management teams at each farm was truly inspiring. All three demonstrated business acumen of the highest level, combined with the dedication, commitment required to produce stock of the highest quality.
“In terms of our winners, I was particularly impressed with their attention to detail, not only in terms of the physical and financial performance of their finishing enterprise but also with their efforts to produce exactly what the market requires. Constant communication with their processor helps them fine tune their enterprise but also provides feedback which is passed on to their calf suppliers to help them make sound management decisions.”
AgriScot Chairman, Robert Neill commented: “I would like to thank all the farms entered for this award. The industry needs people who are willing to step forward as ambassadors, especially in the present climate.
“I would also give huge congratulations to our finalists, especially to our Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, Kingan Farms and to the farmers, families and teams behind these successful enterprises.”
The Kingan family of New Abbey, who run Kingan Farm, commented: “We are really pleased to be announced as winners of this award, especially when we were up against two other great farms. The hard work and commitment of all our team for producing top quality Scotch Beef PGI in a high welfare environment has paid off and it is great to receive recognition for this.”
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.
Kenneth Mackay, Partner and Head of the Land and Rural Business team at Thorntons, said: “These awards champion an industry which has the highest welfare and environmental standards in the world. We’re proud to support AgriScot and recognise the achievements of those within the agricultural sector. Congratulations to the deserving winner of the Scottish Beef Farm of the Year title for 2019.”
All farms producing cattle destined to be used for meat sold under the Scotch Beef PGI label – from breeders through to finishers – were eligible to apply for the award and required to be members of QMS’s quality assurance scheme.

Scotch Beef Farm of the Year 2018

Agriscot 2018 Photographer: Allan Bovill (07971 474 562) Agriscot 2018 Winners of the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year. Photographer: Allan Bovill (07971 474 562)

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East Lothian Farm Announced as AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year 2018

Over the last two weeks the team of assessors visited each of the finalist farms to gauge the passion and enthusiasm of the farmer, and family and staff where relevant, to efficiently produce high quality animals.

Robert Fleming was quick to praise all three businesses. He said: “The finalists are all excellent examples of Scotch Beef production. They each have very different systems but all share a common focus on ensuring their businesses return a profit.”

With regard to Bielgrange, Robert Neill commented: “Understanding their opportunities with location and other enterprises in the farming business has led the Jeffrey’s to develop a beef enterprise that not only compliments their overall system but produces highly sought-after prime cattle. Utilising collaboration and technology to maximise cattle performance and keep a firm control of costs.”

Douglas 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.”

Kenneth Mackay, partner in the Land and Rural Business team at Thorntons Solicitors, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award; it is a wonderful way to celebrate the fantastic beef industry we have in Scotland. Many congratulations to the Jeffrey’s on their success this year.”

All farms producing cattle destined to be used for meat sold under the Scotch Beef PGI label – from breeders through to finishers – were eligible to apply for the award and required to be members of QMS’s quality assurance scheme.

Scotch Beef Farm of the Year 2017

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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.”

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