Scotsman Obituaries: David Dick, Ranching Pioneer and Entrepreneur


David Dick was a familiar figure at Scottish cattle shows.

Not long after his seventh birthday, David Dick competed in his first plow match. An observer that day commented that the boy could barely reach the clutch pedals on his tractor, but that ignored David’s skills as he drew a straight opening furrow and followed it up with a clean plow. The resulting job saw David collect an award ticket; he one of the youngest to do so in a plowing competition.

Although he followed in his father’s footsteps and was more successful in competitive ploughing, it was in the world of beef cattle farming that he left the greatest legacy to UK agriculture. In this highly competitive world, his attention to detail and his focus on beef cattle helped deliver record selling prices and award-winning performances.

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For two decades from 1980, the Limousin cattle of his Ronick herd based in the Mains of Throsk, Stirling, collected most of the major trophies in the beef cattle world. In the sales circle, Ronick-bred cattle regularly appeared at the top end, as other producers bought bloodlines from his herd.

He was also prominent in promoting the breed through the Limousin Pedigree Breed Society when he was appointed President (1988-1992) at a time when this French native breed was establishing itself as a major influence in beef production. res from the UK.

His support of the Limousin breed began a few years earlier. He recalled buying his first batch of Limousin cross calves at Lanark Mart. “They outperformed any other cattle he had bought. From then on, I not only intended to buy Limousin crosses, but also to convert the suckler herd to Limousin x Friesian cows put on Limousin bulls.”

The next step came when David attended a Limousin sale in Carlisle and returned home with two pedigree females. Ronick’s pedigree Limousin herd was registered in 1980 and, as a major indication of his ability to spot and acquire the best, David purchased a cow, Broadmeadows Ainsi, at the Douglas Crichton scatter sale in 1988. Ainsi it had already demonstrated its quality at the exhibition. ring, and he had also bred a bull named Broadmeadows Cannon, destined to be the most prolific bull in British Limousin breed history. David purchased Cannon in 1990 from Matt Ridley of the Haltcliffe herd after judging in the North West Limousin Club Herd competition where Cannon’s offspring took the progeny award.

This was just one of many stints as a judge that took David to all corners of the British Isles, including the Royal Show in 1992 and the Highland Show four years later. He was even a judge at the prestigious Royal Melbourne show in Australia.

Under David’s ownership, Ainsi not only won glory for the Ronick Herd when this elegant cow won the breed championship at the Royal Show, but also won glory for the entire Limousin breed, becoming the first Limousin to win the prestigious Supreme. Mestizo Individual Championship. This was just one of many main show successes of hers.

The success of Ronick’s herd was not due to one animal alone, as David had shrewdly purchased three imported Limousin heifers. From them came Ronick Danita, the 1997 Royal Highland champion. There, to make David’s day, he overtook his daughter Ronick Janita for the reserve spot. As David observed at the time: “Winning like we did with Broadmeadows Ainsi was absolutely wonderful, but nothing can beat the thrill of winning a big show with one.” of his own home-raised animals. That filled us with emotions that we will never ever forget.” Janita became one of the most successful show cattle in Limousin history. Her outstanding career in the show between 1997 and 2000 included twice winning the overall championship on the Highland show along with twice holding the reserve position. She also had similar success at the Royal Show taking the overall prize twice and winning second place twice.

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Ronick also found success on the male side with Ronick Hawk. A son of Cannon was purchased by one of the major AI companies, where he sold some 800,000 semen straws to producers around the world.

Throughout all this success and expansion of both the cattle business and the whole farming organisation, David was accompanied by his wife, Alison, whom he had met at a young farmers’ ball held at the Golden Lion Hotel, Stirling. They got married in June. 1960. Alison became part of the team behind the success. She not only raised the family, but helped with running the business; especially at times when David was away on Limmy Society business

David and Alison had three children, Ronald, Christopher, and Wendy; five grandchildren, Isobel, Iain, David, Stephanie and Christina; and three great-grandchildren, Sophia, Pippa and Harvey

Such was David’s enthusiasm for the Limousin breed that no fewer than three branches of the family tree now have their own pedigree Limmy herds; namely Carse, Lodge and Stephick.

David was born on the small rented farm of South Langdyke, near Airth, where he attended the local Carronshore Primary School and where his father, William, ran a contracting and grass seed business in addition to farming. The family moved to the larger Mains of Throsk farm in 1948, at which time David was attending Stirling Grammar School. But as soon as possible, he went back home to farm.

The family business was successful in building to its current size of 3,000 acres, growing a variety of crops including Scots Timothy grass seed, a specialty grown in the Carse of Stirling.

A variety of cereals are grown as certified seed and sold in bulk or processed in the family’s own seed processing plant.

Apart from the above, what happened to the boy who participated in his first plow competition at age seven? With his Ransome plow he won the British Championship in the 1950s and then followed it up with no less than four successes in the Scottish Championships.

But it was a runner-up finish in the British championship in 1969 that saw him represent Great Britain at the World Plowing Championships in Denmark in September 1970.

His experience in these competitions saw him being asked to officiate at many plow matches over the years.

And to support his own hand, he did most of the plowing in the Mains of Throsk until a week before he died, more than seven decades after his first appearance.

Despite his high profile in life, David was essentially a private man. He was upright, honest, and practical, and was held in high regard by many who knew him in various walks of his life.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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