The recipient of the prestigious AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award was announced on Wednesday 9 February.
The accolade, which is managed by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors, was awarded to Drumbreddan Farm in Ardwell, Stranraer.
Father and son team Lamont and Daniel Hair run Drumbreddan Farm near Stranraer. Across 1320 acres, they run 360 cows split into three calving groups each of 120 with all progeny finished. At any time, there is 850 – 900 stock on the farm and all cows are dairy cross bred with Angus, Limousin, Hereford and the odd British Blue.
For almost twenty years, the Hair family has worked on what they call their ‘20/10 system’ where three times during the year the bulls will be with the cows over a fifty-day period. This provides calving periods of February/March, June/July and October/November which supports cash flow, better use of bulls, easier management of calf groups and better all year-round use of the finishing sheds.
The lead assessor for the award, QMS Head of Industry Development Bruce McConachie, said that it was a difficult task to choose from the three outstanding finalists.
“All three finalists were worthy of the title of AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, but what Danny and Lamont have built is dynamic, working with other businesses to create its own supply chain.
“The system itself is innovative and provides sustainability and simplicity, coupled with a close relationship with the processors and retailers they work with. They have a clear business model and a focus on cow health and fertility for longevity, with an eye on succession and the long-term vision for the business.”
With a number of high-calibre entries, Drumbreddan Farm edged out finalists Durie Farms, run by Douglas Christie in Fife, and Adziel run by Jim and Irene Fowlie based near Fraserburgh.
Daniel Hair said: “We were delighted when it was announced that we were finalists, but to then go on and be named the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, makes us extremely proud of the efforts of everyone involved in the farm. It’s incredibly important to us that we efficiently produce sustainable and nutritious Scotch Beef that meets our processors and retailer requirements.”
AgriScot Chairman and assessor for the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award, Robert Neill, said: “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. A huge congratulations to our finalists, and the 2021 AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year recipients, Drumbreddan Farm.”
As well as demonstrating 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: “We’re proud to help support AgriScot and recognise the achievements of those within the agricultural sector. All three finalists are excellent ambassadors for the Scottish beef sector and congratulations to Drumbreddan Farm.”