It seems to be a time for supporting some of the observations made by others and, in particular, the comments made in The Scottish Farmer and elsewhere about the recent failure of some of our MPs to vote for the amendment to the new UK Agriculture Bill which would have ensured that we did not import food which had been produced to welfare standards which are inferior to our own.

These MPs’ justification for their actions may well have genuine political validity, but it does seem to flag-up a real risk that a trade deal with the USA may come at the expense of our industry.

Meanwhile, in our concerns over coronavirus, we are overlooking the onset of another Brexit deadline and possible crisis. Sensible people might well think that a deferral of the deadline would be a good idea but will that be the outcome?

Another area for our support is Jim Walker’s recent article, which could even be termed an exposé, on the structure of the Irish meat industry. It is apparent to beef producers that the dominance and anti-competitive behaviour of some of the companies involved is a major threat to their economic future.

It is to be hoped that sheepmeat producers continue to take this lesson to heart and continue to strongly support the auction system where competition and flexibility still reigns.

On the positive side, support for the auction system remains a key pillar of Scottish farming economics and the efforts made by sellers, buyers, hauliers and mart colleagues over recent difficult weeks is greatly appreciated.

Even though sellers are operating on a ‘drop and go’ basis, trade has remained good and it is great that marts, backed by governments on both sides of the Border, have been able to continue to provide their service.

One must hope that regulations will continue to relax a little but for some time things will certainly be different.

Auction companies and the IAAS are constantly thinking about and planning for the upcoming autumn sales season and the challenges it will bring and, on this, it will be very much a case of ‘watch this space’ over the next couple of months but I am sure that as good a solution as possible will result.