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Stirling in 1873, and indeed was never placed second except to my yearling heifer" Pride of Alford,” at Kelso in 1872. Mr D. A. Pearson, Johnston Lodge, Laurencekirk, is a young and very enthusiastic breeder of black cattle. He bought two of my best cows at the Alford sale last October. He does not force or feed for the show-yard. Mr Reid, Baads, Peterculter, has some valuable stock. In 1873 he got the cup at Aberdeen for the best bull; and with a pair of yearling heifers after that bull, Mr Reid got first honours at Aberdeen in July last, and first and second prizes at the Inverness Highland Society's show the following week. I gave Mr Reid 100 guineas for these heifers, which are now in my possession. Mr Reid's cattle are carefully bred from different strains, and when he resolves to show, he brings the animals out in excellent trim.
My respected colleague, Mr Fordyce, M.P., has now a good herd at Brucklay Castle Home Farm. He also has successfully blended different strains. His bull “M'Combie," descended on both sides from the Tillyfour stock, got the challenge cup at Aberdeen in 1871, and stood second in a very strong aged class at the Perth show of the Highland Society the following week. This fine bull, however, died shortly afterwards. The Earl of Aberdeen has established a herd of polled cattle at Haddo House Mains within the last eighteen months, his lordship's first purchases being a pair of two-year-old heifers, at the Portlethen sale, in the autumn of 1873. Mr Grant, Methlic, has commenced a herd of black cattle. Mr Barclay, M.P., at Auchlossan, has now a very large herd, numbering nearly 100. It is, perhaps, the largest herd of polled cattle. He has never forced his cattle for the showyards. His bulls have been selected from the Westertown herd, and he has infused the Tillyfour blood by purchases of females. The Auchlossan herd is a very valuable one, and has been kept exclusively on the produce of the farm. Purchasers of polled cattle will be concerned to know that Mr Barclay intends having a large sale in autumn. Although he hates the forcing systern, he has taken many prizes at the Royal Northern Agricultural Society's shows, and at local shows, with cattle in their natural condition.
Mr William Anderson, Wellhouse, in the Vale of Alford, has always kept pure Aberdeen cattle. He never forced a breeding beast in his life, but has been a very successful prize-taker at the Vale of Alford Agricultural Society's shows. He has repeatedly taken the first prizes for bulls and heifers. He bought“No. 1” at my last sale—one of my best cows. He annually prepares a lot of the best prime Scots that leaves the Vale of Alford for the great Christmas market. His brother, Mr Anderson, Kinstair, Mr Hosie, Archballoch, and Mr Charles M‘Combie, Tillychetly, have never bred any other cattle than pure Aberdeens.
The Milton of Kemnay stock are always kept upimproved in fact-by Mr Henry M'Combie, the son of the late editor of the ‘Free Press.' In Leochel-Cushnie we have Mr Harry Shaw, Bogfern, who has always kept the pure Aberdeen and Angus cattle. He bred the celebrated cow " Sybil” that won for Colonel Fraser, of Castle Fraser, the Highland Society's first prize for cows at Dumfries in 1870, the second at Edinburgh in 1869, and the challenge cup at Aberdeen the same year. She is now in the Ballindalloch herd. Mr Shaw also bred Lord Fife's cow “Corriemulzie,” which was second last three years at the Highland Society's shows, and narrowly escaped taking the cup at Aberdeen in 1874. We have also Mr James Strachan, Wester Fowlis, who has obtained very high prices for bulls, cows, and heifers. Lord Fife's factor has bought several beasts from him. There are also the Messrs Dunn, of the two Eninteers and of Wester Leochel, Mr Emslie, Cardenstown, Mr Peter MCombie, and Mr John Hunter, Farmton, who have all kept the pure Aberdeen, and bred many first-class animals, some of which have been winners at the Highland and Royal Northern Agricultural Societies' shows. In Cromar, at East Town, there has been, since ever I recollect, a first-class herd of pure Aberdeenshire cattle. Mr Farquharson has improved it very much from selections from the best herds of the country. He has sold a great many beasts at very high prices—from £40 to £50, and even £60, a-head—and has been a prominent prize-taker at the district shows. The herds of his neighbours, Mr Ross, Old Town, and Mr Forbes, Ruthven, date as far back even as the East Town herd. None are purer. They never force for the show-yard. They have introduced bulls of the best blood into their herds, and might very well take good positions, if they thought fit, at the national shows.
Mr Walker, Ardhuncart, has all along kept a large stock of pure-bred Aberdeen and Angus cattle. He does not feed for the show-yards. Although not an exhibitor at our national exhibitions, his stock have been most successful at the local shows. He has for many years introduced into his herd bulls of the highest order, from Mr Bowie, Mains of Kelly, and other celebrated breeders; and, like Mr Ross of Clova, has never given his stock a pound's worth of cake in his life. He has invariably a lot of rare black bullocks for sale in the spring, exclusively kept on the natural produce of the farm. He is a very good judge, and would not see a cross-bred beast upon his farm. Mr Walker has distinguished himself as a successful writer on agricultural subjectshis essays having gained many prizes and gold medals from the Highland Society. His services as a judge at the Royal Northern Society, and at district shows, are in great request.
Mr Lumsden of Auchindoir has a very good herd of pure - bred Angus cattle. I have bought many superior animals from Clova. His farm-steward is a first-class judge, and a most economical manager. He has bought his bulls from me for many years, and has never given excessively high prices. I have heard
him often say "that there never was a pound's worth of oilcake used at Clova.” The stock are inferior to none as to size and strength of constitution—a proof that pampering breeding stock with artificial food does not tend eventually to improve their size. Mr Lumsden of Auchindoir, and Mr Walker, Ardhuncart, are the most successful exhibitors at the Kildrummy cattleshows. The heifer that gained the second prize to me at Smithfield three years ago was bred at Clova.
Mr Hunter, Confunderland, has a very good herd of polled Angus and Aberdeen cattle, and has taken many prizes at our local and Royal Northern Society's shows. In 1872 he gained the first prize at the Royal Northern Agricultural show for the best pair of cows, and I had to rest satisfied with the second place.
Mr Walker, Westside, came to the front the other day with his polled bulls at Alford. Two of his yearlings fetched close upon £100, the highest price at the sale. He has been paying great attention to his stock lately, and has introduced the best of blood into his herd.
Mr Gordon, Tullochallum, Dufftown, has now a valuable herd of polled cattle. I have bought his twoyear-old bullocks of that breed for years, and have given him as much as £43 a-head for some of them. The ox with which I gained the championship at Birmingham in 1872 was bred by Mr Gordon. The same animal got the first prize of £30 at Smithfield the next year, and stood third for the championship in that great contest. In December of 1874 I exhibited two bullocks, bred by Mr Gordon, at Edinburgh, Newcastle, and Darlington. They got second at Edinburgh, first and second at Newcastle, and first at Darlington. I have at present in training” three bullocks bred by Mr Gordon, and bought his two-year-olds, at a high price, the other day.
The breeders of polled cattle recently begun, north of the Spey, I believe, are Sir W. G. Gordon-Cumming of Altyre, Forres ; Mr Brodie of Lethen, Nairnshire ; Mr Walker of Geddes, in the same county ; Mr Forbes of Culloden, in Inverness-shire; Mr M'Gregor, Kincraig, Badenoch; and Mr Gwyer, Biallid, Kingussie. Mr Brooks, Dunkeld, in Perthshire, has just laid the foundation of a herd with purchases at the recent Tillyfour and Westertown sales, and privately at Kinnochtry since.
The breeders of polled cattle have thus grown considerably in numbers since I last wrote, and are increasing every year. By the way, the Duke of Richmond bought a pair of cows and a bull at the Westertown sale to try the breed, I was informed, on his Grace's English property of Goodwood. I have no doubt the experiment will be successful. Polled cattle have risen greatly in value within the last seven or eight years. The last four large sales — viz., Portlethen in 1873, Drumin the same year, Westertown in 1874, and Tillyfour and Easter Skene the month after-were considered the best of the kind that had yet been held. Each of these sales, for briskness and prices, eclipsed its predecessor. At Alford, in October last, the average prices realised were very gratifying to me, and were the highest on record. Sixteen Tillyfour cows averaged £45, 15s. each ; eight two-year-old heifers, close on £58 a-head; and ten yearling heifers, £35 each. At the Westertown dispersion sale, the entire herd of fifty-seven animals, including calves, averaged £35, 78. a-head.
While, in a breeding sense, the polled cattle have been gaining in popularity since the second edition was published, they have been more than holding their own in the great fat stock Christmas exhibitions. In the fall of 1872, for instance, a polled Scotch ox was champion of Smithfield; a polled Scotch ox was champion of Birmingham; a polled Scotch heifer was best female animal at York and Leeds; another of the same breed was best animal at Inverness, best female at Forres, and best female at Newcastle; while a third polled Scotch ox was champion at Forres. Curiously enough, all these animals, excepting the York and Leeds one, met on the Links of Aberdeen the following July, and made a very imposing array.