Landmark herd is up for sale

© Catherine MacGregorThe Taylor family’s Aberdeen-Angus herd on the Carse of Gowrie.
The Taylor family’s Aberdeen-Angus herd on the Carse of Gowrie.

For more than a quarter of a century the Aberdeen-Angus cattle that graze the lush grass of the Carse of Gowrie have been a landmark on the busy A90.

The Moncur sign on the buildings behind the black animals identifies the herd and has made it one of the most familiar in the country, so the cattle will be missed by many regular drivers when they are sold at the end of this month.

However, no one will miss them more than Russell Taylor, whose late son, Mark founded the herd in 1992. He says he has made the difficult decision to disperse the “special herd” with a heavy heart.

“I’m in my 80th year, the family is focused on other business interests and our stockman Eoin Cumming has won a travel scholarship and is leaving us, so it seemed like the right time,” he said.

“Mark’s whole life revolved around this herd of cattle and I have been fully involved since the beginning so it isn’t easy to let them go.”

The 43 cows, heifers and bulls will be dispersed at Stirling’s pedigree sales on October 22, at a time when the Aberdeen-Angus brand is riding high.

Mr Taylor said: “The breed is in tremendous shape. There is huge demand in Europe that can’t be fulfilled. Everyone wants Angus at the moment.”

The Moncur prefix has enjoyed show success over the decades, which peaked in 2008 when their breeding won the supreme and male champion accolades as well as the reserve supreme champion, reserve male champion, junior male champion and best-bred-by-exhibitor awards at the Royal Highland Show.

However, direct international trade has replaced the show and sale rings for several years, with private sales to Germany, Romania, Spain and France in particular, where bulls have been sold as yearlings rather than two-year-olds.

Mr Taylor has played a full role in the development of the breed, with seven years on the Aberdeen-Angus Society’s council followed by a year as president in 2013-14.

He has also travelled widely on Angus business, including to the World Angus conference in New Zealand during his presidential year. He has also judged all three royal shows and was in the Czech Republic a few weeks ago judging at the first European Angus show.

Breeding Aberdeen-Angus cattle has been a passion for the businessman, whose other key enterprises include growing potatoes and cereals and in the foreword to the sale catalogue, Mr Taylor wishes the new owners of his animals all the best for the future.

He adds: “We hope they have as much pleasure and gain as much friendship as we have over the last 26 years. It is a very special way to lead your life which very few people in other walks of life can experience.”