One man who has outdone quite a few seasoned campaigners in the sale ring and holds three Limousin priced records, is Garry Patterson, of the Aultside and Aultmore herds, at Upper Forgie, Aultmore, Keith.

Being brought up on the family farm, Garry knew it was always going to be farming with his father, Bill, for him. He dotted about the country working on various farms to gain experience from others, but soon landed back at home.

Previously running 300 suckler cows, but having now cut back to 100 head of suckler cows across 160 acres, the pedigrees began just 10 years ago, with the first pedigree calf born in 2011. At first, this was to enable them to breed their own bulls for the commercial herd, but like Topsy, it’s grown to 15 Limousin cows, five British Blue females, six Simmentals and two Charolais cows.

The team were also running rented farms alongside this, but have cut livestock numbers down due to Garry taking on more AI’ing, cattle dressing jobs and silage and harvesting jobs across the country. He also works for Scawfell Genetics, collecting semen from bulls and covers the whole of Scotland for that business – though it was a little quieter due to Covid-19, with business picking up again now.

If you were to venture into a different breed, which would it be?

I think I have enough breeds of cattle without getting anymore! Although I am a cattleman, I would properly choose the sheep job – they are at an all time high just now and I always like to learn new tricks!

What got you involved in showing?

Although my father was never involved in showing, I started showing our own herd. My interest stemmed from helping the Stronachs, at Islavale, for many years at the bull sales, and it has escalated from there. I also got the showing bug from various Young Farmers’ over wintering competitions at a young age.

Ian Anderson, a pedigree specialist at Harbro, has a lot of experience of turning out top end cattle and he taught me a lot about preparing beasts for show and sale rings when I was starting out with the pedigrees. He is a good friend and has always encouraged me from the start.

Royal Highland Show experiences?

We only began showing at the Highland in 2011 and although we have never had any champions from our own herd, we have always managed to finish in the top three of every class we have exhibited in. I am usually busy helping other beef herds as opposed to showing our own! And, I have helped turn out many breed champions over the years.

The most successful show we have exhibited at would have to be one of our local shows, Grantown, in 2014. That year we took three championships – British Blue, Limousin and Charolais – with the Charolais going on to be crowned the inter-breed champion.

We are the only exhibitor at Grantown that has managed to win three breed champions at one show before going on to take inter-breed – it was some day and as you can imagine we had a fair celebration afterwards.

The Scottish Farmer:

Aultside Mean Machine holds a Scottish record for a Limousin bull sold when it achieved 65,000gns in 2018

Which is the best animal you have bred?

The 65,000gns Limousin bull, Aultside Mean Machine, a Scottish record for a Limousin bull, which was sold at Carlisle in February, 2018, after taking junior champion and overall supreme champion.

As a calf, he took junior male champion and reserve overall male champion at Turriff Show, in 2017, later the same year at Stars of the Future, he was awarded senior male champion, overall senior champion and went on to take overall supreme continental.

Another I could never forget was achieving the Limousin calf record at 16,000gns, which was paid for Aultside Overdrive, a six-month-old bull calf at the Red Ladies sale, at Carlisle.

The best animal that you have ever seen?

The Limousin cow, Baileys Iceprincess, from Southern Ireland, caught my eye at the Limousin World congress in August, 2016. She was an outstanding beast with power, femininity and correctness, there was nothing I could fault her on.

Changes over the years?

Breeders are pushing for more muscle, which is good to an extent, as a muscular animal will always sell, but going forward I worry that people are losing sight as to what their females are going to turn into.

Breeders are beginning to focus more on figures as opposed to what the beast looks like itself. Although figures are a good guide, we need to pay more attention to the animal that you like!

Margins are getting tighter within the farming industry, expenses are continuing to rise year on year, however we are not getting the returns for this, which makes it a very difficult job to be in.

Abiding memory?

Selling Aultside Hulk for 55,000gns in 2014 is one I will never forget. I remember turning up at Carlisle for the first time, very new to the game, with him being the second bull I sold. I felt very out of my depth and I remember thinking I would struggle to sell him, but he turned out to be top price, intermediate champion and reserve overall champion!

He currently holds the record priced Limousin bull to be exported, as he sold to Southern Ireland.

Biggest disappointment?

In this line of work, there are always going to be disappointments. Although losing Spittalton Flush, my best breeding cow, has been my biggest. She put me on the map and bred exceptionally for the herd, however she passed away at nine-years-old just before Christmas.

Most influential person?

My dad has been the real role model in my career, all my experience has come from, working with cattle, calving and general day to day duties – I have picked everything up from him. I really would not be where I am today without him. He is the one that holds the fort at home when I am away at shows and sales which, sadly, means that he has missed out on a lot of the successful outings we have had.

Best stockman?

Being out and about so much, I do see a lot of capable men and women, that are outstanding at what they do and have their own way of doing things.

However, one man that always stands out to me is Dougie McBeath. His ability to turn cattle out is phenomenal. He is an absolutely topper of a lad himself, is always willing to give advice and gets on with everyone – although he takes the job seriously, he is always up for a laugh.

Best kist parties?

We are quite a sociable crowd as most will know and are always involved in some sort of party down the cattle lines. At the Highland, the commercial lines always have some good patter, whilst at the Welsh Show you never have to go far to stumble into a good party.

Interests out with farming?

Any spare time that I do have I spend with my family, my fiancee, Delli and my two sons, Olly (7) and Archie (4).

Best advice received?

If you are going to do something, do it right – there is no point in doing something half arsed!

Best investment?

Spittalton Flush without a doubt!

She was one of our foundation Limousin females, which I purchased at Stirling, she was a standout beast as soon as I saw her. When she stood female champion at the pre-sale show, I thought the game was buggered, I was lucky enough to buy her for 2000gns.

We never have a big budget to play with, so I do need to pick something up at sensible money, and breeding what she has really gave us a huge lift. Having sold 12 calves to average the top side of £18,000, as well as eight daughters retained in the herd, which are breeding exceptionally well, she turned out to be a serious bargain.

Among the Simmentals, we picked up a female for £3000 and she has sold bulls to £16,000 and has had calves winning championships, whilst the British Blues we purchased a female at £1800 at a commercial sale and she bred bulls to £12,000.

It is an unbelievable amount of work involved after you have make the purchase to get the offspring right, but I do believe you need a serious amount of luck on your side, you can never expect things to happen, you have to put in the work!

The future of the showing circuit?

I fear that a lot of shows could struggle to recover from Covid-19 and it is a huge shame. However, the number of exhibitors before all of that was falling at local shows, purely due to the expense.

We need to support the shows as much as possible and encourage the next generation to come through. They play a huge role in the future of the industry, and it is always great to see them parading about the ring and most importantly enjoying it!

Showing plays a huge part in selling your pedigree stock. A lot of breeders depend on the showing circuit for advertisement, however we just have to hope that it continues going forward and have to look forward to the memories when the time comes.