For the Kingans, of Kingan Farms in New Abbey, have been named as one of three finalists of the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award by AgriScot, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and award sponsors, Thorntons Solicitors. They are up against a farm from Shetland and another from Melrose, with the judges saying that all operate very different types of beef production systems, but share a common enthusiasm to improve productivity and efficiency, as well as a passion to produce high quality, quality assured cattle.
The Kingans is a family partnership for a 475-hectare-owned and tenanted enterprise across four locations in Dumfries. They run a beef finishing system with a turnover of approximately 1400 cattle per year – a mixture of continental and native breeds. Kingan Farms are self-sufficient with grazing, grass silage and whole crop with straw and additional locally grown barley the only regular external purchase.
On arrival, all cattle are weighed, tagged with an EID and batched dependent on weight. The business has been using EID management tags now for over ten years and have adopted new software on a Bluetooth system which has improved cattle handling and monitoring and has also allowed a paperless system at the crush.
In addition, Kingan use a variety of different software, such as Harvest Yield, Muddy Boots and Greenlight Grower, which can be accessed by each employee or contractor via an app to monitor performance. They also use social media to help tell their story and although it doesn’t play a part in improving efficiency or profitability, they believe sharing their experience will create an understanding with consumers of what it takes to produce good quality Scotch Assured Beef.
The family are proud of their close working relationships from calf producer to processor to meet the needs and quality expected by end users. They said: “It was brilliant news to hear Kingan Farms and our team were in the running for AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year and very pleased to get to the finalist stage. The process of analysing our own business in preparation for the judging has been very worthwhile in itself.”
Assessors visited the farm this week and Douglas Bell, from QMS, said afterwards: “The quality of applicants for this year’s award are indicative of the world class farming operations we have here in Scotland, fuelled by individuals with passion for what they do. It was great to get out on farm with fellow assessors and see firsthand their dedication to producing high-quality, Scotch Beef PGI.”
The Kingans will find out their fate at AgriScot on Wednesday November 20, with the winner receiving a £500 cheque as well as a £250 voucher for a Scotch Beef Club restaurant.