Scotch Beef Farm of the Year named

A family-run farm in Aberdeenshire has been named as the 2015 Scotch Beef Farm of the Year.

Darnford farm, near Banchory, run by the Watson family, was announced as the overall winner by rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead, during a presentation at farm business event AgriScot.

The annual award, run by AgriScot and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), recognises excellence in the production of cattle in Scotland.

The Watsons run the cattle farm with 426 Saler cross suckler cows and a 25-cow pedigree Saler herd.

“Family farms like Darnford are the backbone of our livestock industry,” said rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead.  

“This year’s winner and the other finalists should be commended for their commitment to building sustainable and viable farming businesses, which augurs well for the future of the beef industry in Scotland.”

The representatives from AgriScot and QMS, Robert Neill and Douglas Bell, who visited the finalist farms, were particularly impressed with the Watson family’s commitment to continually improving the efficiency of their farm.

Peter Watson, who runs the farm with sons David and Adam and their wives, Aynsley and Lynne, said: “We are very much a family-run business and it is great that a commercial enterprise like ours has been recognised in this way.
“We have been steadily increasing our herd numbers in recent years and we are confident about the future of our enterprise and in beef production in Scotland and plan to continue to increase our herd size.”

During the farm visits assessors looked for: evidence of a high standard of technical and financial performance; uptake of new ideas to improve efficiency/profitability; a high level of health and welfare and a keen eye on the market for the end-product.
The other finalists were Wester Coilechat, Callander, Perthshire, run by the Malcolm family and Prettycur Farm, Montrose, Angus, run by the Sanger family.

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