Sir William Young, as Chairman of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board, was a hugely influential figure within the Scottish dairy industry. Together with son John, the family also became a significant influence on the British beef industry when Skerrington became one of the first importers of Simmental Cattle in the early 1970's and with the success of the Skerrington Border Leicesters, Bluefaced Leicesters and Blackface sheep, they were also well renowned for their breeding initiatives and quality stock by the sheep industry.
Following John's death in 2011, William, with the assistance of stockman Billy Kirk, who has been at Skerrington for the past 20 years, continues to develop the pedigree commercial beef and sheep enterprise at Skerrington, which lies near Kilmarnock in East Ayrshire, Scotland and have now also introduced pedigree Texel Sheep and Aberdeen Angus cattle. The family firmly believe that they way forward is not only the attention to detail of the genetics in the stock but also in the further development in Estimated Breeding Values and producing High Value animals.
The Young family have been heavily involved in all aspects of the Scottish agricultural industry for the past six generations and have also been involved in putting something back into the industry as well as having an involvement in the local community. The late John Young was an exceptional character who enjoyed curling as a pastime. William, having more patience than his late father, enjoys Salmon and trout fishing on the River Irvine, which surrounds the farm.
History of Skerrington Simmentals
Six generations of the Young family have now farmed at Skerrington Mains, Hurlford, Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, since it was acquired by the family in 1875.
John Young was born and brought up on the farm and farmed with his father from the age of 16 years. Until late 1995, the farm carried a pedigree dairy herd of 140 cows, having changed from a prize winning Ayrshire herd to Friesian Holsteins in the early 1970’s. At that time the farm also ran a flock of pure bred Border Leicester and Blackface sheep, winning the Royal Highland Show’s prestigious Queens Cup in 1970 with a Blackface yearling ewe.
John, who sadly passed away in 2011, was also a highly renowned international judge of both cattle and sheep. He was past Chairman and Honorary Secretary of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society, an Associate of the Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies and a Trustee of the Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth.
The farm runs to approximately 700 acres in three units with the focus being at Skerrington Mains. The enterprise consists of 240 suckler cows of which 90 are Pedigree Simmentals and a flock of approx 400 crossbred ewes. Skerrington Border Leicesters and Blackface Sheep have won the Royal Highland Show on numerous occassions. The Pedigree Simmentals have also achieved many show successes including the winning of both the Royal Highland and Royal Shows. There has also been success in the sale ring with high averages for bulls selling to a top of 12000gns for Skerrington Pinnacle.
Since importing the original Simmental cow Ersé in 1970 from Hans Hackel’s famous herd in Germany, followed by Renaté in 1973 from the same herd. Skerrington have only bought two females since then, both from famous Simmental dispersals namely Salisbury and Hockenhull. The current well known Skerrington Rebbeca line is directly descendant from Renaté. Ersé went on to take the Supreme Championship at the Royal Show in 1975.
The bulls which had a major influence on the herd in the early years were Scottish Neff, Scottish Neptune and Scottish Herrod, all of whom were imported originally from Germany.
In recent years the biggest influence on the herd has been Dovefields Gallant followed by Skerrington Legacy and Corskie Proton and many of their daughters have been retained in the herd.
Skerrington Simmentals are members of the ABRI Breedplan Recording system and are recognised as one of the highest indexed herds in the UK and the herd aim is to keep or increase the terminal indexes as they firmly believe the commercial men are looking more and more at these figures.
Skerrington Livestock have always striven to produce quality stock to suit all types of livestock farming, from bulls to breed females to bulls to breed outstanding finishing cattle. With the edition of the Texel Sheep and Aberdeen Angus cattle, the Young family are set to move forward with their breeding policy to produce outstanding commercial and pedigree stock.
- Simmental > Cattle