Rothie farm’s prize for top neep crop

Jim Masson of Smiddyburn, Rothienorman with one of the prize winning 'neeps'.
Jim Masson of Smiddyburn, Rothienorman with one of the prize winning 'neeps'.

FIRST time entrants, A M Duguid and Son, Smiddyburn, Rothienorman, have been named as this year’s winners of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society’s annual competition for the best crop of turnips.

The family-owned farming business, managed by farm manager, Jim Masson, has come out top with a four-acre crop of Kenmore which is grown with three other varieties for feeding to 820 store lambs finished over the winter.

The crop chalked up a combined score of 102.67 points – the only entry to break the 100 points barrier – for management and yield to win both the non-LFA and feeding turnip classes. The award for the most points for the management of the crop also went to Smiddyburn.

“We grow 18 acres of turnips and give the lambs access to the Kenmore in early winter because it is a softer turnip and doesn’t stand the frost as well as other varieties,” says Mr Masson, who runs the day-to-day operations on the farm along with owner, Mrs Isabel Forsyth, and her son, Murray.

“We find turnips are best for putting on weight. Most lambs are finished on only turnips and silage and are away by March/April with only the last 200 or so requiring a little concentrate feed to finish.”

It is a notable success for Mr Masson who worked for 13 years for the late Ian Forsyth after leaving school and returned to farming only 18 months ago after 20 years in the paper industry.

Judge, Ian Moir of Oldmeldrum seed merchants, Murray Duguid Ltd, who sponsor the competition, said the winning crop of turnips was one of the best he had ever seen during his 30 years in the seed business.

“The crop scored well on every count. The bulbs were amazingly uniform in size like peas in a pod and were the size of footballs. The crop was clean and free of weeds and the bulbs extremely sound.”