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Fraserburgh neeps prove to be top of the crops

By David Porter

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The crop growing skills of north- east farmers have again been highlighted thanks to an annual turnip and fodder beet growing competitions.

Fodder champion Sewart Davidson.
Fodder champion Sewart Davidson.

With the turnout up in both sections, the popular annual Royal Northern Agricultural Society competition attracted some 29 crops of turnips and 13 of fodder beet and entries were judged by Graeme Christie of event sponsors, Murray Duguid Seed Merchants.

Taking top honours in the turnip competition with a total of 52 points and a yield of 194.05 t/ha was Cairness Ltd, Home Farm, Cairness, Fraserburgh with a crop of Lomond.

The business is run by brothers William and David Moir with parents John and Gillian and includes a beef suckler herd and flock of Mule ewes as well as cereal crops.

The winning turnips, a new crop for the Moirs, will be grazed from now until lambing, then lifted and fed to ewes after lambing.

After early ploughing, the crop was sown on the flat in May and benefited from heavy rain followed by warm weather which allowed the crop to establish quickly. William Moir added: “The plants were well leafed early on and had filled the rows before the end of June. From then on, they never looked back.”

Turnip champions William and David Moir.
Turnip champions William and David Moir.

The same Lomond variety, this time with a yield of 182.24 t/ha, won the reserve champion’s spot for William Ritch, East Fingask, Oldmeldrum with just one point separating the two top positions.

In the fodder beet section, the champion was grown by Stewart Davidson, West Cortiecram, Mintlaw who finishes 800 cattle and 2000 lambs annually as well as growing cereals, mainly for feeding and oil seed rape which is mostly sold locally.

His crop of Brigadier, grown for the third year, achieved a yield of 224.86 t/ha to win 50 points in the competition. Stewart favours the variety due to a lot of the bulb growing above ground, making it ideal for strip grazing lambs.

Just two points behind were the joint reserve champions with 48 points each. Colin Morrison, Nether Blairmaud, Cornhill, Banff recorded a yield of 100.17 t/ha with a crop of Fielder whilst Brigadier from Arthur and Scott Duguid, North Cranna Farms, Aberchirder yielded 148.05 t/ha.

Commenting on this year’s turnout, competition judge Graeme Christie said: “There were more entries this year and the standard of crop was very good with some big yields. The management of weed control is improving every year and the quality was good across board.”

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