The role Border breeders have played in the current renaissance
of the famous Aberdeen-Angus breed of cattle will be celebrated
on the eve of this week’s Border Union Show when the Border
Aberdeen-Angus Club stage their 40th anniversary dinner in Kelso.
Annual registrations of Aberdeen-Angus cattle last year
reached a record high of 11,495 bulls and heifers on the back of
strong consumer demand for quality Aberdeen-Angus beef which has
seen A-A and A-A cross cattle command a substantial premium in
the market place.
“The Aberdeen-Angus breed is going from strength to strength
and is being driven by demand for beef from major retailers such
as Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and Costco,
coupled with the attractive premium for prime Aberdeen-Angus beef,” said
former breed president, Mrs Marion Tilson, Wedderlie, Gordon, Berwickshire,
who is in her second term as chairman of the Border club and whose
family have bred Aberdeen-Angus cattle since early last century. “The
breed is on a solid footing for further expansion as more and more
commercial beef producers begin to appreciate the breed’s
easy calving and easykeep advantages and there is a real opportunity
for beef producers to lock into a secure, premium market by opting
Mrs Tilson said fears that the market for Aberdeen-Angus would
reach saturation point as a result of the doubling of registrations
over the past decade have proved groundless.
“The market is still growing and meat companies such as
Scotbeef, AK Stoddart and Dovecote Park are looking for increased
supplies to meet the growing consumer demand for Aberdeen-Angus
beef,” said Mrs Tilson.
The Border club was founded in 1966 following concerns expressed
by two highly successsful local breeders, Billy Arnott, Haymount,
Kelso, and the late Tom Brewis, Eastfield of Lempitlaw, Kelso,
that the lucrative post-war market for Aberdeen-Angus cattle to
North and South America was on the wane and more needed to be done
to promote the breed to commercial suckler herds in the face of
strong competition from the Hereford, soon to be followed by the
On June 28 the club was formally constituted at a meeting in Kelso’s
Ednam House Hotel with Mr Brewis as chairman and Jim Stobo, then
of Fishwick, Berwick on Tweed, as vice-chairman.
But the driving force behind the success of the club has been
breed enthusiast and historian, Rainy Brown, Easter Hendrsyde,
Kelso, who was secretary of the club from its inception until his
retirement at the AGM later earlier this year. Rainy’s 40
year contribution will be suitably marked at Friday night’s
dinner when the guest speaker will be former breed president, Neil
Massie, Blelack, Dinnet, Aberdeenshire.
Over the years, the club has organised countless promotional events
for the Aberdeen-Angus breed – with commercial beef producers
always welcome – with a short summer tour to other areas
always being a highlight. No fewer than seven members of the club
have served as president of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society since
the club was formed.
Members of the club were also instrumental in the 1970’s
in selecting the bigger cattle – including importation from
Canada - demanded by the modern market to compete with the larger-framed
The Border Aberdeen-Angus Club, and its members, always forward-thinking
and innovative, have played a big part in bringing the Aberdeen-Angus
breed back from the brink and restoring it to its rightful position
at the top of the British quality beef league. It has been 40 years
of change and challenge but the Aberdeen-Angus breed in the Borders
is securely placed to make the next 40 years just as illustrious
as the past 40.
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