Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Simmental breeder gearing up for return to the big Royal Highland stage

TAKING STOCK: Heather Duff with some of her bulling heifers, far left, and some of her heifers with their calves. Picture by Mhairi Edwards.
TAKING STOCK: Heather Duff with some of her bulling heifers, far left, and some of her heifers with their calves. Picture by Mhairi Edwards.

Livestock exhibitors are excited about returning to a more normal Highland Show this year, and young Simmental breeder, Heather Duff from Pitmudie, Menmuir, Brechin, is no exception.

She has missed all the summer shows and feels that getting her stock out in front of a judge and spectators is the ultimate shop window for all the hard work that goes into pedigree breeding.

Heather, 27, farms with her mum and dad, Jennifer and Arthur, on the 600-acre, mostly grassland unit, where they run a commercial herd of 120 Simmental cross cows alongside their 50-cow pedigree herd.

Some of Heathers Simmental heifers with their calves.

Since finishing her BSC (Hons) in agriculture at SRUC Craibstone, Heather has helped develop the pedigree herd at Pitmudie, while also working in sales for Agrilloyd, Limagrain and Gray Seed Services, Newmacher.

Arthur sometimes bought Simmental cows for the commercial herd but in 2009 he picked up two Drumsleed cows at a sale. One was Drumsleed Twinkle who, two years later, had a good heifer calf, Pitmudie Beaujolais and the pedigree herd was founded.

Neil Caul, who has been instrumental in helping develop the herd with the family, encouraged Heather to show Beaujolais and her love of showing took off.

She said: “I had taken part in the YFC calf over-wintering competitions, which gave me the bug, but winning prizes at local shows with Beaujolais was a great experience.”

Corskie Biana was another of the foundation heifers and in order to build up the herd quickly, the family bought some in-calf cows and heifers from Cairnorrie and 12 maiden heifers from Delfur.

The Pitmudie herd really started coming to the forefront before lockdown, with Pitmudie Havana, an in-calf heifer by Corskie Elder out of Drumsleed Corinna taking female and reserve supreme champion at the Highland Show in 2018.

Heather said: “That has to go down as one of the best days of my life!”

She usually prepares about eight cattle for the show season, some for local shows and some for the Highland, but this year she has reduced the team to five and plans to take two yearling bulls and two yearling heifers to Ingliston.

It is not only at the shows that Heather has made her mark; in February Pitmudie Lancelot by Hiltonstown Irish out of Pitmudie Gladys, sold for 8200gns at Stirling to a pedigree herd in Wales.

She also took two bulls to Thainstone for the first time in February, winning a first prize and selling to a top of 6000gns for Pitmudie Lonestar.

The herd is performance-recorded and the plan is to continue to develop the best bloodlines.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]