Martin McCornick and family of Boreland Farm in South West Scotland are Aberdeen-Angus breeders who have worked extremely hard over time, giving a lot to our great breed. In these past months, Martin and the family have seen some very well-deserved success at the Carlisle and Stirling Bull Sales and the Borderway Agri Expo in Carlisle. We caught up with Martin to hear about his reaction to his recent success, along with his experience with the breed and interests outside of the world of cattle.
Pedigree breeding has always played a significant role in farming for our family, firstly with Ayrshires and then Charolais. A change in farming policy was put in place in 2000 when our Ayrshire herd was sold off and replaced with Aberdeen-Angus X commercial sucklers and Charolais bulls.
Our McCornick Aberdeen-Angus herd was established in 2006 with the purchase of 2 heifers at the Border Blacks Sale, Wedderlie Nelight E003 and Huxton Bloom D183. This was followed by privately purchasing eight older cows from Rawburn to set the foundation of the herd. Netherton Mr American E370 was the next purchase as our first stock bull, who bred our previous top price bull at 7000gns for McCornick Evolution to the Scottish Agricultural College in 2013.
Further female lines have since been added to the herd over the years, with our main investment being at the Halbeath dispersal where we purchased three females and two Duncanziemere Edwin bull calves (later used as stock bulls, Halbeath Kitemark N500 and Halbeath Pentagon N511). This has proved to be a successful decision so far.
We attend a couple of local summer shows each year and we sometimes attend a National show. In winter, we enjoy showing at Agri-Expo and Stars of the Future calf show. Our most successful show female to date has been McCornick Kerry P000, who from a young age knew how to show herself off in the judging ring. As well as winning multiple championships at local shows, she has also won the following: 1st at Agri-Expo 2014, Reserve Junior Female Champion at Stars of the Future 2014, 2nd at the Aberdeen Angus Summer National 2015, Reserve Yearling Female Champion at Agri-Expo 2015, 1st heifer with calf at foot at Agri-Expo 2016. Her first calf, McCornick Kerry’s Boy S215, has just won Overall Champion at this year’s Winter National Show at Agri-Expo as a yearling bull. Kerry’s Boy is sired by a homebred bull McCornick Kedge M797, has great figures including a self replacing index of +66 and +4.2 calving ease direct and is destined for Stirling in February.
Image: McCornick Kerry P000.
Image: McCornick Kerry’s Boy S215.
Here at Boreland Farm, we are situated in the South West of Scotland near Newton Stewart. On the 600 acres, we currently run a 60 cow pedigree Aberdeen Angus herd along with 15 pedigree Charolais cows and 50 commercial suckler cows. We also run a flock of 400 breeding ewes, mainly compromising of Lairg type North Country Cheviots, as well as Park type North Country Cheviots, Beltex X Texels, pedigree Roussins and Hebrideans.
Day-to-day running of the farm is carried out by myself along with my 24-year-old daughter Gemma, who returned to work at home full-time after studying Applied Animal Science at Edinburgh SRUC for four years. We are now the third and fourth generations operating the family farm. We have developed a keen interest in pedigree breeding after both growing up surrounded by pedigree stock. My father Peter established the Charolais herd in 1974, and although now retired, he still enjoys being involved. My wife Emma and younger daughter Kate are both keen on the pedigrees too and like to help out when they can.
Brief profile of McCornick Destroyer S217 – what kind of future do you think the bull has?
McCornick Destroyer S217 caught our eye from a young age showing great breed character and conformation, he has continued to improve as he’s developed and matured. He was out of a homebred heifer (McCornick Duchess P041) who calved at 22 months old and goes back to one of our foundation cows, Rawburn Duchess 10th. He was successful in the show ring for us being placed 2nd in a large class of bull calves at Agri-expo 2016, and then this year was Reserve Male Champion at Border Union Show and Overall Angus Champion at Dumfries. We would have liked to have kept Destroyer as a stock bull, however we still have his sire (Halbeath Pentagon) and plan to collect semen from him this winter. We hope Destroyer goes on to have a successful future with his new owner, breeding quality calves and passing on his style and easy fleshing ability to his progeny, he has a lot of potential.
Image: McCornick Destroyer S217
Reaction to Destroyer’s successes at Stirling
We hoped Destroyer would do well at Stirling as we thought a lot of him. We were delighted to see him do so well in the show and achieve our best price to date, receiving a lot of nice comments along the way.
What were your thoughts on the Stirling Sales in general?
Good commercial bulls sold well, with interest definitely directing more towards easier fleshing types along with easy calving.
Do you have any other interests or involvements outside of cattle breeding?
Pedigree breeding is my main hobby/interest as well as a business, so it takes up most of my time. However, I am currently the Chairman of The Roussin Sheep Society, a breed which we have been involved with for over twenty years. We sold the record price tup lamb at Carlisle two years ago. I’m also a keen supporter of our local rugby team, Newton Stewart RFC and I enjoy working with my three gundogs on the estate shoot.
We’d like to thank Martin for taking the time to speak to us, it was great getting an insight in to his background, herd and recent successes through McCornick Destroyer S217 at Stirling, McCornick Kerry’s Boy S215 at Agri Expo and many more.