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Stockmanship takes centre stage at the Royal Highland Show

Members from the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) took part in a wide range of competitions at the Royal Highland Show. Danusia Osiowy was there to see them in action. 


Zoe Bryson won the national stockjudging final

Sheep shearing competition

Stephen Morgan, 21, crowned overall winner of the sheep shearing competition.

The Highland team, Nicolle Cameron (left) and Meghan Bremner with judge Sandra Duncan


Left to right: Stranraer and Rhins club members Ailsa McWilliam, David Watson and Ailsa Buchanan (far right) with Johan Gillespie from award sponsor SPEnergy.

Zoe Bryson Sheep shearing competition Stephen Morgan, 21 Highland team Sheep Individual SPEnergy.

An Avondale SAYFC member has achieved her lifelong ambition after winning the national stockman of the year final. Zoe Bryson, 19, collected the prestigious award after a busy day competing against 150 members in one of the most popular competitions of the SAYFC calendar.


Taking reserve was west region chairman Andrew Ireland, who also won sheep individual and the sheep pairs with Scott Anderson Members kicked off the morning by either judging beef, sheep or dairy breeds before offering two sets of reasons for two of the classes.


Once the top 18 competitors were chosen, members completed an animal husbandry paper before judging two beef classes, two sheep classes and two dairy classes. After giving a set of reasons for each section, they then completed a timed presentation on breed qualities and characteristics.




Hailing from a 180-head dairy farm near Strathaven, Lanarkshire, Zoe has been stockjudging from an early age and accompanied her parents to learn the skills required. For the last four years she has entered the national stockjudging final and, from March to June, has travelled to farms up and down the country to learn about various beef, sheep and dairy breeds and how to give a set of reasons and stock demonstration.


Zoe, who is studying agricultural science at Scotland’s Rural College and works as a technician for Genus, says: “Winning stockman of the year has been a lifelong ambition of mine and was something I thought I could only dream of achieving. “After a nerve-racking but enjoyable day I was in complete shock and disbelief I had won.


It took a while to sink in, but I am absolutely over the moon to have this title to my name, especially as I am only the third, and the youngest, female to have won.




“I owe a huge thank you to all my stockjudging trainers over the years who have taught me, motivated me and inspired me, as well as the rest of the Lanarkshire team who have been extremely supportive right from the word go, and to my dad for kick-starting my passion in stockjudging.”


The competition’s rules state the winner is not eligible to enter the following year. “I am sad to be hanging up my white coat for now, but Saturday was a day I will never forget.”

Stockmanship results

Best overall team 1, Ross Johnston, Dexter Logan, Kirsty Morton, Stephanie Dick, James Graham and James McKerrow (Clyde and Central A); 2, Andrew Struthers, Ewan Corbett, David Smith, Struan McGregor, Scott Anderson and Andrew Ireland (Ayrshire A); 3, Andrew Neilson, Zoe Bryson, Scott Bourman, Iain Livesey, Tom Linton and James Hamilton (Lanarkshire A).

Stockman of the Year 1, Zoe Bryson (Lanarkshire); 2, Andrew Ireland (Ayrshire); 3, James Graham (Clyde and Central).

Best senior individual in dairy Michael Yates (Dumfries and Galloway).

Best senior individual in beef Daniel Hodge (Ayrshire).

Best senior individual in sheep Andrew Ireland (Ayrshire).

Best junior stockjudging team 1, James Lowe, David Moir, Finlay Greig (East Aberdeenshire); 2, Ali Johnston, Matthew Rendall, Tom Flett (Orkney); 3, James Fleming, Jane Lindsay, Robbie Meikle (Lanarkshire).

Best pair in the senior dairy stockjudging Michael Yates and Douglas Buchanan (Dumfries and Galloway).

Best pair in the senior beef stockjudging Daniel Hodge and Craig Hamilton (Ayrshire B).

Best pair in the senior sheep stockjudging Andrew Ireland and Scott Anderson (Ayrshire A).


Other competition results

Overall club 1, Mauchline; 2, Peeblesshire; 3, Avondale.

Club of the Year 1, Stranraer and Rhins; 2, Halkirk; 3, East Fife.

Overall sheep shearing champion 1, Stephen Morgan (Strathbogie); 2, John Brown (Strichen); 3, Ben Wight (Biggar).

Sheep shearing Blackface 1, Stephen Morgan (Strathbogie); 2, Cameron Wilson (New Cumnock); 3, Ben Wight (Biggar). Sheep shearing Scotch Mule 1, Tom Dunn (Biggar); 2, John Brown ( Strichen); 3, Billy Grey (Crossroads). Ladies tug of war 1, Ayr; 2, Biggar, 3, Keith.

Male tug of war 1, Biggar; 2, Keith; 3, Callander.

Senior arts and crafts 1, Carluke A; 2, Avondale; 3, Mauchline.

Ready, Steady Country Cook 1, Strichen; 2, Strathmore; 3, New Cumnock.

Senior craftsmanship 1, James Frame (Carluke); 2, Jack Brisbane (Callander); 3, John Kerr (Biggar).

Junior craftsmanship 1, Matthew Drummond (Avondale); 2, James Hair (East Kilbride).

Senior photography 1, Rachael Ferguson (Avondale); 2, Lauren Brocket (West Renfrewshire); 3, Rachael Ferguson (Avondale).

Junior photography 1, Mhairi Hall (Carluke); 2, Mhairi Hall (Carluke); 3, Christina Smith (Carluke).

Member recruitment 1, Lesmahagow; 2, Callander; 3, New Cumnock. The Ritchie Trophy Sandra Duncan.

The Ritchie Trophy, kindly donated by James Watt in memory of the Ritchie Brothers, recognises a significant contribution to the Young Farmers.


Rural Youth Europe Rally

This year, Rural Youth Europe will celebrate its 60th anniversary as part of its annual rally, which will be held in Latvia. The aim of the rally is for young individuals to gain awareness of European diversity, develop increased understanding of the changes in Europe and build partnerships for future cooperation and common rural action.


The Scottish team will comprise of four members, three from the West of Scotland and one from the North. Members will have a chance to promote Scottish produce on one of the evenings at the international buffet.


Suzie Dunn begins her vlogging journey

SAYFC chairman Suzie Dunn is vlogging (video blogging) her way round the country to promote everything the organisation has to offer. The aim is to raise the profile of Young Farmers and add to the 3,670 members the organisation has across the Scottish regions.


As part of her trip, Suzie will shoot video footage at events, interview office bearers and members through the year, and edit the videos into short films. She says: “Having been West regional chairman last year and focusing heavily on the international programme, it shocked me as to how many people never even knew this was available through SAYFC.


“I think you take for granted the information you know about the association when you are on a committee but this information needs to get to grass roots members so they can take full advantage of SAYFC and everything it has to offer.”




Her next vlog will be recorded at tomorrow’s East region rally (July 1). “One vlog I am looking forward to is when I travel with the rest of team Scotland to Latvia for the European Rally as part of our international programme.”

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