Bridge of Allan producer, Roy McFarlane, has become the first national president of the Hampshire Down sheep breed in the 128-year history of the association.

One of the most enthusiastic breeders within the association, Mr McFarlane has been breeding Hampshire Downs for 10 years, and has been instrumental in increasing flock numbers in Scotland, which have risen from just three in 2007, to in excess of 30 in 2017.

"We are seeing growing interest in the breed from pedigree and commercial breeders alike which is most encouraging," said Mr McFarlane who together with his wife Sheena own the Lecropt flock. "It does take a wee while for producers to buy a Hampshire ram, but once they've seen how the lambs perform and grow, they more or less always come back for another.

"The Hampshire Down Sheep Breeders' Association does not have the power or the money to promote the breed as much as other breed societies, but as a pedigree breed I do believe the Hampshire has everything.

"Hampshires are a great terminal sire being able to survive extremes of temperature from hot to cold. They're very hardy, good converters of grass, easy to lamb and the lambs have plenty of vigour and will be up and 'sooked' within a couple of minutes. They're also great mothers and their lambs are fast growing and fast finishing. What else would you want when labour is tight on farms and feed costs are rising all the time?

"If you really want, you can even get three crops out of them in two years," added Mr McFarlane, who will be looking to increase the breed's market share in his two-year stint as national president.