Show enthusiast, Michael Robertson, is ready for the return of show season this summer for his Fodderletter Limousins and commercial herds.


Well really, I am self-taught and have spent my whole working life at home at Fodderletter, which is now a 1100 acre farm including hill ground. Running 100 suckler cows predominately Limousin crosses which are put to the Limousin and British Blue bulls, along with 15 pedigree Limousins.

All calves will be sold through Aberdeen and Northern Marts as weaned and suckled calves in September, October and November with a batch also sold in April once ready.

On the sheep front we run 400 Lairg type hill Cheviots which go to Suffolk and Beltex tups, as well as a small flock of pure unregistered Beltex sheep.

Why the Limousin?

The Limousin has always been my breed of choice. I have been breeding Limousin for nearly 30 years now after initially purchasing a Limousin bull for the commercial cows.

I was impressed with the calves that the bull produced and how well they fitted our system at home so I bought a yearling heifer privately from Andy Holiday as a foundation female for the Fodderletter herd.

What are you looking for in an animal?

Breed character, correctness, length and a good head is essential for breeding females. A good head is important in the show ring too, it’s the first thing the judge looks at.

How do you select bulls for sale?

Bulls are selected based on their bloodlines, breed characteristics and temperament. No bulls are kept for breeding which I wouldn’t use on my own herd – a policy I’ve stuck to since starting with the Limousin breed. The Limousin herd is run commercially, receiving no special treatment. We stick to a traditional feeding system for the bulls. It might seem like a lot of work to others, but it works for us with bulls then going on to do well after sale as they aren’t pushed hard for sales.

What is the Limousins place in the commercial market?

Limousin calves are easily fleshed hitting the right weight and spec, making them the ideal butchers’ animal with females making good heifer replacements.

If you had to choose another breed what would it be?

Alongside the Limousin herd, we have two pedigree Aberdeen-Angus females, so I better say Angus.

What got you involved in showing?

Started showing calves at the local mart calf show and sales, at that time there was a mart in Tomintoul. Then we started going to the local shows and its really gone from there, with the aim of producing show potential calves.

Best Highland show achievement?

To show at the Highland and get a prize ticket of any kind is a real achievement for anyone when you are competing against some of the best stock from across the country.

However, farming in Tomintoul makes getting show animals ready for the Highland extra challenging. I was delighted to win first prize with a Limousin bull a few years ago especially seeing as the Limousin breed section always has a high number of entries and you are competing against folk farming in a far better area and climate than me.

Biggest showing achievement?

Winning the Royal Northern Spring Show in 2019, with the heifer I’ll be There. I have shown at the Spring Show for many years being there or there about for the championship and usually just narrowly missing out on that cup for overall champion. I have many times stood reserve heifer and always hoped to be able to win.

Best sale day?

Selling Fodderletter Gatuso at Carlisle. He was always that special stand out calf, but I never thought on only my second time selling Limousins at Carlisle that we would come away with the reserve junior and reserve overall tickets and going on to selling the bull for £10,000.

Biggest disappointment?

There are always disappointments in showing. Unfortunately, politics within commercial cattle at some of the more local shows can sometimes see the best beast not getting the justice they deserve on show day which can be hard to take.

No shows in 2020 was a disappointment, as I had the best line up of commercial calves I had had for a good number of years. The show team for that year would have been made up of all home-bred calves, it always means more and makes a win that bit more special if it’s an animal you have bred yourself.

Most influential person in your career?

Andy Holliday gave me a lot of help and support when I started out breeding Limousins. I probably wouldn’t have had the success I have with the breed if it wasn’t for the advice and tips, he gave me when starting out.

My late father and the late Jock Christie of Drumin Smiddy, Glenlivet also played a part when I was first starting out with showing.

Best stockman?

The late Winston Nicolson. He taught me a lot. He was a true master.

Best advice for someone starting out in the industry?

Listen and take advice from those already in the industry and successful at what they are doing, there is a lot to learn!

Judging experience?

I have done a fair bit of judging over the years and it is something I enjoy especially if its takes you to a different part of the country and a show you’ve never been to before.

I have been lucky enough to judge at the Royal Highland, which was a real honour. I’ve judged various shows and sales including the Limousin breed sale at Stirling. However, one of my best days judging has to be at Gargunnock, a great wee show with plenty drams.

Have you many hobbies or interests out with farming?

Football and darts. For anyone who may not have picked up on the choice names for some of my bulls, I am an avid Glasgow Rangers supporter. I also play darts throughout the winter in the local darts league.

Could you imagine your life without showing?

Definitely not no. Showing is a big part of my life and my business. The last two years with no summer shows has been tough. We are looking forward to getting back to the local summer shows and preparations and halter training are well under way, with four cattle breeds in the Fodderletter show team this year.