Small scale North Angus beef producer, Archie Gauld, beat off the might of North-east beef finishers – including last year’s winner – to win the coveted QMS rosebowl for the champion in the Kepak McIntosh Donald Best Scotch Steak competition at the Royal Highland Show

First time exhibitor, Archie Gauld, who with his wife, Phyllis, and son, Richard, who finishes around 100 cattle a year on his 250-acre farm of Fawside, Kinneff, on the Angus-Aberdeenshire border, took the top honour with a steak from a 354.2kg Aberdeen-Angus cross steer which came out top in competition with an entry of 200 head of top quality beef cattle.

The initial entry was whittled down to 12 following the preliminary judging of sirloins at Kepak’s Portlethen meat plant last month and steaks from the sirloins were grilled at the show by Tesco development chef, Jamie Robinson, and judged on eating quality, including flavour, taste and tenderness, by an expert panel led by QMS chair, Kate Rowell.

“All the steaks were superb and any one of the 12 would have been worthy winners,” said Ms Rowell. “The competition is a fantastic advertisement for the quality of Scotch Beef.”

Kepak’s McIntosh Donald business, which was taken over by the Irish company last year, is the major supplier of Scotch Beef for Tesco’s premium Finest range.

“The competition exemplifies the quality of Tesco’s Scotch Beef offering which is available in our supermarkets all the year round,” said Tesco agricultural manager for beef and sheep, Hannah Donegan.

The Gauld’s bought the steer which produced the winning steak as a store at Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ Thainstone Centre and it was finished on a simple diet of grass, silage and brock potatoes.

Reserve was a steak from a 382.5kg Simmental cross steer bought as a store at Forfar from Doug Rose, Taylorspark, St Cyrus, and third place went to Ron and Elizabeth Farquhar, Tewel, Stonehaven, with a steak from a 326.9kg home-bred Limousin cross heifer.

Other finalists were W Barnetson and Sons, Lynegar, Wick; last year’s winner, Alan Meston, Chapelton, Stonehaven; Hugh Gordon, Clochnahill, Stonehaven; Firm of Norman Cowie, Bilbo, Fraserburgh; Bill Henderson, Nether Toucks, Stonehaven; Neish Bros, Bowbutts, Strachan, Banchory; J and J Watt, Stoneyhill, Inverurie; David and Val Buchan, Savoch, Mintlaw; and Willie Cameron, Burnside of Edingight, Keith.

The other judges were Mr Robinson, Ms Donegan, Tesco head of agriculture, Natalie Smith, Kepak group agriculture manager, Jonathan Forbes, and Kepak McIntosh Donald sales manager, Frank Clark.