Introducing Norman Catto, Stirling February Bull Sales 2024 Judge

Introducing Norman Catto, Stirling February Bull Sales 2024 Judge


North-east exile, Norman Catto, who has been a leading figure in the breeding and showing of pedigree beef cattle in Argentina for 60 years, has accepted the invitation of the council of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society and United Auctions to judge the Aberdeen-Angus at the Stirling bull sales in February.

This is a singular honour for Norman who last judged the Aberdeen-Angus at Stirling in 1987 and more recently in 2005 the North-east Aberdeen-Angus Club’s Black Beauty Bonanza at Thainstone Centre.

“I never thought I would ever get the chance to judge the breed’s main show and sale again and am grateful for the opportunity,” said Norman. “It’s the greatest honour for anyone in the Aberdeen-Angus business to be asked to judge at Stirling.”

Originally from Logie Coldstone, near Aboyne, Norman first went to Argentina in 1962 as assistant cattleman to the late Alex Ogg, Buchaam, Strathdon, the leading Aberdeen-Angus cattleman and breeder of the day, who was engaged for a few months every year by the late Raul Firpo, owner of one of Argentina’s leading Aberdeen-Angus herds, La Danesa, to prepare bulls for the Palermo show in Buenos Aires.

He started off his working life as a shepherd on the Ballogie Estate at Aboyne, and gained early experience with Aberdeen-Angus with two of the leading North-east herds of the time, Douneside and Buchaam, before taking up permanent residence in Argentina.

For many years, he managed the renowned Las Lilas herds of Aberdeen-Angus and Herefords, where he was responsible for the preparation of 1200 bulls for sale each year, and has won numerous championships at Palermo over the years with Aberdeen-Angus, Hereford, Beef Shorthorn, and Devon cattle.

In recent years, he has worked as a freelance consultant planning the genetic programme for a number of herds, which has involved regular visits to the USA and Canada, and supervising the showing of cattle from those herds at Palermo, the Porto Alegre show in Brazil and the La Prada show in Uruguay.

He continues to act as an adviser to many herds and this year had the honour of judging the Beef Shorthorn classes at the Palermo Show to mark the first importation of Shorthorn cattle from Scotland to Argentina 200 years ago. He has also been judging recently in Chile.

Throughout his time in Argentina, he has kept in close touch with the breed in the UK, coming across from time-to-time for the Stirling sales or the Royal Highland Show, and in 2017 became the first Scot to be invited to judge the Aberdeen-Angus at Palermo since the late Robert M Adam of Newhouse of Glamis, Forfar, in 1970.

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