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Stackyard News Apr 08

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    Visit Perthshire Beef Farms at Beef Expo 2008

Visitors attending the UK’s national beef event, Beef Expo 2008, at Perth Agricultural Centre on Wednesday, May 21, will have the opportunity on the day before the event of visiting two leading Perthshire beef farms.


aberdeen angus cattle

The pre-event tour on Tuesday, May 20, will feature pedigree herds of Aberdeen-Angus, Charolais, Simmental and Luing cattle and large-scale commercial beef enterprises on both farms.

Coaches will leave Perth Agricultural Centre at 9.00am on May 20 for the visits to Ballathie Estate, Kinclaven, Stanley, courtesy of estate owner, John Milligan, and Incheoch, Alyth, courtesy of farmers, Finlay and Judy McGowan, son Neil, and daughter, Clare.

In addition to viewing two outstanding pedigree and suckler beef operations, there will be a demonstration on cattle handling at Ballathie by world-renowned expert, Prof Temple Grandin from Colorado State University, USA, and a demonstration at Incheoch of the Luing Cattle Society’s pioneering dam classification programme by the society’s breed development officers, Robert McNee and Neil McGowan.

Beef Expo 2008, organised by the National Beef Association and sponsored by Lloyds TSB Agriculture, is returning to Scotland this year for the first time since 2004. Theme of this year’s event is “Engage with Beef – Sustainable Systems”.



The 1500-acre Ballathie Estate is one of the most attractive lowland estates in Scotland and the Ballathie herds of Aberdeen-Angus and Charolais, each with 20 pedigree cows, have come to prominence in recent years, along with the 200-cow suckler herd of Aberdeen-Angus cross cows which are crossed with Charolais bulls.

Beef from the farm is sold in the farm shop and restaurant and the nearby Ballathie House Hotel which is also owned by estate owner, John Milligan.

An extensive range of modern farm buildings completed five years ago will be an additional attraction and is the base for Ballathie Livery Services which offers a comprehensive range of flushing and embryo transfer services, as well as the preparation of animals for show and sale.

The 1500-acre estate, located within a loop of the River Tay, is renowned for its innovative conservation and environmental policies and benefits from a wide range of wildlife habitats and diverse selection of flora and fauna which has been actively encouraged as part of a five-year integrated conservation plan.

The estate comprises a mix of amenities, including farmland, forestry, residential, fishing, conservation and recreational facilities An Integrated Crop Management (ICM) approach has been adopted to combine efficient, profitable farming with the estate’s important conservation and environmental objectives.



The emphasis at Incheoch is on easy-care cattle selected for growth rate, eye muscle and ease of calving. The McGowan family run a total of 200 cows and followers and a flock of 1100 ewes, including 700 Lleyn, on 1200 acres.

The Simmental herd was founded in 1973 and at Perth in February sold a bull for 22,000gns to equal the UK record price for a Simmental. However, most bulls are sold privately on the farm. The herd includes 30 polled females following the introduction of a polled sire 20 years ago.

Luing bulls have sold for up to 14,000gns and 12,000gns and a bull from the herd sold for the second top price of 8000gns at Castle Douglas in February. The 100-cow herd is outwintered and the aim has always been to produce long-living, easy-care cows.

Heifers are calved at two years of age and the average culling age is over 15, with some cows continuing to produce at 20 years of age. Steers are finished at two years of age on grass, whole-crop silage and straights and last year averaged 380kg deadweight to average more than £800/head.

A 40-cow strong herd of Sim-Luing cows produces steers and heifers for the store and breeding markets.

link USA Expert Temple Grandin is Key Guest at Beef Expo 2008
link Top Speakers Lined Up for Beef Expo 2008
link Aberdeen-Angus Enjoying Mini-Export Boom

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