ON MAY 29 the Aberdeen Angus breed lost another stalwart within the space of a few weeks with the death of Jimmy Minto who died aged 73 when fishing on the River Tweed.
A fine athlete in his youth, among the many races Jimmy won was the famous Jedburgh mile. He was also a footballer in the East of Scotland League and, after his playing career, he coached and managed various local teams.
Then, and later in life, he was an excellent and highly competitive golfer.
Jimmy’s principle claim to fame was as one of the best pedigree cattle herdsmen of his generation.
He was hired as a tractor driver, but Jimmy’s career took a dramatic turn when the cattleman left Eastfield of Lempitlaw. Aged only 16 he led out Elation of Eastfield to win the junior and reserve supreme championship and make 4,000 guineas at the world famous Perth Bull Sales in 1956.
He capped that two years later when Elevate of Eastfield won the supreme championship and sold for 25,000 guineas, 8,000 guineas more than the previous record. At that time, 25,000 guineas could have bought a decent sized farm.
Four more supreme championships and nine female championships followed during Jimmy’s 33 years at the Brewis family’s Eastfield of Lempitlaw.
A further significant honour came in 1982 when he was invited to judge the Aberdeen Angus at Perth Bull Sales, the first ever cattleman to do so.
During his career, Jimmy judged at many shows. No-one respected his judgement more than his boss, the late Tom Brewis, who was a pioneer in transforming the Aberdeen Angus into a cleaner, bigger type of animal.
He gave Jimmy a free hand to buy any animal which he felt would contribute to the herd. Among those he selected were the outstanding breeding bulls Gentle Junior of Sturton and from Ireland, Patrick of Breaffy.
After leaving Eastfield, Jimmy bred Charolais in partnership with Trevor Calder at Crookham and after his retirement this master of his craft advised and acted as mentor to John Elliot Jnr at Roxburgh Mains, this time, back among his beloved Aberdeen Angus.
Jimmy will be greatly missed by his many friends. Our sympathies are with his widow Gladys, his son Michael, himself a successful herdsman with Charolais cattle at Farleycopse, and his daughter, Julia.
– John Elliot.