Tag Archives: agriculture

Tiree Agricultural Show 2012

Clydesdale horsesSunshine and shimmering blue sea welcomed a record crowd to the Annual Show on the Isle of Tiree. Many mainland and neighbouring island visitors joined the islanders to enjoy a day at Tiree Show.

There was a warm welcome to Clydesdale judging at the Show after a gap of 50 years. A large influx of horses and ponies to the island during the past year included Mary Flora MacDonald and Sandra Brown’s Clydesdale geldings. Donald MacIntyre, Tiree’s veteran Clydesdale enthusiast, had the task of judging and selected Major from Mary Flora MacDonald, Roadside as his winner. This gelding went on to lift the Champion of Champions awards.

Travelling across the water by rib from Islay, the group of Ileach farmers included Cattle judge Eion Brown, Aoradh. His overall winner in the Crossbred Cattle came from the highly competitive suckled calf classes with an April born Charolais cross heifer calf from Archie John MacLean, Heylipol. Reserve was from Alasdair MacLean, Heylipol with his Limousin cross heifer calf. The champion in the breeding cattle was last year’s overall winner from Colin MacKinnon, Kilkenneth. Colin went on to lift the trophy for most points and the Crofter’s Shield. The Supreme Cattle champion came from the Purebred Section, a British Blue heifer calf, Ruaig Hettie from Alastair and Iain MacInnes, Ruaig.

A good turnout of Crossbred sheep went before judge Angus MacFadyen, Bragleenmore, Oban. Champion in the Prime lambs came from Alastair and Iain MacInnes, Ruaig with a pen of 3 Beltex cross lambs. Blackface Champion was a ewe from Mary Flora MacDonald, Roadside. Sandra Brown, Balevullin lifted the Crossbred championship with a Texel cross ewe and went on to win the trophy for most points and the Crofter’s Shield. Reserve in this section was a Texel cross ewe lamb from Ewan MacKinnon, Hillcrest.

Donald McCormick, Blackrock, another Islay rib passenger, had the task of judging in the Pure bred sheep ring. Brothers Alasdair and Fraser MacLean, Heylipol were champion and reserve respectively with the Supreme Sheep award going to Alasdair’s Beltex gimmer on her first show outing. Reserve overall was Fraser’s homebred Suffolk shearling ram.

In the Ridden Horse and Pony Section, it was the Highland gelding Achnalarig Struan from Janis MacArthur which once again lifted the champion award. Reserve was winner of the horse classes Jan Paterson’s Friesian, Tallina FanT’Sudein. A good turnout of Tiree’s new Pony Club members enjoyed their day at the Show winning many rosettes.

Once again the Pet Show drew a large crowd with many island and visiting dogs on parade before judge Rev Elspeth MacLean. Champion was a black poodle from Rhona McGoogan with the Golden Oldie Quaich going to Skye from Barbara Brown.

The line up of vintage tractors drew lots of admirers with the winner of the pre 1975 class from Donald Archie Brown and the champion rosette awarded to Duncan Cameron’s MF135 from the post 1975 class. Home Industries exhibits were down on the year but the judges commentated on the high standard of exhibits forward. Monica Smith swept the board winning all trophies in this section with Jo Vale winning the Horticulture Cup and John Fletcher‘s basket of mixed vegetables lifting the best exhibit. A magnificent display of crowns, plate gardens and decorated cup cakes from all age groups were entered in the Children’s Section. Andy with his Chainsaw Craft created wonderful carvings of which two were auctioned and can be spotted in gardens on the island. Other great crowd attractions were the Tiree YFC’s sheep racing, Tiree Pipeband and the Clydesdale Single Horse Turnouts in the main ring. Drawing the day to a close, Nan MacLean presented the cups to the day’s winners.

The committee wish to thank all the sponsors and donors of prizes to the Livestock Sections, the Grand Raffle and the Dance Raffle. To all our helpers on the day, a big THANK YOU. To everyone who took part in the listed competition classes, congratulations and thank you for your support. Finally, to everyone who came to the Show and helped make it such an enjoyable day, your attendance was greatly appreciated.

Tiree Agricultural Society

Scottish Beef Calf Scheme Payments Begin


More than 7,900 Scottish producers will receive their share of £22 million of European funding in the next few weeks.

Payments for the 2011 Scottish Beef Calf Scheme (SBCS) will start to arrive in bank accounts, with 95 per cent of recipients expected to receive their payment by the end of April, subject to necessary validation checks. Payment information is available to view on Rural Payments Online.

Claims were received from 7,902 producers for around 434,000 animals, an increase of 10,000 from last year. Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“These payments will provide timely support to the rural economy and deliver great benefit for our livestock sector. They form part of an important support framework which is always vital, and never more so than in the current economic climate.
“I am also pleased to confirm that the Scottish Government has been successful in ensuring this funding continues at current levels through the introduction of the Scottish Beef Scheme in January 2012, which replaces the SBCS. This will provide much needed ongoing support to Scotland’s livestock farmers until new CAP regulations come into force.”

This year’s payment rate is set at £102.44 for each of the first ten eligible animals, and £51.22 for the remainder. The payments are entirely EU funded. The Scottish Beef Calf Scheme is a direct support scheme aimed at specialist beef producers breeding beef calves from suckler cows. Suckler herds form the backbone of quality beef production in Scotland and provide environmental benefits in fragile areas. The new Scottish Beef Scheme was introduced in January 2012 following discussions held as part of the CAP review. It replaces the SBCS and allows funding to be targeted towards smaller herds through reweighted payment levels where the first ten eligible animals will receive three times the rate of any subsequent eligible animal. There is no limit to the number of claims which can be made.

Tiree Past and Present


While driving round the island in the last few weeks, it has been interesting to see the crofters working hard gathering in the harvest. Whilst the round plastic wrapped bales that we see may be more practical they don’t have the same eye appeal as the stacks in this picture.

Thanks to An Iodhlann and Eric Cregeen for the photo of a stackyard at Balephuill in 1968


Showing that sometimes the traditional and the modern can mix, this photo was taken at Whithouse Farm, Cornaigbeg, Tiree on 1st September 2011.

Cutting a field of oats & rye with a J F Binder are Hugh MacCallum of Whitehouse Farm, Donald MacLean sitting on the binder and Donald’s grandson Daniel Hayes, standing on the right.

Last week’s photos proved that I was wrong and the ferry was in fact the RMS Claymore which started on the Tiree crossing in 1955 and when David MacBrayne sold her on to a Greek Company she was renamed City of Hydra. Unfortunately I am told that she sank at moorings in Pireus approximately 10 years ago. There has been a difference of opinion as to the name of the Captain with some people saying it was Captain Tony Free and others claiming it was the late Captain Donald Gunn. Can anyone help sort this out? Up to now no-one has recognised the van but if you do please call me at the Business Centre 01879 220520

Fun At Tiree Agricultural Show

There was a real island welcome of sunshine and a spectacular glistening sea awaiting the many mainland visitors, who joined the islanders to view the island’s quality stock at the annual Tiree Show.

They were highly entertained by Mark Wyllie from Luss with his collie dogs and ducks, the Drakes of Hazard, in the main ring along with a large turnout of dogs and other pets for the Pet Show.

Cattle Show winner

A regular buyer at the island’s cattle sales, Donald Patullo, Millhaugh, Methven had the task of judging in the cattle ring. His supreme cattle champion came from the pure-bred section, a British Blue in-calf heifer, Ruaig Dotti from Iain MacInnes, Ruaig. She went on to be crowned Champion of Champions.

Earlier, Mr Patullo had given the crossbred championship to Candy, an April 2010 Limousin cross heifer from Colin MacKinnon, Kilkenneth. She stood reserve as a calf in this section last year.

Reserve was the leader from the great show of spring sucked calves, a March born Limousin cross bullock calf from Archie John MacLean, Heylipol. After exhibiting some quality young calves, Donald MacKinnon, Vaul and Gilleasbuig Campbell, Garaphail then shared the Crofter’s Shield for most points in the Cattle Section.

Sheep judge Willie Smith, Balliemore, Lochgilphead had a great show of Prime lambs to judge before moving into the crossbred sheep ring. Champion pen from Pat Boyd, Drumaglea was with three Beltex cross lambs.

Crossbred sheep champion and reserve came from Ruaig respectively with a Texel cross gimmer and cross ewe. Winner of most points in the Sheep section and the Crofter’s Shield was Sandra Brown, Balevullin.

Billy Neilson from Taynuilt and Argyll’s QMS assessor had the task of judging in the purebred ring. Brothers Alasdair and Fraser MacLean, Heylipol were champion and reserve respectively with the supreme award going to Alasdair’s Beltex ewe lamb, Tiree Rich Spice and reserve was Fraser’s homebred Suffolk shearling ram.

Winning Pony Tiree Agricultural Show

In the Pony ring, Niall and Susan MacDonald selected Achnalarig Struan, a Highland gelding from Janis MacArthur as champion with reserve going to Janet Bowler’s Whiskey. Young pony exhibitors, Jenna MacArthur and Emily Armstrong had a great day out winning many rosettes.

winning tractor Tiree Agricultural Show

A well known character, retired salesman Hughie MacLean had the task of judging the line up of tractors with the winner the Massey Ferguson 135 from Duncan Cameron, Scarinish. Congratulations and special thanks to all who joined the Saturday tractor run with a great display of decorated trailers.

Once again the Home Industries marquee had tables laden with baking, knitting, drawings, models and decorated welly boots. The judges were all impressed at the array of exhibits before them, from both locals and visitors. Congratulations to all cup winners.

Another regular visitor, retired SAC agricultural advisor Donald Harrison, had a great spread of garden produce before him in the Horticulture section, with Bill Campbell’s basket of mixed vegetables winning the best exhibit and John Fletcher, Balemartine most points. Donald and his wife Janice later presented the cups to the day’s winners.

Skills For Work – A report From Tiree High School

We have been doing a new course called Rural Skills at Tiree High School to get us an Intermediate 1 certificate at the end of session 2009-2010.

The qualification is awarded by SQA in partnership with Argyll College, whose representative on the island is Will Wright. Mr Stirrat is our mentor in school.

On a Wednesday we go out onto a farm for the afternoon and we do a variety of things to do with farming which will benefit us in our course and also benefits the farmer. On a Thursday we write out reports of what we did the previous afternoon, add any photos we took on the Wednesday and keep the records for assessment.

The course includes the following units:

  • Animal Handling
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Estate Maintenance
  • Land Based Industries
  • Employability Skills
  • Crop Production

The crofters who are involved are Ewan MacKinnon, Hugh MacInnes, and Lachie MacFadyen. We have also had help from John Bowler (RSPB). We are very grateful for the time and effort they have contributed and would like to say thank you for their help over the last 2 years.

“Having access to a vocational option has been a real enhancement to the school curriculum. We are very grateful to Ewan MacKinnon, Hugh MacInnes, Lachie MacFadyen and John Bowler for providing their time and expertise to make this possible.” ~ Myra Macarthur HT

Land Based Industries

Every Thursday we have some classroom time to write up our reports and do research.

Part of this course is a unit called Land Based Industries where we have researched 3 industries. This is a short report of what we have found:

Fencing is usually done by the crofters or farmers themselves or by fencing contractors. Resources needed include wooden posts to tension the fence, stobs, wire, Rylock, tools and if necessary a digger and truck.

We looked into methods used and different types of fence on Tiree and on the mainland. When we were working on the crofts we helped put up fences to keep the animals in.

John Bowler is the local RSPB warden. He has taken us out on several Wednesday afternoons to help set water levels for the birds to breed and building a bridge for the cows to cross.This helps protect their habitat.

This industry needs membership and volunteers to keep it going . Because of the varied species of birds that live on or visit Tiree it needs somebody to maintain their habitat so that the birds are protected and encouraged to breed.

Dairy Farming
Although there is no dairy farming on Tiree, much of mainland farming is for dairy. This industry relies on good quality Friesian Cows or Jersey Cows. We have been studying dairy farming in class at school.

When a male calf is born the farmer usually sells the calf for veal production or breeding depending on the quality of the calf. The female calves are kept for milking and breeding. Most dairy farmers have a milking parlour but some farmers milk their cows by hand in a byre. Most farmers grow their own food for the cows which is corn, hay and silage. It is fed straight to the cows in winter.

Ruairidh Munn and Ewan Brown