Scotch Beef Farm of the Year revealed

A Berwickshire family farm “committed to producing top-quality Scotch Beef PGI” has been crowned the 2014 Scotch Beef Farm of the Year.

John and Marion Tilson and their daughter Wanda Hobbs, who run the 2,500-acre Wedderlie Farm, received the award from rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead.

The annual competition is run by AgriScot and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

The other three farms in the final were Glenkilrie Farm, near Blairgowrie in Perthshire, run by David Houstoun; West Meikle Pinkerton Farm near Dunbar, East Lothian, run by James Gilchrist, his father Jim and brother David; and Wester Bonhard Farm near Scone in Perthshire, run by Graham Cameron, his father Sandy and mother Ann.

QMS said the Wedderlie farm runs 200 pedigree Aberdeen Angus cows, calving in autumn and spring, as well as 1,750 ewes, which are a mix of Cheviots, Blackface, Mules and Texel crosses. It was praised for continually improving the efficiency of the farm, and for producing the very best beef.

Lochhead said: “I’d like to extend my warmest congratulations to the Tilson family – they are carrying out wonderful work at Wedderlie Farm and their commitment to continued improvement in their beef herd is to be applauded.

“Family farms like the Tilson’s are the backbone of our livestock industry. This year’s winner and the three runners-up deserve recognition and great credit for using the latest techniques and tools to build sustainable and viable farming businesses. If the uptake of the beef efficiency scheme is as widespread we all hope it will be then the future of Scottish beef farming is looking extremely positive.”

QMS explained that on the Tilsons’ farm, only the best male calves are kept as bulls, selected for structural soundness, weight and performance, with the remainder castrated and sold as store yearlings, or finished off on grass with the AA premium.

Marion Tilson said: “Winning the award means a great deal to us and it’s a particular privilege for us to have won it during the herd’s centenary year.”

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