Taking centre stage in this week's Stockmen of our Time series is the talented and renowned dairy farmer, Brian Weatherup jnr.

Famous for his 'showing' beard, he shared his career highlights and stockman experiences with The Scottish Farmer.

What’s your background?

My childhood was spent growing up on our family farm, Tailend, located at Bathgate, before moving to Parkend Farm, at Crossgates, in Fife.

I began working with the Lesmay herd, which was founded by my father and grandfather, before I established my own herd, in 1996, known as Parkend Holsteins.

I’m currently still working with – and hopefully improving – both herds as well as my wife, Gillian’s small herd, PinUpGirl Holsteins and my sister, Amy’s small herd, Moozik Holsteins.

As busy as it sounds, the four small herds are now managed as one big herd and are all currently milked through four Fulwood M2erlin robots.

What got you into showing livestock in the first place?

My father’s love and passion for showing is what inspired and got me into showing.

We showed at lots of local shows like Kinross, Dalkeith, Fife, Dunfermline, Stirling and the Royal Highland Show, as well as the Scottish Winter Fair and DairyScot – now known as AgriScot.

We also showed at lots of calf shows, in both calf classes and showmanship classes so we have had a lot of experience in the ring.

What qualities do you like about the breeds that you work with over others?

The Holstein cow is just the most beautiful and extreme dairy animal, oozing capacity, femininity and style that no other breed can match. They are the ultimate milking cow breed.

What was your first Royal Highland Show?

I think it was in 1995 – I would have been 14 years old.

My older cousin, Leslie, went to the show with me and I remember that we slept on the bales in the old cattle lines – great times with great people.

Which was the best animal that you’ve ever shown?

We’ve been fortunate to have shown lots of great cows over the years, but I think Parkend Jacob Betsy Ex93 was a once in a lifetime cow.

Unfortunately, we only managed to get a couple of show seasons out of her, but she’ll be a hard cow to beat.

But what was the best animal that you’d ever seen – here or abroad?

That would have to be the Holstein cow, Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra Ex97, in Switzerland. It 's hard to imagine a more perfect cow in my opinion.

Changes over the years in the showing world – good and bad?

One obvious change would be the drop in participation at shows – that is the most disappointing thing, in my opinion.

The harsh reality is that people just don’t have the time to spend preparing livestock for shows anymore, it is seen as more of a luxury nowadays.

The best thing has been the improvement in quality, particularly udder quality in the last 10 years, in all dairy breeds. Udder texture has improved at a crazy rate.

You’re most abiding memory?

The memory that stands out in my mind would be taking Parkend Director Starlet Red Ex92 to represent the UK at the European Holstein Show, in Colmar, France, in 2016 – it was such an incredible experience to be a part of.

Biggest disappointment in your career?

I’ve been disappointed too many times to single out one moment but there’s no point dwelling on disappointments – that won’t get you anywhere.

Pick yourself up, get back in the game and if you’re stood at the bottom of the class then the only way is up.

The Scottish Farmer:

Brain Weatherup leads PinUpGirl Awesome Stockings during the junior two-year-old Holstein class at the Borderway UK Dairy Expo    Ref:RH140320205  Rob Haining / The Scottish Farmer...

Most influential person in your career?

That would have to be my father.

He still loves shows and showing as much as he did 40 years ago and I hope I’m still as enthusiastically showing at his age.

What’s been your favourite show over the years and why?

There are so many great shows around the country to only pick one from, but the Royal Highland is very hard to beat – if only for the kist parties and all the great times had in The Herdsman.

The Swiss Expo would have to be my favourite show to travel to. The cows there are incredible and the atmosphere is unbeatable.

Your choice of best stockman ever?

I have been lucky to know incredible stockmen, from all over the UK, as well as the some from across the globe – there are too many great people to pick just one.

Best and worse advice you’ve ever received?

Best advice would be to put the work in at home – that’s way more important than any of the stuff you do at the show.

Good forage and a proper feed programme is the difference between winning and losing with livestock.

Worst advice involves somebody suggesting going to the bar for ‘just one drink’ the night before a show. Never ends well!

Biggest showing achievement?

There’s not one big one, more so all of the show champions that I’ve been on the halter for. There’s no better feeling than being tapped out as first in the championship class.

What’s the future of the show circuit?

The future of the show circuit is bright, with lots of talented young showmen and women coming through, especially in Scotland! The first show after lockdown is going to be epic!