17th November 2022

AgriScot Farm Business of the Year winners stem from all corners of Scotland

Announced today by Cabinet Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, during a ceremony at one of the UK’s premier agricultural business events, the winners of the prestigious AgriScot Farm Business of the Year awards have been revealed.

Spanning five categories, the aim of the awards is to celebrate the innovation, skill and dedication within Scottish farming, and to recognise and reward those enterprises successfully tackling emissions, boosting biodiversity, bolstering productivity and maximising profitability.

Taking home the title of Scottish Arable Farm of the Year, sponsored by SoilEssentials and supported by AHDB, was Colin McGregor of McGregor Farms, Berwickshire.

Colin Laird of Blyth Farm in the Borders was awarded Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year, sponsored by CowAlert.

Harry Brown of Auchmaliddie Mains Farm, Peterhead, was presented with Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, with Calum McDiarmid of Mains of Murthly, Aberfeldy, crowned Sheep Farm of the Year - both sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors and supported by QMS.

Concluding the ceremony, Diversified Farm of the Year, sponsored by SAC Consulting, was awarded to Claire Pollock of Ardross Farm, Fife.

Commenting on the announcements, Chair of AgriScot, Robert Neill, said:

“The Farm Business of the Year awards are always a highlight of the day. It is fantastic to see thriving farming businesses, from Aberdeenshire to the Borders, recognised for the high standards they uphold and example they set for the wider industry.

“It has been a challenging time for agriculture, with many issues ongoing, but these awards remind us that there is much to celebrate within the sector. Once again, I would like to congratulate all our winners and wish them all the very best in the future.”

Initial entry to the awards was through the completion of an application form, outlining farm business details, processes and outcomes. After being whittled down, shortlisted farms were then visited by a selection of judges, before the final three from each category were named during a live streamed event in early October.

Also taking place on the day was the live final of the Business Skills Award, with Jack Young crowned the winner and successfully taking home the £1000 cash prize, kindly supported by SRUC and NFU Mutual. The final stage of the competition involved evaluating the recipient of the Product Innovation Award and presenting their findings back to a panel of judges, answering further questions around business skills, topical agricultural issues and how they are developing their CV.


AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year - Harry Brown, Auchmaliddie Mains

Harry Brown of Auchmaliddie Mains, Aberdeenshire, runs a herd of 200 predominantly Limousin-cross sucker cows and buys in 200 store cattle per annum to finish, fattening all animals on the 750-acre farm. Of the 400 cattle finished per year, around 30 are sold direct to the customer via farmers’ markets or doorstep deliveries, as Harry and his family work to foster local relationships.

Their beef system transformed with the introduction of the Ritchie Weigh Monitor, with cattle being weighed daily. Underperformers are quickly identified and removed from the herd, saving money on feed, and allowing only the highest quality animal to enter the food chain. Traceability is key, with digital software accelerating the monitoring process and translating as increased efficiencies. And, collaborating with their farm nutritionist and vet on a regular basis, Harry ensures that his animals are always in peak condition.

With a focus on sustainability, the family have constructed a new outdoor silage pit to cut down on plastic use and increase indoor capacity for bedding pens. Carbon audits, soil analytics and GPS technology have also been key to assessing the wider impact of the farm enterprise.


AgriScot Sheep Farm of the Year - Calum McDiarmid, Mains of Murthly 

The philosophy of Calum McDiarmid’s sheep enterprise at Mains of Murthly, Aberfeldy, which extends to over 244ha of Perthshire landscape, is about minimising input and maximising output by creating a more efficient system. Shepherd Ed Munt runs 1350 breeding ewes, 400 home bred ewe lambs and 25 tups, 12 of which are Innovis Aberfield and 13 terminals of either NZ Suffolk or Aberblacks.

The whole system has changed over the past five years to become a predominantly grass based setup centred around rotational grazing, with divisional solar electric fence systems and Opico sward lifter improving the quality and volume of grass.

All ewes are condition scored every six weeks to both correct any problems, and to ensure all stock are improving and performing. When it comes to health, prevention is better than cure

All lambs have traditionally been sold prime to the abattoir with the average weight being mid 19 kgs with normally U3L grade. To grant ewes more grass in the ‘Golden period’, half of this year’s lambs will be sold store, with the remainder fattened on home turf.  With the increase in costs of both energy and inputs, Mains of Murthly is looking at the best return for both staff and the farm. Reducing the winter costs is the aim of the farm.



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