Dedicated farming family win top award

John and Marion Tilson, and their daughter Wanda, pictured receiving the award from Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.
John and Marion Tilson, and their daughter Wanda, pictured receiving the award from Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.

A Westruther farm, run by a dedicated family committed to producing top quality Scotch beef, has been named 2014 Scotch Beef Farm of the Year.

Wedderlie Farm, a 2500 acre unit run by John and Marion Tilson and their daughter Wanda Hobbs, was announced as the overall winner by Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, during a presentation at AgriScot last Wednesday.

The aim of the annual Award, run by AgriScot and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), is to showcase excellence in the production of cattle in Scotland and raise the profile of the dedication and stock management skills behind the production of Scotch Beef.

The four finalists also included West Meikle Pinkerton Farm near Dunbar.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I’d like to extend my warmest congratulations to the Tilson family – they are carrying out wonderful work at Wedderlie Farm and their commitment to continued improvement in their beef herd is to be applauded.

“Family farms like the Tilsons’ are the backbone of our livestock industry. This year’s winner and the three runners up deserve recognition and great credit for using the latest techniques and tools to build sustainable and viable farming businesses.

“If the uptake of the beef efficiency scheme is as widespread we all hope it will be then the future of Scottish beef farming is looking extremely positive.”

The representatives from AgriScot and QMS, John Elliot and Jim McLaren, who visited the finalist farms were particularly impressed with the Tilson family’s commitment to continually improving the efficiency of their farm and to producing the very best beef.

Wedderlie runs 200 pedigree Aberdeen Angus cows, calving in autumn and spring, as well as 1750 ewes, which are now a mix of Cheviots, Blackface, Mules and Texel crosses.

Only the best male calves are kept as bulls, selected for structural soundness, weight and performance with the remainder castrated and sold as store yearlings or finished off grass with the AA premium.

Marion Tilson said the family was surprised and delighted to have won. “Winning the award means a great deal to us and it’s a particular privilege for us to have won it during the herd’s centenary year.”