An Aberdeen-Angus yesterday won the McIntosh/Donald best Scotch steak competition at the Royal Highland Show for the first time in 10 years.
The winner was a sirloin steak from an Orkney-bred Aberdeen-Angus cross heifer consigned by Ian and John Emslie, Little Barras, Laurencekirk. It came from a carcass weighing 318.7kg and grading R for conformation and 4L for fat cover. “The steak produced superb eating quality and came from a carcase of the right weight and grade for the modern market,” said Alan McNaughton, site director at McIntosh Donald’s Portlethen plant who chaired the judging panel.
The Emslie’s finish 4500 cattle a year, including around 2000 Aberdeen-Angus, on their 450-acre farm and make good use of arable by-products in their feeding regime to minimise costs. Mr Emslie and his son buy store cattle at marts up and down the country throughout the year and usually have around 1500 head on the farm at any one time.
They won a new award for the best Aberdeen-Angus and went on to take the top award of the McIntosh Donald Rosebowl and cash prize of £1000 which was presented by Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead, whose portfolio now includes food as well as farming, rural development and the environment. “We always thought the heifer had potential to win,” said Mr Emslie. “This is our first overall success in the competition and we are delighted to have won.”
Mr Lochhead reiterated the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting the beef sector which was such an important part of Scotland’s agricultural economy and the food industry.
“As part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Scottish Government has committed £45,000 million to support the beef industry over the next three years,” he said. “Scotch beef is recognised as the best in the world and we want to consolidate Scotland’s world-beating role into the future by helping producers become even more efficient and further improve the quality of Scotch beef.”
Sirloins from 12 carcases, selected from a total of 165 cattle entered for the competition, provided the steaks which were cooked on the Tesco stand and judged for succulence and taste by the judging panel.
Tesco is the Scottish beef industry’s biggest customer and has recently committed to selling only 100% fresh Scotch beef in its 200 stores across Scotland.