THE winners of a region-wide crop and grassland management competition were announced following a dinner in Kelso last week.
The awards ceremony for the winners of the Border Union Agricultural Society and Kelso and District Agricultural Discussion Society’s competition took place at the Ednam House Hotel last Thursday when eminent judges praised the entries.
Secretary Gillian Neill said: “The judges were impressed with the passion and enthusiasm shown. They found some remarkable land, stock and crops over two hectic days of intensive farm walks, which meant they had some difficult decisions to make.
“They all thanked the entrants for their hospitality and openness in exhibiting their farms.”
The competition motto is ‘It’s no’ what ye hae, it’s what you dae with what you hae’,
Kelso farmer John Elliot of Roxburgh Mains with his Aberdeen Angus cattle, Texel and Suffolk sheep took the championship.
A former Farmer’s Weekly Farmer of the Year, Robert Law, along with Mark Moule, was judging the competition’s top class.
Gillian said: “They felt that they had seen some exceptional farming and excellent stock and crops, and were impressed by all farms in the class.
“The attention to detail was impressive and Mr Elliot’s management of grass was something that Robert and Mark found particularly notable.”
Coldingham farmer Will Hamilton of Bee Edge, a beef and barley unit, was runner-up.
The Lowground Larger category was won by first- time entrant Andrew Hodge of Rulesmains, Duns.
“Our judges, Geert Willemsen and James Thomson, felt that Andrew ate, drank and slept farming! Not only did they comment on some excellent crops, but the way that Andrew has made the transition from a dairy unit to a beef unit has been very well managed and the stock was looking superb,” said Gillian.
In second place was John Cavers & Sons, Crosshall, Greenlaw. The Lowground Small class was won by first- time entrants Brian and William Fleming of Mosstower who were picked as winners by judges Colin Cuthbertson and John Stirling. Thomas Todd from Barelees, Cornhill, gained second place.
Former Farmer’s Weekly livestock editor Jonathan Long and Chrissie Lawrence who together run an agricultural PR company judged the Livestock class which was won by Peter Tweedie of Bughtrig, Jedburgh.
Returning to the competition after several years saw John Mitchell & Co. of Rumbletonrig, Greenlaw, win a second.
Conservation class judge, Rory Sandison gave first prize to Mr Teyl de Bordes, farm manager of Whitmuir Farms, Selkirk.
“Rory’s winner gained the edge with an impressive diversity of species without compromising the arable business on the farm, whilst also bringing in outside organisations such as Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and the RSPB to benefit the farm,” said Gillian.
First-time entrant Graeme Aitchison of Lochton, Coldstream, was second.
A farm walk, which is open to anyone interested, will take place tonight at Roxburgh Mains Farm, Kelso (TD5 8NJ) at 7.30pm.
For directions ring competition chairman Robert Neill on 07974 203421.