Born and bred in Barrhill, South Ayrshire, on a family run beef, sheep and dairy farm, was where Drew Hyslop, first got an interest in agriculture before pursuing a career as a stockmen.

Drew landed his first job when he moved away from home to work with the Fisher family, at Castlewigg, and it was here, after working for 18 months, that he produced his first Perth Bull Sales champion, a Limousin, in 2006.

In 2007, he made the decision to move north, replacing Ian Anderson at the Grahams Limousin herd in Stirling – where many successes have been gained since.

On and off, Drew also worked alongside Mike and Mel Alford, Foxhill, for four years, where he learnt a vast amount, including an in-depth knowledge of the myostatin gene and the complete dedication needed to secure the success so many dream of.

Drew also established his own herd, under the Bangtidy prefix, though there’s just three breeding cows, with his top price to date being 6800gns paid for the heifer Bangtidy J’adore. Bangtidy bulls have reached 6500gns for Notorious.

Along with the cattle, Drew also runs a small Beltex flock and was greatly encouraged by Ali Jackson, of the Tiptop flock.

He purchased embryos to set him off in 2017 and has already had great success attaining a third at the Royal Highland, fourth at the Great Yorkshire and first at the Royal Welsh in 2018.

What’s your favourite breed?

It has to be the Limousins for me, they are what the modern-day market requires both commercially and pedigree, and getting a balance of both is crucial to please all types in producing the best cattle. If you can breed the right cattle, there’s plenty of success to be had in both the show and sale rings.

How did you get involved with showing?

As well as being brought up on the family farm, it was Ian Anderson, senior, who got me hooked, showing commercial cattle to start with. He took me to have a look at Hugh Dunlop’s cattle at Holehouse, where I purchased my first commercial calf, a Charolais cross heifer and it all began from there.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Without a doubt it is working with good quality stock and being able to bring them out to make them even better.

I also enjoy the people you meet through the job both socially and through business. It is a great industry to be part of and being able to love what you do is a bonus.

The best animal you have ever shown?

Both Samy and Grahams Melody are ones that stand out for me, purely for what they have managed to achieve over their time.

It is hard to pick just one and with trends always changing and markets constantly looking for different components in cattle – who knows what cattle will look like in 10 years’ time ...

Most influential people in your career?

There is not one person who stands out, you can learn something from everyone and from every situation, as well as needing a bit of luck on your side.

I have been very fortunate to work with some great stockmen over the years – Ian Anderson, junior and senior; Hugh Dunlop, Dennis Gall, and Ali Jackson – as well as working for some of the top breeders in the country – Mel and Mike Alford and Robert Graham – to help gain the experience that I have now.

What’s your favourite show?

The Royal Highland has got to be the one. Showcasing such a magnificent industry and one for everyone in the agriculture industry to be involved in from cattle, to sheep and trade stands.

It is a great advert for farming and the countryside, and allows the best livestock to be on show and to express your hard work.

Biggest achievements over the years?

There are many to choose from throughout my career, all of which have played an important part in my experience and where I am today. Although we all want a champion in the show ring, it is crucial that they make the money in the sale ring too – otherwise it is not a sustainable way forward.

2007 – Breed champion and reserve breed champion, and reserve inter-breed champion at the Royal Highland, as well as male champion, reserve champion and the Burke Trophy for the third consecutive year at the Royal Show, which is something that has never been done by the same animal.

2008 – Producing two Perth Bull Sales champions.

2016 – Reserve male champion, beef breeder champion at the Royal Highland as well as picking up the John Miller Trophy – for best stock person at the show. Later in the year, saw Grahams Lorenzo stand National Limousin reserve male champion at Carlisle, before going on to sell for 40,000gns, as well as the heifer, Grahams Lizzie, attaining 16,500gns. Red Ladies champion, Grahams Lily topped the sale at 32,000gns, with nine females grossing 98,000gns.

2017 – Another Red Ladies title with Grahams Malibu, making 25,000gns. At the same sale, the Grahams herd broke the weaned calf record with the 11-month-old heifer, Natalie, selling for 38,000gns and the bull, Nashville making 20,000gns at the same age.

2018 – Was a year for hat-tricks starting off with Grahams Niaomi, taking breed champion and inter-breed at the Royal Highland. Success continued down to the Great Yorkshire and the Royal Welsh picking up breed champion and reserve inter-breed with Grahams Melody.

Smashing more records, frozen embryos made £8000 – which was a UK record price, raising money for a North Ireland children hospice – I implanted the resulting embryo and managed to achieve twin heifer calves for new breeder, Stuart Perkins, London, Hartmoor, Haywood, Bath.

Topping the year off, we led the Red Ladies sale for the third year on the trot, with Grahams Nicki selling for 20,000gns, and two heifers peaking at 11,000gns and 9000gns.

A personal highlight had to be winning Smithfield in 2013 before going on to sell the winner, Bangtidy – originally purchased from Hugh Dunlop – for £8000.

Best advice received?

Robert Wilson and I went over to America to gain showing experience and to see how they achieved the results they do.

It was a life changing experience and taught us both influential skills, but the best advice to come out of it was: ‘You don’t win the show at the show’. It is won with the hours of preparation prior to any show or sale day. You need to put the work in to achieve the best results.

There are no shortcuts in this career.

Abiding memories?

Winning Smithfield 2013 with Bangtidy was a great achievement for me before she went on to sell for £8000. Quite fitting that this was achieved 10 years after first purchasing my first calf from Hugh Dunlop, Holehouse.

Taking champion, top price and highest herd average for three consecutive years at the Red Ladies sale is another, and one that no other herd has done before. It is incredible to get consistent results and prove that you have the top-quality stock that people are looking for.

What changes have you seen over the years?

The science and data have improved significantly to be able to predict figures more accurately.

Years ago, when I started, there few people knew about myostatin genes and a lot of the beasts were ‘peas in a pod’. By understanding myostatins you can breed them to be desirable and what is wanted in both the current show ring and the marketplace.

There is no comparison as to what we were breeding then and what is coming out nowadays.

Future of showing?

Although it is not to be this year, the show circuit has had many successes over the years, and showcases the people who are passionate about their jobs and their livestock. It is great for all to get involved and there will always be a sociable aspect of it too.

There are plenty of youngsters coming through, both commercially and pedigree it is great to see that there is still a need for them.

When the shows do continue after Covid-19, they will be as strong as ever and will continue to get stronger in the foreseeable future.