KINGAN FARMS in New Abbey have been named the winners of the prestigious AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award, proving their quality in a class of high calibre finalists from across Scotland.

The Dumfries and Galloway farm is a family partnership which looks after 475-hectare-owned and tenanted enterprise across four locations in Dumfries. They run a beef finishing system with a turnover of approximately 1400 cattle per year – a mixture of continental and native breeds.

On arrival, all cattle are weighed, tagged with an EID tag and batched according to weight. Kingan Farms are self-sufficient in terms of grazing, grass silage and whole crop, with straw and some locally grown barley the only regular external inputs.

They are proud of the close working relationships they maintain throughout their supply chain, from calf producers to processor all of which helps them meet the needs and quality expected by end users.

Kingan Farm has been using electronic identification (EID) management tags for more than 10 years and have adopted new software on a Bluetooth system which has improved cattle handling and monitoring and has also allowed a paperless system at the crush.

Alongside their cattle management systems, they use a variety of different software, which can be accessed by each employee or contractor via an app to monitor performance.

Social media plays an important role in helping them tell their story and although it doesn’t play a part in improving efficiency or profitability, they believe sharing their experience will create an understanding with consumers of what it takes to produce quality assured Scotch Beef.

As well as winning the coveted title, Kingan Farms also received a £500 cheque as well as a £250 voucher to celebrate their success at a Scotch Beef Club restaurant. The club, run by QMS, has around 150 members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef PGI.

The Kingan family were delighted to pick up the top prize: “We are really pleased to be announced as winners of this award, especially when we were up against two other great farms. The hard work and commitment of all our team for producing top quality Scotch Beef PGI in a high welfare environment has paid off and it is great to receive recognition for this.”

It was a close contest between the final three but runner up prize went to Scholland Farm in Shetland run by Jamie Leslie and third place to Firth Farm in Melrose run by the Livesey family.

The judging panel comprised of AgriScot chair Robert Neill, QMS director of strategic engagement Douglas Bell and previous winner of the award in 2018, Niall Jeffrey.

Mr Bell remarked on the quality on the applicants for this year’s award: “It was an absolute privilege to visit the finalists along with my fellow assessors. The enthusiasm and passion displayed by the management teams at each farm was truly inspiring. All three demonstrated business acumen of the highest level, combined with the dedication, commitment required to produce stock of the highest quality.

“In terms of our winners, I was particularly impressed with their attention to detail, not only in terms of the physical and financial performance of their finishing enterprise but also with their efforts to produce exactly what the market requires. Constant communication with their processor helps them fine tune their enterprise but also provides feedback which is passed on to their calf suppliers to help them make sound management decisions.”

Mr Neill added: “I would like to thank all the farms entered for this award. The industry needs people who are willing to step forward as ambassadors, especially in the present climate.

“I would also give huge congratulations to our finalists, especially to our Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, Kingan Farms and to the farmers, families and teams behind these successful enterprises.”