By Daniel Johnston, auctioneer and manager of Lawrie and Symington's Forfar Mart and a member of IAAS.

In the 13 years I’ve lived and worked in Scotland – the last 10 here at Forfar Mart – I’ve never seen weather as wet as that experienced over the past few weeks.

Unsurprisingly, the media this week labelled last month ‘Frightful February’, when the Met Office confirmed the country endured its second wettest February in history. Here, in Angus, I’ve seen water in places I’ve never seen it before as our farmers have felt the impact of three storms – Ciara, Dennis and Jorge – inundating them with more rain than they have seen since 1990.

That has brought with it significant problems, particularly for those on the sheep side of the industry. They’re having to work as efficiently as they can to manage grazing land against the backdrop of knowing there’s only so much they can do.

It’s really just a matter of maintaining the ground and keeping stock moving to as fresh a bite as is possible.

But while the weather has been frightful, the conditions have proven to be a double-edged sword for our farmers, with sheep trade strong in recent weeks.

Despite the poor weather, it has been encouraging to see more prime sheep being sold through the live ring, with hogg numbers up 11% in Forfar and 13% in Lanark, with prices repeatedly breaking the £120 barrier, proving that spirited competition pays dividends.

For farmers who probably haven’t had a dry day since November, that might be some consolation, along with the fact that it would seem global market forces are on our side at the present time, with more lambs going to China from New Zealand amid the problems they find themselves with.

That’s adding to the price factor and reinforces the fact that the live auction ring is the best place to do business, providing a real-time reflection of supply and demand.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what the picture might look like for the rest of the year. A lot of farmers are behind with their spring work, which will have a knock-on effect. One client I spoke to last week said he’s never seen it so bad. He’s not yet managed to get any groundwork done.

It’s fortunate that farmers are a resilient bunch. They put up with many things that other industries don’t have to cope with, but without seeing the same sort of rewards – despite producing some of the best livestock to the highest standards in the world. This should be recognised more often.

I hope the weather improves, easing pressures a little. We also hope that the strong prices can be sustained. We’re certainly focussed on helping deliver the best results possible to our customers.