The Society flew the “Suffolk Flag” at Scotsheep 2024 and what an event it was held on Wednesday 5th June 2024, at Aikengall Farm, Innerwick, Dunbar, East Lothian. The Hamilton family; James, Charles and Harry, along with their mother Vanessa hosted a monumental day which was well supported by industry exhibitors and visitors. There were comprehensive seminars and workshops educational and working demonstrations, sheep dog trial, fencing, stock judging and NSA Next Generation Shepherd of The Year competitions as well as inviting 400 schoolchildren from local schools in the East Lothian area to attend through the Royal Highland Educational Trust.

The 2024 event included an extensive trade stand area with over 160 commercial and educational trade stands, 32 sheep breed societies and 11 individual breeder and companies trade stands/demonstrations. There was something for everyone.

There was a very interesting farm tour which highlighted Scottish weather and challenging conditions experienced by many employing the Stratified Sheep System of production. The need for an extra overcoat as you went up to the higher ground was very apparent on the faces of those arriving back!

The Hamilton family farm a combined total of 5250 acres across six units near Innerwick, Dunbar, which are a mixture of tenanted, contract farmed and owned. With some 2800 breeding ewes and a hefty herd of cows, this stands the family in good stead to host the event.

The 1900-acre Aikengall which is home to a 1400-strong flock of Blackface ewes as well as 900 spring-calving cows with Simmental genetics featuring heavily in the females which are crossed to Charolais, Lincoln Red and Aberdeen-Angus bulls.

The Scottish Blackface flock is split in two with 700 bred pure while the remainder are put to the Bluefaced Leicester ram to produce replacement Scotch Mules for the tenanted Nunraw, which lies just over the hill but is 14 miles by road!

Managed by Harry, the flock of 1400 Mules at Nunraw are in a high input, high output system with the aim of selling 1200 lambs before the Royal Highland Show in late June, with the remainder weaned in July and sold thereafter.

The stand was a busy place all day and visitors aplenty! Many thanks the Scottish Branch Chair, Mrs Helen Goldie and Secretary Heather Pritchard for managing the stand and staffing all day and to all the branch committee members who gave up their time to help.  Without you all being there it would have been difficult to make the most of what the event had to offer us on breed promotion.

Raffle ticket sales went well both before and during the event organised by the Scottish Branch and also the guess the weight of the lamb competition with the Scotch Mule ewe and her two lambs that were kindly loaned for the day by James T Cannon (Redbrae) with two Suffolk sired lambs at 62kg at 8 weeks old! A much better an advert for the commercial man you could not have wished to have had. Also, a perfect advert for the advantages that Hybrid Vigour delivers when using genetically diverse pedigree breeds in a three way cross.

Two Shearling Tups for the day were again kindly supplied by the Ingram Family at (Logie Durno) and this impressive pair certainly caught the eye of passers bye. They were a perfect illustration of the advantage that the long Suffolk Carcass can deliver in extra weight of added value cuts.

It was very impressive to see the numbers of Suffolk lambs with ewes present on so many other breed Society stands a sure sign that people are looking at the Suffolk advantage as we head towards testing times for sheep profitability, the answer to the issue is there already! And it has been since 1886!