Low cost, low input systems are the ultimate goals in any farming operation and Nairn-based farmers, David and Beverly Walker, believe they have achieved both in their Galcantray pedigree herd of Aberdeen-Angus cattle.

Having celebrated the herd’s 40th anniversary in February 2020, David’s heart has always belonged to the Angus having grown up in the far north of Scotland surrounded by the native breed and enticed by their good temperament and fleshing ability.

“I grew up half a mile from the renowned Kinermony Angus herd, based at Speyside, and I fell in love with the breed there and then,” said David.

“I like the Angus because they are native and for their ease of management and easy calving abilities. They have fantastic temperaments and can produce good fat cattle and quality pedigree bulls – they make the ideal all-round terminal sire,” David said.

David has spent years introducing the correct bloodlines and genetics in a bid to constantly improve the quality of his cattle in his 150-cow closed herd.

“We are looking to breed cattle that are fleshy with good length and locomotion, as well as having a reasonable backside on them. I’m not looking for a beast with heavy muscling – I much prefer a smooth fleshed cow and I’m confident we’re hitting the right mark,” he stated.

Most of David’s foundation females derived from the Kinermony, Findhorn, Haymount, Netherton and Wedderlie herds, with frozen embryos imported from top herds based in Canada and New Zealand, to introduce new bloodlines and bigger framed cattle.

David also aims to buy nothing but the best stock bulls to ensure attractive and superior Angus progeny are born.

“When choosing a bull, they must have good legs and be well fleshed, however, I cannot stand a bull that doesn’t have a good head! I know it’s not an important thing but in the pedigree world, the animal has too stand out and look great,” explained David.

One bull that has definitely left a lasting impression on the herd is the 1990 Royal Highland Show inter-breed champion, Sunset Acres Bang, purchased in 1996 from the Humbie herd.

“This bull had scale, eyes and presence, as well as a lot of breed character. His calves were bigger and longer and his daughters were the best we have ever bred and significantly improved our herd,” commented David. “His progeny were big and milky and for six years running, our entire show team were bred out of his daughters,” he stated. “One of daughters, Galcantray Eurovine, stood champion at the Royal Show, whilst his son, Galcantray Mr Jolte, was reserve champion at the Royal Highland Show.”

Galcantray cows are in-wintered purely on silage, straw and minerals, allowing the cattle to thrive without being pushed or getting overweight. Bulls are put out with the cows for 10 weeks, with the herd split into groups of 110 spring calvers and 40 autumn calvers. Calving kicks off mid March indoors, before all are then gradually moved back outside as soon as possible. Calves are weaned at seven months of age and are brought indoors to a 17% P feed blend from Insch-based nutritional business, Norvite, while bulls are fed a higher quality to ensure they are fit for the sale ring.

“Working with Charolais cattle just into perspective how easy care the Angus are in terms of calving and management ease. However, there are certain genetic strains within the breed that are not calving as easy as they should do and this is quickly becoming a problem across the board,” David explained.

“Part of problem is the management of the cattle. There are far too many cows being kept in show condition, resulting in cows being overweight and producing certain strains of deep chested and wide shouldered calves.”

When it comes to selecting replacement females, David has high expectations and a strict culling policy to ensure only the best are retained.

“Anything that doesn’t fit the breed standards or will make a good breeding animal is sold store. We also cull anything that portrays bad behaviour, lack of milk and poor locomotion to ensure we only produce quality stock,” he said.

“Up to the present day, we have been keeping most of our females in order to retain a young and highly productive herd. We have been slowly improving and increasing our numbers, which will allow us to offer some females for sale in the near future,” David added.

The farm also relies on cattleman, Callum Innes and tractorman, Darren Miln, to ensure the smooth running of operations and upkeep the farm’s high livestock husbandry standards. Beverly’s daughter Nicole also helps at shows and sales.

David also finds time to compete at local and national shows with cattle and his other love, Clydesdale horses.

“We took a few years out from the show ring but we’re back now and have been doing reasonably well! In 2018, our cow, Galcantray Pam, featured in the Angus groups that swept the board in the winning inter-breed team the Royal Highland Show,” he said. “My now overgrown hobby is Clydesdale horses, as we’re up to 30 in total. I’ve had great success with them in the show ring over the years,” David added.

Looking to the future, David is confident that the all-blacks will have a dominant influence in the quality and quantity of Scottish beef found on our supermarket shelves.

“The Scottish beef industry needs to regain the name and reputation it had in years gone bye and the Aberdeen-Angus is a real competitor in terms of meat quality. They look outstanding and the meat from them is second to none.”

Galcantray will have six bulls forward for Stirling Bull Sales, next weekend.


  • Easter Galcantray rises to 550ft above sea-level and is made up of 360acres, comprising of 100 acres rough grazing with the rest arable, with all ground owned.
  • Another 110 acres of arable ground was bought 20 years, a mile away from main farm and used for silage, hay and wintering sheep from the Macpherson family, at Blackford.
  • Herd of 150 pedigree Aberdeen-Angus cattle and 30 Clydesdale horses.
  • Heifers calf at three years of age and only calves are fed concentrates.
  • All cattle outwintered on a diet of silage, straw and minerals.
  • Buy in straw and cereals from neighbours.
  • All feeding come from Norvite at Insch, all minerals etc.
  • Labour: cattleman, Callum Innes. Tractorman, Darren Miln.


  • Best investment?: Definitely our calf catching crate that we purchased from America two years ago. It’s turned the job of tagging newborns into a one man job with total safety.
  • Favourite restaurant?: David’s Steak Bar, located in Edmonton, Alberta – which is no longer in existence – always provided a great meal!
  • Highlights?: It would be having Galcantray Predator stand supreme at Perth Bull Sales, in 1998, and then sell for 18,000gns – our highest price to date.
  • If you could pick a favourite breed of cattle other than the Angus, what would it be and why?: Definitely the Shorthorn because they are similar to the Angus in terms of their attributes. They are hardy, easy managed and high in quality in terms of meat.