By Jim Craig, managing director of Craig Wilson Ltd, and a member of IAAS

In a week when politics has dominated the headlines with the race to No 10 concluding, it is worth remembering that in our trade, nature affects us far more than politics.

Last year the ‘Beast from the East’ hit, bringing with it a devastating impact on business and trade through the ring. As the country was battered by strong winds, heavy rain and snow, we certainly felt the force of it here at Craig Wilson Ltd, as the farmers with whom we work subsequently suffered huge problems, not least in livestock losses.

In the sheep trade alone, we lost out to the tune of £100,000 in commission all thanks to Mother Nature as our vendors dealt with the horrific consequences which followed the extreme weather.

This year has been encouraging and, despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and its impact on the industry, we had a healthy lambing season which has resulted in some good lamb sales and strong numbers passing through the sales ring.

As a result, there's not a great surplus left for next spring but we’re in a good position of being able to solidify trade for next year. That is a bonus in one of the parts of our industry which has been most under pressure given Brexit uncertainty overshadowing lamb exports.

In general, growth has been incredible with great yields helping keep costs much lower. This year we’ve had silage coming out our ears when, in the previous year, supplies were desperately scarce. Feeding costs have certainly been a lot lower, which has helped considerably across the board.

Through the rings we’ve seen store cattle prices remaining stable and this year has been roughly the equivalent of 12 months ago. That said, the finished price has been a lot less than last year.

Overall, as we move into the tail end of 2019 we can look back on a fairly successful year which stands us in good stead heading into the new year. There’s no doubt that when election fever or apathy – however you want to look at it – dies down we’ll be facing the same old concerns about Brexit and what this will bring for our farming industry.