SPENCER HAYES, widely recognised as one of the foremost farm management consultants in Scotland, died suddenly, at his home in Meigle, Perthshire, on August 31.

Mr Hayes was born in Dublin in April 1938 to a farming family of Scottish descent from the Ulster Plantation. He went to Dublin High School and then attended Trinity College, Dublin, where he achieved a double degree – MA and a first in Agricultural Science.

He was then offered a scholarship at Oxford where he studied economics and from there a further scholarship at Cornell University in upstate New York, where he spent two years at the Management and Business School graduating with a Masters degree.

On his return to the UK, Mr Hayes joined Warwick-based agricultural consultants Lugg and Gould in 1964, and as the consultancy business grew, he established offices in Inverness, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

In 1971, along with Moray farmer and hotelier, the late Gordon Henderson, he set up Hayes Henderson, based in Elgin with another office in Aberdeen, and later in 1981, along with Alex McCubbin and Andrew Macfarlane, the firm of Hayes McCubbin Macfarlane was established.

Mr Hayes moved from Elgin to Meigle in 1982 when crop management consultancy became an important part of the business. Shortly after, in addition to farm management consultancy, HMM became heavily involved in the trading of potato, milk and livestock quotas.

The firm grew rapidly during the late 1980s and 1990s, with Mr Hayes at the helm, operating out of offices in Alyth and Aberdeen and dealing with farmers throughout the whole of the UK, particularly in milk quota trading, and later single farm payment entitlements.

He retired from HMM in September, 2008, after 45 years of practice in agricultural management consultancy and land agency. He was active in Rotary where he had many friends, taking on the office of president of the Blairgowrie club in 2008.

He is survived by his wife Jessie, daughter Joanna, son Donald, and two grandchildren.

Paying tribute to his former colleague, Tom Stewart, Aberdeen-based partner with land agents Galbraith, who merged the HMM business with Galbraith following his retirement, said he was a remarkable man with a great commercial mind.

“I had the good fortune to work with Spencer as a partner in HMM for a number of years,” said Mr Stewart. “He had a most refreshing approach to business and was very astute. He was so easy to work with and had a great sense of humour.”

Longstanding friend and former partner, Andrew Macfarlane, who worked with him for many years, added: “Spencer was a man of wise counsel, of great support, and guided HMM through a most successful period in challenging times.”