TWO Scottish breeders have been presented with 'lifetime achievement' awards at the 2021 Ayrshire Cattle Society Conference, which was held in Northumberland, recently.

Sanquhar-based Alex Kirkpatrick – one of the recipients – is an elite Ayrshire breeder who has served the society through all its levels, right to the very top. As a breeder he was the caretaker of the Barr herd, which was founded by his grandfather, also Alex, in 1919 and at the time of his record dispersal in 2009, Barr was the oldest Ayrshire herds still registering.

As well as outstanding milking cows Alex and his forefathers prided themselves in producing cows with outstanding conformation and produced constant show winners, from Barr Pamela, the London Dairy show winner in 1923, right through to when Barr Ranger Lottie – the top priced cow at the dispersal sale – which went on to be the inter-breed champion for Ann Laird, at Agriscot, in 2010. Although the herd is now dispersed, his legacy carries on and is prominent in many herds today.

He served on the society's council for a number of years and became president in 2002/2003 and was a director of Cattle Services from 2004 until 2017, being chairman for the last six years of this service. Alex took Cattle Services forward to be more open and transparent and made an excellent job of staff transitions.

The other recipient was Willie Stevenson, a breeder who has worked with Ayrshires his whole life and has also had a big involvement with the society. He was one of the two original founding members of the Wigtownshire Ayrshire Cattle Club, and president of that club in 1975-76, he was also president of the society in 1988-89 and is an honorary president of Stranraer Agricultural Show and an honorary patron of Wigtown Agricultural Show.

Stevenson’s Ayrshire herd was shaped by Willie through home-bred sires, Stevenson’s New Generation, Stevenson’s New Year, Stevenson’s Benjamin, and Stevenson’s Saltire, but also influenced by key purchases. He had many successful cow families such as Marcia, Bunty, White Lady, and Buttercup.

In the show ring, he had been successful in winning Ayrshire breed and reserve inter-breed champion at the Royal Show in 1995 with Stevenson’s Bunty 58; exhibitor bred champion and inter-breed heifer champion at the Royal Highland in 2000 and in the same year he was also reserve breed champion, inter-breed heifer champion at the Royal with Stevenson’s Marcia Ex96. Marcia was the first 95 and subsequently 96-point Ayrshire cow in the UK.

He also won many local Stranraer, Wigtown, Dumfries, Ayr and national breed, and inter-breed championships with favourites such as Buttercup 50; Bunty 59; and Bunty 114. In the Wigtown herds competition the Stevenson name is found on every cup and at Stranraer Show Willie’s name is on the champion cup 18 times, with a string of inter-breed wins.