Three Buchan schoolgirls have outperformed the experts to win the Royal Northern Agricultural Society’s annual competition for the best crop of turnips.
And they have also done one better than their father who entered the competition for the first time last year and was placed runner-up for the top award.
The Downie Quines - Stephanie (13), Louise (11) and Sarah (10), daughters of Charlie and Wendy Downie, Mains of Techmuiry, Strichen - , took the top award with an 18-acre field of Lomond after winning the non-LFA and feeding turnip classes and winning the under 26 award.
“We are all interested in the farm and help Dad a lot,” said Stephanie, who is a second year pupil at Mintlaw Academy.
“We have our own cattle and sheep so the turnip crop is important to us. However, we have to give some of the credit for our success in the competition to Dad who always gives us great encouragement.”
Both Louise and Sarah are pupils at Strichen Primary School.
Mr Downie grows 26 acres of turnips – including eight acres of Kenmore – which are used to fold store lambs over the winter.
He finishes around 1700 lambs from his 520 breeding ewes and bought in stores. The aim is to get all the lambs finished before spring work starts.
“The turnips provide a lot of eating for the sheep if we get a decent crop,” he says.
“But with restrictions on the chemicals we can use, it’s getting more difficult to keep weeds under control.”
Previous winners, George and Bruce Walker, Newton of Lewesk, Old Rayne, were runners up with a field of Gowrie and were also placed first equal with Angus Jacobsen, Grange of Kinneff, Inverbervie, for best management.
The competition was again sponsored by Murray Duguid Seed Merchants, Oldmeldrum, and judged by Sandy Duguid.