Summer show season is nearly here! Interview with judge David Johnstone

Summer show season is nearly here! Interview with judge David Johnstone


With the summer agricultural show season about to kick off, we took this as the perfect time to speak to judge David Johnstone from Ballindalloch farm ahead of his first show of the season in Ayr. David tells us about his background, judging experience and what he will be looking for in the ring as well as his thoughts on the Aberdeen-Angus breed!

What is your background with relation to work, breeding etc?

“I was brought up on a hill farm above Loch Ness with blackface sheep and cross cows. I didn’t start working with Aberdeen-Angus until 1990 with the Fairoaks herd in Inverness and then the Cardona herd in Stirling.  After leaving the breed in 2002 to work with cross cattle for 6 years, I returned to work with Aberdeen-Angus cattle at Ballindalloch in 2008 where I became Farm Manager, where we have 35 breeding cows and followers.  The aim is to keep the best of the bull calves for selling as bulls and cull the rest, and the same for the Heifers. I have always found the breed easy calved, easy fed and easy handled.”

Have you ever been involved in judging before?

“I have judged local Summer Shows in the past along with the Aberdeen-Angus Calf Show at the Smithfield Festival in 2013. I will be judging Ayr Show and the New Deer Show this year. Aside from the enjoyment of getting to judge great cattle, the other good thing about judging is that you get to see what other people are breeding and it allows you to identify if something may be suitable to your own herd.  When we show our own cattle, it’s a great shop window opportunity to advertise what we have at our own herd at Ballindalloch.”

What will you be looking for in the ring?

“When judging, I will be looking for breed character starting with the head, a long level back and a leg in each corner. They must also be able to walk well, I think that is a big indicator of quality.”

What are your general thoughts on the Aberdeen-Angus breed?

“For the future, the breeders should not forget what an Aberdeen-Angus is meant to look like and what it is supposed to do.  It shouldn’t be too big an animal and should be easy fleshed. If we go too big, you would be as well feeding a continental animal. I feel quite strongly that the heritage and tradition of exactly what an Aberdeen-Angus is should be maintained, as that is what sets the breed apart.”

We would like to thank David Johnstone for speaking to us and on behalf of the Society we would like to wish him all the best at his first show of the season in Ayr, make sure to get yourself there if you’re in the area! To find out more about the latest sales and shows throughout the year then click on the link below: