Scotland’s national sheep event, NSA Scotsheep 2008, organised by the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association with Bank of Scotland Corporate as major sponsor, was one of the best ever in the 30 year history of the event.
Opening speech by Richard Lochhead MSP
Brilliant sunshine throughout the day attracted a record attendance of more than 8000 sheep producers from across the UK to Northhouse Farm, Teviothead, Hawick, Roxburghshire, to view a typical Border hill sheep farm run by Ian and Katherine Hepburn and their three sons.
Queues formed throughout the day for the tour of the 1607 acre farm to enjoy the magnificent view from the top of the hill at 1250ft and inspect the flock of 1850 North Country Cheviot, Cheviot Mule, Suffolk and Texel ewes.
The 162 trade stands did brisk business and the display of no fewer than 41 sheep breeds was a big attraction. Large crowds also gathered for the sheep dog trials and various demonstrations of sheep shearing, wool spinning, crook making and electronic identification (EID) and the continuous seminar programme was well supported. More than 300 visitors took part in the stockjudging competition.
“We’ve had sheep producers here from all over the country from Caithness to Wales,” said Jack Clark, managing director of St Boswells’ auctioneers, John Swan Ltd, who chaired the organising committee.
“The day was a great success and a tribute to all the trade stands, sheep breed societies, sponsors and, not least, our local organising committee who put in so much work to ensure a fantastic promotional event for the Scottish sheep industry,” said Mr Clark.
The only disappointment was the absence of the Duke of Buccleuch who was due to officially open the event. He was fog-bound in Shetland but arrived later in the day.
The official; opening was added to the duties of Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, who pledged in his keynote address to fight proposals from the EU for the electronic identification (EID) of sheep by 2010.
“I will fight tooth and nail with Brussels and the UK Government to ensure we get a system which is practical and does not cause further damage to our fragile sheep sector, especially in our outlying areas,” said Mr Lochhead.
“That is a number one priority for the Scottish Government. I don’t want to be forced to accept an EID system which is not practical for Scotland’s sheep farmers and I will do my best to stop that happening in the coming weeks and months.”
This will be music to the ears of Scottish sheep farmers who, alongside sheep farmers across the UK, have been fighting a rearguard action to persuade the EU that EID is neither required nor practical.
“The proposed regulation takes no account of the practicalities of moving large numbers of sheep quickly through markets and off farms which is unique to the UK,” said George Milne, NSA development officer in Scotland.
“The recording of the identities of individual sheep as they move on and off farms is wholly unjustified and will do immeasurable damage to the UK sheep industry for no gain in respect of animal disease tracing.”
The NSA Scotsheep Young Shepherd of the Year Award was won by Tony Willox from Rothienorman who was repeating his success at NSA Scotsheep in 2006 and went on to win the national title at NSA Sheep 2006 at Malvern.
In addition to Bank of Scotland Corporate as major sponsor, the following sponsors supported NSA Scotsheep 2008 -
Mainline sponsors – Agri-Lloyd International, Buccleuch Group, Intervet-Schering Plough, McCreath, Prentice and Prentice, John Swan Ltd, Quality Meat Scotland, Rumenco and Shearwell Data.
National sponsors – BOCM Pauls, Caltech, Carrs Billington Agriculture, Davidson Bros (Shotts) Ltd, Dunbia Llanybydder, Harrison and Hetherington Ltd, R H Miller, Novartis Animal Health, Scotbeef, United Auctions
Local sponsors – Border Machinery Ring, Bryce Suma Postdrivers, Cumberland and Dumfries-shire Farmers Mart, Farmstock, Harbro, Hexham and Northern Marts, Ritchey, Robinsons Scotland, Stewart Agricultural and Tagmaster.
Other sponsors supporting the event in various ways include Bear Scotland, Norbrook Laboratories, Portequip, Scottish Borders Art Glass, Adam Purves Mitsubishi and Solway Re-cycling.
Results of the various competitions were as follows –
Stockjudging (sponsored by Norbrook Laboratories)
Open – 1 and overall winner, Ton Howden, Stanley, Perth; 2 (eq) Catherine McGregor, Kilsyth, and Margaret Iveson, Bainbridge, Leyburn
Young farmers (20-26) – 1 J Little, Harrison and Hetherington Ltd. Carlisle; 2 (eq) Iain Walker, Larkhall, Lanarkshire, and Gordon McDougall, Drymen, Glasgow.
Young farmers (19 and under) – 1 Callum Shaw; 2 Philip Anderson, Selkirk; 3 Peter Jackson, Newcastleton.
Young Shepherd of the Year (sponsored by Lawrie and Symington) – 1 Tony Willox, Rothienorman, Inverurie; 2 Glen Wilson, Bonchester Bridge; 3 Robert Whittaker, Jedburgh.
Highest score under 21 – Adam Hepburn, Northhouse, Teviothead
Sheep Dog Trial (Sponsored by Scottish Borders Art) – 1 M Arres, Dryden, Ashkirk, Selkirk (Midge); 2 S Horn (Jock); 3 C Buntin (Bess); 4 W Elliot (Wess); 5 B Common (Mirk); 6 V Billington (Glun). Team – Borders
ATV Handling (sponsored by Ian Archibald Ltd) – Male – Jim McGinty, Kelso; Female – Aileen Thomson, Kelso; Under 21 – Edward Collins, Hawick.
Sheep breed societies – 1 South Country Cheviot; 2 Scotch Mule; 3 Charollais.
Best indoor stand – 1 SAC; 2 Carrs Billington Agriculture; 3 Farmstock (Scotland)
Best outdoor stand – 1 JMT Manufacturing; 2 Kelso and Lothian Harvesters; 3 Glendale Engineering.
Trinity School Pupils Heading for Royal Highland Show
NSA Sheep 2008 Attracts International Shearers
SAC's Royal Highland Show Preview