ONE OF Ayrshire's best-known and well-liked farmers has died - Jim Hutton, formerly of West Brockloch, Maybole, was 87 when he passed away, recently.

Born at Westown, at Sorn, in 1927, he spent the first seven years of his life there until his father and mother moved to West Brockloch, where he eventually succeeded his father on the farm.

He farmed successfully there until he and his wife, Mattie, retired to the town of Maybole in 1996. Throughout his farming life, he took an active part in local agricultural societies, namely Dalrymple Farmers and Straiton Farmers, playing a role in running both shows, as a past president and honorary president of both.

West Brockloch was a dairy farm with a herd of Ayrshires and when their daughters, Mattie and Morag, were youngsters, they were keen exhibitors of Ayrshire calves, which Jim made a good job of bringing out to do well.

Also a feature at West Brockloch was Jim's flock of Border Leicesters, which he bred with some considerable success, exhibitiing them from Stranraer to Catrine and all the shows in between. He also consigned ram lambs annually to Lanark and Ayr tup sales.

The flock was dispersed at Lanark in 1989, when his well-presented females attracted good business. Rams which did well included Humeston Troy, Humeston Quarter Master, Ditton First Choice and Roundhill Magic Halo.

He was a well-known judge on the show circuit for the breed and officiated at shows in Ireland and England, as well as in home territory. He was also a noted judge of root shows and his comments on such were worth listening to.

Jim was able to recall past events and recently he told of going to the first Highland Show after WW1, which was held in Inverness in 1948, and how a special train ran from Ayr through the night to arrive at Inverness early the next morning for the show.

Although he enjoyed recalling the past, he was interested in modern technology and, on visiting a friend's farm, where robotic milkers had been installed, he commented that he could have watched them all day.

When he put his dairy cows off West Brockloch about 40 years ago, he turned his hand to finishing beef cattle and he bought in beef-type calves to rear on an automatic feeders, when there were not many such machines around.

In retirement, he and Mattie became keen bowlers, indoors and out, and made many friends when taking part. His many farming friends will also miss the regular Tuesday meeting at Ayr Market's restaurant, where farming was always put to rights!

Jim is survived by his wife, Mattie, and daughters, Mattie and Morag, and son-in-law Robert.