Limousin cattle are renowned for their superior shape, carcase, meat quality and ease of calving – key attributes in producing superior quality breeding cattle for Anthony Renton at Stuartslaw Farm, Allanton, Duns.

With Limousin-sired cattle dominating prime sales on a weekly basis and proving to be the most popular choice of butchers, Anthony believes that this reliant French breed has a strong future ahead of it.

"To put it simply, the Limousin is the 'complete breed'. Obviously, I am biased but there is a very strong argument that given the numbers involved and the dominance the breed enjoys, that the Limousin ticks all the boxes for both the commercial and pedigree farmer," Anthony stated.

"The maternal traits are what make the Limousin cow the must-have bovine fashion accessory. She calves easy, she milks plenty and she settles back in calf quickly.

"Other breeds require much more feeding to achieve the level of flesh a Limousin can produce and then there is the fact that they are a joy to work with. The cows are hard workers, which bodes well for us as we need cows that hold to the bull as soon as possible," he added.

Anthony founded the Meadowrig Limousin herd in 2009, however, it was during his childhood that his passion for the breed was instilled whilst watching his father, Stuart Renton, work as stockman at the well-known Broadmeadows herd of Limousins and Belted Galloways, based at Paxton in Berwickshire.

Now comprising of 60 pedigree cows, the herd features highly sought-after genetics including some from Brockhurst, Haltcliffe and Foxhillfarm, which Anthony believes is one of the reasons his herd now finds itself at the forefront of the pedigree Limousin world.

"Given my long-term admiration of the Broadmeadows cattle in the early days, I was keen to inject some of their breeding into my herd so we flushed one of the foundation cows – Woodhouse Sara from Geoff Blood – to Broadmeadows Luigi and were delighted with the two heifers that were born, known as Eva and Era," said Anthony.

"These two females went on to have a major impact on our breeding programme, with daughters often winning prizes in the annual herd competition and consistently being placed in the top tickets at both local and national level."

Another foundation female that has made her mark on the Meadowrig herd is Brockhurst Fuzzy, purchased as a calf suckling a recipient dam at Doug Mash's on-farm sale. Her legacy will live on through her daughters, which seemed to impress the last three Scottish club herd competition judges, who awarded Fuzzy 'best cow family in Scotland'.

Adding to these superior female genetics, have been some top Limousin sires, to include bulls from the breed's native homeland, France.

"We have also invested in a number of French breeding lines, mainly sourced with the help of Jean Luc Kress. I have always been impressed with the depth of breeding the French put into their cattle with our first stock bull, Festival, bought at the KBS prestige sale for €16,800, a result of their superior knowledge of genetics and stockmanship," Anthony added.

"His daughters are simply outstanding breeding machines that calf, milk and settle. They have the attributes that make Limousin females great, combining not only conformation and power but also milk."

Hence, purchasing the right bull is key to Anthony's breeding programme with potential sires having to meet his high standards before they even get a chance to look at a Meadowrig cow.

"Legs, feet and flesh are a major focus for me when selecting a bull, as well as keeping a close eye on fertility and ease of calving. Each new addition brings something new and we are always looking to improve.

"The breed needs to be very careful about maintaining an easy calving trait given it is has been one of the competitive advantages that has kept Limousins on top for so long. Muscle is very much sought after but it cannot be to the detriment of the other traits," he stated.

The herd is split into two groups consisting of 40 spring calvers and 20 autumn calvers, with the majority of cattle brought inside for monitoring during calving.

In order to produce a more uniform crop of calves, Anthony and stockman, Alistair Cormack, have constricted the bulling period to eight weeks for both groups. During bulling and calving periods cows are fed a simple diet of home-grown silage, straw and a source of minerals, to ensure cows aren't overweight and avoid calving problems.

Calves are weaned at seven months of age and brought indoors to be fed a specialised concentrate diet from Galloway and MacLeod, with bulls receiving a larger proportion of feeding while the heifer calves have access to the creep feed at grass.

Bulls are selected and prepared for sale either at Carlisle or for the Stirling Bull Sales at 15-18 months of age, while the majority of the heifers are retained as replacements.

"We keep as many replacements as possible as we are pretty rigorous when it comes to moving the herd forward, in order to have a young and productive group of cattle," Anthony stated.

It's a policy which is obviously paying dividends too as Meadowrig bulls are proving popular in the sale rings, with last year's team of nine bulls cashing in at £6500 per head.

"A good number of Meadowrig bulls were sold into pedigree herds last year to include Ronick, Killerton and Calogale, amongst others. We are also excited by this year's calves on the ground and are convinced that buyers need a sound product that performs well," he added.

Commenting on the herd's entries for Stirling, he said: "We have a super bull for Stirling, Meadowrig Paxton, which combines the easy calving lines of Festival and the 30,000gns Giunnerfleet Mongo. He will be the first Mongo son forward at Stirling and we hope buyers will like him."

Anthony also strives to maintain a high health status and operates a strict culling policy, ensuring only the best are kept for breeding.

"We cull anything with continuous health issues like feet problems but we also focus on fertility – if a cow loses a calf, she will be culled. Cows producing average quality stock get two chances before being culled, as breeding quality is hugely important to us," he said.

As well as managing the pedigree Limousins, the Meadowrig team also run a small herd of Aberdeen-Angus cattle, as well as a few commercial breeding cows.

"We currently have two pedigree Angus cows and two heifers so the plan is to gradually build up numbers through embryo transplant or buying in females," Alistair Cormack commented.

"We also use Simmental cross Luing cattle as embryo recipients, as well as Limousin cross British Blue cows that are put back to a Limousin bull to produce commercial cattle with the hope of showing at the fatstock shows."

Whilst managing a busy farm, Anthony and Alistair ensure they make time to attend and support both local and national agricultural shows, where they have certainly made their mark over the years.

"We love attending shows as they are the biggest and brightest shop window for our stock. There is no doubt that time and money are scarce commodities in the farming world but the investment in showing stock is worth it," Anthony said.

"We have won a number of breed and inter-breed titles at Northumberland County, the Border Union, Berwickshire and Haddington Shows. To date, we have not been as lucky at any of the Royals but that day will hopefully come!

"We did however, secure the title of best overall herd in Scotland in 2020 and were also awarded best cow family for Brockhurst Fuzzy, the best 2019-born bull with Meadowrig Pedro, second prize stockbull and progeny with Homebyres Macadoo and finally, best large herd," Anthony added.

Anthony is also optimistic for the future outwith the EU: "If I'm honest, I think Brexit could be more of an opportunity in the long term rather than a hindrance. Obviously there is a lot of debate surrounding payments and we will keep a close eye on that but I think the current payment system in Europe is unsustainable and would've been coming in for reform anyway, certainly on a European level.

"We need to find ways to make sure that farming is sustainable in this country and I believe there is a genuine support in government for that basic idea. Hopefully Brexit will shine a light to reveal how great British produce is and open us up to new markets around the world, which could be a huge opportunity for British farming," he concluded.

Meadowrig has four Limousins heading to Carlisle alongside two Limousins for the forth coming Bull Sales at Stirling, and stockman Alistair and his wife, Doreen also have an Angus.


  • Meadowrig herd comprises 60 pedigree Limousin cows and was founded in 2009 by Anthony Renton, based at Stuartslaw, Duns, which is reliant on 80 acres of good grazing ground and another 100 acre unit leased for grazing and making silage.
  • Heifers calved at three years of age.
  • Calving mainly indoors in spring and autumn groups, with cows fed minerals, silage and straw.
  • Calves weaned at seven-months
  • Stockman, Alistair Cormack
  • Additional four pedigree Aberdeen Angus cows and selective commercial cow herd


  • Best advice?: Stick to your breeding principles. Don't be swayed by fashions that abandon the basics of what makes a good breeding animal.
  • Best investment?: Woodhouse Sara purchased at the Woodhouse dispersal for 2300gns with her bull calf at foot which has bred really great females for us. The bull calf went on to make 5000gns at Perth.
  • Favourite cow?: Meadowrig Eva – a great cow with a fantastic attitude to life. Her tag reads 001 and she really believes it.
  • Favourite restaurant?: The Allanton Inn at the farm road-end. It is run by a fantastic couple from Edinburgh and they have built a thriving business using local suppliers. Doreen and Alistair have enjoyed plenty take-aways in lockdown.
  • Favourite holiday?: It would be the club trip to Northern Ireland. We saw some great cattle, experienced some excellent hospitality and even managed to keep the adoring public at arm's length from our celebrity farming couple, Mr and Mrs Irvine Snr of Anside and This Farming life fame.