BERWICKSHIRE pedigree Aberdeen-Angus breeders, John and Marion Tilson and their daughter, Wanda Hobbs, Wedderlie, Gordon, Duns, were announced as winners of the '2014 Scotch Beef Farm of the Year', at AgriScot.

This was a fine end to a historic year for the family, as their herd celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this autumn.

Their 2500-acre unit is home to 200 pedigree Aberdeen-Angus cows, calving in autumn and spring, as well as 1750 ewes, which are now a mix of Cheviots, Blackface, Mules and Texel crosses.

Only the best male calves are kept as bulls, selected for structural soundness, weight and performance with the remainder castrated and sold as store yearlings or finished off grass with the AA premium. Recent abattoir feedback revealed steer deadweights averaging 362kg at 17 months with U and R4L Grades.

Using Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for weights, EMA, fat cover and milk for example, the Tilsons balance the terminal and maternal traits with temperament.

Replacement heifers are selected from cows calved in the first six weeks of a nine week cycle and any cows or heifers not in calf are culled to ensure fertility traits are sustained. They find calving at two years old is a fundamental to make their herd pay.

The other four finalists were: Glenkilrie, near Blairgowrie, in Perthshire, run by David Houstoun; West Meikle Pinkerton, near Dunbar, East Lothian, run by James Gilchrist, along with his father, Jim and brother, David; and Wester Bonhard, near Scone, in Perthshire, run by Graham Cameron, his father, Sandy and mother, Ann.