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Estate brothers Guy and Andrew top crop contest

Andrew, Guy, Chuck, James, Ollie, David and Matthew: the team at Letham Farm on the Ford and Etal Estate which has just won the prize for 'Borders crop and grassland managemet'

Andrew, Guy, Chuck, James, Ollie, David and Matthew: the team at Letham Farm on the Ford and Etal Estate which has just won the prize for 'Borders crop and grassland managemet'

It’s only the second time the north Northumberland brothers have entered the annual Border Crop and Grassland Management competition and they’ve taken the championship.

Judges in the contest organised by the Border Union Agricultural Society and Kelso and District Agricultural Discussion Society, awarded the F. Jackson Cup to Andrew and Guy Warcup, tenants and contract farmers on the Ford and Etal estate.

The 40th competition, with its motto of ‘It’s no what ye hae, it’s what ye dae wi what ye hae’, was held on July 2 and 3.

A spokesperson for the organisers said: “With the Borders and North Northumberland looking so well this year, the judges had some excellent livestock and crops to assess over the two days of judging.”

The Warcups won the large lowground section last year and judges this year were impressed with the quality of their crops, and also awarded them the quaich for the best field of wheat.

Guy, 52, told us: “We were surprised and pleased, we’re delighted.”

The brothers farm the 750 lowland acres of Gatherick and Tindal House and contract farm a further 2,250 acres on the estate.

They grow winter barley, mainly for livestock feed, spring barley for Simpsons Malt in Berwick, oilseed rape, winter wheat, vining peas which go to Eyemouth to be frozen, dried peas for micronising, winter and spring oats for the porridge market, and they sublet ground for potatoes. They also sublet grass to graziers and have a small herd of suckler cows (Limousin cross, Angus cross and Simmental cross cows put to Limousin and Angus bulls) and Belted Galloways, which graze estate parkland.

The brothers started in partnership in 1989 and started contract farming 21 years ago.

Guy said the judges were interested in the brothers’ care of the soil, adding: “They liked the suckler cows. We pay attention to the EBVs, they liked the simplicity of our system – and they liked the Belted Galloways. We are in the High Level Stewartship Scheme, which they also liked.”

Part of the ground they farm is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Runner-up was Thomas Todd from Barelees, Cornhill; the Mitchells from Rumbletonrig, Greenlaw, had the best livestock enterprise; Brian and William Fleming from Mosstower, Eckford, won the lowground section for smaller farms, with David Fuller-Shapcott, Sweethope, Kelso runner-up. The Grimsdale family of Mountfair Farming, Swinton, Duns, won the large lowground section and Jedburgh’s Robert Neill, Upper Nisbet, was second. The stockrearing section was won by Giles Henry, Oakwood Mill, Selkirk, with second place going to BQ Farming, Bowhill, Selkirk, managed by Sion Williams. Giles also won the Conservation Class and last year’s winner Robert Brickell, Holydean was runner-up.

All those interested are invited to a farm walk at the Championship Class winning farm, leaving from Letham Hill, Ford and Etal, TD12 4TP tonight (Thursday, July 10) at 7pm.

 

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