A RECORD number of competition entries and nearly 100 guests attended the largest ever Scottish Egg Quality Awards dinner at Murrayshall House Hotel, Perth in May.

Iain Campbell, Poultry Specialist at ForFarmers, hosted the evening, sponsored by ForFarmers and SRUC: “I am very pleased that, over its 31-year history we have almost doubled both entries to the competition as well as the guest list! This event has become the premier industry event for egg production in Scotland.

There were a total of 46 entries in this year’s competition, which included six newcomers. Judging was held at SRUC Poultry Unit, Auchincruive, Ayr, with the collection date on March 27.

The John Cessford Young Person of the Year award was presented to 21-year-old Claire Strathern of Egglicious Eggs, Stirling, who got her 10 hens for her fifteenth birthday and six years on has grown her flock to reach 16000 by the end of this year.

Gordon Whiteford, Highland eggs won the inaugural Niche Eggs category with his white eggs which hail from his 10k organic flock and 4k free-range. He also received a certificate for outstanding quality for his organic eggs.

This year’s winner of the Organic Category was presented to Gosford Organics which was founded in September 2006 and is situated on the historic Gosford Estate, where they look after 30,000 brown organic free-range laying hens which are separated into ten lots of 3000 birds.

Willie Taylor and Gillian Taylor were the winners of the producer award, receiving the silver quaich. They were delighted to pick up the accolade on their fourth time entering the competition.

The hotly contested SEQA shield & overall winner prize was presented to the winner of the independent producer/retailer category – Corrie Mains, Ayrshire. Ross Smillie accepted the award on behalf of his family’s business, which his parents Jim and Anne Smillie started in 1996 and in which he and his brother James now work.

Corrie Mains farm is home to six flocks of hens, each with 3-6K hens, housed in flat-deck units. “We pride ourselves on welfare and are proud to focus on quality over quantity.” The Scottish Government Poultry Unit also presented him with their Marketing Award – for excellence in quality.