Echt farmer is top of the crops

Leslie Shepherd with his winning crop
Leslie Shepherd with his winning crop

The long, dry summer of last year failed to curb the growth of the winning crop in the Royal Northern Agricultural Society’s annual turnip competition.

Leslie Shepherd of Cowiehillock, Echt, puts his success down to luck but the careful management of his crop of Kenmore was the factor which swung the balance despite having only the third highest yield.

Mr Shepherd said: “The crop was grown in a back-lying field surrounded by trees which wasn’t subject to too much sunlight.

“As a result, the soil didn’t dry up like some of our other fields so was ideal for turnips which continued to grow throughout the summer. Every turnip grew - we didn’t have any gaps.”

Unusually, the three top-yielding crops in the competition were all grown on land classified as less favoured (LFA).

A sample of the crops entered for the competition, covering an area from the Mearns to Banffshire, are test weighed towards the end of the year to estimate yield and points are awarded for yield, uniformity, soundness of bulb and freedom from disease, pest damage and weeds.

Leslie, who farms with son, Graham, scored a total of 117.39 points with a yield of 68.39 tonnes/acre.

The family farming enterprise extends to 480 acres rented and 100 acres of seasonal grazing and the other main enterprise is a suckler herd of 180 cows.

The competition was sponsored by Murray Duguid Seed Merchants, Oldmeldrum.