AS MEDIA partners for the forthcoming Scotsheep event on June 3, The Scottish Farmer will be providing regular updates from the hosts. This week, it’s the scanning news that breaks. Scotsheep 2020 host, Hazel McNee, keeps us up to date:

There are only two more committee meetings left before the big day, so the realisation of being the hosts of NSA Scotsheep 2020 is certainly kicking in.

It’s a nerve-wracking thought, but a very exciting and challenging one at the same time. Robert and I are confident that Wednesday, June 3 will be a huge success thanks to the help, enthusiasm and great ideas we have had so far from our organising committee under the leadership of chairman, Willy Millar.

We moved to Over Finlarg eight years ago and have made lots of improvements and changes since then, but it’s a work in progress and there’s still a lot to be done. I feel we are trying to do our 10-year plan in 10 months right now – it’s never ending!

With Robert being the perfectionist that he is, everything has to be done right and its true what they say, the apple never falls far from the tree as both our children, Kate and Alan, are very focused on the tidy up for Scotsheep. If only they would all do the same in the house!

Over the last few months, we have been busy putting up sheds, repairing and replacing concrete but in this weather, there is still as much gutters as there was before the concrete. Fences are being fixed and we’re making new tracks/roads around the farm.

Robert actually highjacked the roadmen on the A90 to get tar planings so he’s certainly putting them to good use – the neighbours probably think we are putting in the Kirriemuir by-pass.

Not only is Scotsheep at the forefront of our minds every week but spring, the busiest time of the year, is just around the corner! Calving, lambing and sowing is the start of a new year on the farm and always brings with it the good and the bad but here is hoping farmers get a good spell of weather this spring.

We’re lambing 1100 head and we kick off the lambing year with the pedigree flocks of Texels and Bluefaced Leicesters in mid-March, before turning to the commercial flock from mid-April onwards.

The commercial ewes were just recently scanned and we are relatively pleased with the results. The ewe hoggs scanned at 124%, Blackface ewes 185%, Blackface gimmers 143%, Cheviot ewes 178% and Cheviot gimmers 152%.

Bull sale preparation has also been keeping us busy, although we are fortunate to have sold a lot of bulls from home this year, mainly to repeat customers which is always a pleasure.

Robert was judging the Limousin classes at Stirling Bull Sales, this past week, so we are down to just one Limousin bull entered, as well as three Luing bulls and four heifers for Wallets Marts, Castle Douglas. We also have two Simmental bulls heading to the second round of Stirling Bull Sales, so the lads have certainly kept us busy.

Autumn-born bulls, which are kept entire and sold direct to ABP, are heading away now, as are the last of our prime lambs. We only wish we had more lambs to go away right now considering the better prices.

Fortunately, we have a good team of staff at Over Finlarg and have just recently employed a youngster Fraser, who will be working with us until Scotsheep. He will work alongside Drew Speed, who has been with us for three years now. I’m sure if Fraser learns nothing else with us, at least he’ll know how to work a pressure washer!

The field space for trade stands is filling up fast, so we would encourage anybody who would like a space to get in touch with Euan Emslie on 07718 908523 or

Our next committee meeting is just before the busy spring spell kicks off for everyone, but there is still lots of hard work going on behind the scenes every week. Read all about it in a few weeks’ time.

Scotsheep facts:

Where: Over Finlarg, near Tealing, Dundee, run by Robert and Hazel McNee and family.

The farm: The farm extends to 740 acres, plus grazing on a neighbouring heather hill and 40 acres of seasonal grazing rented.

Commercial sheep: Both the sheep flock and suckler herd are closed, with only home-bred replacements used for breeding and tups and bulls bought at auction. The McNees lamb 1100 head each year, comprising 600 hill-type North Country Cheviot ewes of which 200 are bred pure and the remaining crossed to the Bluefaced Leicester for producing Cheviot Mules. There are 200 Blackface ewes crossed to home-bred crossing-type Bluefaced Leicesters to produce Scotch Mules, with the result then tupped to the Texel and sold as hoggs with lambs at foot. Cheviot Mules are also sold through the sale ring as gimmers the following year.

Pedigree sheep: 100 pure Texels and pedigree Bluefaced Leicesters for breeding tups for home use and shearlings for the commercial market.

Cattle: The farm supports a well-known beef enterprise of 180 pedigree cows, including 100 Luings, 60 Limousins, 12 Simmentals and eight Charolais.