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Stackyard News Feb 07

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    Borders Venue for NSA Scotsheep 2008

Scotland’s biennial national sheep event, Scotsheep, will be returning to the Borders in 2008.

Scotsheep hosts for 2008, Ian and Katherine Hepburn, with new NSA Scotland chairman, Jim Thomson (right)

Scotsheep hosts for 2008

Organised by the Scottish Region of the National Sheep Association, NSA Scotsheep 2008 will be held on June 4, 2008, on the farm of Northhouse, Teviothead, Hawick, courtesy of host farmers, Ian and Katherine Hepburn and their sons, John, Adam and Gregor.

“This is an excellent, well-managed upland sheep farm which will provide an ideal venue for Scotsheep,” said new NSA Scotland chairman, Jim Thomson, Hownam Grange, Kelso, who announced the venue today (Thursday) at the annual general meeting of NSA Scotland in Edinburgh.

“We are delighted to be returning to the Borders and grateful to the Hepburn family for agreeing to host this important event for the Scottish sheep industry.”

The organisation of the event will be in the hands of a local committee under the chairmanship of Jack Clark, managing director of auctioneers, John Swan and Sons Ltd, St Boswells. The joint organisers are Julie Sedgewick and Euan Emslie.

Northhouse is a 1607 acres hill and upland farm on the Buccleuch Estate which has been farmed by Mr and Mrs Hepburn since 1987. The farm rises to 1250ft and comprises 1080 acres hill and rough grazing, 155 acres permanent pasture, 340 acres temporary grass and 25 acres arable silage.

The farm is widely recognised for the production of quality livestock from its flock of 1850 ewes and herd of 130 suckler cows. Most lambs are finished on the farm and calves sold store at 15-18 months of age, apart from replacement breeding stock which are all home-bred, with the exception of the occasional purchase of rams and bulls, in order to maintain a closed flock and herd.

The sheep flock comprises 950 Lairg-type North Country Cheviot ewes, 670 of which are bred pure and 280 crossed with the Bluefaced Leicester to produce replacement ewes for the 820-strong flock of Cheviot Mules.

Ram lambs from pedigree flocks of 50 Suffolks and 30 Texels are crossed with the Mule ewes and sold as shearlings at Kelso. North Country Cheviot rams have been sold at Lairg for the past two years, selling to a top of £4500 last year.

The suckler cows are black Limousin cross but a Beef Shorthorn has now been introduced to breed replacement females. The first calves from the Shorthorn x Limousin heifers are due to be born this year. Heifers are generally put to Limousin bulls and cows to the Charolais. Around 100 cows are calved in the spring and the rest in the autumn.

Mr Hepburn was awarded his Higher National Diploma (HND) in agriculture at the East of Scotland College of Agriculture (now part of SAC) and spent nine years with the Department of Agriculture (now SEERAD) in Thurso where he met Katherine who is a member of the Coghill family from Skinnet, well-known cattle and sheep breeders in Caithness.

Mr Hepburn is a member of the council of the North Country Cheviot Sheep Society and previously served in a similar capacity with the South Country Cheviot Sheep Society.

Scotsheep is held in different areas of Scotland every two years and was last held in the Borders at Flass, Gordon, Berwickshire, in 1995. Last year’s event was held at Wellheads, Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

link NSA Scotsheep Shaping Up to be the Best Ever
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link 2007 Great Yorkshire Show

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