BIELGRANGE near Dunbar, run by Niall Jeffrey in partnership with his father Angus, has been announced as the winner of 2018 AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award.

The Jeffrey family runs two spring calving herds over three farm units – the 300 hectare lowland Bielgrange farm and 240 hectare upland Weatherly farm where they run 250 Aberdeen Angus cross sucklers, and Halls Farm where they contract farm 160 Aberdeen-Angus cross suckler cows.

The aim of the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award, which is run by AgriScot and Quality Meat Scotland and sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors, is to showcase excellence in the production of cattle in Scotland and raise the profile of the dedication and stock management skills behind the production of Scotch Beef PGI.

Following the announcement, Niall Jeffrey was keen to praise the efforts of his team, including his three members of staff. He said: "We were honoured just to be nominated for the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award but to become a finalist, and then go on to win, makes me even more proud of our team.”

The other two finalists in this year’s award were Poldean near Moffat, run by husband and wife team Alisdair and Emma Davidson, and Midtown of Glass near Huntly, run by Gary and Angela Christie with help from their son Adam.

The Jeffrey's and their team calve both their herds from March to May in a mixture of indoor and outdoor accommodation and are then moved to grazing from mid-April when they enter a rotational grazing system for the first half of the summer to try and utilise the grass growth. Calves are EID tagged at birth and weaned outside before being housed in an outside corral and wintered on straw, bruised barley, dark grains and sugar beet pulp. They are then grazed from April to July before being housed from August to finish around 16-18 months.

The assessors for the award this year were AgriScot chairman, Robert Neill, director of industry development at QMS, Doug Bell and Robert Fleming from Castle Sinniness, AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year 2017.

Robert Fleming was quick to praise all three businesses that were up for the award, saying: "The finalists are all excellent examples of Scotch Beef production. They each have very different systems but all share a common focus on ensuring their businesses return a profit."

He praised winners, Bielgrange, commenting: "Understanding their opportunities with location and other enterprises in the farming business has led the Jeffrey's to develop a beef enterprise that not only compliments their overall system but produces highly sought-after prime cattle. Utilising collaboration and technology to maximise cattle performance and keep a firm control of costs."

Douglas Bell added: “It was a real pleasure to visit all three farms and to meet farmers who are focused on making the very best of the resources they have.”

Partner in the land and rural business team at Thorntons Solicitors, Kenneth Mackay, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award; it is a wonderful way to celebrate the fantastic beef industry we have in Scotland. Many congratulations to the Jeffrey’s on their success this year.”