Saughland Farm leads the Scottish sheep sector, being named Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year by AgriScot.
Run by Farm Manager Peter Eccles and Herd Manager Owen Gray, Saughland Farm comprises 50ha of arable land, 240ha of grassland and 40ha of woodland and hedgerows. The farm has a maternal composite flock of 1,500 ewes using Romney and Aberfield with everything recorded from birth, and 400 lambs.
A new Suffolk pedigree herd is being developed with the aim of producing a vigorous, easy-to-lamb herd without compromising carcass quality and growth using CT scans, Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and of a rigorous selection.
The annual award is managed by Quality Meat Scotland and sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors. Lead Assessor, Quality Management System Chair Kate Rowell, said many aspects of the farm stood out for her and fellow assessors Hamish Dykes (AgriScot) and former AgriScot award winner Kevin Stewart.
“I was extremely impressed with all three finalists, but Saughland’s thorough understanding of the need for continuous ground monitoring and improvement was solid.
“Their use of rotational grazing, where they would match the numbers and classes of cattle in the same field to get the best out of them at different times of the year, demonstrated their eye for getting the most out of what they have to improve their efficiency and productivity. ”
Saughland Farm edged out runners-up Swinside Townfoot, run by Peter and Vicki Hedley in Jedburgh, and Attonburn Farm run by Robert and Becca Rennie in Yetholm.
Saughland Farm owner Richard Callander said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication the entire team puts in every day.
Read more: It’s AgriScot Awards Day! The winners are announced now!
“Our mission is to continue to build a resilient, sustainable, profitable and diverse agribusiness that is an inspiring place to work with increased opportunity for everyone involved in Saughland.”
AgriScot Chairman Robert Neill said: “We are grateful to all the farms who have taken part in the AgriScot Awards and their willingness to positively showcase the Scottish agricultural sector. Congratulations to our finalists and to the 2021 Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year, Saughland Farm.
In addition to demonstrating a high level of technical and financial performance, farm evaluators looked for evidence of the adoption of new ideas to improve efficiency and profitability and whether the companies had an eye on the end product market.
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 Land and Rural Business Team at Thorntons, said: “These awards champion an industry that has the highest welfare and environmental standards in the world. We are proud to help support AgriScot and recognize the achievements of those in the agricultural sector. Congratulations to the outstanding finalists and recipients of Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year for 2021.”