The McMiken family have scooped up the top dairy award at this year’s AgriScot, fending off tough local competition from two other farms located in the dairy heartland of Dumfries and Galloway.
Ernespie Farm run by the McMiken family was described as ‘outstanding’ by independent assessors – former chairman of AgriScot Alex Brown, and Robin Young.
David McMiken, who runs the farm along with his partner, Rebecca and his parents, returned to the family farm five years ago after studying automotive engineering at university, teaming with new ideas.
Since his return, he has fitted out a new 290-cow dairy unit plus silage clamps and feed storage with assistance from government and EU funding.
The herd graze outdoors during the day, in the summer months and David is helped on the farm by a full-time herdsman, as well as the help of one further employee and self-employed labour at peak periods.
No animals are brought onto farm, with genetic improvement being assisted by the selective purchase of embryos.
A farm visitor centre has been added which opened this past summer which includes a restaurant, animal barn, soft play area and outdoor facilities. Twenty-nine members of full and part time staff are employed, with Rebecca taking responsibility for the day to day running.
Gilmour Lawrie, who convenes the award on behalf of AgriScot, commented: “There were an encouraging number of farms forward for the award this year and I understand the independent assessors had their work cut out to choose the three finalists, let alone the ultimate Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year.”
The assessors also praised the other two finalists in the category, Baltier Farm, Whithorn, Newton Stewart, where the third generation of the Forsyth family milk 580 high yielding Holsteins and Drum Farm, Beeswing, Dumfries, farmed by the Harvey family.